Boys from Beijing win Global Battle

Three boys from Beijing are flying high after taking out the fiercely fought Global Battle of the Bands and picking up a cool 10,000 U.S. dollars, a week in a London recording studio and a 10-stop UK tour, in the process.

“I feel good. I don’t know how to tell you,” Ricky Sixx said on the phone from London. There was a slight drawl in his voice, which could be because I called him at 4am London time, perhaps he drank too much celebratory beer, or simply because he’s a just a little overwhelmed. Nevertheless, Ricky Sixx from Rustic is living the rockstar dream.

Winners of the 2009 Global Battle of the Bands, Rustic, with their trophy in London. (Source: Global Times)

On Tuesday night, Sixx, the 1980s heavy metal loving bass player; Lucifer, the intelligent and ambitious lead singer and guitarist; and Li Fan, the charismatic and cute drummer, took to the stage in London to compete against 19 other countries in a global battle of rock. With guitars out, drumsticks blazing and vocals fully geared, Rustic were the unanimous first place choice of the judges – a complete surprise to everyone witnessing the show.

“In the back of mind I was thinking they might be able to win but it just seemed to be so unlikely,” exclaimed Michael Pettis, Rustic’s manager. “But I thought if nothing else, they’d charm the hell out of the judges.”

Since Rustic came on the scene in their current lineup, their rise as a rock/punk/glam band has been continual. In September 2009 they won Global Battle of the Bands for Beijing; moving on to Hong Kong in November where they won the China final; and now finally in London where they are now officially crowned the Best New Band in the World.

Rustic’s songs about girls, love, sex and fame define their ambitions as rock stars and their mix of energy, outrageous costumes and ability to put on a great performance sends crowds into a moshing frenzy.

“The thing about Rustic is their ability to be quintessentially Chinese,” said one English fan. “They’re not trying to copy music. They enjoy playing among themselves. They have a feeling that relates to the crowd.”

Despite their success, the journey to the London finals was not easy. The volcano in Iceland was causing havoc to everyone wanting to fly to Europe and when the airlines finally opened up, ticket prices rose exponentially. Five days before they were due to leave they still weren’t sure whether they were going or not.

“We had one of our people here [in Beijing], working on it everyday from 7am to 11pm to find tickets,” Pettis said. “We finally found some reasonably priced tickets, but even until the very last moment we weren’t really sure.”

Luckily, the night before they were due to play, Rustic arrived in London, the birthplace of some of their favorite bands – Sex Pistols, The Toy Dolls and Bad English, just to name a few.

“London is so beautiful and so big, but it’s so expensive!” Sixx said. “When we got here our friend took us on the subway to the hotel and it cost us four and a half pounds. That’s like 35 kuai – enough to take a taxi to go a long way.”

It seems however, that these boys are going to have to get used to this lifestyle. With more tours planned, a week in a top London recording studio with a producer and a CD slated for release by mid-fall, things are going to get busy. Not too bad for three country boys out from Hebei who just want to rock’n’roll all night and party every day.

(Source: Global Times)

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