NWOBHM WEDNESDAY: CHINAWITE
For today's NWOBHM WEDNESDAY article I've decided to go at it alone. While Metal Mark and I do (more often than not) team up on this genre (and all the great bands associated with it) this particular posting was rather last minute. So, it's just me and my usual ramblings. You've been warned. With that out of the way I'd also like to state this little fact up front for all. Yorkshire's Chinawite are not the best that the NWOBHM scene had to offer. In fact they just barely qualify as a NWOBHM band to many. But, just like Wrathchild they do get lumped in with the scene so for arguments sake I'm listing them as such. The band, who were previously known as No Escape, was formed sometime around 1981. Chinawite (who spelled their name that way apparently in a bid to dissociate themselves from all of the various China White bands of the time) had their first bit of fame thanks to some local airplay. The band's demo recording ended up getting plenty of airtime on the radio station Radio Hallam and, following the usual act of so many other NWOBHM bands of that time, soon thereafter they released a single. In fact it seemed to be an unwritten rule that first came a demo followed by a 7". For many bands of the era that was as far as it got. The band's single, "Blood On The Streets" 7" (released on Doncaster's Future Earth label and backed with "Ready to Satisfy") was soon followed by an appearance on the compilation "Metal Prisoners". That compilation album, released on the Belgium record label Mausoleum, featured the band playing alongside such acts as Acid, Seducer, Factory and the great Ace Lane. Seeing as the band's two compilation cuts were from the previously issued Future Earth single it seems likely that Mausoleum was simply gaging audience reaction (or rather a larger audience reaction) to Chinawite before signing them to a deal. This seems especially plausible since, after doing some research including reading up on the band in the NWOBHM Encyclopedia, Mausoleum represented Future Earth in the European market. Either way though the end result was a one album deal with the label. Testing the waters as it were was of little help in the long run. While the "Blood On The Streets" single had a minimum amount of spark going for it the band's lone album for Mausoleum, "Run For Cover" album, crashed shortly after takeoff. Within months of the album's release, and following extremely poor sales, the band simply vanished. Another one and done, "thanks for showing up but we will be leaving now" band. Now, at this point I'm sure your all wondering why I'm even covering Chinawite. Surely there are more worthy bands from the genre right? There certainly are. Honestly, there are bands who only managed the odd 7" which deserve mention before a band like this. Quite a few in fact like Diamond LiL and Shock Treatment. So, why cover Chinawite? Well, even if their album owes more to lightweight American hard rock, or AOR for that matter, than NWOBHM it holds a special place in my heart. Produced by Kevin Maloney (with cover artwork was by Garry Sharpe-Young) "Run For Cover" is, in addition to regular hard rock, somewhat similar to bands like Praying Mantis and Lionheart. Even then that isn't why I like it. It's fairly basic, by-the-numbers rock from a band who was not ready for the big time. It's a bit of a stretch to say that the numbers are well-written. I'd say average at best. Nothing fancy and certainly nothing to get all worked up about if your a NWOBHM collector. So, what more is there to it then? Why Chinawite? Well, awhile back I happened to download the album on a whim. I played it maybe once or twice and forgot about it. The next thing I know my daughter is downloading some of their songs onto her Ipod. So, it might not be a classic of the genre but, it is an album that I've used to help introduce my 13 year old daughter to heavy metal and/or NWOBHM. The more I listened to it (thanks to her liking them) the more I saw their appeal. We both enjoy it now and for a girl who sings in choir, loves musicals and is not into the usual AC/DC, Motorhead or Metallica its a start. That is what makes it special to me and why it has earned the right to sit in my collection next to Angel Witch, Demon, Satan, Blitzkrieg, Crucifixion and the rest. I love having music that, as a whole, the family can enjoy that is accessible and yet still technically hard and heavy. Considering the fact that the NWOBHM scene has not been easily adopted by today's younger generation, let alone girls, means sometimes baby steps are in order. Even if it isn't Diamond Head or Saxon it's still got a nice beat, some catchy guitar solos and represents the fun aspect of the movement. So, while Chinawite might not be a high profile NWOBHM deserving of heaps of praise they still serve a purpose in educating kids about the movement. More importantly they are a band that my daughter and I can bound over. And seeing as family is everything to me that is pretty awesome.