Feiwu existed from 1997 to 2001 and gigged around at Roxy Vibe, Witches Pub, Spring Scream and “alternative venues like department stores, parties, universities, and once under a highway overpass near the Grand Hotel,” recalls vocalist Ian Lamont (藍醫恩).
Lamont, bass player Bob Hsiung (熊天焱) and guitarist Andrew Watson all moved back to the US about a decade ago, but will fly back for this show. They will be joined by drummer Steve Tsai (蔡承宇) and guitarist Jojoe Huang (黃俊喬).
A quick side note: in the 90s, Lamont’s day job was weekend editor at the China News, and he published my first ever newspaper article. We have recently been trading emails reminiscing about that distant decade. One of the first things I asked about was the Taiwan Beer Song (我愛台灣啤酒), their most famous tune and one still covered today. It dates to 1997.
“I wrote the music and Mandarin lyrics one night, sipping brew from a blue and white can,” writes Lamont.
“I brought it to the other guys for the next practice and they picked it right up, and added some nice touches. The influences, besides the beer? I was really interested in the nakashi music you’d hear in local stores and restaurants, taxis and other places. At the same time, some of the other underground acts around us like LTK and Clippers used Taiwanese or Taiwan themes in their music, which was a very sharp contrast to mainstream Mandopop that dominated the music industry. I can’t speak Taiwanese, but I could write a simple nakashi-influenced guitar melody and sing in Mandarin about something that was very characteristic of Taiwan — the local beer! I was also heavily influenced by punk and hard rock. I think you can hear that hard edge in the loud part and gang chorus.”
In something of a historical irony, Taiwan Beer will sponsor Feiwu’s show at Legacy. “It’s actually the first time in 15 years that Taiwan Beer has done something like this,” writes Lamont. “Until now, we didn’t know for sure if anyone at the brewery was even aware of the song.”
■ Feiwu at 8pm, Feb 17 at Legacy, 1 Bade Rd, Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段一號). Tickets are $600, or $500 in advance. On the Net: www.legacy.com.tw.