In Holland, Belgium and Germany CHINAWHITE are a relatively known name. The band was formed in early 1987 and since 1993, the band have been intact with the same five members. By playing live a lot, they have built up a solid framework that really sounds professional and experienced. It was, however, 1997 as the band finally had the opportunity to release an official CD, a mini-CD "a dragon’s birth". It was more symphonic rock than progressive rock, which the band from the beginning was. To play as much as possible before an audience the band bet the covers and it became songs from e.g. Toto, Whitesnake, Paul McCartney & Wings, Kansas, Journey, Pearl Jam and Gun, which probably colored the music for the band’s first release. Success did not let up as soon the band was in the studio again, again with Fred Hendrix (Terra Nova) who helped the boys with the album "Breathe fire" which was released in 2000. Now begins a time of turbulence and drummer Hans in ‘t Zandt, builds a reputation as a session drummer and soon gets requests from Vengeance, Cooper Inc., Parris and Mad Max. Don Feltges, CHINAWHITE’s singer, start touring with guitar virtuoso Joe Stump and the other band members also have other commitments, which allows CHINAWHITE take second place for some years. From 2007, members again devote them self to their old band and recordings of their third album start, which has now been released and has been given the name "Challenges", a title which suited the band’s most recent roller coaster. The album is recorded in their own Studio and I shall start with what is not good with "Challenges" it’s sound. I have heard a demo of some titles which sound better than this and it is primarily the singer Don Feltges, which is the biggest problem. Not personally, but why did they place him a bit behind all other instruments? This means that you hardly hear the voice, and this affects the potential enormously. That CHINAWHITE are good musicians is not difficult to hear and if you like bands like Marillion, Threshold, Uriah Heep and other Dutch bands Kayak, Ulysses and The Aurora Project you should absolutely check out CHINAWHITE. The music is good but, unfortunately, the soft vocals make it difficult for me to be able to enjoy this album to the fullest. With better recording capabilities, this album would have been really good. (Roger)
“Another Chinawhite?, “ you may think! Yeah, but this Dutch band goes back quite a long time…to 1987, to be precise! That’s when a couple of friends (from different bands) get together for the first time to rehearse songs from other bands…and find the chemistry working so well (especially among guitarist/ backing vocalist Peter Cox, keyboardist Rolf “Fuchs” Vossen, and drummer Hans In ‘t Zand) that they wanna try out the Symphonic Hard Rock side-project on a stage as well.
Then, in early ’89, the members of the bands Jester’s Tear and Trouwens decide to quit their former bands to continue with Chinawhite. Evidently, the urge to create some original material now rises, and at the end of 1990 the band produces its debut demo A Thousand Thoughts with 4 of those originals and a cover of Van Halen’s “Jump”. During the next year, they get a chence to participate in a regional project, which results in two newly recorded tracks of the band being featured next to 2 songs by each of the 5 other bands on a sampler CD titled Southern Comfort – 12 Beauties Oet Limburg. The German production company responsible for the project then offers the band a deal for a full-length, but the band declines due to lacking belief in the label. Following two more demos (1992’s 4-track When Dreams Unite, and 1994’s 5-track Sign Of the Time – each again containing at least one cover), a studio owner whom had just got himself a digital computer programmable system offers ‘em to re-mix some of the band’s material, and the band swiftly agree, taking the opportunity to learn how to work this new type of equipment. As a result, the band releases it’s 5-track (all originals) debut mini-CD A Dragon’s Birth in 1997.
During the two years that follow, the band works on the debut full-length, trying out older songs, creating new ones…and after may problems (both personal, logistical, financial, and technical) the Fred Hendrix (of Terra Nova repute) produced Breathe Fire sees light of day in August 2000. During Summer 2003 a line-up change occurs, when the long-time bassist leaves. His shoes are finally filled 3 months later by current bassist Sanders Stappen (who’d also play in such bands as 2nd Gear and Sengaia, for starters), whom originally only stepped in to help the band out on a temporary basis. By then however, the drummer had built a solid reputation, and finds himself playing with Steve Fister, Vengeance, Cooper Inc., Mad Max, Parris…(and more). Lead singer Don Feltges then starts touring with Joe Stump, and other members in the band pick up outside activities…
In between however, and that mainly through Peter Cox’ perseverance, the band soldiers on…gets together occasionally to compose new material…and during 2007 a home studio is geared up. As a first result, the band releases a Demo’s 1990-2005 compilation, the disc also featuring five new tracks which would be used on the upcoming new album. Which brings us full circle to the current album (issued on the band’s own label), and samples of all songs can be found in the releases section on the band’s own website Chinawhite.nl (full-length demo versions of two of ‘em, plus samples and full-lengths off older material…can be found at that same address). Of course, you can also check out the full-length of the single-edit version of single “My Venus Rising”, an album teaser, and other stuff, at myspace.com/chinawhite.nl.
