Layabozi

嘎调 The Gar

01-TheGar-April2013-Layabozi

 This is article is the awesome entry of Layabozi into what we hope is a new season for this pink zine. Here we debut our official flow of Chinese and English featured articles. This one, the first of them, was written after the last show of The Gar in Shanghai last year. We release it now, short before their next appearance in YuyinTang this Saturday. And so we rock.

这篇文章是了解“辣鸭脖子”的最佳入门,也是这本粉红杂志的新一季指路灯。我们将在其中发表各种中文和英文的全新精选文章。这里的第一篇文章撰写于去年“嘎调”在上海的最后一次演出之后。现在,这支乐队即将于周六在育音堂再次登场,我们也借此发布这篇文章,让我们再次感受摇滚。

 

 

十月初,一个的兴奋和帅气的摇滚评论家踏上了育音堂的台阶,准备面见一个来自北京、近两年从未在上海表演过的乐队。那是The Rabbit’s Foot小型音乐节的第一个夜晚,一个曾经引以为傲的庞然大物遇到了可怕的错误。有疑问的乐队在调教一个新的贝斯手,他也是所有心爱的北京乐队中的全明星。他们还带着一张全新的EP,也是努力了三年的第一张专辑。

尽管出现了一些令人不安的传言,说摇滚评论家会轻视乐队,但他对当晚有希望大放异彩的乐队充满信心,甚至带了一位摄影师随行记录。

接下来事情的走向……令人惊讶。

但惊喜不再眷顾这支乐队。

有问题的乐队是嘎调(嘎调乐队),一支三人组合,在2009年和发行他们的首张同名专辑并在中国各地发动了一系列疯狂表演后崭露头角。詹盼(吉他手和主唱)、文杰(贝斯手)和王旭(鼓手)参与巡演,在Carsick Cars的帮助下在地下摇滚圈中文明,尤其是歌曲“圈”的力量,意思是等同于CSC的“中南海”意义。

然而,他们的创始成员之一文杰在这段时间受了刑狱。虽然这是一个众所周知的事实,这没有人喜欢谈论。当我去年春天采访ZO时,刺猬(刺猬乐队)的吉他表现得好像是我 应该知道,所以我也没有写出来。即使在采访嘎调(嘎调乐队)时,这也是一个禁忌话题,所以出于尊重我并没有深挖文杰刑狱的原因。我只想说,他的离开对乐队带来了深远的影响,但是他们熬过来了。

“我们从生活中经历了很大的打击,对这样的事情很感触。我们只是觉得‘靠!我们完了!’。但在试了很多方法,并在很多朋友的帮助下,情况逐渐好转。

ZO为他们担任了一段时间的贝斯手,但当朱博轩,也是刺猬原来的贝司手到来时,才真正开始了关键的转折。他包揽了一些事务,包括嘎调(嘎调乐队)的职位空缺,从而完善了整支乐队。

他们在工作室待了五个月,制作出了EP  灯火。这是一个相当著名的专辑,而且自最后一次专辑问世以来,一个比较成熟的作品。歌曲或轻或重地谈论着失去的青春和爱情。他们讴歌运动和变化,以及失去和绝望。这一切最终形成歌曲“六月”。人们不禁要问,他们是在谈论植物和树木成长的月份,还是中国25年前乐队成员都那么年幼时,中国人民所承受的巨大压力所带来的悲伤。无论如何,这些都是城市的故事,来自于生活在城市里的人,这些人又经历了一系列情感波折。这支乐队已经将这些故事融合在非常可口的歌曲中,以及詹盼强有力的吉他声和敏感的生硬中;朱博轩灵巧的贝斯声;和王旭稳定的鼓点声。

一切似乎都已就绪。他们制作了新专辑、开展了巡演,但随后博轩开始咳嗽……

巡演让贝斯手的生活变得很艰难。不久后,他被确诊为罕见的肺结核病,或者至少是恶性肺炎(名称不同)。从此他卧床不起,即使在他硬挺地在十一假期参加完上海Rabbit’s Foot巡回演出后。

所以这就是为什么勇敢的记者,以及其他许多歌迷在那个夜晚感到失望的原因。这一灾难被詹盼的声音和王旭的帮助下有所好转。这对吉他手来说不是一个简单的经验。

“表演当天我真的很紧张。乐队不能演奏,我当时就在现场。我失眠了整整一个夜晚,直到排练的第二天才有感觉。我要感谢育音堂的老板借给我吉他和和声。他们真的帮了我。”

我们这些人留下来看独奏的人们看到了詹盼的天赋。他的表现力非常惊人,音域广泛发挥出色。他将一个灾难变成了一个示范,一个不会很快被人遗忘的演出者。他演奏了大部分EP歌曲,以及一些老歌,一直到表演到深夜。

希望嘎调(嘎调乐队)将保持目前的阵容,并且他们将能够实现从詹盼在那个秋天夜晚从指间和舌尖流露出来的潜力。但是,可以肯定的是,这支乐队能够带来无懈可击的惊喜。那种来自于抗争的力量和只有上帝才知道嘎调(嘎调乐队)生命力。

不要觉得对不起这些幸存者。他们比任何人都更乐观。他们会回来的。只需要问王旭。

“一切都会好起来的。我可以告诉你一个秘密,文杰马上就要回归了。将来我们会增添一位吉他手。我很看好嘎调(嘎调乐队)的未来音乐之路。”

凭借着一张很棒的EP、一位即将重聚的老朋友(文杰在最近的背景表演中短暂地表演了一次口琴)和一个正在家中静养并已经好转的顶级贝斯手,怎能不期待嘎调的未来?

