All posts by Jon

Heimlich County Gun Club CD Release on March 22

If you haven’t heard the name Paul Bricky before, then that’s on you.

A Korean-American army brat, Paul has been part of the Korean music scene since the ’90s. He once ran away from his home on Yongsan Garrison and lived in Skunk Hell in their original location closer to Sinchon. He played guitar in Rux for a while, and played drums in Beef Jarkey, the original band of Kingston Rudieska vocalist Suk-yul. After leaving for a couple years, he returned to Korea in 2005 and joined Suck Stuff, leading them through a period of great songwriting and taking them in new directions never before explored by Korean punk. Then, right as Suck Stuff was building momentum, right after getting signed to Dope Entertainment, he married his girlfriend Yumi, enlisted in the US Army and left Korea in 2007.

hcgc_playground

Heimlich County Gun Club at the Play Out Festival in Hongdae Playground last year.

“I don’t think anyone joins for any single reason,” Paul told me in a recent interview. “For me the overiding impetitus was simply that I was a reasonably healthy and fit young man and my country was at war. I wanted to be a medic; I wouldn’t have done anything else.”

Five years passed, he survived basic training and served as an army medic in Iraq. Then in 2012 he was transferred back to Korea (assignment of choice!) where he found the scene had changed drastically.

Paul and Yumi in 2012 after returning to Korea.

Paul and Yumi in 2012 after returning to Korea.

“The Korean scene as a whole has largely left me behind,” he says. “The old friends that I counted as brothers don’t return the respect they demanded and received when I was younger. The younger people in the scene are unaware or uninterested in the contributions that I have made. Watching your influence fade is a very tough pill to swallow.”

suckstuff_jonghee

Paul did a reunion show with Suck Stuff which also saw his former bandmate Jonghee from Rux on stage.

After a reunion show with Suck Stuff and a few acoustic gigs, he started Heimlich County Gun Club, and his wife joined Chanter’s Alley. “For a while I had made up my mind not to start a band,” he says. ” As a foreigner band it’s difficult not to be a gimmick or a clown within the Korean scene or you focus on playing to the foreigner crowd which is often more interested in socializing and getting drunk rather than listening to live music. But I caved.”

Heimlich County Gun Club in Mullae.

Heimlich County Gun Club in Mullae.

Perhaps soaking up some country influence from his time in the army and life in Mississippi, HCGC has a definitive country sound to it. What’s more, it showcases Paul’s outstanding talent for songwriting, rendering real-life experiences in straightforward lyrics.

“I write tons and tons of songs,” Paul says. “I am in the low hundreds when it comes to songs that I have written. Some of these were just a few phrases that I liked, sounded semi-poetic or made an interesting statement effectively. I didn’t do as much writing as usual in the States. I was usually busy fishing, hunting, or working in my garden or yard. Some definitely were written in Iraq or at least I got the ideas in Iraq but for this album lyrical-wise I would say that about 60% of it was written shortly after I got here.”

The songs on HCGC’s new album, Stars and Streetlights, range from nostalgia about the old days in Hongdae, to his time spent in the US, to his experiences at war in Iraq. No matter what he’s singing, you can tell it’s about something that he has personally lived through.

“You know something, I find it nearly impossible to write about something that I haven’t personally experienced,” Paul explains. “I take songwriting very seriously and it is difficult for me to really insert myself into something so light and produce a well-written piece. I have been trying to write a song, just like a joke sort of, about Strelka and Belka, the first Soviet space dogs to return to Earth. I just thought that it would be fun to try and I can’t seem to make it work. At the same time I haven’t been able to write a song for my dog Sukie who died earlier this year. The song ‘Peace and Plenty’ draws some influence from the relationship that I had with my father who also died earlier this year.”

Paul's dad managed to see Paul on stage in 2007.

Paul’s dad managed to see Paul on stage in 2007.

Paul was originally supposed to only stay in Korea for a year, but that ended up becoming two. Next month, his time in Korea comes to an end and he’s moving to Oregon.

“If I had any say in the matter I would not have come back to Korea,” says Paul. “One thing that I envy about most people that I know is that they have a hometown. I want to put down roots someplace and Korea is not that place.”hcgc_poster

You can pick up a copy of the new CD at his Saturday show in Club Spot, where HCGC will share the stage with eight other bands from the Korean scene. The 15 000 won cover price includes a free CD and a raffle ticket for a chance to win one of Paul’s own homemade cigar-box guitars.