My personal thoughts? Chinawhite are successful in bringing a Classic Rock based Symphonic Hard Rock, with some Progressive fringes.The singer ain’t grand, but his little defaults àre an extra element in making the band’s music overall remeniscent of (German) bands in that scene, era late ‘70s! In essence, not a bad album at all, but definitely one the listener needs to let grow upon himself. If you’re looking for possibilities to go see this band in live situations, forget it! In January of this year the band decided that they would go on as a studio project only, having found it increasingly more difficult over the years to take time away from their other (musical) occupations. (Tony)
The history of the Dutch band CHINAWHITE goes back a long way. The band was formed at the end of the 1980s and released 2 CDs during this period, now following it up with the 3rd CD ‘Challenges’. Musically they have always been mixing Classic Hardrock, Progressive Rock/Metal and Symphonic Melodic Rock. A little FATES WARNING here, some URIAH HEEP there and RUSH influences added to make up the melodic progressive rocksound of CHINAWHITE. Instrumental it sounds very sensational, but vocally it could use a little more punch and strength. Sometimes the band goes for a very melodic path such as during the midtempo melodic rocker “How many miles”, but a song like “Challenges – Dreams of a child” or “Better than you” is definitely pure Progressive Metal. All done very well, the 11 included songs on the band’s new CD and for more info I refer to: www.chinawhite.nl (Gabor Kleinbloesem)
GOLD (6/7) Album of the Week
Challenges? You have to be ready sometimes, because listening to the new CD from Dutch band Chinawhite is a real challenge. The band grew from a symphonic rock formation with a small "s" to a progressive rock band with a capital "P". On "Challenges" the band explore all their possible boundaries, which will take you more than one listening session before reaching the conclusion that this album is their justified masterpiece. A beautiful way to celebrate 20 years of Chinawhite. (Peter Rotthier)
Coming from the Netherlands, Chinawhite has a strong musical history that dates back to the early 1990’s. Over their twenty year journey they have released numerous EPs and compilations garnering some respected reviews and a host of fans. Challenges is their latest work, and only the second full-length CD of original material. If you dig progressive rock with the huge flavor of an old school 70’s style, this collection is an auspicious and entertaining slab of music.
Don’t let the old school appellation throw you off by any means. Chinawhite may refer to the past but they hardly wallow in musical reminiscence or create a sappy homage. All the songs and their arrangements are alive and ambitious displaying Chinawhite’s deft skill and creative composition. Songs like How Many Miles, The Storm Rages On, or Wings on the Wind show some intriguing movements and turns over accessible and melodic complexity. You will not be bored. Musicianship is at a premium as Challenges is distinguished by a precision many younger bands only grasp at. The only difficulty here is the vocal performance from Don Feltges Ordinarily I would guess his style is strong with good projection. But on this recording his vocals are often so severely blunted to be enjoyable. Otherwise, Challenges is a brilliant and constantly surprising work of progressive rock (Craig Hartraft,)
The first reviews are in and the first albums and downloads are sold. Belgium webzine Mindview appointed us Album of the Week!! Other comments include: "this is their masterpiece", "a brilliant and constantly surprising work", "all done very well" or "the level of musicianship is high". Thanks all for that.
Upcoming are interviews in for instance German magazine Rock City and UK magazine Fireworks. We will post it here as soon as we get them.
The wait is over… The Challenges CD is ready to order! We set out for a beautiful 6 page digipack:
We will be supplying CDBaby as soon as possible, but you can also order directly from us. We use the very simple and safe Paypal system, so no worries about your financial details. Visit the shop for details.
We will be sending the cd’s out soon to the press, expect reviews soon. We are very proud of the album. We feel it is more melodic, more metal, more coherent, more progressive, so in total more mature!
Here you can find various stuff that was published before 2009. Some is in Dutch!
RockReunion.com, interview (D)
CHINAWHITE are a symphonic hard rock band from the Netherlands and have a mini-CD as well as a full length album out. Guitar player Peter answered our questions.
Please introduce the band and the members: All members were born and raised in the southern parts of the Netherlands. The current line up has been playing together since 1993, but some go back for over 15 years! The band is: Peter Cox – guitars and vocals, Don Feltges – lead vocals, Paul Roefs – bass, Rolf Vossen – keyboards and Hans in ‘t Zandt – drums and vocals.
