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ARE YOU READY TO ROCK 'N' ROLL?
Foreigners in China
Whether you love or hate rock ‘n’ roll, GAMMALUX will rock you.

By Cool Han

He stood onstage, bald, facing a couple of hundred fans who seemed more pleased than thrilled to be there. He sang, he jumped, he sang some more. He angled for more interactions. He pointed to one section of the crowd and asked, “Y’all having fun?” Yeah, pretty much. To another section: “Y’all having fun?” Sure they were.

May, 13Club, Beijing, Heavy Metal Festival. GAMMALUX were hard working and humble, rocking hundreds of crazy fans. On the stage he had a deep voice that could cut through the grinding guitar to get to melody notes. Surrounded by astoundingly hard and tough music, he yelled and screamed, creating a ritual background for the audience.

Not like those hard-rock bands with long hair tossing around and brushing frequently—GAMMALUX has purer and simpler appearance, and mind. They told me directly that their name GAMMALUX was just a combination of two Latin words with no specific meaning. And the logo? No meaning, too. “I know it sounds crazy, but it is just the truth.”

When you talk with band members, you will realize they are just people like you and me, nice people. Philip is a college student majoring in biotechnology and a cool bass player; Dome has one girlfriend and two kids besides powerful voice and outstanding stage-performances; Marc had no time to take care of beautiful girls in Chengdu but his guitar is the most powerful weapon on stage attracting girls’ hearts; Olaf bolte beats the hell out his drums; Chris has eyes like angles and smiling face who has been playing guitar for twenty years. As the godfather of GAMMALUX, Chris has unbelievable talent in management and amazing patience in dealing with all sorts of tough challenges. They all have their decent jobs, but they are just working to “make a living”. Music is their real business and true love.

GAMMALUX had been rocking over China for several times at many places. In 2008, they picked up a “sounding good” name PHOBIA as their China tour name and came back again. For them, China is always a “cool place to go” and Chinese people “cool people to rock”. And they do have strong feeling of connections with their Chinese friends.

It’s definitely a long way to go from the moment they fill out their MySpace pages until their styles are tagged by magazines and blogs, and their music will be fit into ever-expanding taxonomies of genre. But, the point is, they don’t care how others evaluate them. What they care is whether they can make real and good music. They label themselves as “direct and fresh SUBROCK made in Germany”.

Whether it is SUBROCK I don’t know. But there is one thing I’m pretty sure: GAMMALUX has deep sense of humanity, that’s must be part of the rock ‘n’ roll spirit. On the MySpace page they created a list of thanks covering “all the wonderful people, fans, organizsers, club-owners, sound-engineers, trnaslators, local tour-managers, security-staff and weird taix-drivers” who made their second ASIA-Tour an unforgettable greate experience.

After the Sichuan Earthquake, They updated they blog saying that “recent tragedy left all band-members sad, paralyzed and speechless. Our deep condolences and prayers go out to those who lost their beloved ones, to those who lost their homes, to those suffering from injuries.”

Maybe it is their earnest heart that touched the audience and fans. Their performance at midnight was a fuse that detonated the fire of passion. Pogo, dive, encore were the flames. All these made the Heavy Metal Festival a real festival for rock fans.

Azchael, a German journalist and photographer was just one of the audience. As funding father of “Rock in China” website, Azchael definitely had the quality of being a good newsman, but after taking pictures and interviews with GAMMALUX outside the club, he quickly put his work away and turned into a crazy rock fan again. The audience—from college students to Yappies, people wearing black T-shirts and silver jewelry, slam dancers and listeners, foreigners and Chinese—gradually became part of the show.

Watching those guys enjoying themselves so much, a question long hovered in my mind finally found its right position to land. What is the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll? Throughout “Rock ’n’ Roll” music is never mere entertainment. It’s not propaganda, either; there are no political or protest songs. Instead music is variously a refuge, a cry from the heart, a flag of defiance and a token of freedom. Characters in “Rock ’n’ Roll” take up longtime arguments about “rock ‘n’ roll spirit. They grapple with questions about ideology and pragmatism, politics and counterculture, materialism and spirit, language and lies, art and economics. But seriously, who gave rock its beat?

They didn’t tell me directly. On the stage Dome asked: “Are you ready?” “Yeah!” hundreds cried with exciting faces. Now could you tell me who gave rock its beat?
It’s YOU!!!

