Saturday, September 30, 2006

Xiao Rong vocalist/guitarist of Brain Failure

Xiao Rong
vocalist/guitarist of Brain Failure

by Tim Krysko (03.01.06)

You guys spend a lot of time in the US these days. Do you think you will ever move there?
I don't think I really want to do that. It's not my plan to live in America. If there's a lot of shows I can play, I will be satisfied.

Do you get sick of that plane ride and crossing the Pacific ocean all the time?
Well, we all grew up in China, born between 1975 and 1979. When we were kids our parents could only give us a pretty boring holiday, so we are always happy to get on a plane to go somewhere and play our music. Now we're used to it, and we know that every time we get on a plane we're going to do a fucking great tour, and that tour will make us happy and make our band bigger every day. So whatever bad things, like our van getting broken down in the middle of the freeway in America, it doesn't matter because we're having too much fun with our music.

You played some warped tour shows last year, right? How did you find those after doing a bunch of other tours?
At warped tour we just played a small stage, the Hot Topic stage. It wasn't as well organized as the big stage, but it's interesting because it's not a real tour: people aren't coming especially for you. They're coming to see many bands, and the bigger bands get to play on the main stage. So we just play as good as we can and hand out lots of flyers to the people watching our set. For the regular tour, we always hook up with another bigger band. They have the banner and everyone is coming to see their show, and at the same time all these people are open-minded to see us and another opening band.

When you go back to Beijing do you play a lot of shows there and tour around China?
In October after we toured with the Street Dogs we went back to China and did a whole China tour. We did the China tour a couple times and last time was very good. It was probably twelve shows - there was three cities where there was some problem with the club, but we had fun anyway - and the other twelve shows were all sold out, around 200-300 people.

You still haven't had any luck helping your friends in US bands make it to China?
It's hard to hook up a big band in China. It's easier to bring a band that's not famous. The smaller bands are easier because we just tour with our guitars. We never bring other instruments; we play in a club and use whatever instruments that club has. It's hard to tell a bigger band to come to tour and just bring a guitar. No drums, no speakers...

Do you tour by van?
No, we have to buy train tickets. It's kind of tough but we're used to it by now. Actually there's some news right now, a metal band in China is planning their first van tour. But it's tough, because China's roads weren't built that well like in North America. And the rock and roll scene and the punk rock is small compared to huge China, so we have to just play shows in the big cities, and the drive between can be six hours, twelve hours, or even eighteen hours.

You must have a lot of fun touring the US then. Is it getting better each tour?
Yeah, now we have a lot of fun in the US, so we're doing more tours, because the band is getting better and we're getting bigger fans. People who come to our shows like it, and are coming back, so we're going to keep doing it. I think we're doing pretty good. And we just did a new recording with Ken Casey. Yesterday was the last day of the recording, and Dicky Barrett showed up, because he's good friends with Ken Casey, and he did one verse on "Welcome to Beijing".

Is that one of your new songs?
We're doing two old songs - "Welcome to Beijing" and "Living in the City" - because Ken Kesey really likes those two songs. They're our classic songs, and when we play them in China people go crazy. In total we did six songs: "Welcome to Beijing", "Living in the City", "You're Gonna Die" - maybe you know that one too. We rewrote that song and Ken Casey loved it. We did a slow reggae song called "Fall in Love 2008" - about the Olympic games in Beijing in 2008. Also a new song called "Time to Go", a hardcore song we already started to play at our shows. And one song called "City Junk", and one Sublime cover.

Are you having an easier time writing lyrics in English now?
Yeah, I'm making little steps but I still have a long way to go. Ken Kesey has taught me a lot of things, but my English could still be a lot better.

Do you still do some writing in Chinese?
Yeah, the reggae song is in Chinese. I like to do songs in both Chinese and English so a lot of people can understand in China and America.

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