Tell us more about the history of the band: Chinawhite was formed in the late eighties. Founding members are Hans and Peter. We started out playing mostly hardrock and progressive/ symphonic covers. But soon we felt the urge to forge the creativity present within the band into original material and have done so ever since. On stage however we also play tunes from various bands in the mentioned genres. One day we hope to be able to play original material only! So far we have released 3 demo tapes, contributed 2 songs to a sampler and released a mini-CD in 1997 called "A Dragon’s Birth" and a full length effort in 2000 called "Breathe Fire". Through mp3.com a bonus edition of the mini-CD is available since this year, containing 7 extra songs. Those where taken from the mentioned demo tapes.
What musical background do you have?: Paul and Peter have had lessons to some extent in a completely different music style; trombone and bugle respectively. Most of us are autodidact regarding the instrument played in the band. Hans just returned from the USA where he attended a half year of lessons at LAMA in Los Angeles.
How would you describe your style?: We have a lot of different tastes in the band, ranging from classical to fusion and from pop-rock to progressive metal. We meet in the middle. We all like what we do with the band. Otherwise, we keep working on the songs until everybody is happy with the result.
Who are your musical influences?: Well, that totally depends on who you are talking to. I’d say important influences are (in random order) Rush, Toto, Saga, Threshold, Dream Theater, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Blue Oyster Cult, Kansas, Spock’s Beard, Frank Zappa, Whitesnake, Steely Dan, Yes etc.
What are your 5 alltime favourite albums?: At this moment in time: Threshold – Hypothetical, Ark – Burn the Sun, Millennium – Hourglass (yep, Jorn rules!!), Rush – Moving Pictures (or any other album by Rush) and Dream Theater – Images and Words. But this list is too limited really…
What are your current favourites?: My Son 😉 I mentioned a lot of names already. Mike Slamer and Francis Dunnery are high on my list as well.
Tell us more about the songwriting and the recordings of your current CD: We decided in 1998 on what songs we wanted to do for our next album. Some songs are very old (early stuff like "Foolin" and "Infatuation"), some were written "on the spot" (In my Mind). Till then all the lyrics were written by me, our next album will mark a change in that as Don is getting more and more involved in that territory. Good thing too. The songwriting works as follows, most of the time Rolf or I come up with the basic idea and the band takes it up. Everybody has an equal voice during the process of writing and arranging the songs. We don’t stop until we are all satisfied with the result. Sometimes this takes us 2 weeks, sometimes 2 years, but we aim at quality, not quantity. On the other hand, we have material in rough form, for over 5 albums now, so someone better sign us as soon as possible! We are determined to show the world what we can do. In our reviews you often see that people have a hard time categorising us, we think that is a virtue. Makes us an original affair and not copycats.
What are your lyrics dealing with?: It is not the usual love affair only. We have a broad interest and like to share our thoughts on various matters. Not all is to be taken all too seriously though. Especially live, we try to get a good vibe going. Anger and pain only spoil the evening in my opinion. The "Breathe Fire" albums deals with voyeurism, nightmares (…or??) some love topics, the birth of a child, the downrun of the human race. Figure the rest out for yourself!
How did you finance the recordings?: We paid everything ourselves. We play live regularly fortunately and use the money to hire a decent studio. This time we ran a litlle short on funds and had to lend some. One more reason to buy the album and support a honest and good band… please… 😉
Where and how do you distribute the CD?: Fellow Dutchmen can order directly by transferring the appropiate amount of money to our account. Visit our site for details: www.chinawhite.nl. We are also available at Sounds Recordshop in Venlo, www.compactmail.com and www.cdbaby.com. We are working hard on a distribution deal in the Benelux, details will be announced within a few weeks. Interested parties in other countries should contact us through our independent label Rock Company; email@example.com.
Are you in contact with record labels?: Well, it seems someone is always interested. But the efforts lack timing so far. We strongly feel we would be an asset to any decent company. We get great reviews and already sell a creditable amount of CDs. Last but not least, we play live, so we can get in touch with the people who like and buy our music. Our main problems are the financing of the studio and the distribution. Any help on that matter is welcome.
Do you have more finished songs? Do you already have plans for the next CD?: Our coming release will be a single. To wake the public we have recorded "Music" from John Miles. In a Chinawhite manner, that speaks for itself. We are considering adding a track from both albums so far and an introduction video clip as a bonus for the fans. Hopefully this release will draw more attention to the band and get us some airplay as well. Furthermore we are working hard on the songs for the next album. We plan a conceptual story this time. The lyrical content is about complete, as are the basics for 85% of the songs. Already we feel we will be getting into new grounds with this album as some songs are awesome. But we think it is important to grow, both as a band or individuals. Hopefully the result will prove this.