“It’s well time for me to bow out and yield the stage to the newer groups and for me to carry on to different grounds,” says Paul.

RSVP for the show on Facebook or preview the album on Bandcamp.

Dr Ring Ding did an impromptu performance at the one-year anniversary celebration of Jamaican jerked chicken restaurant Zion Boat in Hongdae.

Korea + Germany = Jamaica?

From left: Seok-yul (Kingston Rudieska vocalist), Jeongseok (Kingston Rudieska trumpeter), Dr Ring Ding, Tehiun (Tehiun & Purijah guitarist/vocalist

From left: Seok-yul (Kingston Rudieska vocalist), Jeongseok (Kingston Rudieska trumpeter), Dr Ring Ding (Germany), Tehiun (Tehiun & Purijah guitarist/vocalist

It’s still too rare that Korea’s indie bands connect with the outside world. Which is why it was so great last summer when German dancehall/ska/reggae juggernaut  Dr Ring Ding for the Jisan Rock Festival, where his band Dr Ring Ding Skavaganza shared the stage with Korea’s own Kingston Rudieska and Japanese ska band Doberman.

“Dr Ring Ding, along with the Skatalites, has been my favourite for more than ten years and still one of the musicians who influenced me,” says Oh Jeongseok, Kingston Rudieska’s trumpeter. “Ever since I first loved ska I’ve loved his music, so I never expected to meet him for a performance and make an album together.”

“I had heard of Kingston Rudieska before,” says Dr Ring Ding. “Joep van Rhijn [former Kingston Kitchen bandmate, from Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation, now located in Daegu] gave me their CD and I was amazed. It’s wonderful how they play. I really love it.”

Dr Ring Ding did an impromptu performance at the one-year anniversary celebration of Jamaican jerked chicken restaurant Zion Boat in Hongdae.

Dr Ring Ding did an impromptu performance at the one-year anniversary celebration of Jamaican jerked chicken restaurant Zion Boat in Hongdae.

Before returning to Germany, Dr Ring Ding spent a day in the recording studio with Kingston Rudieska. “I think Jeongseok said while I’m here we might as well record something,” says Dr Ring Ding, who is not  a real doctor. “While the others [in Skavaganza] were sightseeing, we went to the rehearsal studio and rehearsed.”

“Because of our busy schedules, the album was recorded in one day,” says Jeongseok. “Before recording Dr Ring Ding and we had a few hours of rehearsal and decided what we should play.”

What started as a one-song recording quickly turned into a four-song EP, and with an additional dub put together by the good doctor, they produced Ska ‘n Seoul, the first ever Korean/German ska collaboration.

With four songs and an additional dub track, this EP represents Kingston Rudieska at the top of their game, and you can tell they’re having the time of their lives with Dr Ring Ding as he shows off his vocal prowess. The album includes a cover of “Johnny Come Home” by the Fine Young Cannibals as well as a climactic rendition of the classic spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” with Dr Ring Ding playing the role of the preacher and Kingston Rudieska as his flock. There are also two originals, with Dr Ring Ding taking center stage on “Your Sweet Kiss” and sharing the mic with Kingston lead vocalist Seok-yul on the sugary bilingual tune “Bad Company,” a reworking of an old Dr Ring Ding recording.

drrdkrsThat album comes out this week. Dr Ring Ding is back in Korea to promote the album, and if you missed his impromptu performance in Zion Boat last Saturday (pictured at the top of this article), don’t miss him this Saturday at a joint concert in Sangsang Madang. “Dr Ring Ding will play many classic songs and play together with Kingston Rudieska,” says Jeongseok. “It will be a great one-of-a-kind performance.”

For his second time in Korea, Dr Ring Ding has left his regular band at home, instead opting to fly solo and have Kingston Rudieska as his backing band.

“In the reggae/dancehall world that’s a common thing to do,” says Dr Ring Ding, who has previously done a similar thing with bands all over the world. “If you see the old Reggae Sunsplash concerts there are backing bands for eight or twelve solo artists. So that’s easy of course. One person has to travel and meets with a band that knows exactly what they’re doing and what the solo artist is going to do.”

This visit also takes Dr Ring Ding and Kingston Rudieska on a press junket through Korean radio and TV, as well as this humble website. Their album will be released on Kingston Rudieska’s label Rudie System, and will also get international distribution.

