From Music-China Wiki
In September 1991 when main songwriter and guitarist Gao Qi left his former hard rock band The Breathing, he found a new band OVERLOAD together with Han Hongbin on Guitars and Zhao Muyang on the drums, on the four-strings was Wang Xiaozhong, who became bass player of later famous rock band Zero band (LING DIAN).
During the first two years the line-up has changed a lot until 1993 when China's most famous Guitarist Li Yangliang along with bass player Wang Xueke and drummer Wang Lan (see also Thin Man) joined the band.
With this line-up OVERLOAD recorded their self titled debut album "Overload" which can be considered as the first thrash metal release in China. One year later the line-up was renewed: Gao Qi on Voc. and Guit., Li Yanliang on LeadGuit., Ex-FACES Ou Yang on bass and Wan Lan on the Drums.
The history of OVERLOAD begins with the foundation of the melodic hard rock band THE BREATHING which made quite a success with romantic ballades and touchy femal voice of the famous TV moderator Wei Hua.
Mastermind Gao Qi was the main songwriter of all the hits this band had and let his faith for metal guitaring flow into the songs. Before they came to release the only album, Gaoqi decided to leave because of personal and musical differences. His talent for writing catchy and emotional melodies shall bring another band to Chinas Olymp of Rock.
The foundational ideas of OVERLOAD lied in his interest in going more into metal, especially the wildness of thrash metal made the first attitude of early OVERLOAD, best presented in their first hit song "Shadows of the Ancients" which was published on the legendary rock compilation "China fire I".
There as been a metal movement visible in the whole Chinese rock scene together with Tang Dynasty, Again and The Compass. But OVERLOAD was certainly the most wild representatives of that genre and became a legend alone with this one song. Many different activities like touring, festivals etc. brought a solid fan base and also the music media incl. some internationals got attention on OVERLOAD. After an interview in the British music magazine "The Wire" was published, OVERLOAD got an record deal with the Taiwan Rock Label Magic Stone Records in September 1995.
Thus the debut album finally came to birth and faced a new rock generation who were more into punk rock than old fashion metallic rock. There is nothing phenomenal about that album except for the fine melodies and the heavy rocking sound.
The popularity of this metal band grew onto a level of Rock stars anyway, the fans considered them more or less as rock. During the years the band got more in contact with the mainstream music circle and were focusing on personal developments. The Guitar player became a very famous session musician who often took over the guitar parts for pop stars in studio or on stage. Also Gao Qi tried his luck as Actor in some few romantic TV-Series and Movies among many other things of deeds that a normal rock star would do.
There is no room for the metal aspect in their music anymore, the band lifted their musical horizon onto more alternative music styles which would better fit into the bands image. Metal was simply out of fashion. Both Guitar Li Yanliang and Vocalist Gao Qi cut up their longhairs and began to pay more attention to fashion wears.
Also the band name was changed to 'Gao Qi and OVERLOAD', I wonder when they change that name into 'Gao Qi and Li Yanliang and OVERLOAD', because Guitarfame Li isn't less well known by now than Gao Qi, Li has started his solo career combining Rockguitar with Technobeats, he even tries to sing. But that's another story.
In August 1998 their second album Magical Sky was released in which the only thing that might remind us to their metal roots was the few parts of guitar distortion. The rest of it was a good alternative rocking songs and love songs. It was a huge success and this band could totally escape from the limitation of a hard rock band. They are the new stars of the nations.
From now on, nobody can be sure if their further development still can be seen as a band. Gao Qi became more envolved in TV Entertainment, Internet Activities and Movie-Stuff, the other musicians are endorsing different Equipment or other products. Guitargod Li Yanliang has conquered the throne of China's Guitar. Gao Qi and Li Yanliang even moderated a famous pop music show on TV (Remember Joy de Majo on MTV's Headbangersball?)!
But nothing happened with the band anymore until October 2002, their third album Life is an Occurrence. Well I am not sure if these release still can be considered as Rock, but on stage they do definitively rock, if you are lucky enough to get a change to see them playing live.
Well, OVERLOAD was one of the most important bands in the Rock history of China. Their early days acting influenced most of the Chinese metal and hard rock fans. Maybe they would even write Chinas Rock history anew if they can make it to release another record like their debut in the golden age of rock before 1994. Maybe they also will consider to return to their metal rules when Chinas heavy metal becomes a new force in 10 years?
In March 2006, Overload was chosen to perform together with German metal band EDGUY in the Tango Hall, Beijing, organized by the Painkiller Heavy Music Magazine and Rock Empire. Shortly before the concert, Overload was interviewed by the Painkiller magazine and featured in their 17th issue (including A3 poster).
Articles in magazines
Painkiller Magazine no. 17 - October 2005
Encyclopedia of China Rock&Roll (VA) - 2006, May
China Fire III (VA) - 1998, October
China Fire II (VA) - 1996, August
Appearances in magazine compilations
- X-Music Magazine no. 237 - 2003, January
Appearances in Podcasts
Rock in China Radio Show 1 - 2006, June
- Overload - Poem of Life
- Overload - Ancestors' Shadow
- Overload - The Warriors (Chensheng Wuguang) | Movie clip