Do you regularly play live? Tell us more about your gigs.: We try to play as much as possible. We had some setbacks due to change of management, but continue to try to get gigs. Everybody willing to have us (Chinawhite rock like dynamite) should contact the management at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are ready for it! We love to play our own songs, but unfortunately in Holland you have to play covers as well. On the other hand, with our choice of repertoire we stick to our roots. We love to give some songs our special "treatment", hahaha.
What has been your biggest musical achievement / success so far?: I’m particularly very proud of opening for Uriah Heep a few years back, great gig and great fun. Also the release of "Breathe Fire" counts as a highlight. Especially when we made it to album of the week in UK’s HardRoxx.
How can you be reached in the internet?: Simple: type www.chinawhite.nl and you are there. And when you are, leave a message in the guestbook. We’d love to hear from you. Is there anything else you want to mention?: Give us a few spins and you’re bound to become a fan. Believe what they say, the music is still out there!
What are your plans for the near future?: I think I pretty much covered that. We hope you will be hearing a lot of us in years to come.
DETRITUS interview (USA)
by Tim Wadzinski -Interview with Peter Cox (Chinawhite) Dutch prog/AOR/??? band Chinawhite (see my review of their latest album BREATHE FIRE in issue #108) recently put out a press release announcing two new projects, a new single and a compilation. The latter will basically be a reissue of an EP with out-of-print demo material tacked on as bonus tracks. One thing led to another and soon I had a mini-interview with guitarist Peter Cox on my hands… DETRITUS: Will this new compilation release called A DRAGON’S BIRTH – BONUS EDITION contain all the songs on the debut EP A DRAGON’S BIRTH, plus everything from your demo tapes A THOUSAND THOUGHTS and WHEN DREAMS UNITE? I saw on your MP3.com pages that A DRAGON’S BIRTH has four songs; how many songs are on A THOUSAND THOUGHTS and WHEN DREAMS UNITE? PETER COX: On A THOUSAND THOUGHTS were four originals and one cover ("Jump" from Van Halen). The four originals will be included ("When All Goes Wrong," "The Perfect Thing," "Metropolitans" and an early version of "The Revolution By Night"). Due to rights "Jump" will not be included, plus we recorded it for fun, we had some time left at the time… On WHEN DREAMS UNITE were four original songs. We will include: "Foolin’" (a new version was released on our second CD), "Room With A View" and "On Arrival." The remaining song is a version of "Rock And Water," but it differs very little from the version on A DRAGON’S BIRTH so we left it off. The bonus edition will also include all songs from A DRAGON’S BIRTH ("Rock And Water," "The Revolution By Night," "A Dragon’s Birth," "Big Money" and "The Lurker") so the total number of songs will be 11. ("A Dragon’s Birth" and "Big Money" share the index number; the title track is a short instrumental piece.) D: What year did the original A DRAGON’S BIRTH mini-CD come out? PC: A DRAGON’S BIRTH was originally released in 1997, also independent. As you perhaps know, the original albums can be bought in the USA through CDbaby. The links are on our regular Web site. D: What about the new single? PC: The single we will be releasing is our version of "Music" from John Miles… We hope to get some airplay with it. We will probably also include "Permanent Vacation" from BREATHE FIRE and "Rock And Water" from A DRAGON’S BIRTH. At the moment we are waiting for a date to mix. After that we can plan the release. -This new A DRAGON’S BIRTH – BONUS EDITION will be released as an MP3.com D.A.M. CD, meaning it will have regular audio plus MP3 versions of all songs. The disc will also contain lyrics, song info, and an MP3 player, and it will be available for $9.99. Check out the band’s MP3.com pages for sample tracks.
MINDVIEW, Magazine (B+NL) interview:
Twee jaar geleden speelde de Nederlandse hardrock band Chinawhite op de Mindview Metal convention. Belangrijkste wapenfeit op dat moment was 1 aardige mini-cd. Gitarist Peter Cox vertelde destijds dat er reeds 5 nummeers waren opgenomen voor de weldra te verschijnen full cd Breathe Fire. Ondertussen zijn deze 5 nummer er 11 geworden, en is de cd wereldwijd beschikbaar. Hoog tijd voor een update dus.
Eindelijk is jullie 1e full cd een feit. Zware bevalling?:
Destijds waren enkel de basistracks voor de nummers opgenomen. Deze songs moesten we dus nog uitwerken. We wilden bovendien absoluut een volledig album uitbrengen. Het was ook niet altijd even gemakkelijk om onze agenda’s samen te leggen, en omdat de kwaliteit van het totale product bij ons voorop staat heeft het langer geduurd dan voorzien. Maar het was zwaarder dan gedacht. We hebben zowel op persoonlijk vlak als in de studio wat tegenslag gekend, maar zijn er sterker uitgekomen. We zijn trots op ons album en genieten van elke recensie. We wisten al vroeg welke nummers we wilden opnemen. Het doet goed te constateren dat veel mensen er het nodige potentieel in zien. Maar we zijn er nog niet, en willen onszelf de volgende keer nog verbeteren.