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This Korean/German ska collaboration is a historic first for Korea as the country begins to find its musical voice on the global stage, and is sure to win over anyone who hears it.

Bands: Dr Ring Ding, Kingston Rudieska, Rude Paper
Venue: Sangsang Madang
Date: Saturday, 15 March
Start time: 6pm
Advance tickets: 35,000 won
At the door: 40,000won

RSVP on Facebook or buy tickets through Interpark.

2013 Korea/Japan Punk Festival at Prism Nov 16

Historically Korea and Japan have gotten along about as well as vinegar and baking soda. That can’t be said for the punk scenes of the two countries, which have been best of friends as far back as anyone can remember.
Poster for the 2013 Korea Japan Punk Festival
The longest-running bilateral punk collaboration would have to be the Korea/Japan Punk Festival, first held nine years ago on June 26, 2003 in legendary Hongdae punk club Skunk Hell, with nine of Korea’s best punk bands and seven bands from Japan. The following year, it was held in Anti-Knock in Tokyo.

Since then, it has been held almost every year, with the Korean shows moving to Club Spot after Skunk Hell’s closure. This year the festival is moving to the much larger and better-lit Prism Hall over by Hotel the Designers for its fifth time being held in Korea (ninth overall).

koreajapanoifest2004This year’s show brings a diverse selection of 17 great Korean bands, both young and old, together with five Japanese bands. One highlight should be the Discocks, a legendary Japanese band formed in 1992 that directly inspired the infamous Korean band Couch and Seoul’s pogo-punk scene of the mid-2000s. We’ll also get to see the Erections and 00squad, both who played the Japan/Korea Punk Festival last year. We’ll also get to see Osaka pogo band Beer Belly (who are promoted for this show as Bearbelly) and the Foolishness.

koreajapanpunkfest2011Some of the Korean highlights will be Korea/Japan Festival veterans Rux, Skasucks, and Daejeon’s Burning Hepburn, as well as  talented newcomers the Veggers and Dead Buttons, and new bands with veteran Korean punks 100 Blossom Club (with members of Spiky Brats, Cockrasher, Dirty Small Town, and the Patients) and Heimlich County Gun Club (featuring Paul Brickly, former guitarist of Rux and Suck Stuff).

Previously, the festival was known under the name Korea/Japan Oi! Fest, then Korea/Japan Oi/Punk Fest. The festival was first organised in Korea by Won Jonghee (lead vocalist of Rux and manager of Skunk Hell and Skunk Label) and Shin Hyeon-beom (Couch vocalist/guitarist). This year’s festival is being managed by Ryu Jin-seok (lead vocalist of Skasucks).
koreajapanpunkfest2012The Korea/Japan Punk Fests always make for great shows, as all the bands and their supporters always put on a big show for their Japanese guests, and the Japanese bands in turn always put on great performances. International friendships are made and the wheels are set in motion for future Korea/Japan punk collaborations, and you’ll never hear as much English spoken at a Korean punk show, as everyone falls to the common language for communication.

This show starts early at 2 pm because there are more than 20 bands to get to, but expect things to move fast as the bands whip through shortened versions of their sets to make time for everyone else.

Click here to  RSVP or find out how to book tickets in advance.

Seoul gets Headbutted

This weekend, Daegu punk band Mr. Headbutt (박치기 씨) finishes up their “world tour” across Korea, having bounced back and forth between interior cities Daejeon and Daegu before wrapping the tour in Seoul.

They’re pimping their new CD “Netizens Must Die!” and also delivering a long-overdue message advocating the death of everybody on the Internet. Described as “basic, unpretentious, non-cerebral but immensely enjoyable punk music” in Broke in Korea issue 15, the album will be on sale at Horus Garage in Daegu on Friday and Powwow in Seoul on Saturday. Joining them will be Giant Bear, the Veggers, and Skasucks for a fun night of Winter Solstice punk rock.

Although the members of the band hail from all over the English-speaking world, they apparently are from the future. As they say… “In 2751 Frognark 5 (formerly known as Earth) is a barren wasteland of multi-colored sugar skulls and delicious breakfast cereals. Where did it all go so wrong? The survivors knew that the answer was 2011, when Mr. Headbutt met and began making music. We come from the future to save all of humanity from destruction at the hands of history’s most horrible enemy….US!!!!”

Wait a second, did I read that right? Or did they just caps lock “us”?

Click to RSVP. For an online preview of “Netizens Must Die!” turn off your irony detector and click here.

