For those who want to know me a little bit more …
B orn in the north Jolla province of South Korea in 1981, I lived in a rural place far away from the polluted air of the city where you could see the stars at night. My parents divorced when I was five and I lived with my uncle and my grandparents until I turned fourteen.
I started living with my father in the city from then on and it was around that time I learned how to play the acoustic guitar from a cousin. The first song I learned was Romance, and in less than a year I was able to play Recuerdos de la Alhambra, but I soon lost interest in acoustic guitar and started to teach myself how to play the electric guitar.
The 80’s heavy metal music scene along with MTV had exploded in the early 90’s and naturally I enjoyed listening to and learning songs by Metallica, Yngwie Malmsteen, X-Japan and Dream Theater. I just loved that crunchy sound of the electric guitar. Eventually I joined a prominent metal band named ‘Sad Legend’ after a brief stint in several cover bands. I had really long hair, was endorsed by ESP guitars and our band even played some shows in Japan. I was known for playing blazing solos and some of my videos made during that period are still watchable on youtube by the search name ‘Lee Kyung Won’. I was living the rock and roll lifestyle.
It was around this time though that I became obsessed with motorcycles and the thrill of speed and racing. As my appetite for speed grew bigger and bigger, I became more reckless and started getting into small accidents. My motorbike was just a time-bomb waiting to explode, and one day I got into a really big accident when I tried to turn a corner at a dangerous speed. I was rushed to the hospital after receiving emergency CPR. I had sustained numerous fractures all over my body and a heavy concussion.
The doctors told my father that I might not make it. Some people seem to jump back from hardships and painful experiences so easily, but I can’t even remember how many times I wanted to end my life on that hospital bed.
After 11 surgeries and because of my broken hands and fingers I didn’t know if I could even play guitar again but thankfully I was able to slowly make my way back into making music and playing guitar. It was during those difficult years throughout 2008-2013 walking with crutches and in the wheelchair that I realized how much I had taken things for granted before, and I began to adapt a new outlook in life. I have lost many friends and fans over the years, but I have also met many wonderful people during those difficult times who have helped me get back on my feet. I know I’m still here because of the support of those people, my friends and family.
I have since written about 20 songs after the motorcycle accident, and many of those gah-yo(Korean pop) style songs reflected much of my sadness and helplessness that I’d experienced after the accident. My father cried when he read some of my lyrics. It was at that moment I realized how lyrics can impact a person and that music can be a very serious thing. My music style changed drastically after the accident but most of my fans still feel instrumental songs like ‘Rain’ and ‘Hero’ fit my musical style and best represent the kind of person I am.
The guitar is not a very popular instrument embraced by the general public in Korea, so obviously guitar instrumentals are not very popular either. Because of that, there was a period in my life where I stopped playing instrumentals altogether. But I know that’s a big part of my true sound and identity. Honestly, I can’t say that trying to be a guitarist and a musician is easy. I wish I could have found a way to make a living while making music.
I remember reading an interview from a guitar magazine once,
Playing and practicing guitar all day in your room doesn’t make you a great guitarist. You need to go out and meet people, experience things, see things and do things. And then tell us about it all through your guitar. Now that, is a guitarist
I know I’m home again. And boy, have I experienced a lot of things. I can’t wait to tell you about them.
Rebuilding this website again and getting back to my roots as a guitarist is something I feel I must get back in touch with, because I want to be true to myself as an artist.
Thank you for visiting my homepage and showing interest in my music.
2016. Your friend in music,
KeeWee -Lee Kyung Won