Not all drummers are created equal and most of them are fairly anonymous, quite happy to stay back and keep the beat going. Mao Mao 毛毛is not one of those!!!
I’ve been enjoying this character’s drumming through the years in Beijing and think he’s one of the better rock drummers in town, second only to maybe Diao Lei of ChunQiu/Honeygun. Ahead of The Amazing Insurance Salesmen’s departure to Hong Kong, I caught up with Mao Mao to ask him a few questions and learn more about him!
1- Who is Mao Mao and what’s going on in your world? this is your chance to plug your stuff
My name is Mao Mao, i’m from Henan, i’m a drummer. From the first day i heard music, it’s been a complete part of my life, to me, it’s has natural as breathing. These days i’ve been doing more of the music i want.
2- How did you get started with drums and who’s your favorite drummer?
I forgot when i started to learn the drums, it was a long time ago. I like many drummers like Jojo Mayers……..D……too many !
3- Earlier this year, you left Free The Birds to focus on The Amazing Insurance Salesmen. What motivated that decision?
Don’t ask this question again ! ha ha.
4- AIS is Beijing Champions… did you think it would happen?
We are Beijing champions ! We’re so happy and very honored that people like our music, we also hope to have represented everybody’s will.
5- myself and a few people have called you “Beijing’s Drummer Whore” as a joke because you were playing with so many bands before ( AIS, ZIYO, Voodoo Kungfu etc..) Who are you playing with these days?
A whore ! Aha ! No really, i have liked to play with all the bands i played with, it allowed me to play all kinds of different styles.
This year i have two steady bands, and i sometimes play with 2 to 4 other bands. From last year to this year i have been collaborating with Voodoo Kungfu, and recorded Chinese drums on their album “Chinese folk music“, it was the first time for me to record Chinese drums, and other Chinese percussions. In one word, it was amazing !!
6- A lot of people don’t know that you’re also a Tattoo artist. How is that working out and how can people get a Mao Mao tattoo?
Tattoos are one of my passions. I do tattoos because i met a very important person for me in my life, Master Long Xiu Tang — Xiao Long (龙秀堂–小龙老师), who taught me a lot. Most people i do tattoos for are friends of friends of friends, sometimes also people i don’t know. To get one of my tattoos you have to like my style. If you don’t like my style, i can introduce you to other people, and you can keep on choosing.
7- Word Association. For each one of these words, write the first thing that comes to your mind:
* Beijing: Not bad
* Shanghai: Do you need an English name ?
* La Zi Ji: Whores from Chongqing
* Cui Jian: I met him in a former life
* Metal: I listen to a lot of it lately
* Helen Feng: Talented, high.
* Mao Mao: Haha ! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah !
8- You’re a veteran of the Beijing music scene in many ways having gone through different bands, record deals, underground etc.. How do you see the scene growing? are things looking better or is it the same shit as before?
I think the music scene will get better, it will become more and more international, but it will need time.
9- People are talking about Generation 6 bands, Generation 7 etc… any of them actually catch your attention as doing something interesting musically?
I’m not a music critic, i can’t really answer… i just hope it will be more and more good musicians coming out, and more and more good music.
10- You might be skinny but you gotta eat lots to keep up that drumming energy. What’s your favorite restaurant in Beijing?
It’s not a problem to be skinny, you just have to use your passion to drum. I eat the same as anybody else, if it tastes good, i want some. There’s a vegetable i really hate, where i come from, it’s called “Yan Sui”, it smells like rotten worms.
A good restaurant is a place where people cook with their hearts, but these kind of places are expensive…
Invite 1000 very good cooks, from all countries of the world, let me eat from them for one year, every day, and i’ll tell you what i like, but it has to be on an island…sorry i can’t stop dreaming.
You can also treat me to a meal at Hilton, and we’ll drink zhou (Chinese porridge)! haha!
Thanks to Mao Mao for taking the time to answer the questions.. Big ups to Jean Sebastian for assisting with translations. Mao Mao is tons of fun and you guys should grab a beer and chat with him next time you cross pats.. talk about la zi ji