In 1981, a teenage Yip Sai Wing met Wong Ka Kui in a musical instrument store and that was the beginning of Beyond, the most beloved Cantorock band from Hong Kong.
With Yip as the drummer and Wong as the frontman, and together with bassist Wong Ka Keong and guitarist Paul Wong, Beyond became an iconic Chinese rock legend that took the Chinese music industry by storm.
Then, Wong’s tragic death after a stage accident in 1993 led to the slow demise of Beyond. The band limped on with the remaining three members, before finally officially disbanding in 2005, with all three members moving on to their own solo projects.
Yip, who turned 53 this year, went solo and furthered his career in mainland China, and continues to rock the stage, playing the genre of music he loves best – heavy metal.
“The older I get, the wilder I rock,” quipped Yip, who now plays with his own band called Ever.
The music may have changed but the man is still the dashing rock star that we remember.
“I was originally a drummer. Then, I had to become a singer. It took some getting used to. But China is a good training ground. Where else would you find a place that gives you the freedom to do heavy metal? I’d always been told that there is no market for it,” he said in a recent interview in Petaling Jaya.
“These days, I may be more demanding while making music, but when I achieve what I set out to do, I feel very happy.”
After releasing the seven-track Brilliant (Yan Yi Wai Wing in Cantonese) last year, Yip decided to embark on a concert tour, which will kick off in Beijing, then on to Sydney, before coming to Malaysia on April 9.
For the Malaysian leg of his tour, Yip will be rocking the stage with his proteges: mainland Chinese band Stone and Malaysian Cantonese metal rock band Alienoid.
“We’ll be playing a mix of old and new songs. There’ll be a nostalgic segment where fans can pick the songs. We’ll sing any old song they want to hear,” shared Yip, whose previous albums include Beautiful Time Machine (2001), Remember You (2003), Leaves Turned Red (2005), and Mercy (2009).
Recalling his first time in Malaysia, Yip brightened up as he recounted memories of Beyond’s encounters with passionate Malaysian fans.
“We were here to promote the movie Happy Ghost IV (in 1990) and fans were so excited to see us that they started chasing us around on a motorbike. It was an absolutely surreal experience.”
Being the only surviving founding member of Beyond, Yip accepts that people will keep asking him about whether Beyond will reunite.
Yip, who is planning a Ka Kui memorial concert on June 16, hopes to convince his former bandmates to join him.
“Every year in June, all sorts of people do memorial and tribute shows using Ka Kui’s name and face. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if such a tribute was done by Beyond members ourselves?”
The Yip Sai Wing Brilliant Concert Tour Live In Malaysia will be held at KL Live, Life Centre on April 9 at 8pm. Tickets are priced at between RM98 and RM480, and are available for purchase via Ticket Charge and Neway Karaoke. For details, call 03-9222 8811.