Commonly known as simply "YB" has been around since 1994, proving their staying power and that rock is, in fact, not dead in Korea. That staying power lies in a few factors, but before I start getting too far into that let me introduce you to the members.
Let's be cliché and start with the main vocalist shall we?
Yoon Do-Hyun born February 2, 1972. Do-Hyun debuted as a solo artist in 1990 and had minor success on his own. In fact, from time to time he has released solo work even after joining up with the rest of the members to form YB. He lists many musicians as influences/likes but a few that stand out are The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Wolf Mother, Fat Boy Slim, Nirvana, Drunken Tiger (they're friends actually), Guns N Roses, Rage Against the Machine and Foo Fighters. In 2002, he married actress Lee Mi-Ok. Three years later, they welcomed adorable little Lee-Jung into their family. Not only is the band named after him, but he does most of the song writing, sings vocals and plays guitar. However, from what I can gather, he works as a team and truly enjoys working with his band mates.
(Photo Credit: to their official website)
Park Tae-Hee (bass) born September 19th, 1969. To be honest, the other band members don't get a lot of face time, interviews, or have a lot of information available about them. I know Tae-Hee does some of his own solo stuff sometimes, because I've seen video of it. He is a really gentle, and humble man. He even follows me on twitter. Tae-Hee fulfilled his military duty in the navy and was a member of the marching band while serving. The official web page lists his heroes as "Jesus and You" SO I'm assuming it means that his fans are his heroes. He likes to write, draw, travel and drink tea. (wonder if he likes the Tea Ceremony?) The bands he lists as being his favorites or influential to him are U2, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. He also listened to trot and gospel. Which to me, is awesome, because it means that he has diverse tastes in music and can bring that to the table when the band writes songs. He goes by the nickname of Bright Star too, which I would love to figure out the meaning behind that.
Kim Jin-Won (drums) born February 23, 1970. He's kind of the man's man of the group. His hobbies include windsurfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. He also enjoys cognac and Guinness (Guess that's an ok beer - my brother would argue that point.) Unlike the others, he only lists Led Zeppelin as an influence. He and Tae-Hee have known each other longest, considering they were both part of the band Mayday before their debut with YB.
Heo Jun (guitar) born September 17, 1974. He joined YB in 2000. He's the most mysterious of the members, there isn't much information about him and he makes less television appearances than the rest of the band. He sites his favorite music as Miles Davis, Jim Hall, Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin. And his biggest hero is his father.
|Photo Credit: Steve Jeon|
Staying factor #1) Has to be their music. It's kind of perfect. They mix it up album to album, they aren't afraid to change things up. From Love 2 featuring Drunken Tiger, that has a more hip-hop/rap feel to their most recent album release where they teamed up with Risque Rhythm Machine to create a unique blend of electro and rock. I especially love their re-envisioned release of Flying Butterfly. Which in it's original form was already one of my favorite YB songs.
Here is one of the YB Vs. RRM tracks; Sneakers:
(if my video links from YouTube ever disappear PLEASE let me know so I can fix it)
Staying factor #2) The band as a whole is very down to earth. If you follow them on any of their online venues (twitter, official web site, facebook) you will find this out VERY quickly. For instance, last year they took part in documentary about extreme drought southern South Korea faced. They won the first World Peace Music Award in 2003, and have held many concerts to support underprivileged people. Not to mention all their beautiful work with the first Flying Butterfly music video:
In short, YB is a band that is hard to come by in the world, not just Korea. They have made it through trials and errors, (including a break-up in 2002) and still persevere to be the top rock band in South Korea. They are dedicated to their music, their fans and their families. It's hard not to like a band that has so much positivity surrounding them.
In Front of the Post Office in Autumn (가을 우체국 앞에서) (1994)
Don't Cover It Up (가리지좀 마) (1997)
Alienation (蘇外(소외)) (1998)
To Sing Again - Korean Rock (한국 Rock 다시 부르기) (1999)
They also have three live albums:
Yoon Do-Hyun Band Live Volume 1 (2000)
Live is Life (2002)
YB 15th Anniversary Live Best (2010)
Why Be? is my all-time favorite album, I can listen to it anytime, it makes me happy when I'm down and pumps me up even more when I'm already excited. If you listen to one album by YB - let it be this one.
Find out more about them officially on Myspace where they haven't done much recently, but I suspect if they come back for another U.S. tour they'll re-use the site.
Follow them on twitter too: The band's account: @Official_YB
Do-Hyun himself - @ybrocks
Tae-Hee - @7BrightStar
Jin-Won - @tandakim
Scott Hellowell - @cosmiczombie
Heo Jun doesn't have one as far as I know.