Punk Rock Toy Drive

As Hongdae braces for the annual flood of Multiple Santas (my favourite Tick villain), the punk community escapes down to Mullae-dong for a yuletide charity show at Moon.

In classic punk style they kept the door price a low 5000 won for five bands–and you can get free admission if you bring a gift for the orphanage–toys, stationery/art supplies, and books will all be accepted. All donations and profits go to the Sangrok Orphanage.

This will be the debut show of Heimlich County Gun Club, the new band of Paul Bricky, who is also organising the show. You might remember him as the half-Korean guitarist of Suck Stuff, back when they were really good. Now you can get a chance to hear what kind of music he’s come up with in the five years since then.

Rounding out the bill are hardcore bands Mixed Blood and Assassination Squad, and garage punk bands Dead Buttons and the Veggers.

This will show will also mark the release of Broke in Korea 15, Korea’s longest-running underground zine. Pick it up for interviews with Veggers, Mixed Blood, the Essence, Animal Anthem, Yuppie Killers, No Excuse, and Noeazy, as well as information about avoiding cults in Korea, advice for putting on your own concert, a special offer for a free tattoo, and more.

Thee Oops come to Korea

How many chances do you get to see a hardcore punk band from Italy? Unless you’re actually from there, you might be in luck this weekend.

Sardinian band The Oops is currently in Asia for a China-Korea-Japan tour, and already they’ve hit Daejeon and Jeonju earlier this week. They’re touring to promote their newest release, a double-7″ EP (for some reason). But don’t worry, because it’s also available on CD.

This weekend, they’ll play two nights in Seoul and one in Busan. For fans of ’80s style hardcore punk, check out this Italian band at any of their next three gigs:

-Friday at Powwow
-Saturday at Club Spot
-Sunday at Vinyl Underground (Busan)

Joined by a who’s who of Korea’s underground music scene, you can expect a weekend of great shows all across the peninsula.

For an amusing interview with Thee Oops, head over to Chincha, where they talk about hairy women and creating a master race of Asian-Sardinians.

Denmark ska band Babylove and the van Dangos

Click the poster to RSVP on Facebook

It’s not often that we get a visiting ska band from overseas. Usually saddled with too many members to make the flight affordably, it’s just not cost-effective to bring an eight-piece band here.

Babylove and the van Dangos, on the other hand, paid their way to Korea out of their own pockets, and got themselves on the bills of three Korean jazz festivals. Last weekend was Ulsan World Music Festival and Bukhansan Jazz Festival, and next weekend is Jarasum International Jazz Festival. They’re also playing a show on Wednesday, October 10 at Yongin Art Hall, organised by Jarasum International Jazz Festival.

But they’re a ska band, and they didn’t come here just to play jazz shows. Barely a week before getting on a plane for Korea, they began searching for a ska promoter in Korea to help out.

“One of the things we love the most about touring is playing for people with the same love for Jamaican music like we have,” says Daniel Broman of BvD. “We’ve played for ska fans from the four corners of the world and time and time again we see how the music brings people together. Jamaican music played by a Danish band for an Asian audience.”

They arranged to have a last-minute show put on at Club Ta on one of their few days off, this Thursday, October 11. Joining them will be Korean ska kingpins Kingston Rudieska, as well as funk/reggae outfit Funkafric Boosdah, Ugandan reggae singer Josh Roy, mod rockers The Essence, and DJ Smiley to keep the music going between bands.

It’s been seven years since their last tour to Asia (Japan), and they’re excited to be in Korea. This is a high point in the band’s career, with their latest album, “Let it Come, let it Go” on German label Pork Pie Records, receiving rave reviews. Also, three of the band members have recently become fathers in the last few months.

If you’re up for an explosive ska show this Thursday, stop by Club Ta.

Lose a finger in Mullae-dong

This weekend marks several milestone events at Lowrise in Mullae-dong, a machine district that is slowly being overcome by art galleries and concert halls. This show offers a special discount for anyone missing fingers, with entry priced at 1000 won per finger.

The show will see the debut of Mixed Blood, a new hardcore punk band that includes members of Shellback, Tremors, and Seoul City Suicides. They’ve been raising quite a lot of noise about the show, including issuing pro-wrestling-style trash-talk videos directed at Chadburger, one of the other bands playing.

