Tonight my brothers Brian, Joe and Ho announced that they will be leaving the band. In fact the band has been taking a break since January of this year to figure out where we are emotionally and within the various stages of our lives. Making a commitment to a band like this (and a person like me) has not been easy and will never be easy - you can ask anyone in the photo here about their experiences both within and outside the band.
Either way...when we all look back at this and what we were all able to accomplish together - all these faces in this photo (and the ones who aren't here Mike, Gaeon, Wing, G, Fei Hin who kept the band going in dire times) took a little dream that I had when I started in 1999 and made it their own.
At 22 years old I came back to Hong Kong wanting to do something to help Hong Kong's underground community, who knew it would turn into what it did :-)
There are so many memories come flooding back...I still remember the day King Ly Chee joined a music festival in Tuen Mun (Gold Coast) in the summer of '99 and at the same competition a death metal band got on stage to compete. After they finished I ran to go say hello to them because I was so happy to hear extreme music in Hong Kong! They turned out to be Departing Cross...that guitar player Chai became a great friend of mine later. The drummer who would join them later (Man) would also become a member of King Ly Chee many MANY years later. I remember having the same response when I went to a show at the Warehouse in 1999 and saw a band called Hyponic get on stage and play doom metal and how happy I was to meet Roy and his wife Anita. They later even helped me translate MANY of the articles that were in my zine called 由零開始 Start From Scratch, as did Sammy of Lam Kei, and so many other friends. I remember touring China in 2000 for the first time and we stayed at Wu Wei (singer of SMZB)'s house with his mom, I remember traveling by train from Wuhan to Beijing for the first time and arriving in Beijing Train Station while the snow was falling around us, I remember getting on stage with Reflector-Brain Failure that night and becoming lifelong friends, I remember the next day Xiao Rong of Brain Failure took me to Scream Records to try to get the label to release our album "We Are Who We Are" in China, I remember putting my arms around Stephane and Alex as they cried on the plane leaving Korea after we played 6 shows in 3 days in Seoul in 2000, I remember getting my daily 4pm phonecalls from Kevin when he joined King Ly Chee, he would call every single day for the first year exactly at 4pm on his way to work at a tattoo shop and we'd talk about whatever like only brothers did, I remember Andy-Alex-Kevin and I recording "Stand Strong" until 5am every day and then going home for one hour then getting changed and going to our jobs, I remember touring Southeast Asia for the first time and meeting so many great people who are still good friends today, I remember touring Europe in 2006 in the fucking cold with Ming-Andy-Alex-Pong and dying cause it was so cold, I remember how on the way back from Europe while we were at the Dubai airport Alex told us that he had decided to leave and my heart broke into a million pieces because never in my life would i have ever thought he would leave the band, i remember after that andy and pong were like "don't worry - we'll keep the band going with you", i remember so many people saying that to me every time something happened - like Mike, Gaeon and Wing who sprung into action and helped the band continue somehow someway, i remember going on tour with NOFX and even though Fat Mike didn't like anything that was too metal sound - El Hefe and Smelly always came to watch us play every night and they always said "man your guitar always sounds so HEAVY! i love it!", i remember receiving a random message from some guy named Brian who was living in australia and played in a nu-metal band, i remember many months later receiving his band's CD, i also remember later he sent me tracks of some really progressive metal songs that he had written, i remember that around this time the next heartbreak happened when andy decided he couldn't continue either, many months later that random ICQ (or was it MSN?) friend Brian was in king ly chee, i remember touring the philippines and after the last show of the tour we all stayed out with our Filipino brothers until the next morning talking - laughing, how about the time that i picked up my ultimate heroes from the airport in hong kong - the band that GOT me into hardcore back in '94 - mother fucking sick of it all!, holy shit...not only was i picking them up but i was the one organizing their first ever show in hong kong...holy fuck...
Memories like this can go on and on...because there are COUNTLESS stories like this to be told and shared with all of you...maybe one day there may be a book made :-)
For now...I want to first and foremost thank EVERY single person who has ever joined King Ly Chee for believing in me, believing in the band, believing in the purpose of the band, believing in the message...I know that some of these guys left the band not on good terms - but as my brother Kevin once said "Man - time heals everything" - I do hope that as time passes that every single one of these guys (and girl - we did have a girl vocalist for a year :-) will always remember their time in this band and the great things that we accomplished together.
Thank you everyone for giving us your hearts, believing in the band anytime in our 17 year existence...whether you were a fan of the Stephane-Ian lineup or the Stephane-Alex lineup or the Alex-Andy-Kevin lineup or the Alex-Andy-Pong-Ming lineup or the Andy-Pong-G lineup or the G-Brian-Pong-Man lineup or the Kent-Egas-Brian-Ho lineup or the Kent-Egas-Joe-Brian lineup or the Joe-Ivan-Brian-Ho lineup...whichever lineup you fell in love with - i can tell you from the bottom of my heart EVERY member gave 150% of their heart and soul to this band, to creating the music you heard, to playing those shows that you saw, to touring all over the world...
To this I live in eternal gratitude to these amazing individuals.
Lastly, thank you to every one of you all over this world who has supported the band. Thank you for your kindness, for your generosity, for your graciousness, for your heart...thank you for believing in this band.
I have about 13 demo songs that I had written this past year or so for a future King Ly Chee release - but now I guess I'll just put those online as a heartfelt thank you.
For one last time... 我 － 地 － 係 － KING － LY － CHEE
10 years and still here breathing Hong Kong...it's in our hearts and pumps through our veins. We are a Hong Kong band and proud to be from this city. Then why d