摇滚,你准备好了吗?
                         不管你喜不喜欢摇滚, GAMMALUX的故事都会撼动你

他站在台上,光头,面对着全场数百名全情投入的观众。他唱,他跳,他继续唱。他和一面的观众互动。他转向另一个方向的人群问道:“你们觉得痛快吗?”当然,太痛快了。他又转向另外一个方向:“你们痛快吗?”这还用说。当然。

五月,北京,13酒吧,重金属音乐节。GAMMALUX乐队卖力地演唱,却又那么平易近人,点燃了歌迷心中的火焰。在台上的他嗓音浑厚,歌词穿越厚重的吉他伴奏直抵人心。在凌厉坚硬的乐音中,他叫喊着,为观众创造出了典礼仪式般的氛围。

和很多长发披肩频频甩头的硬摇滚歌手不同,GAMMALUX外表简单,思想也更单纯。他们毫不掩饰地告诉我乐队的名字就是两个拉丁单词的组合,没有特殊含义。那乐队的徽标呢?并无深意。“我知道这听着不可思议。但这就是事实。”

当你和乐队成员聊天的时候,就会意识到他们和你我一样都是普通人,很好的普通人。菲利浦是一个学生物技术的学生,同时也是一个不错的贝司手。多蒙已有家室,是两个孩子的爸爸。当然作为乐队主唱,他浑厚的嗓音,出色的舞台表演是最引人注目的地方。马克说在中国他实在没时间注意漂亮的成都女孩们,但是对女孩子来说,舞台上他的一把吉他就是最具杀伤力的武器。奥拉夫的鼓点节奏可以撼动灵魂。克里斯弹了二十年的吉他,眼神温柔,笑容纯真。不过他可是乐队的“教父”,颇有管理天赋,更有足够的耐心面对各种挑战。他们都有各自的工作,但那只是为了生存。音乐才是他们今生钟情之所在。

GAMMALUX的脚印已经印在了中国的许多城市中。2008年,他们选了一个“听着很酷”的名字“恐惧”作为中国巡演的主题。对他们而言,中国永远都是一个“值得走过的国家”,中国人也一直都是“最有激情的观众”。乐队成员和他们的中国朋友们确实有着很深的感情。

在MySpace上开辟一片属于GAMMALUX的天地,直到他们的网页被杂志和博客关注,再到他们的音乐被分门别类地归入某个流派,这确实是一条漫漫长路。但是,他们并不在意别人如何评价他们。他们真正在乎的是如何做真正的好音乐。GAMMALUX说自己是“直率,鲜活的非主流德国摇滚。”

是不是非主流摇滚我不知道,但有一点我确信不疑:GAMMALUX 有一颗博爱之心,那一定是摇滚精神的一部分。在他们的MySpace页面上他们列出了一串很长的感谢清单,“向所有热情的观众, 歌迷,组织方,酒吧,音效人员,翻译,地方旅游组织者,安保甚至是有点奇怪的出租车司机表示感谢”。是这些人让他们的第二次亚洲巡演成为一次难忘的经历。

中国四川地震后,他们很快更新了博客:“新近发生的这场悲剧让所有乐队成员万分震惊,痛彻肺腑。我们向这些失去挚爱,失去家园,身受重创的人表示深深的哀悼。我们为他们祈祷。

也许正是他们满怀真情的心打动了歌迷。午夜场的演出就像导火索,引爆了激情的烈火。疯狂的摇摆,跳台,重复的安可声则是火焰。所有这一切把重金属音乐节变成了一个真正的节日。

阿夏利是一个德国记者兼摄影师。他也是观众一分子。作为摇滚中国网站的创办者之一,阿夏利显然具备一个优秀新闻人的全部素养,但是在酒吧外和GAMMALUX做完采访和拍照后,他立刻再次变身成了疯狂歌迷中的一个。这些观众,从大学生到雅皮士,穿黑色体恤衫戴银色首饰,投入的舞者和听者,外国人和中国人,全都成为了演出的一部分。

看着这些人如此投入,一个在我脑中久久盘旋的问题终于缓缓降落了。摇滚乐的精神到底是什么?自始至终,摇滚乐从来不仅仅是娱乐。但它也不是宣传。这里并没有政治和抗议的歌曲。相反,音乐一直都是一处避难所,一种发自心灵深处的呐喊,和一种自由的象征。摇滚乐圈里的人为这个问题进行过旷日持久的争论,关于意识形态与实用主义,关于政治和反传统文化,关于唯物主义与精神,语言和谎言,艺术和经济。但是说真的,谁赋予摇滚其精魂?

他们没有给我一个直接的答案。舞台上多蒙问观众:“你们准备好了吗?”“好了!现在你能告诉我是谁赋予摇滚其精魂?

就是你!
 

 

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