Wat is er anders aan deze cd als je hem vergelijkt met jullie mini-cd?:
De songs zijn beter. Ze bezitten meer dynamiek, zijn beter afgewerkt en klinken volwassener. We zijn ook beter op elkaar ingespeeld, waardoor alles beter uit de verf komt. Qua stijl komen onze diverse invloeden ook steds beter uit, en dat maakt de muziek nog afwisselender. Als je jezelf kippenvel kunt bezorgen, dan gaat het behoorlijk de goede kant op.
Op Breathe Fire twijfelen jullie echter nog steeds tussen prog en traditionele hardrock. Jullie mengen deze stijlen niet echt, maar gebruiken ze eerder parallel. Het ene nummer klinkt prog, het andere eerder hardrock. Heb je daar een verklaring voor?:
Enigszins tot mijn verbazing constateer ik dat niet elke journalist de verschillen in stijlen kan waarderen. Maar smaken verschillen, dus dat mag. Als je de recensies overziet, merk je heel duidelijk dat het van de smaak van de journalist afhangt welke nummers hij of zij het beste vindt. Een nummer dat de één minder vindt, vindt de ander juist top. Het nadeel is dat het niet eenvoudig is om er een labeltje op te plakken. Het voordeel dat we nu meer mensen aan kunnen spreken. Wij maken geen bewuste keuzes, zo van: nu willen we dit of dat maken. We schaven elk nummer net zo lang bij tot we er tevreden over zijn. En ons uitgangspunt is dat wijzelf onze nummers leuk moeten vinden. Zo houden we onszelf tenminste niet voor de gek. Omdat er veel invloeden binnen de band aanwezig zijn, weerklinken er automatisch veel muziekstromingen door in onze muziek. Veel bands waar ik naar luister hebben dat ook. En bedenk tevens dat een gezicht een voorkant, een achterkant en 2 zijkanten heeft…. Hopelijk zijn daar in de toekomst geen vraagtekend meer over. Chinawhite is Chinawhite.
Heb je trouwens een verklaring voor het feit dat prog/symfo zo aanslaat in Nederland? In vergelijking met Belgie hebben jullie een echte scene.:
Ik zou het echt niet weten. Misschien omdat veel mensen zich de moeite willen nemen om er vertrouwd mee te raken. Het is ook muziek die niet gauw verveelt. Ik zou Chinawhite echter niet als een pure symfo band willen typeren, maar eerder als een melodieuze hardrock band met symfonische en progressieve invloeden.
Een weerspiegeling van de muziek waar jullie zelf graag naar luisteren, dus?:
Dat hangt er van af met wie je praat binnen de groep. De invloeden van de band zijn wel behoorlijk divers; van klassiek tot hardrock, symfonische rock, progressieve metal en van alternatief tot AOR en jazz. Maar binnen de band hebben we allemaal wel muzikale raakvlakken. We staan voor 100 procent achter wat we doen.
LORDS OF METAL, interview:
Chinawhite from Holland is a band with music that’s best to be descriped as Symphonic Progrock with here and there a Metal edge. This band was founded almost 11 years ago and made in that time three demotapes and one mini CD. But in August this year, at last, the first full lenght CD, ‘Breathe Fire’ was released. Jack from The Lordz send some questions down south and Peter from Chinawhite was kind enough to answer.
For those who’ve never heard of Chinawhite before, how did you come up with that name? It was our drummer’s idea, originally written as two words : China and White, wich means something like white china. It also is ‘slang’ for synthetic drugs, and music is our drug.
On the covers of both ‘Dragons Birth’ and ‘Breath Fire’ there’s a dragon (nicely drawn by singer Don Feltges). Why this association with dragons, is it some kind of logo? We were searching for something wich we could use on any cover, and give every kind of addition we wanted. The dragon is ofcourse a mythical creature, so very suitable for our purposes. We’ve got a lot of visual plans for the dragon, so yeah, it’s fair to see it as a logo.
