“We wanted to start a band with a double guitar sound like the Strokes or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club,” said Yu. And that worked as a starter, but then things went in a slightly different direction. To fill the lead singer’s role, Yu asked his boss at the Cat’s Pajamas hostel, Bix Song (宋正一), an androgynous scenester who has been hanging around both rock shows and alternative dance parties for years. Bix starts telling me that for singers, he likes Christina Aguilera and blues legend Etta James, before he remembers he is supposed to be fronting a rock band and ditches the line of gay-crush divas. He moderates with Patty Smith, then finally reiterates a common interest in Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. But as a frontman, he knows how to make a show of himself and fills the slot well, even though in many ways he is still learning to sing.
“With me, we become like ’90s gay rock,” jokes Bix. “We are four and a half men.” For their homemade black-and-white publicity photo, the group stands rather woodenly, with each band member reaching towards the crotches of the guys beside him.
It’s a bit of sophomoric horseplay. Refreshingly, sexuality is a non-issue in Formosa Romance, and Yu says they didn’t even really bother to try to understand Bix’s English song lyrics until they were in the studio recording the album. Mostly, they are just five guys who want to play rock, and they are doing it simply because that is what they want to do.
“No band in Taiwan has a future,” says Yu.
“We hope we have a future, but I can’t see any for now. So we are just playing one day at a time.”
■ Formosa Romance album release with The White Eyes (白目), Forests (森林合唱樂團) and Tut tomorrow at 7:30pm at The Wall, (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Tickets are NT$350 in advance, or NT$450 at the door.
■ On Saturday, Sept. 14, at 9:30pm, Formosa Romance will play at Bobwundaye, 77 Hoping E Rd Sec 3 (台北市和平東路三段77號). Ticket prices to be announced.
■ On Thursday, Sept. 19, Formosa Romance will be at the Ximen Red House. The show starts at 4:30pm. Free entry.
■ On Friday, Sept. 27 at 10pm, Formosa Romance will be at Revolver, 1-2, Roosevelt Rd Sec 1, (台北市羅斯福路一段1-2號). Ticket prices to be announced.