Late last year, it came to my attention that Beijing-based garage-punk act Subs had a song of theirs covered by Norwegian rockers Black Snakes. The band has just released a video for the tune, “Down,” which comprises a collection of footage from shows across China, and worth pointing folks toward.
In light of the Year of the Snake’s arrival, I put together a playlist, of sorts, for CBC Music. Anything to direct folks away from the madness of China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala variety-show-on-steroids-laced-with-Angel-Dust-and-acid madness, and what better way than with yaogun.
(though, on the Canadian Content front, we rejoice, if reservedly, as Celine Dion and Mark “Da Shan” Roswell will both appear. For those outside of China, Roswell is the most famous Canuck in China, having mastered a traditional comedic style and appearing in commercials, billboards, TV shows and more across China for the better part of the last two decades).
As always, there were a million tunes that didn’t make the cut, because, well, you gotta cut it off somewhere…
To be fair, they asked me, so it’s not like I went fishing for reasons to drop one-billion-click words into this humble blog… When the Asia Society had me up to their NYC headquarters for an on-camera chat, the talk turned to Psy, the Korean mega-star, and his and “Gangnam”‘s implications for yaogun. So I try to yaogunify things.
Video, below the jump.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the WNYC studios, for a chat with Leonard Lopate on his eponymous noontime NPR talkshow. In between authors of books on 17th-Century priest-scientists and the Kennedy family, we talked rock.
As of this writing, there was not yet the chance to stream my segment, but hopefully by clicking here often you will be able to check out what all we talked about.
New York has one more chance to hear from me: At NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute TONIGHT, Dec 11 at 6.30pm when I’ll be screening the excellent yaogunmentary, Rock Heart Beijing.
It’s not often that yaogun tunes get covered. Back a few years, we had yaogunners take on Cui Jian – with mostly not-great results. Don’t get me started on rap-metal act CMCB’s butchery of “Nothing to My Name,” but let’s just say I might well be more partial to Michael Learns To Rock’s version. But I stumbled into a cover worth sharing…