Top Band 2 Judges: Kim Do Kyun

While giving our panel time to digest the first episode of KBS band survival show Top Band 2 we continue to have a look at the judges of the show. Starting with Kim Kyung Ho yesterday, today myself and Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle talk about guitarist Kim Do Kyun.


Guitarist Kim Do Kyun, or Steve Kim, started his career in legendary heavy metal band Baekdoosan which he’d formed together with Yoo Hyun Sang. The band debuted with the release of album Too Fast! Too Loud! Too Heavy! in the summer of 1986 and released another classic album before Yoo Hyun Sang changed into a trot singer to appease his future parents-in-law. In 2009 the original line-up of Baekdoosan had come together to release fourth full-length album Return Of The King. The band has remained together since, releasing another album last year and currently competing on I Am A Singer 2.

Kim Do Kyun released his first solo album Center of the Universe in 1988 and with that attempted to fuse rock with traditional Korean music. That experimentation later continued with Kim Do Kyun Group in 2002. Other projects of his include 1990 super rock band Asiana, with Yim Jae Bum as the vocalist and 2003 guitarist super trio D.O.A Project, where he played together with Boohwal’s Kim Tae Won and fellow Top Band 2 judge Shin Dae Chul.

Kim Do Kyun was a mentor on the first season of Top Band, then taking on Party Maker, Rhy Band, BBA and J Power.


Anna: Out of all the bands Kim Do Kyun has been involved in I’ve liked Asiana the most. I got acquainted with them through the Korea Rock Legend (Rogend) series and particularly enjoy their power ballads, so typical of the time. I wasn’t able to dig up any video of theirs, but “Missing You” is a good example. Kim Do Kyun also worked together with Yim Jae Bum on a couple of songs for Project Rock in Korea a year before Asiana, including “The Same Old Story”–the best song on the album. (Trying and failing to dig up a decent video I came across this very interesting interview with Loren Scott who wrote the lyrics for the song in question. Turns out there were expat bands in Korea already 25 years ago!)

Dahee: Wow, I’m loving the links you’re providing. That interview with Loren Scott was very illuminating, and I’m loving the Asiana songs. I’ve never been a huge fan of the song “Rock in Korea,” but “The Same Old Story” is lovely. It looks like I really enjoy when Kim Do Kyun and Yim Jae Bum collaborate. Apparently back when Kim lived in England for a short time with Yim, the two of them formed a rock group with a couple of British men, called Sarang, and gained some popularity in the underground scene there, even going on BBC Radio as guests at one point. This was all before they returned to Korea and formed Asiana.

Anna: I never knew they’d both been there, but that would explain the good English Loren Scott made a remark about. Would love to hear some Sarang.



Anna: Kim Do Kyun Group should be right up my alley, but I came across them before I had gotten fully accustomed to traditional Korean music so listening to them then was more about patience than pleasure for me. Now I can’t find their CD anymore (I have my collection arranged by color and I can’t recall what the backend of it looks like…), but I am very much enjoying some of what I’ve found on YouTube. With the exception of Lee Hyun Suk I’ve never really been fond of guitar centered music but when Kim Do Kyun Group focuses on the traditional like in “Electric Sanjo” above they get very interesting. There may have been others before him, but to me this quest to merge the modern with the traditional is what has characterized Kim Do Kyun the most.


Dahee: I’m mostly familiar with Kim Do Kyun through his work with Baekdoosan and with D.O.A. I own the D.O.A. album and listen to it on a fairly regular basis, although I admit I picked it up mostly because of Kim Tae Won’s involvement (yeah, big Boohwal fangirl here). There’s something about watching these three guitarists together that makes my heart swell. I was ecstatic when the three of them were involved in a CF together, and the online video for it amassed the most hits out of all the CFs posted on that company’s website. In a time when the mainstream music field is overwhelmed by idols, it’s nice to see people like them get some recognition and popularity.


Anna: For some reason I could never appreciate Baekdoosan the way I should, and that was true even before they made a comeback. I laughed in disbelief as I saw their first shots on I Am A Singer 2 and was sorry to see they chose to play a new song rather than one of their old classics when it was their turn to take on the stage. Maybe as I get to see more of them I’ll learn to love them, but right now Kim Do Kyun is bigger than Baekdoosan to me.

Dahee: While I respect Baekdoosan for paving the way for heavy metal in Korea in the 80’s, I’ve never been a fan of their music either, no matter how hard I try. If you asked me to rank the big three rock bands of that time in terms of how much I like them, it would go: Boohwal, Sinawe, and Baekdoosan. However, I was surprised by my reaction to Baekdoosan’s performance on I Am A Singer 2 – while I wasn’t a fan of their song selection, for some reason I found myself grinning like a fool while watching it. Maybe I’m just happy to see a heavy metal band go on a show like this. Maybe I’m just a sentimental sap. But I’m definitely rooting for them.

Dahee: Can we talk for a second about Baekdoosan’s entrance into variety shows? From what I know, they followed Kim Tae Won’s advice and started going on talk shows and the like, and started getting their name out to more people. The downside, of course, is that their previously rather heavy image has become a lot lighter, and people openly poke fun at them on those shows. This is a little sad, but at the same time, I’ve loved seeing them on variety, particularly Kim Do Kyun. The man is just SO CUTE, and has this innocent schoolboy charm. I also recall watching him on the documentary I Am A Rock Legend which covered the histories of Boohwal, Sinawe and Baekdoosan, and my heart breaking a little bit as he told stories of how much he had to suffer both financially and mentally for his love of rock ‘n’ roll.

Anna: You’re right, he’s very cute! And seems so pure. He turns 48 on Friday, but that smile of his makes him look much younger.

Dahee: Aww, his birthday’s coming up? Happy Birthday to him!

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