LADYBUG

Like many of the Taiwanese New Music bands of the mid-90's, Ladybug was formed by musicians in the Taipei university quarter who had been in previous bands, were working at live houses and bars in the area and were to some degree involved in the labor activist movement. What sets Ladybug apart from their peers, is that this all-female group latched onto original punk sounds at a time when the Riot Grrl movement was at its pinnacle in the West. Whether intentional or not, the tone and mood from their early recordings fit into the genre with scathing lyrics, biting guitars and jabbing post-punk rhythms. Ladybug created a buzz across the island and was signed to Crystal Records, one of the few major labels dealing with indie bands and were subsequently picked up by Shock Records for international distribution. The band then made a progression from angsty grrl punk to the avant garde experimenting with odd instrumentation giving the group a No Wave dynamic. Finally everything came to a halt when guitarist WanTing decided to go to the US to study sound engineering in Chicago. Vocalist Mei continued in the performance field working on experimental theatre, drummer Ellie disappeared and bassist Xiao Bao continued to serve drinks at The Underworld, Taipei's hub for the indie scene. After several years and a reunion, Mei and Xiao Bao reformed Ladybug in 2004 with two male musicians on drums and guitar. The group's sound once again evolved, changing into worldbeat influenced by Jamaican ska rhythms and the alternative Euro music of Manu Chao. However, the new Ladybug would be short-lived. Fortunately, many original members have continued to pursue projects in music, most notably Wan Ting took her guitar stylings to Tin Pan Alley and Varo and Mei and has taken her wicked performance art along with Xiao Bao on bass to the Bedroom Riot. Mei and Wan Ting are also recently involved in a project entitled Chug De Lash. It's no wonder that a band with such panorama of sounds and scope of activity has had such an effect on the Taiwanese underground scene, particularly many of the young Taiwanese girl punk groups like Hotpink and B.B. Bomb who cite Ladybug as a major inspiration.

In the early days of the Taiwan music scene, there were few choices in playing shows. Ladybug got quickly established in the burgeoning live house circuit and, like their contemporaries LTK Commune, found themselves playing labor rallies. The band even played in a moving truck with protesters dancing in the streets in tow! They were a staple at Scum in Taipei, but occasionally got the plug pulled on trips to other other towns for not adhering to Taiwan's average rock band standard. After getting signed and distributed internationally, the band was able to organize a couple tours to the US. Ladybug become one of the first Taiwanese indie bands to go to the US joining the North By North West festival, playing alongside notables like Yo La Tengo and Shonen Knife and performing at many smaller clubs. The band returned to the States in 1998 to play in Chicago and at the legendary New York City venue CBGB. Despite breaking up in 2000, Ladybug reunited with Wan Ting once again in 2002. When the group leader Mei and bassist Xiao Bao reformed the band in 2004, they took a direction more towards ska, worldbeat and danceable punk. The new Ladybug collaborated on a humorous home-video project with younger girl band Hotpink entitled "Punk Asshole" and they had a screening party together at the Underworld. However, this version of Ladybug would not continue for much longer. During this time, former guitarist Wan Ting performed frequently with her projects Tin Pan Alley and Varo. Most recently, Mei and Wan Ting have rejoined for a project called Chug De Lash, and seeking them out is the best chance you will have in experiencing two of the progenitors of Taiwanese indie rock.

Live


BAND LINKS

FLICKR: LADYBUG on Tour 1998

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

TAIPEI TIMES:
Hear the buzz? Ladybug is coming back

DISCOGRAPHY

Self Titled - Crystal Records - 1997