The recordings for ‘Breath Fire’ started in May 1999, the release was in August 2000, looks like a lot of work. Why did it take so long? Well, for several reasons. The first is financial, we had no financial backup from a label, so we had to pay for it ourselves. We didn’t want to borrow money, so we had to earn it with our live shows. It also wasn’t easy to organize it all, for we all got busy jobs, the producer we wanted (Fred Henrix) is a very busy man and the studio of our choice is frequently booked. Also of influence were some personal circumstances, and not always nice ones. Between the mini CD ‘Dragon’s Birth’ and the release of ‘Breath Fire’ lies a gap of three years. A creative break perhaps, or to busy with touring? It’s true we play on a regular basis, but the main reasons are the ones above. Our first goal was to release the album in 1999, but we hope it was worth the wait. The first reactions are very positive, and we have a good feeling about it, it was certainly a big step ahead for us. For a band who started out influenced by the likes of Rush, Saga, Camel and Marillion, the new CD is quite different in style. Is this temporary or your defenitive sound? Our influences nowadays are going way beyond the mentioned bands. Think of bands like Dream Theater, Threshold, Blue Oyster Cult, Deep Purple, not to mention somebody like Beethoven or things like Fushion, so our current style isn’t easily defined. The various influences are popping up in an unpredictable fashion, but it’s still Chinawhite. You have to bear in mind that our first singer was an enormous fan of Fish, and our current singer is more a Hardrock man, wich we regard as an addition to our sound.
‘Dragon’s Birth’ was received pretty well by fans and media, can we assume that with ‘Breath Fire’ in the pocket it’s possible that Chinawhite is gonna tour beyond Holland, Belgium and Germany? Yes, we expect to play next year in Sweden, we’ve been asked many times by now. We’re also asked to play Brazil, but to keep the costs at an acceptable level, we need more than a few gigs overthere. But the interest is ever growing, so who knows? Everybody can ask us, we love to play live, and we want to give all our fans the opportunity to see us live.
How would you descripe your music? I would say melodic progressive rock, for that’s what most of our music is all about. I know it’s easier for people outside the band to compare us with other bands, and sometimes that can be pretty hilarious, I remember (long time ago) somebody once telling us that we were something like ‘Elton John goes Hardrock’…
This is maybe a bit fast, but what can we expect from you guys in the future, is there enough material or inspiration for a follow up, or are you gonna tour the coming months? Well, don’t you worry about the inspiration, we’ve got tons of lyrics lying around (anybody interested?) and with our musical ideas we can make a lot of CD’s. And to reveal a little secret : we’re thinking of making the next CD a concept album, The storyline is basically ready and the musical concept almost. The music will be like on ‘Breathe Fire’, but we think it’s better (hehe) and somewhat deeper. I also hope that we continue to grow, as a band, as a person and as musicians.
Chinawhite wel bekend in Zweden, niet in Maastricht (Dagblad de Limburger, 27-09-2000)
Door Bart Ebisch
Drie jaar na de mini-cd A Dragon’s Birth komt de Noord-Limburgse hardrock band Chinawhite met het volwaardige debuut: Breathe Fire.
Dat is elf jaar na de oprichting van Chinawhite. Waarom de bevalling zo lang geduurd heeft, legt gitarist/zanger Peter Cox uit. Hij is tevens verantwoordelijk voor de teksten van de elf nummers op de nieuwe plaat.
Cox: "We hebben regelmatig in de studio gezeten. In onze eerste samenstelling hebben we twee cassettes uitgebracht. In 1993 is zanger Don Feltges erbij gekomen. Een jaar later hebben we een derde cassette gemaakt. En daarna nog die mini-cd.
‘ Ik lees een positieve recensie in het Zweedse hardrockblad Catchy Hooks. Jullie plaat wordt beloond met het rapportcijfer 8.
"Zijn we heel erg trots op. Het bevestigt wat wij dachten: dat het een flinke stap vooruit is. De cd is progressiever en ruiger dan onze eerste plaat. Muziek maken doen we er allemaal bij. En dat willen we zo integer mogelijk doen. Wat we doen moet wel goed zijn.
‘ De productie van Fred Hendrix (Terra Nova) wordt geroemd. Kun je meer vertellen over de samenwerking in de studio?
"Fred heeft heel veel studio-ervaring. Hij kan muzikanten in de studio optimaal laten presteren. Kwam ook driftig met ideetjes aandragen. Niet dat we alles van hem gebruikten, dat begreep hij wel. Wij zijn gewoon minder commercieel dan zijn band, Terra Nova.
‘ Jullie zijn wel bekend in Zweden, maar in Maastricht is jullie cd niet te krijgen. "Typisch Nederlands. Wat van ver komt vinden we lekker. Daarom krijgt een Amerikaanse rockband eerder aandacht. Zweden staan wat onbevangener tegenover muziek. Ze luisteren gewoon naar de plaat, in plaats van dat ze zich afvragen waar de band vandaan komt. Er wordt momenteel gewerkt aan een distributiedeal. Ook via internet (www.dprp.vuurwerk.nl/ bands/chinawhite) is onze cd te koop.
