DIRECTIONS TO FAZI’S HOUSE

方向 以 发子 房子: 圆 明 园    (中国版本)

FaZi  发子 (China 中国摇滚) is a folk rock singer-songwriter from China.  Specifically, his career originated in the late 1980’s out of Yuan Ming Yuan, the “Old Summer Palace” of the emperor in Beijing.

Directions to Fa Zi’s:

Go down a country road under a full Autumn moon.

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After the buzzing yellow taxi-packed streets end past Bei Da (Beijing  University) near the crumbling ruins of the Old Summer Palace, turn down the alley at the small market where the farmers lay their vegetables out on the flatbeds of their tricycles.

There’s an expensive private Communist Party hotel hidden there overlooking a row of populars beside the lake where old men wave around swords practicing martial arts into their retirement years.

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Keep going.

The path now is only dirt grooved into a few ruts by Fazi’s Hummer-like jeep which, for 1994, is an astounding personal luxury.

On the far side is the one-room brick house of the tofu bakers who will stand and stare (while stoking their coal-blackened ovens and drying their cakes in the fields), accompanied now by fireflys bobbing.

As the Chinese countryside night envelopes you, you’ll approach a glen.  The high frequency pulses of the ciccadas pierce the dark.  It’s their warning to you:  “Ghosts here! Wai guo ren (foreigners) be careful!”

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Don’t be afraid, keep going.

You’ll hear a distant gong explode with a shimmer into the evening air.  It’s then that you’ll make out of the pitch blackness a gate on the far side of the field, behind it a community of cabins.

At your feet look for a thick black power line threading through the grass.  Keep your eyes on it as you step onto Fa Zi’s farm property.   (Fa Zi’s dogs and sheep now bleating to greet you).

That electric cord goes over a wooden corral fence, through the door of a mud-brick house, and into the throbbing 100 watt Marshall stack of Fa Zi’s 1959 sunburst Gibson.

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Sweet

As sweet a guitar as anyone would ever want, you can see it as you open the door.

In FaZi’s hands, it is  jangling out the chords to the sly historical song and metaphor for China’s changes,  “Fly Like An Arrow”      箭一样地飞翔.   Here in this little brick hut, Fa Zi sings for a crowded party of painters, musicians, foreign students, expat American businessmen, television producers, writers, university students, computer whizzes, heavy-metalers, record executives, friends and family.

They are all there warming themselves against the bitter cold of the encroaching Beijing deep freeze with beer, boiling tea and Fa Zi’s band, which when asked will kick into a rock with-Chinese-characteristics tribute to the place they call their home: Yuan Ming Yuan, the Garden of Gardens Arts Colony, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, circa 1994.

Welcome to Fa Zi’s.

 

 

“Yuan Ming Yuan” is actually Chinese for what is now referred to as “Old Summer Palace“, and it might be translated as Garden of Perfect Brightness by some.   Still, I like Garden of Gardens.  And if there is one person who should be singing the theme song for a pleasure palace built jointly by the Jesuits and the Chinese for the Ching Dynasty emperor of the 16th Century (and sacked by an army of Europeans eighty years later), it’s Fa Zi.

With his foreboding girth, towering figure and flowing black beard, he is something to behold.  He looks a lot like one of those famous old stone warriors who were buried along with the Chinese Emperor Huang-Di in the ancient tombs of Xian several thousand years ago come to life and wearing flannel.  One with with Elvis Presley’s sideburns.  In fact, perhaps this describes Fa Zi succinctly– the Chinese Fat Elvis.  A few years after his 67 comeback prime, but still possessing a way with a song and with incredible presence.

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More to come including music, video and more excerpts from the book on Chinese rock an roll I’m working on … stay tuned!

Fazi Music and Fazi: Chinese Rock and Roll History content    © 2014 Extablisment  (a division of Salvus Corp).

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6 thoughts on “DIRECTIONS TO FAZI’S HOUSE”

  1. Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to take a look.
    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting
    this to my followers! Outstanding blog and excellent style and design.

  2. I like the way you describe Fa Zi and the way that you add some historical and cultural context to everything you mention. Makes it all seem more genuine to the reader.

    The way it’s written seems like a bit of a cross between a journal entry and the recalling of a past experience to a friend. I enjoyed reading it very much and will definitely be returning for future installments.

  3. You’re so interesting! I don’t think I’ve truly read anything like that before.
    So good to find another person with some unique thoughts on this
    subject. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

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Fazi (the Chinese Fat Elvis) + Rock and Roll + 1 American Expat = entertaining music