1988 – present (31 years)
Tang Dynasty (唐朝 - Táng Cháo), formed in 1988, is often credited as being China's first Heavy Metal band.
The music of Tang Dynasty was in their beginning mostly melancholic, partly depressive, lost in the effort to escape into an imaginary dreamworld and full of contrasts. It expressed what Tang Dynasty saw as their way to show honesty and true feelings.
Tang Dynasty had four initial band members: Ding Wu, Zhang Ju, Kaiser Kuo and Andrew Szabo.
Lead vocalist Ding Wu was born on December 30th 1962 in Beijing and has spent most of his youth in the northern province Heilongjiang before he returned to Beijing in 1972 to start studying at the Industrials Arts Academy. After his graduation he was working at on of Beijing's colleges, where he had his first contacts to foreign Western rock music. In 1981 he bought his first electric guitar on which he immediately started practising. In 1984 he joined the the band Bu Dao Wung. In 1986 he joined the band 黑豹 (Black Panther) for a short time.
Zhang Jun was born 1970 in Beijing as youngest of three children. He started learning guitar from 1984 on and switched to bass in 1986.
In 1988 Ding Wu and Zhang Jun met Americans Kaiser Guo and Andrew Szabo at a party and decided to form Tang Dynasty. They played several gigs at small parties, but had to abandon touring plans after the Tiannamen incident 1989. Kaiser Guo and Andrew Szabo returned to the US. In autumn 1989 Ding Wu and Zhang Jun met Liu Yijun (Lao Wu) and Zhao Nian, who joined Tang Dynasty. Lao Wu was born in Tianjin 1963 and was the lead guitarist of the band White Angel before he joined Tang Dynasty. Zhao Nian was born in Beijing 1961 and played in the band The Micro-organists before.
In February 1990 Tang Dynasty was allowed to play on the 'Festival of modern music' (Xiandai Yingyuehui) in front of about 18000 people. The euphoria and cheering reactions not only surprised the band but also the organizers.
In May 1990 Tang Dynasty played for the opening ceremony of the "1990 Asian Games" in the worker's stadium in front of about 100000 people. The Chinese government thought that if they would allow a so called 'modern music band' to play, the foreign world would get an impression of a more open-minded China.
The tremendous success Tang Dynasty got with this concert helped the Taiwan record company "Rolling Stone" (Gun shi) to overcome their objections to sign the band. Supplied with a record studio and a rehearsel room, Tang Dynasty recorded 11 sons until December 1991. Tang Dynasty's first album A Dream Returns to Tang Dynasty - China's first heavy metal album - was released in December 1992. According to statistics from a Taiwan record company have been more than 700000 legal copies sold, more than 1.3 million illegal ones and uncounted fake 'Best-of'collections.
In 1995, Tang Dynasty's bassist Zhang Jun died in a car accident.
In December 1998, Tang Dynasty's long expected second official record Epic was released, however it could not live up to the expectations. Still more than 400000 copies were sold and it was also released in Taiwan. In 2002, Tang Dynasty was featured in an interview in issue #5 of the Painkiller Heavy Music Magazine.
In 2008, nine years after the band’s second album “Epic” was released, their third studio album, titled “Knight of Romantic” in English, was finally out. The line-up featured on the album was Ding Wu on lead vocals, Lao Wu and Chen Lei on guitar, Gu Zhong on bass and Zhao Nian on drums and percussion.
In January 2009 Lao Wu (Liu Yijun) announced his second departure from the band.
The current line-up is:
Ding Wu - Lead vocals, guitar
Chen Lei - Lead guitar
Gu Zhong - Bass
Zhao Nian - Drums & percussion
Also commonly known in Chinese as 唐朝乐队 ("Tand Dynasty Band").
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