Yaogun 搖滾 is the Chinese term for Rock n Roll. It’s made up of 搖 Yao ( To Shake) and 滾 Gun (to Roll) so the term does make perfect sense! For the longest time, that’s the only way I understood the term and thought of it….
A little over a year ago, I was standing at the 2 Kolegas Bar with a certain Ningxia Bass player, looking at a band onstage when i asked him what he thought of them. He looked at me, ever so slightly inebriated, and snickered:
“It’s good but it’s American Rock n Roll, not Chinese Rock n Roll.” I looked at him, pondering at his answer and fired back in not-so-good chinese: “Rock n Roll is international, it doesn’t have a country” to which he answered in English: “World have Rock n Roll, China have Zhongguo Yaogun” before falling asleep on the couch there.
Took me a while to digest that one!
Fast forward a few months! Second Hand Rose is playing at the starlive to a packed house with 1400 bodies. Halfway through the show, frontman Liang Gong goes into a tirade about music in China and about how Chinese Yaogun is no longer a little child but not yet an full adult but it’s setting itself apart from Rock n Roll.
Well, now, the man that helped put the words “Yao Gun” on the international scene through his articles in pop matters and the like has managed to make good on his threats and FINISHED writing the definite book about the History of Yao Gun:
Red Rock: The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll
Yes ladies and gents, Jon Campbell has done it and finished his book… better than that, the book is available on pre-order at Amazon.com get off your ass and go pre-order it. I was fortunate enough to be given access to an advance preview and I can tell you that it’s all that and more. It’s extensive, pretty much all inclusive with stories and name that are still current as well as others that have long been forgotten, unfairly. Reading through it, I felt i was being taken back to school, Yao Gun school… wanna be my classmate?
Jon is also managing to share some great insights through his blog where he is commenting on relevant news as well as giving readers access to some information that didn’t make it into the book.