Top Band 2 Judges: Shin Dae Chul

We’re giving our Top Band panel another couple of days to delve into the first episode of KBS band survival show Top Band 2 so we’ll have time to finish our introduction of the judges first. We started out with Kim Kyung Ho and followed up with Kim Do Kyun. As we continue today Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle joins me in talking about Shin Dae Chul.


Guitarist Shin Dae Chul formed legendary heavy metal band Sinawe in the beginning of the 80s. Sinawe released their first album Heavy Metal Sinawe in 1986 and released three full-length albums more before disbanding in 1991. A few years later Shin Dae Chul decided it was time to get started again, picked out new band members and had Sinawe’s fifth full-length album released in 1995. The members of Sinawe have been changing for as long as the band has been around, including vocalists such as Yim Jae Bum and Kim Jong Seo and a young Seo Taiji as bassist. Sinawe have yet to disband officially, have not released any new music since ninth full-length album Reason of Dead Bugs in 2006.

Shin Dae Chul released his first solo album Corona in 1989. He offered more solo works in the 90s, but has since primarily been heard working together with others. In 2003 he took part in the D.O.A. Project together with fellow guitarists Kim Tae Won and Kim Do Kyun. Shin Dae Chul is the son of Shin Joong Hyun–’The Godfather of Korean Rock’.

Shin Dae Chul was a mentor on the first season of Top Band, then taking on Bis, Rika Band, Ravie Nuage and Gate Flowers.


Dahee: I really only know Shin Dae Chul through Sinawe and D.O.A., and of course through the fact that he is the son of the great Shin Joong Hyun. I consider myself a Sinawe fan, although I’ve really only listened to their first two albums in earnest, and only a few other songs from other albums. My favourite Sinawe song is probably “그대 앞에 난 촛불이어라”, which really has such a beautiful melody and a charming melancholic air. I love Yim Jae Bum’s voice in it, and am always sad that he only ever worked on one album with Sinawe. Still, Kim Jong Seo was an amazing replacement, obviously, and Sinawe reached some of its peaks with him as its vocalist. Shin Dae Chul seems to have fallen into the same predicament as Kim Tae Won over the years – discovering great singers and musicians and then watching them leave the band to go on to solo efforts. Except that while Kim Tae Won has found some stability in recent years with the current lineup of Boohwal, Shin still seems to be struggling. Still, here’s a fairly recent performance (2010) of Shin playing one of Sinawe’s biggest hits (and one of my favourites), “크게 라디오를 켜고,” with another former Sinawe vocalist, Kim Bada.


Anna: Much like with Baekdoosan I couldn’t really get into Sinawe, but I did find them easier to digest and I imagine if I gave them a listen now I’d come to appreciate them more. I’ve primarily been listening to their hits, the songs that others seem so fond of covering. I don’t really have a favorite myself, but I’ve been enjoying “희망가” quite a bit. There’s something about Kim Bada’s vocals that don’t agree with me, but in my opinion Sinawe were at their most accessible during those albums.


Dahee: I’ll have to give the albums with Kim Bada a listen, since I never really gave those ones a chance. Some fan I am. By the way, I found this cute clip with Shin performing with his father.  Also, apparently Shin hosted a music program on ETN back in 2006 or so, called Shin Dae Chul’s Muse Stage. Huh.

Anna: Pity we didn’t get to see more of him in that clip, but of course it’d be difficult for anybody to steal the spotlight from Shin Joong Hyun. Far from my favorite style of music, but cute nonetheless. I wonder if the entire family sit down and jam during family gatherings? That’d be something I’d love to hear!


Dahee: I know he’s worked a lot as a (very successful) session musician, playing guitar on any number of records for other artists. This was apparently his main source of income for a while, until one day he was on the bus and a song started playing. He recognized the guitar playing as his own, but wasn’t entirely sure, and for the life of him couldn’t remember where or when or for whom he had recorded it. It was at that moment that he realized guitar playing had become nothing but a job for him, so he immediately quit and went back to creating original music.

Anna: I’ve heard other musician stories reminding me of this and it always makes me a bit sad. To have something as wonderful as music turn into nothing but a chore…

Dahee: I never know what to think about Shin Dae Chul as a personality. Sometimes he just seems kind of shy and awkward with people, and at other times he seems kind of arrogant and difficult. I remember watching him on an episode of the talk show Come To Play with Kim Tae Won and Kim Do Kyun, where he spent the entire time either giggling to himself or making short remarks that stopped all conversation. He seems to have a reputation for being the Simon Cowell of Top Band, but I didn’t watch enough of the first season to state an opinion on that.

Anna: I’ve only really seen him in Top Band and he did strike me as kind of difficult. He’s got the name to get away with it though.

Dahee: And I’m sure that kind of personality will provide a lot of dramatic moments for the cameras. And according to news articles, apparently he and Kim Kyung Ho disagreed a lot, so I guess that’ll be amusing to watch, whether those moments are fabricated or not…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.