Meanwhile, Yuan Ming Yuan was “shut down” about a year and a half after I arrived.
One day I rode my bike past the entrance to the gardens and Fazi was driving the other way. “Chu Mama de jia-li” he said, indicating I should meet him at his mom’s place. I saw some Gong An and snapped some pictures.
At the time it just seemed like he wanted to set up his new garage studio there. Finally I realized we hadn’t been over to YuanMingYuan in a while. “It’s closed,” he said. “Bu kai men.” Eventually, it would be cleared away before the Olympics and turned into more land for development. Gone forever.
But it lives in Fazi’s music and my memories and photos which I will post here.
Fazi’s music was cross-hatched with the pastoral vibe of Yuan Ming Yuan as well as Chinese culture’s history of the political folk song including those of a deliberately sunny social disposition. He wasn’t of the leather-clad rockers I saw in Beijing in the 2000’s.
No, Fazi had in his teenage years secured 60’s British and American rock that grew out of Dylan going electric. The Byrds, The Dead. He liked Clapton, The Doors, Led Zeppelin III.
As you can see from the Beatles poster on the wall in the photo, he had a knowledge and respect for the greats of the ’60s which had started to finally filter into China after Mao died in 1976 and the Chinese culture began its long arc towards Western-influenced development. It was The Beatles and Pink Floyd which inspired him as much as the Communist songs and pop ditties of his schooldays.
That is not to say that he was the only single person in the world with a cassette of the Stones bootleg “Mad Shadows” in the whole of China. But he did in fact have it, a tape I hadn’t even heard before myself.
Surely, with his in-depth of knowledge in Bob Marley, or, say Tears For Fears, he was a member of a pretty elite club which had its ear to the ground. He sensed vibrations coming from a continent away, and they spoke to him, and he spoke back.
He’s pretty big and well-hung for Chinese standards too…
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(NOTE: this chapter, part of the soon to be published non-fiction book by Kevin J. Salveson, is unavailable on the web at this time. The printed first edition (Extab Media 2015) features many chapters and photos not available on any digital platform. Check out “Middle Finger Kingdom” by Kevin J Salveson available on the Extablisment website and store: www.extablisment.com as well as soon at other fine book retailers such as Amazon.com)
Also, look for the Fa Zi story / Rock and Roll in China Film Script called Bend Your Ear which is being developed by KJS right now and is excerpted on the site www.ideasmilliondollar.com. Or, if you are a producer who has the chops, purchase it outright on the Extab Store for a mere $80,000.