‘ Hoewel knap gespeeld mis ik af en toe de wisselwerking tussen de verschillende instrumenten. Alsof het professionalisme ten koste is gegaan van de spontaniteit. Hebben jullie het te mooi willen doen?
"Ik begrijp wel wat je bedoelt. We moesten onder druk werken, vanwege tijdgebrek. Gingen we noodgedwongen af en toe op de automatische piloot spelen. We moeten ook alles zelf doen, van het maken van de cd, tot en met het hoesontwerp en het regelen van optredens. We hebben geen grote platenmaatschappij met geld achter ons staan die ons werk uit handen neemt.
‘ Jullie hebben inmiddels een honderdtal optredens achter de rug. Dat lijkt veel, maar over een periode van elf jaar zijn dat er nog geen tien per jaar. Zit hardrock in het verdomhoekje?
"Ik heb juist de indruk dat hardrock uit het dal aan het klimmen is. Ik merk het aan van alles. Er komen hardrockbladen bij, evenals kleine platenmaatschappijen voor dit soort muziek. Ook de verkoopcijfers laten een groei zien.
‘ Wat verwacht je van de nieuwe cd?
"Het maken van de plaat kostte tussen de 20.000 en 30.000 gulden. We zullen zo’n duizend exemplaren moeten verkopen om uit de kosten te komen. Belangrijk ook is dat we voldoende publiciteit krijgen. Kunnen we onze horizon verleggen wat betreft optredens. In meer en andere plaatsen spelen. Zodat we uiteindelijk een volgende cd kunnen opnemen.
‘ Dat gaat weer drie jaar duren?
"Je zult er versteld van staan. De meeste nummers zijn inmiddels geschreven. We moeten wel even wachten met opnemen, want onze drummer Hans in ‘t Zandt gaat eerst een half jaar naar de Verenigde Staten. Voor de optredens hebben we een plaatsvervanger, maar in de studio hebben we hem er toch graag bij.
‘ De presentatie van Breathe Fire vindt vrijdag plaats in zaal De Vriendenkring in Steyl. Aanvang 20.00 uur. In het voorprogramma speelt de Noord-Limburgse band Fort Knox.
Progpower Benelux Contest 2000
Second band was CHINAWHITE. The band did a great job. Individually very skilled musicians, the only problem with Chinawhite for this contest was that their music is more like melodic hardrock from the eighthies. But very well played, the people liked what they heard.
Als laatste kwam onze topper CHINAWHITE.
Dit is een heel professionele band met nummers van o.a. Saxon, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden en vele anderen. Keiharde muziek maar absoluut een topper !! De gitarist van de band loopt met zijn gitaar gewoon door het publiek, loopt over de bar en speelt de sterren van de hemel. De drummer van de band zit achter zijn drumstel of hij nooit iets anders heeft gedaan. En maar te zwijgen over de zanger. Deze man heeft een stem, daar zullen vele zangers jaloers op zijn.
Een te gekke band, die absoluut vaker te zien zal zijn in Café Twister !
1992 When Dreams Unite
Aardschok, December 1992
Chinawhite walks the path between melodic and symphonic rock. Their demo was recorded in Germany for Inline Music. The production lacks power however. The fourth song, recorded last year sounds a lot better. Here the female singer is still present, alas she left the band in the meantime. Song wise Chinawhite have a lot to offer. Their level is very acceptable. That is why every fan of the genre can buy this blind.
Fanfare, January 1993
This is the second demo tape for Chinawhite and it shows very promising melodic rock with symphonic influences. Personally I find a touch of Spandau Ballet reminiscent in the music. As a whole this package is very professional: fine artwork, very mature compositions and excellent singing by Arno Linssen. There is room for progression of course; pop rocker On Arrival would have benefited from more guitars. But nevertheless this band may be satisfied with the results. Conclusion; everybody kicking on quality melodic rock can buy this blind.