The thrash punk band Chadburger is returning after a long, long hiatus brought on by distance, laziness, and Hong Gu. You might remember them from that time you got clotheslined/punched/piledriven by a skinny Welshman in a lucha mask. They will be selling a cassettte tape of a practice show session, which is certain to become a rare collector’s item by the next morning. Their bassist is moving to Australia at the end of the month, so catch them while you still can.

Brothers of the Hole, a mixed bag of metal and something called Vervcore, is also returning for one show. They broke up long ago when their guitarist moved away, and they might only have time for this one show before their drummer joins him overseas later in the month.

The show will also feature Something Fierce, one of Korea’s oldest grindcore bands, returning after a long sojourn in the US where they continued to be active. They’ve already played a couple shows since returning.

These bands will also be joined by Korea’s young new crasher crust band Scumraid, who’ve been making waves in the underground. Also playing is No Control, one of the flagship bands of the Independent Musicians Collective, who will be balancing the harder sounds of the other bands with their own brand of angsty punk rock. And starting the show will be two-man wrecking crew Sato Yukie and Tyler Brown, who will be putting on a noise performance until they get kicked out.

산업 재해 Industrial Accident Show in Mullae-dong 문래동
RSVP or inquire here

Update: due to government meddling, this show is no longer for profit. There is no cover, but a donation box will be by the door if you feel like supporting Lowrise.

This week in reunions: Suck Stuff

What’s that you say? Suck Stuff isn’t broken up? No, but they’ve gone through different phases since their beginnings in the early 2000s, and this reunion with some of the older members should be a trip back to the halcyon days of Skunk Hell.

To find out more Korea Gig Guide cornered Paul, a half-Korean American citizen who played guitar for the band from 2005 to 2007. In his brief time he took over as co-songwriter and co-vocalist, leading the band in a new direction, as well as touring China and Japan with them and recording a ton of great music.

KGG: What’s happening this weekend?

Paul: Saturday June 16th at DGBD we will be having a reunion show consisting of the old Suck Stuff line up (with opening bands Captain Bootbois and Skasucks).

KGG: Why only 5000 won?

Paul: Because shows in Hongdae have gotten way too expensive. Not only is this show meant to be about the old lineup but also the way shows used to be. They used to be for kids that were really into music, not just for the super rich/trendy.

KGG: Why is the band having a reunion show?

Paul: I joined the army and left Suck Stuff in 2007. After serving a tour in Iraq and some time spent stateside I came down on orders for Korea.

When I called Chul-hwan and told him the first thing he asked is if I would like to play a reunion show. Of course I would, with the old line up.

KGG: Will this be a one-time thing, or will Suck Stuff reform for good?

Paul: Suck Stuff has changed considerably since I left and this may be the only opportunity to see Suck Stuff as it was a few years back. Unfortunately I think this will be a one-off.

I am planning on starting a new band that might sound a bit like the old Suck Stuff, a punk rock band with heavy rock and roll and country influences. I have been writing some acoustic material and may just stick with that but I would really like to start a new band. However, finding a good drummer and bass player is proving challenging, even for someone with as many contacts and connections as I have.

To RSVP for the show or get more information, click here.

The show is also the release of the 14th issue of Broke in Korea, the longest-running English-language punk zine in Korea, which was co-founded by Paul in 2005.

Korea/Japan Oi/Punk Festival

By Jon

This weekend marks the fourth Korea/Japan Oi Fest to be staged in Korea (seventh overall, but who’s counting? [seriously, does anyone keep track of these things?]). Without a set time of year and club, the festival just seems to pop back up every couple of years, marking the return of one of the longest-running underground music collaborations between Korea and Japan.

The streets of Hongdae will overflow with skinheads from all nations as they descend on Club Spot for a show that will include a wide variety of musical genres connected with skinheads.

Returning Japanese bands include Tabloid Play and Raise a Flag who are no strangers to the Oi Fests, as well as newcomers Proud Hammers and ska band Rollings.

This year will see seven Korean bands, with only Captain Bootbois having a skinhead connection. We’ll also see straight-up punk bands like Spiky Brats and Swindlers, ska-punk bands Skasucks and Burning Hepburn, faux-Irish punk band from Busan Nachopupa, and Stoned (I’m afraid to Google “stoned Korean punk” on my work computer so I can’t tell you anything about them).

The show starts early on Saturday (Nov. 26) at 5pm so all the bands have time to play, and will probably end around midnight.

RSVP or find out more on Facebook