Back in 2006, I walked into the old Yugong Yishan, across from the workers’ stadium on an off night. I was walking around the old Nanjie and was drawn to the sounds of blistering guitars on what sounded like a cover of AC/DC’s whole lotta rosie.
That was my first encounter with Jaime Welton, one of the better showman to grace music venues in Beijing. At the time, he was singing lead for Dirty Deeds, the Ultimate AC/DC cover band along with another established music icon, Kaiser Kuo [ Read Our 10 questions with Kaiser here]
Nowdays, Jaime is busy with Black Cat Bone and Bad Mamasan, who is getting back together after a bit of a hiatus this friday March 26 at 2 kolegas. I had the chance to catch up with him and see what he’s up to.
1- Whats going on in your world? This is your chance to plug your stuff:
Well, I am still at Wukesong Arena as Technical Director and actually with my new contract there, will have more time and freedom to do more projects with my bands as well as with others. I am currently working towards getting a Bad Mamasan CD out by late Summer…most of the music is already written. Other than that, I will be working on getting a nice tan with my lovely wife, Lulu, as well as getting rid of my Beijing induced beer belly!
2- So, Bad Mamasan… love the name, how did it come about and who’s in the band now?
I was talking with a friend about a movie about a mamasan and he didn’t think the actress that played her was quite right…then out of his mouth came, “I thought she was a bad mamasan.” Bingo! Anyway, the band is now me (Jaime Welton) on guitar and vox, Tobi Demker on bass, and Toby Larsson on drums. I got two Sweedish Tobi’s! hehehehe…why are Swedes so damn good at music anyway? I also have Lee Grimshaw playin the PA…gotta have a good sound guy!
3-You got a show coming up at 2 Kolegas this week. What should we expect? covers? originals?
You can expect originals this time but still heavier on the covers as we are still in the works of performing all the new material. This will be a relaunch of the band with a new drummer who is pro so you can expect a much tighter band this time around with a bit more flash. We have also gotten rid of some of the “lighter metal” that we were doing before so the whole thing is gonna be way more heavy…more toward the Sabbath/maiden feel rather than the Dio or even the AC/DC covers. However, I know people like the AC/DC stuff (I will do that in another show late summer), but we may just throw in a favorite for the drunken oncore that usually happens. The show will be well over an hour as usual. This show will have all the elements you would expect from a Metal band…big amps, lots of smoke, loud as f*ck, and of course lots of headbangin’!
4- You’re also playing in Black Cat Bone, one of my favorite bands in the city. Beyond the fact that one is Blues and the other one Metal, how is playing in both different?
Well, actually the original ingredients of metal are the blues so one could say that metal is actually the blues turned way up but with some major differences. In my opinion, the blues is like jazz in that you have a structure that you can improvise in which allows a lot more freedom to “play around” in…this coupled with the fact that the blues has a relatively easy structure…you can play full on drunk and still get away with it. Metal has way more freedom in its harmonic structure and arrangement which is really refreshing not being so constrained. The only thing is that once you write with that freedom, playing what you wrote has to be tight as possible. Good metal is actually much much harder to play and sing (if you sing it as I do) and requires the concentration and energy to do so. If Blues was wandering in a park daydreaming, then metal is like running the 100 meter dash while doing math. That being said, I love doing both!
5- How do you get ready for a Bad Mamasan show? devil summoning? exorcisms?
Haha, a little of that and then there is a lot of rehearsals, guitar and singing practice, and then running up and down the 5 flights of stairs I need to climb to get to my apartment door for my lung excersise.
6- Word association: write the first word that comes to your mind.
- Beijing: Salty
- Shanghai : Fluff and trustfunds
- Baijiu: liquid speed
- Bon Scott: lost treasure
- Dave Mustaine: poofter
- Kaiser Kuo: Pioneer
- Polka dots: inverted crosses
7- a friend of mine was over last year, hardcore metal fan, and was a bit disappointed at what some people call metal in Beijing. What’s your take on it? It there any good Metal in this city?
There is but there seems to be a lack of interest in playing HEAVY metal..the locals just go for the speed/death thing. Too much speed with no clarity or vocals other than the cookie monster is not heavy to me….just noisy and angry. I like me some stuff like Slayer and such but sitting through a show with 5 or 6 bands that sound like a blur of noise and none look quite threatening does cause some boredom. I think the Voodoo KungFu guys, Suffocated, and Chun Qiu are all damn good though. I have been so busy in the last year though that there may be some others who have popped up that I am not aware of.
8- Seems to me like Beijing’s music scene has exploded over the past few years with veterans and new comers and It’s getting harder to keep track of the bands/shows now; Any particular gems people should be aware of in your opinion? Some bands or singers that pretty darn good but can’t seem to get recognition?
Disappointingly, it seems that every time I do have a chance to go out and hear some music while drinking a bunch of beer, I am totally disappointed by jangly indi-pop shit soaked in effects and out of tune singing…BARF! .some people like that but I am not really into bad musicianship unless it is truly creative. Again, maybe I am just missing the good ones!
9- You look like someone with a decent appetite and we love to eat over here. Any good Beijing Gems you care to share as far as Chinese food goes?
Yeah…xiao chao rou! Basically hot peppers and bacon fried up together! Other than that, my favorite Chinese food is still burritos!
10 – What are you listening to these days?
Sabbath, Zappa, Slayer, Entombed, Soulfly, Voivod, Wes Montgomery, AC/DC, various hard-bop such as the Jazz Messengers, and then some more Slayer!
Thanks to Jaime for taking the time and answering these questions. I still have one more that I’ll have to ask him personally this Friday.. some rumors about whether or not he is Ted Nugent’s long lost younger twin brother…
Catch Bad Mamasan this Friday March 26th at 2 Kolegas! Be aware that for this one show, it’s gonna be one of those long night like you ain’t had in a while!