Some people get a kick out of being weird, while others thrive on their eccentricities. Then there is Australian Richard Magarey, a cross-dressing professional wrestler who sings heavy metal covers of Mando-pop and Canto-pop songs.
Magarey, whose onstage character Ladybeard is known as huxunu (鬍鬚女) in Mandarin, performs at Revolver tonight.
The Australian moved to Hong Kong five years ago to do stunts in kung fu movies. “I’m a professional actor here,” Magarey said in an e-mail interview with the Taipei Times. “I still do movies and TV when they come up, though the majority of my work is doing voices for cartoons.”
Growing up, Magarey was influenced by the sounds and theatrics of nu metal and melodic death metal acts like Slipknot, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Gwar and the Murderdolls.
“My favorite songs have always been metal covers of pop songs, since I really like pop music, especially structurally,” he said. “However I prefer the actual execution of metal, with its power and energy.”
How did he come up with his alter ego?
“All the pieces of Ladybeard kind of came together slowly over time. I’ve wanted to do a theatrical metal project since high school, and various ideas about the stuff I’d like to do onstage had been slowly burning in my brain for 10 years before I actually realized the dream.”
That dream is Cantonese and Mandarin pop songs mixed with hardcore music, which Magarey labels Canto-core and Mando-core.
“When I came to Hong Kong and started learning Cantonese, I got into Canto-pop to help me learn the language,” he said. “I was listening to all these songs thinking ‘Wow, this’d make a great metal song.’ I started the same process again with Mandarin and Mando-pop because I wanted to take the concept around the region.”
WHAT: Ladybeard Taiwan Tour with No Order and The Looking Glass
WHEN and WHERE: Ladybeard, today from 10pm at Revolver, 1-2, Roosevelt Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路一段1-2號), near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall MRT Station (中正紀念堂捷運站) Exit 4
ADMISSION: NT$300 at the door, which includes a drink
ON THE NET: www.ladybeard.com
While living in Australia, Magarey would, for fun, wear women’s clothes out to pubs and concerts. The response was positive.
When he did the same in Hong Kong, he got an even bigger reaction. “The first time I dressed as a girl, people went mental,” Magarey said. “In Oz, craziness isn’t as rare as it is in conservative Hong Kong. They thought I was the funniest and awesomest thing they’d ever seen. That reaction pushed me further into the cross dressing, and the more muscular and hairy I make myself, the funnier the whole thing gets.”
While Magarey would prefer to perform with a band, he says it’s much easier to play prerecorded music. “I couldn’t find band members who would seriously commit to the project, so I decided it’s a one-man gig or it won’t happen,” he said.
Ladybeard’s outlandish mixture of heavy metal music, comedy and wrestling is meant for audiences of all nationalities.
“If people know the songs, they tend to get the joke right away, and quickly get into the comedy,” Magarey said. “People that don’t know the songs still enjoy the show since I do my best to rage as hard as possible every time, and my theatrics are extensive.”