05-TheGar-April2013-Layabozi

In early October, an excited and dashingly handsome rock critic ascended the steps of Yuyintang, ready to see a band from Beijing that hadn’t played Shanghai in nearly two years. It was the first night of The Rabbit’s Foot mini-festival, a remnant of a once proud behemoth gone horribly wrong. The band in question was toting a new bassist, an all star who played in some of the most beloved Beijing bands of all time. They also came with a brilliant new EP in tow, which was their first recorded effort in three years.

Despite some disturbing rumors that the rock critic chose to blithely ignore, he felt hopeful for a great performance from the band that evening. He even brought along a photographer to document the experience.

What happened next was…a surprise.

But surprises aren’t very surprising for this band anymore.

The band in question is The Gar, a three-piece who came to prominence after releasing their self-titled debut in 2009 and unleashing a series of frenetic performances around China. Zhan Pan (guitar and vocals), Wen Jie (bass), and Wang Xu (drums) toured with label mates Carsick Cars and made a name for themselves in the underground rock scene, especially on the strength of their song “圈” which is on par with CSC’s “中南海” in terms of significance.

However, one of their founding members, Wen Jie, went to prison around this time. Although this is a well-known fact, it is something no one likes to talk about. When I interviewed ZO, Hedgehog’s guitarist, last spring, he acted as though it was something I shouldn’t know, so I didn’t press the issue. Even in interviews with The Gar, it is a guarded subject, so out of respect I have not really dug to the root of Wen Jie’s detainment. Suffice it to say that his absence affected the band profoundly, but they muddled through.

“We experienced a great blow from life and were so emotional about it. We just thought ‘Fuck! We’re finished!’ After searching out a lot of ways, and with the help of a lot of friends, the situation gradually improved,” says Zhan Pan.

ZO played bass with them for a while, but the key development came when Zhu Bo Xuan, Hedgehog’s original bassist, left the group. He took on a number of projects, including The Gar’s vacancy, and made the band whole again. They were in the studio for five months recording and emerged with the EP City of Burning Identities. It is quite a remarkable recording and is, inevitably, a more mature offering since their last. The songs speak both gently and forcefully about youth and love lost.

They warble on about movement and change, as well as loss and despair. It all culminates in the song called “六月” or “June”. One wonders if they are talking about the month of the year when the flowering of plants and trees occurs or the month when so much sadness was heaped upon Chinese shoulders almost 25 years ago, when the band members were young kids. At any rate, these are the stories of the city, from people who live in the city, who experience a range of emotions. The band has channeled these disparate stories into a sonic omelet that is extremely palatable, all the more so for Zhan Pan’s potent guitar and sensitive vocal work, Zhu Bo Xuan’s dexterous bass lines, and Wang Xu’s steadying influence on the drum kit.

Everything seemed to be looking up for the bedraggled band. They had a great new record, they were touring again, but then Bo Xuan began to cough…

A hard-touring life caught up with the bassist and it was soon found out that he had contracted the now-rare disease tuberculosis or, at least, a bad case of pneumonia (translations differ) and he was bed-ridden, even after he had traveled down to Shanghai for the Rabbit’s Foot show during October holiday.

So that’s why the intrepid reporter, along with many other fans, was disappointed on that night, but the disaster was salvaged by an acoustic performance by Zhan Pan mainly, with some help from Wang Xu. It was not an easy experience for the guitarist.

“On the day of the show I was really nervous. The band could not play and I was on the spot. I didn’t sleep the whole night before and didn’t feel right until rehearsal the next day. I want to thank Yuyintang’s boss for loaning me the guitar, as well as the sound guys. They really helped me out.”

Those of us who stayed to see the practically solo performance found out the scope of Zhan Pan’s talent. His performance was amazing, highlighted by the power and range of his voice. He turned a disaster into a demonstration, one that will not soon be forgotten by those in attendance. He played most of the songs from the EP, as well as some old favorites, and glided off into the night.

Hopefully, The Gar’s current lineup will be stable and they will be able to realize the potential that flowed from Zhan Pan’s fingers and mouth that fall evening. However, it is certain that the band is resilient, invulnerable to surprises. That kind of strength only comes from struggle and lord knows The Gar has had their share.

Don’t feel sorry for these survivors, though. They are more optimistic than anyone. They will be back. Just ask Wang Xu.

“It’s getting better and better now. I can tell you a secret that (Wen Jie) is about to return. In the future we will add a guitarist. I’m looking forward to The Gar’s future music.”

So with a great EP in the can, a reunion with an old friend to add to the sound mélee in sight (Wen Jie played harmonica with them briefly at a recent Beijing show), and a top-flight bassist at home and on the mend — aren’t we all looking forward to The Gar’s future?

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