Seo Taiji plans to rock house with some help from abroad

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Seo Taiji plans to rock house with some help from abroad

One of Korea’s best-loved music icons, the rock singer Seo Taiji, will be performing next week with some new boys by his side.
The 32-year-old artist, whose real name is Jeong Hyun-cheol, will be cranking out the tunes on Aug. 10 at the Eerie Taiji People Festival at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul.
Now in its third year, the ETP Fest invites rock groups from the world over to perform in what organizers hope will evolve into Korea’s preeminent rock music festival.
This year, bands from the United States and Japan, all selected by Seo Taiji himself, will be taking the stage. Post-grunge band Hoobastank, which recently shook the charts in the United States and Korea with its song “The Reason,” is at the top of the list.
The California quartet is now in the midst of a world tour, fueled by the success of their latest album. The influence of Alice in Chains and Incubus is apparent in their music, although Hoobastank is a bit more relaxed and pop-ish.
Also hailing from the United States is the Christopher Taylor Band and the punk rap and rap-metal group Zebrahead, which has three albums under their belt.
The Japanese jazz rock band Pe’z and indie Korean rock teams Pia and GUMX will be performing as well. GUMX is more famous in Japan than in Korea; the punk group even participated in the Fuji Rock Festival and has sold out its Japanese tours.
Seo Taiji Company, the musician’s music, entertainment and festival planning firm, is pulling out all stops, spending 3 billion won ($2.6 million) on this festival to make sure it stands out.
“People who come should think of it more as a party or a festival rather than a concert,” said Moon Yang-mi, a staffer with the company’s marketing office. “We hope our guests will be able to taste the new experience of becoming one with the musicians.”
This event puts an end to Seo Taiji’s official activities regarding his seventh album, many of whose tracks he performed during a recent nationwide tour.
The singer is famous for introducing new genres of music to Korea. Notably, he was one of the first musicians to rap in Korean. With each album he and his band members released, he altered and reinvented his musical style.
In his third album, the inclusion of provocative lyrics denouncing corruption and Korea’s education culture stirred up much controversy in the nation’s conservative society.
After releasing a fourth album in 1996, Seo Taiji announced that he was going to retire while he was at the top. Two years later, however, he returned as a full-time rocker and has been building his reputation in that area ever since.


by Wohn Dong-hee

Tickets for the festival cost 98,400 won ($61) at Interpark (call 02-1544-1555 or visit www.ticketpark.com). Jamsil Olympic Stadium can be reached by taking subway line No. 2. For more information, visit the festival’s Web site at www.etpfest.com.

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