Golden Fishery – Kim Tae Won Part 2
Posted May 12, 2011on:
We begin this episode with KTW’s reputation as being a devil in the recording studio. While KTW seems like a sweet guy, there’s a reason why the entire lineup for the band Boohwal has constantly changed through the years. KTW acknowledges his hardheadedness and jokes that Park Wan Gyu (the band’s singer back during their “Lonely Nights” promotions) was insanely skinny back then because of the stress KTW gave him. KTW has tried to soften his image recently and when the band was recording “Never Ending Story” with Lee Seung Chul, KTW let the Lee sing in whatever way he wanted.
Interestingly, the song “Never Ending Story” was the song that made KTW’s father acknowledge his son’s talents. For decades, KTW only sought his dad’s approval but every time the band it #1, his dad reasoned that it wasn’t because of KTW’s musical abilities but because of xyz. KTW again readily states that without Lee Seung Chul, the song would have never been as successful but truthfully Lee wouldn’t be where he is today without Boowhal either. KTW thinks that their destinies are woven together and the drama they’ve experienced is the catalyst for beautiful music. Anyways, when KTW won that year’s best songwriter award, his dad finally told KTW that he did well and KTW finally got the approval he was seeking.
KTW’s had many close encounters with death. His first “rebirth” occurred at the beach. He and a friend were swimming in shallow waters when the two began walking deeper and deeper in to the ocean. It didn’t occur to them that they had fallen into a rip current and suddenly neither could touch the bottom. They began to panic but if you’ve ever seen Bondi Rescue, you know there’s no way to swim against a rip current at that age. (BTW why are all the Koreans who get rescued on Bondi Beach so embarrassing!).
The two began to drown and one of them got the great idea to swim under and hold the other up to get the attention of nearby swimmers. The two took turns doing this until someone came and rescued them. While every scoffs at the story, KTW swears that its true and till this day, he and his friend argue as to who had the idea and went under first .
In another story of near death, in 2005 doctors found a mass in his liver. KTW thought that this was the end for him and made arrangements to metaphorically close up shop down to selling his car. During this point he wrote the song “Beautiful Reality” for the movie “Eraser in my Head”…and then doctors told him he had been misdiagnosed. I know it’s not funny to think you’re dying but dude, of all the people it could happen to it had to be him. LOL.
In 2009 he actually did have a health scare and had to lose 7kg and quit drinking. In in 2011, he was diagnosed with cancer during the taping of Qualifications of Men. The first thing he thought about was his wife and children. He worried about how they would support themselves and felt extremely sorry to them for that. At first he hid the truth from his wife but eventually told her about his cancer, which didn’t surprise her. If anyone’s gone through more drama than KTW is his wife. She’s stood by him during his stint at the mental institution, suicide attempts, near death experiences, and drug addiction. To KTW, she’s the only person in the world that he’s afraid of.
She’s the reason I live and even if I tried, it would take more than my entire lifetime to repay her for everything she’s done for me.
Going back to his life as a variety show star, in 2008 he was invited to appear on Radio Star by his friend Kim Gura. Kim is like the equivalent of Perez Hilton circa 2008. Vicious yet hilariously true. KTW talked about UFO’s and bragged about how awesome he was at the guitar only to fail miserably during the recording. That show boosted him to stardom. For 20 years KTW had been trying to made Boohwal a household name and all it took was one appearance on a tv show.
KTW’s popularity is so high that if you search “Kim Tae” on a portal the automatic results show “Kim Tae Won” at #1 and not Kim Tae Hee (a very popular actress). Again the host calls bull on him but KTW replies with a caveat that it happens occasionally. Jokingly, the host Kang Ho Dong does the same thing with his name except when he types “Kang” the first result will always be “Kang Ah Gee” aka Puppies. Dude puppies are freaking powerful weapons of mass destruction.
While he originally hated the nickname deeming him the nation’s grandmother, he now enjoys showing both his variety and rock sides. It makes him seem mysterious and tells the audience that if you want to keep a person’s interest, keep a lot of secrets. Secrets are a great thing because the fact that only you know something gives you a spark in your eyes and makes people wonder about you. Uh, secrets also ruin families and create 16 episode misunderstandings in kdramas but okay.
In a hotly watched episode of Qualifications of Men called Harmony, the hosts were trained by the musical great Park Kollen to perform in a choir competition. The final episode showed the entire cast along with several recruits performing Nella Fantasia and a cartoon melody to a huge standing ovation. KTW was originally pissed off a Kollen because she never seemed to pay attention to him. Regardless of how bad he was she just let him slide while Kollen reamed into the others. I guess this was her reverse psychology at work because lol at KTW being mad that a teacher wasn’t scolding him.
On MBC’s The Great Birth Star Audition, KTW says that while looks are important in the entertainment industry, he was looking to give those who had been looked over because of their lack of visual prowess a chance at stardom. For him, what’s important is not whether they win the entire competition but that these kids will have careers that last decades. Preach my brother. There are so many “one hit wonders” in music and its sad to see “has beens” trying to make it in the game when all they ever did in the game was provide a flash in the pants.
KTW says he can immediately tell who a person is when they walk into the audition. Their life stories are written on their faces. The second thing he notices are the singer’s left hand. When they sing he can tell if they crave the stage or fear it by how they use their left hand. So for those who are planning to audition for season 2 of the show, 1) don’t put your hand inside your pocket, and 2) if you put both your hands on your mic you’re terrified and you better be ready to be called out on it.
KTW’s daughter who is now in her teens is already growing her musician roots and KTW says to expect her one day showing up at an audition with her acoustic guitar. Of course she might end up auditioning for Superstar K (a competing audition program starring Lee Seung Chul) to which KTW replies it’d be a great thing and jokingly implies that KTW might have to call Lee for support. Finally the last advice KTW gives to aspiring singers is to throw away your prejudices about music. Rock can join rap can join pop, etc and there’s no right or wrong. Music is universal so go ahead and listen to everything the world’s got to offer.
For the songwriter, KTW tells the audience that the day after Kim Jaeji died in 1993, he began to write. Everyday, regardless whether it was sensible or not, KTW would write in his journal and now has numerous volumes of illegible handwriting. While KTW says that someone had previously stolen his work and therefore writes in a way he can only decipher, KTW seems to be unable to read some of his own writing. Some of the journals thoughts are simple memos like “when you’re thoughtlessly staring out a window and your friend wonders what is on you’re mind.” and while these things are simply, its a big help to him in his writing.
Finally, the guru closes the show with a solution to KTW’s problems. How is he going to keep all those promises? The Guru answers that KTW already promised the audience by telling them everything on this show. He’s stuck. So if anyone ever sees KTW smoking, alert the show immediately!
And the consequences of breaking these promises: 1) take off the sunglasses, 2) cut his hair, 3) Make KTW call Lee Seung Chul “Hyung.” Classic.