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Concrete (B), December 2009

84/100

“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)

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