The story appears on

Page C3

January 29, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Magic Mushrooms rock 'n' roll

THE band Mushroom says rock music isn't only about anger and venting frustration. It's about life, dreams, love, sadness, confusion and it reflects "an independent attitude." Nie Xin listens in.

Back in 2006, five young rock musicians all had big "Afro" hair, so for fun they called themselves Mushroom (mogu) because they had "mushroom heads."

The hairstyles changed, the music has evolved, but the name has stuck.

Mushroom is getting popular and they frequently perform live, but they're not popular enough to pay the rent with their music. Three of them have full-time day jobs.

Mushroom gave their first show of the year last Friday at Yuyintang, presenting new songs "Keep" and "Net."

They have written 20 original songs and now are working on their first album. They hope they can tour China this year, including Beijing.

"We don't know whether we are really popular or not," says vocalist Yu Xuhao, known as Pupu. "When we hear fans scream, we feel they like us and our songs, but we hope there will be more understanding of our music, our rock and roll."

The other band members are guitarists Zhang Xiao and newcomer Tang Yincong (nicknamed Huahua), bass Huang Xianzhi and drummer Lin Jiaqin.

In Yu's view, many rock fans in China don't really understand the independent attitude of rock.

"Rock music is not only angry and noisy, not just a way to release your negative emotions. It's an independent attitude to express your life," he says.

Guitarist Tang is only 22 years old and joined just last month; he's like a big kid and enjoys playing with toys and playing snooker.

The recent show at Yuyintang was his first show with Mushroom. He called it "amazing."

The band has given hundreds of performances on school campuses and in many pubs and live houses. They perform around once a month.

The next live show will be next month at Yuyintang, one of their favorite venues in the city. Shanghai has only around 10 live houses.

Vocalist Yu graduated as a design major from Tongji University where he started writing songs. He wrote lyrics for the band's early works, such as "We Stop the Music" and "Don't." "Good-bye to What's Up" was a band creation.

In "Good-bye," they sing:

"When we brought Mushroom to Wang Hao (famous singer) in 288 Bar, he thought we were too noisy. We didn't want to flop. Who cares who takes the main role and who plays support? Who will really know what's going on?"

Yu says the band sings "about our life, our dreams, our confusion about love and life. The emotions are both joy and sadness. Rock music is not only angry."

Yu calls the band's style "very casual and changeable." The band has been influenced by big bands such as Oasis, Linkin Park and Green Day.

Last October the band was cheered at the West Lake Music Festival in Hangzhou. Thousands of fans screamed and applauded, shouting for encores.

"It was our first performance in such a big festival. We were excited and overjoyed with our audience," say guitarist Zhang.

It was intoxicating and Mushroom dreams of playing on big stages and at big festivals.

For most Chinese rock groups like Mushroom, making music is their passion, but they cannot make a living on music, yet.

"Sometimes we feel a little depressed. Show tickets for commercial mainstream idols are at least 100 yuan (US$14.65) but we cannot sell our tickets for 50 yuan - it's too high," says vocalist Yu.

"The reality of the market is cruel," he adds.

Yu, who worked for an advertising agency for a couple of months, manages to get buy without a full-time job. New guitarist Tang also does not work full-time.

But the three other band members all have full-time jobs as regular white-collar workers.

"We have to work in other fields to support ourselves and our music careers," says drummer Lin. "Rock can only be the dream."

Their 20 original songs are all popular, notably, "I Love Show Business," "Boring," "Wait" and "Why You Love Him." What Yuyintang's owner says about Mushroom Zhang Haisheng

Owner of Yuyintang, an important live house

Mushroom started to give shows at Yuyintang from late 2007, about once a month.

They have a lot of live performance experience.

Their music expresses young people's moods - struggles, confusion and lifestyle. That's why they are so popular among local young fans of their age.

I hope they can retain their local characteristics as they develop because it's one of their most important advantages.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend