Rock and Roll in China

                                            Rock and Roll in China!

 

When I was a kid I bought a Frigid Pink album from the bargain section of the local record store.  It was called “All Pink Inside”.  I wasn’t familiar with the band, but since I had recently turned twelve and was beginning to pay attention to guy talk, I was aware of the sexual innuendo of the album’s title. That was enough for me to put up the required buck twenty-five and take it home for a spin on the turntable.  Overall, it was an okay album with a few decent tunes, one of which really caught my ear titled “(There Ain’t No) Rock And Roll In China”.

 

The opening lyrics intrigued me: “I heard there ain’t no rock and roll in China, I heard there ain’t no music in the air.”  Why was this I wondered? What was going on over there?  Had it always been this way?  In hindsight I can only assume that since the song was released (and presumably written) in the early 1970s that it was some sort of three-chord reaction to news reports about the ongoing Cultural Revolution.  Purely speculation on my part; to the best of my knowledge Frigid Pink was never a political band, but inspiration comes from all corners to songwriters, including the evening news. 

 

Whatever the origin of the song, it struck me as sad indeed that they had no rock-n-roll in China.  While my friends were feeling guilty that they didn’t finish their dinner after being reminded by their parents about all the “starving children in China who would love to finish that plate”, I was distraught because those malnourished twelve year-olds were being deprived of 1970s Album Oriented Rock.  No KISS, Black Sabbath or Aerosmith.  For the love of all that is holy, they hadn’t even gotten the “Led out”.  I wanted to do something to help.  I started to learn the guitar in the hope that one day I could make my way to the Orient and bring the all-mighty gift of rock-n-roll to the masses.  Unfortunately things like school, no money and being twelve blocked my rockin’ path to the streets of Beijing and Shanghai.

 

Well time has passed and as we all know much has changed in the Far East.  Western music, including rock and roll, is not only prevalent in China it’s very popular.  Guitars and drums are common and millions are groovin’ to jammin’ beats.  Betcha a substantial portion of the population has even gotten the “Led out”.

 

So when the Angry Neighbors and I were chosen to represent American Rock at the 2016 International Folk Arts Festival in Xining and Baoji China I was ecstatic.  First, it was a great honor that the band and I take very seriously.  If there is one thing we know about our home country, it’s this: the U.S. has created the greatest genre of music ever: rock and roll!  It’s as American as baseball, mom and apple pie.  We all grew up loving it and are passionate about playing it.  Don’t worry America, your most treasured export is in good hands with us.  We will represent.  We will rock China’s socks off!  Second, I have admit that I feel a sense of destiny in heading off to China with an electric guitar in my hand.  If only my twelve year-old self could see me now!  I may not be introducing rock and roll to the Chinese people, but I will be playing it loud and proud, as it is meant to be.

 

We’ll be playing at the Qinghai Grand Theatre and several other venues and stages in Xining from August 8th to August 12th and several venues and stages in Baoji from August 15th to August 17th.  If you happen to be in either city, do come out to a show and definitely say hello.

 

Rock like you know you should,

Randy