Underground Scene Report, 1993
Prior to a planned album release, this Dutch quintet recorded a successor to the ’90 released A Thousand Thoughts demo. New tape includes 4 cuts in the melodic/ sympho-rock vein with a significant use of typics such as (pianistic) synths backup/ accompaniment, slick guitar tunes and melodic vocals with a suitable range. Good diversity within, and in between songs individually, though certain passages sound a bit too familiar to the band’s main influences. So, it might do with a bit more identity, but nevertheless a good tape in its genre. (Paul van der Burght)
SI, January 1993
Second demo from Chinawhite is a worthy successor to A Thousand Thoughts. Opener Foolin’ is a heavy song in best AOR tradition with slick harmony vocals and swift guitar work. Follow up On Arrival contains some beautiful bluesy piano pieces and reminds of the Kow Tow period from Pendragon. Singing on the peaceful Room With a View is well done, though the prominent guitars draw the attention away a little. The best is saved for last: a magnificent synthesiser intro, followed by a musical cross between Elton John and Marillion. That Rock and Water in short, which concludes When Dreams Unite in a fitting manner. Chinawhite is obviously influenced by bands like Toto, Foreigner and Van Halen, with pieces of Rush, Saga and Marillion for the symphonic accents. This means future perspectives. (Michel Naumovski)
Heavy Metal Explosion, 1993
This is the second demo from Chinawhite, back after a pause following A Thousand Thoughts to come back strong with When Dreams Unite. Some may know the band from the Southern Comfort CD, on which Chinawhite has a few songs. Music wise Chinawhite play a mix of AOR and symphonic rock, a style suited perfectly to guitar player Peter Cox. Using keyboards create a sound that is close to forefathers as Kayak or Marillion. Keyboarder Rolf Vossen is some kind of Mark Kelly, but shows an own identity in his soloing. The demo opens strong with Foolin’. On Arrival is a compository highlight, with Rolf as the star. A lot of time changes, a good built and beautiful guitar solos make this a jewel. The same can be said about next song Room with a View, though vocally it is not as strong. Maybe a more varied chorus will help lead singer Arno Linssen. Rhythmics are expertly delivered by Paul Roefs on bass and Hans in ‘t Zandt on drums. Miss Cox ads backing vocals in closer Rock and Water. This is a good tape from a promising band. Sound quality is good and the tape was produced by Frank Hilpert together with Chinawhite. It was recorded in the Delta studio in Wilster, Germany.
Power Militia, 1993
The first thing that comes in my mind before I listen to any band from Holland, is that they perform death metal crap. When this demo came into my hands, my thoughts were the same. Restraining factor was their name, which is not so deathy. But surely, Chinawhite surprised me. I didn’t ever expect an AOR band from the Netherlands. These guys created a very good one. I think that a song like Foolin’ can climb the charts equally with all songs that already did. Speaking generally about this demo, I’ll state that the musicians are very well trained, and the vocals are, of course, the most melodic and harmonised as I’ve ever heard from a Benelux band. Also the production is good enough. I’m sure that the Netherlands found at last a representative band. If you like AOR, or melodic heavy metal, than When Dreams Unite is for you. (Stelios Basbayiannis)
1990 A Thousand Thoughts:
Aardschok, January 1991
Chinawhite is a band from the south of the Netherlands who mixes rock with symphonic elements. 5 gentlemen and a lady who adds extra vocals to the tracks when they need it, form the band. Production is good, although the bass is somewhat to dominant over the guitars. The singing is very acceptable, though to “Fish” like in When All Goes Wrong. All in all the sound of Chinawhite is a relief and to take a step aside: they are one of the few bands that got it together on all fronts. My compliments! (Ferry Bovet)
SI, January 1991
Rock with symphonic frill is the slogan with which Chinawhite enriches their music. And it is true; A Thousand Thoughts holds catchy, hard rocking melodic rock. The 5 men and the lady know what they are doing, because the music is strong as a rock. There can be hardly any criticism on the tracks. The band would benefit from a more original sound, but that will come over the years. For now this tape is an excellent buy. (Willibrord Elsing)
Heavy Metal Explosion, 1991
Chinawhite exist since 1987 and they work hard to make it. Because of their hard labour, writing their own songs and the many gigs they have succeeded so far. And they are worth it too! Listening to their demo I have reached the conclusion that they are a breed apart with their warm and very melodic rock with symphonic frill. Lead singers Arno and Anneke are accompanied by keyboarder Rolf, phenomenal guitar riffs and breaks of Peter, fine bass playing by Paul and held together by drummer Hans. Great to hear this swinging and catchy music. Everything is played with fire, feels alive, melodic and spirited. The singers are not afraid to show their emotion and every word, also in the harmonies, is convincing. Their motto is to bring amusement; I agree, there is only one way to rock!
Chinawhite play a combination of covers and original material. Their songs are melodic and somehow remind me of Marillion. Arno Linssen and Anneke Cox are two talented singers who perform well as a duo. This demo is surely worth the listen.
Background Magazine, February 1992
These musicians started to play occasionally with different members in 1987. Two years later the band started to become a real band with concerts and everything. They play covers and some self-made compositions, which are on their first demo tape. I would like to describe their music as melodic rock with symphonic influences. Never too complex and easy to listen to. They are still a starting band and that can be heard. But every now and then you just forget about that because there are some rather good parts in their music. I believe Chinawhite needs some more experience and development. However, this tape is a good start. (Michiel van de Ven)