Lazybone still going strong 20 years later
Story By: Emma Kalka
Photos by: Robert Evans
Their youthful exuberance may betray their ages. But Lazybone has been around for a while. And if they could come back from a seven-year breakup, they can survive anything.
The band started in 1997. They count other veteran bands like No Brain and Crying Nut as friends. And after just a few minutes of sitting with the group – Jundoy, Jinu, Junkyu, Avail, DJ Suck and Juan Anthony — and hearing them crack jokes, repeat each other and at times finish each other’s’ sentences, it’s no wonder they’ve been together this long.
The year 2002 is one that the band immediately claims is the biggest year of their career so far. They performed in front of millions during a World Cup rally and saw one of their songs – “Go West” – become a rally song for the South Korean national team. They performed at Fuji Rock Festival in Japan – easily the biggest rock festival in Asia. And, they opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) during their first concert in Korea. A feat that landed them on the front page of Korean newspapers, but not for the reasons you might think.
At the time, they didn’t know that RHCP – of whom member Flea is known for occasionally stripping on stage – had signed an agreement with the Korean government that there would be no on-stage nudity so that they could perform. It was the last performance for their trumpet player at the time, a fellow from Japan. So when he said he was going to strip during their performance, the band just laughed it off.
“He said it, but we didn’t believe it,” said frontman Jundoy. “But we were playing and there was some white meat that was jumping around and it was ‘Wha!’”
The entire band dissolved into raucous laughter at the recollection of the story. They left after the show to go play Fuji and it wasn’t until they were in Japan that they got a call saying they were in all the newspapers.
“I’m going to do that my last show here,” newest member Juan – the current trumpet player – joked.
“No! I don’t want to see!” shouted guitarist Jinu in response.
Outside of that eventful year, Jundoy said the most important moment for the band was 2013, when they got back together.
Initially it was just supposed to be a one-time event. Jinu had returned from graduate school in the US. The original members met up for coffee and the idea of doing a show for old times’ sake was floated. They agreed and did the show, but something happened that they weren’t expecting.
“After the show, we felt lots of things. Like, funny – funny was the most important thing than the other things,” Jundoy said. He added that half the crowd was made up of original fans of the band, who had aged with them. Some of them brought their kids to the show and some had changed in looks since the band’s early days.
Some guys were crying while singing along. And some guys were smiling. So, we felt something very strange and, it feels very good. So we thought, why not? Let’s do it. Let’s do Lazybone again. – Jundoy, Lazybone vocalist
“Some guys were crying while singing along. And some guys were smiling. So, we felt something very strange and, it feels very good,” Jundoy continued. “So we thought, why not? Let’s do it. Let’s do Lazybone again.
“Many things and many experiences in 2002. But as a band individually, we say our rejoining show. It was lots of touching on our heart.”
At first, the band said the only ways that they’ve changed after the break is that they’ve gotten older.
“Um, I lost some hair,” Jundoy admitted cheekishly.
But upon further recollection, he adds that they’ve gotten “hotter” and they’ve in some ways gotten more energetic on stage. They say that compared to other bands in the scene today, they have more power.
“I think the audience or some other guys, some guys want us to… (have) less power. Less power than earlier days. But we don’t think so,” said Jundoy. “We move more. We sing more. We jump more… that part will never change or we’re getting better. Better and better on stage.”
We move more. We sing more. We jump more… that part will never change or we’re getting better. Better and better on stage. – Jundoy, Lazybone vocalist
And they prove this ever time they set foot on stage. Jundoy leaps on stage, almost pulling toe-touches. Occasionally, he leaps into the crowd and dances alongside them. Age has definitely not slowed Lazybone.
They do shows nearly every weekend and last month performed in a music festival in Taiwan.
“We never been to Taiwan and we did new experiences with these members. We did lots of crazy things that night,” Jundoy said as the band once again dissolves into laughter.
“He was drinking,” Jine said, pointing to Junkyu while laughing.
“So, two guys were very drunken. And one guy was playing trumpet with bare hands in the winter season. And one guy saw the crazy guy. ‘Hey, your trumpet is very good,’” Jundoy added.
“He was… very high pitch. High pitch,” Junkyu continued before attempting to imitate the trumpet. They exchanged contact information, and Junkyu promised to get in touch soon so they could play together. However, another six months passed before Junkyu suddenly remembered Juan.
The first night they met, Junkyu had told the band he was good, but they didn’t believe him. That changed when Juan walked into the studio for the first rehearsal.
“When he showed up, we were like, ‘Oh, okay. That’s the guy.’ Because he’s got lots of good tattoos. So everything was okay from the start,” Jundoy said.
“From that rehearsal, he was already part of Lazybone,” Jinu added.
And even with their long, colorful career, the band says they still have more to do, namely they hope to play in South by Southwest. It’s a matter of filling out the right paper work, but every year the band says they are going to do it and every year they forget until it’s after the deadline. “Because we are lazy,” Jundoy jokes.
And at the moment they are preparing their sixth full-length album while floating ideas over what they want to do in 2017 for their 20th anniversary. They’ve thought about doing 20 live shows, or playing 20 songs, or giving tickets to 20 fans. Or maybe doing nothing.
“We’re going to break up. Again,” Jinu joked.
“Yea, 20th anniversary. It’s very good news: we broke up again! See you after 20 years!” Jundoy added.
But whatever they end up doing, one thing is certain. They will continue to have fun and perform on every stage like it’s their last. They are close friends and honest with each other, which sometimes can lead to fights. So they never know when another break-up could happen.
“So, everything can be the last stage for us, so we can enjoy every stage,” Jundoy said.