Voodoo Children & Top Band (톱반드) – part 1- “Painted Black”

Never really thought something like this would happen. But hey, sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time and next thing you know you’re doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I remember in the early days of The Forty Days we entered another talent contest and won a few nice prizes (if memory serves me right?) That was many moons ago though.

Voodoo Children was originally a Hendrix Tribute band that Josh, Joon and Tommy had put together, but had been on a bit of hiatus of late. Joon had been playing with ‘Sticky Fingers’ on and off for a while and one night after practice mentioned about putting together something for a talent show.

“Sure thing man. When is it?”

“In 3 days time…”.


So, Joon and Sam (another fine guitar player and a guy we’ve all known for years) asked Josh, Ripley and myself to join them and see what we could do for it. We decided on doing “Paint It Black” for the audition and even with no rehearsal together we were confident of pulling it off. Early one Saturday morning (note to KBS2 producers – 9am starts for bands is such a non-rock’n’roll time, especially as 3 of us had played the night before and got home at an appropriately rock’n’roll time) we headed to KBS TV HQ in Yeouido with about 600 or so other bands.

There was a lot of standing and waiting, then some MC type came out and told us (well, not really) what was going on. We were band #447, so the deal was to come back for 6pm and we’ll see what you can do. After lunch and a well-needed nap it was back to the TV studios. This time we were ushered into the backstage area, interviewed once, then twice, then moved to another area, then more waiting (TV land is all about the wait y’know) while the judges took a break. We didn’t really know what was going on in the midst of so many people folks coming back and forth. Everywhere you looked there were kids with guitars (all expensive and shiny – as is their want), big bands, traditional instrument bands (hot girls 🙂 younger groups, older groups, it was a bit mental. Like being on a crowded subway train at rush hour, but all heading to RnR Central.

Ripley and I decided to go and explore the studios and see if we could find out what was going on and where. We stumbled upon one of the studios where the auditions were to take place. A very expensively assembled stage full of gear awaited us. Didn’t like the way they’d set up the drums though…

Eventually, it was our turn to be taken on the long walk to our studio. I think we went down 2 or 3 floors, then into another dressing room (for all of 2 minutes), interviewed again, then we were ushered on to the stage. We only had a few minutes to set up then give it the beans. It was all a bit nervy.

The way it was setup was like this. Huge, empty TV studio. Stage with amps, drums, bells and whistles on one side and facing it were 3 desk-type things for the judges to sit behind. On each desk there was a “TOP” sign that they would light up of they liked you. We didn’t know any of this was going to happen. After a quick (and I mean quick) soundcheck, we got into the song. Luckily, there were no major disasters. Well, with the exception of me not being able to hear anyone else in the band that is, no disasters, and we got all the way through the song. (Note to producers – those expensive monitors have ‘on’ buttons for a reason).

We were packing up our gear and had no idea (you see the pattern forming here?) that we had to walk to the front of the stage and then the judges would give us the thumbs up or down. We were a bit all over the place as the first judge was talking and none of us were listening to him or facing him.  We were busy just packing Eventually, we got the idea, and just in time too.

The second judge really enjoyed our performance and luckily for us gave us feedback in English. It turns out that Kim Seh Hwang, a really well-known and distinguished guitarist, was eager to see one (if not the only) Expat-Korean band who’d entered do well. What you don’t see in the video is that he made the time to come over and talk to us after the filming was over. He was all about the rock, the performance, driving energy and all that good stuff. Oh, Dave Lee Roth and Tommy Lee were also mentioned in the conversation. Cool guy!

So, all the judges gave us some feedback and more importantly the green light to go to the next stage. Nice! We were contacted a day or two later and asked to ‘play’ for a producer and do some interview stuff. We all met in The Woo on the Wednesday night and resulted in this little nugget.


It also gave us another week or so to rehearse another song and move on to the next stage of the competition. This would be a biggie…

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Author: From a Late Night Train

Teacher. Musician. Ponderer. Had lived in Seoul, South Korea since 2000. Moved back to Glasgow, Scotland in May 2017.

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