Some of you may already be acquainted with Kwon Soon-Keun, the white-haired Korean drummer who is quickly rising to YouTube celebrity status due to a limb-flinging, stick-twirling, surreally enthused performance that, as College Humor puts it, "steals the show" from the poor songstress trying to own Frank Sinatra's "My Way." (Watch the incredible power play in the video above.)
The 72-year-old Seoul native first found fame as a member of the Korean band ADD-4, billed in some quarters as the country's first rock band. In 1975, he moved to Canada for a life of teaching and playing the odd gig. But a cache of uploaded videos of Kwon working a signature style that must be seen to be believed is making a life of quiet retirement unlikely. Kwon's life and career are the subject of a new documentary by Canadian director Mingu Kim, aptly titled "A Drummer's Passion."
HuffPost Arts & Culture had the pleasure of corresponding with Kwon about his instrument of choice, and the "burden" of being a YouTube sensation. Check out the trailer for "A Drummer's Passion" below, and let us know what you think of Kwon's scene-stealing moves in the comments.
Huffington Post: Who are some of your influences?
Mr. Kwon: My parents. They worked hard to raise us. It was a great lesson.
HP: Have you always been a drummer? If not, what did you do before becoming a drummer?
Mr. Kwon: I delivered newspapers and polished shoes when I was 11. When I came to Canada in 1975, I had to do anything from dishwasher, factory worker and general labour to support my family. I started playing the drum when I was in middle school. It's been over 50 years as a professional drummer.
HP: Why do you enjoy playing music?
Mr. Kwon: When I was young, my family was financially difficult. I played the drums because there was a scholarship program at school. I wanted to alleviate my parent's financial burden. That's why I am so grateful when I play the drums.
HP: Do you play any other instruments?
Mr. Kwon: Just drums.
HP: What is it like being a YouTube sensation as well as a worldwide sensation?
Mr. Kwon: I still can't believe to this date. There are so many great drummers who are better than I. I feel burdened when people call me a YouTube sensation. I just try my best.
HP: Obviously you have a lot of passion when you drum, when did your style first emerge?
Mr. Kwon: It's not passionate. To me, it's normal. I become one with the drum when I play it.
HP: Has anyone ever gotten angry with you for stealing the show?
Mr. Kwon: When I was in a band called "ADD-4" with Shin Joong Hyun, people used to talk about me because of my unique drumming style. The band leader, Shin Joong Hyun didn't like the fact that people compare me to him as rivals. Eventually, we separated and went different routes. I didn't play the drum just to grab people's attention. I just think you should ride music and become one with the instrument you play.
HP: Any advice for aspiring young drummers?
Mr. Kwon: Whatever you do, do with all your heart. Always do your best. The drum carries spirit. Be more passionate than I when playing the drum.
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