"Made in China" Has new meaning with a twist of Canadian in the mix

Made In China

Story:Bill Delingat

In the early 50’s “Made in China” was known as a stamp on the bottom of cheap goods brought in as competition to the more expensive North American original items. In the ever changing World market, “Made in China” is commonly known as one of the phrases associated  with world economics.

The China growth also includes the entertainment industry which is booming as well. Right in the main stream is a band called M.I.C. who are burning up the stages on television and “live houses”. Where did this new artist originate from? Hong Kong, No, Beijing, wrong again, Canada, right on!

Yvon Serré, the leader ,writer ,guitarist and front man of M.ade I.n C.hina was born in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 8 and within three years was playing lead in his first band ‘Love Boat’ and at the ripe old age of 14, was writing his own songs and playing in bands such as  ‘The Junior Beatles’ ,’Rock Wizard’ and ‘Thalassa.’ Serré quickly progressed to performing at major rock clubs with his off the wall stage antics.

It was at one of these gigs in Montreal at The Club Soda that the band was spotted by producer Denis Pantis who signed them to his label “Les Disque Millionare /Rockbec” where the band released a single and went on the road to support it. Serré soon formed the “Yvon Serré Groupe” , but this time wrote all original material.

The first album was produce by Pierre "Baz" Bazinet known for working with Sass Jordan, Luba, and Celine Dion .Since signing his first big deal at 23, Serré has gone on to make 5 albums, appeared on TV shows and received some rotating radio airplay . Serré became known for his outrageous stage shows of the mid-90’s, often performing  on stilts dressed up as a clown while playing the guitar.

The band then changed name yet again to M.I.C. and has had connections in China since 2004 when Serré was invited to perform for the prestigious 55th Anniversary of the Liberation of Chengdu concert in Dujiangyan. The event was televised across the country to millions of viewers and in 2008 the band went on to a national tour in support of the first M.I.C.  album release.
After some personnel changes, a follow up album dropped in 2010, and now here’s their 3rd CD “3rd Degree”. Despite numerous lineup changes, the band’s basic sound has remained the same — kind of like Van Halen meets the Romantics. They’ve just recently opened a show for renowned Chinese Pop stars: Wang Feng, An Youqi & Xian Zion on another live TV broadcast. Their first and 2nd CD received airplay across Europe: France, Germany, England and Spain. They have also received rave reviews in major European magazine as well as countless webzines.

This international quintet of talented performers is made up of:
Japanese bassist Uchida Yuuji: An amazing and talented bass player and the album’s mix bring his bass lines straight up to the forefront of the songs.
British drummer Tommy Burke: is a solid drummer, not overly flashy and always in control
Dave Smith on Keyboards: not all songs have keys however Smith is a valuable contributor to the group’s sound.
Angela Renzetti. Back up vocalist, Renzetti adds in the female quality of great backup vocals on many of the bands tunes and is charismatic on the live stage performances.
Serre: lead vocalist and guitar: Serre has a great voice for the music, described as a bit dry and somewhat raspy. He has a great and natural range. His guitar style has big hooks and catchy rhythms — and he holds his own during the relatively short solos. Serre has also done the majority of the songwriting for the band.

M.I.C. plays music that spans genres from early ‘80s classic rock to modern power-pop and delivers 12 tracks of pure fun. Like a summer “popcorn” movie, you don’t need to take them too seriously or think hard about their music or message as their material harkens back to a simpler time. This album is simple, basic rock and roll.  Hard Rock Haven has described the CD as “Nicely mixed and engineered, 3rd Degree is easy on the ears. The vocals and instruments are well balanced and clear throughout, and the bass is prominent but not dominant, emphasizing the rhythm lines without being a distraction. No one performer takes over the music (although Yuuji’s bass talents come close), and the CD as a whole has a warm and natural tone.”

The band recently played an event in Chongging and Cashbox got an update from Serre on the event.

Cashbox: How was the trip up to Chongging?
Serré: We had to leave at 9 am to take the Speed train from Chengdu to Chongqing, which takes about 2 hours. The train is new this year and saved a lot of time although from Chongqing we were picked up in a van and drove about an additional 2 hours to Wansheng. From there we drove another hour or so up the narrow mountain roads with lots of traffic and a driver that was in a real hurry to get us there. What a roller coaster ride this turned out to be and in + 38C as well. When we arrived they gave us a lunch and our rooms to rest up before our sound check set for 5 pm. Everything went as planned and we rested up for our 8 pm start.
Cashbox: How was the concert?
Serré:  We were one of several other bands opening up for “Beyond” a famous Hong Kong band popular not only in China but also Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. A great band with only a couple of the original members left since the singer died in 1993.  We got backstage and waited for our turn, there were lots of fans around and we signed autographs and took some pictures with the fans. We did a blistering short 20 minute set and had the huge crowd going as a lot of people knew us and our songs. After we finished our set, we went back in the green room where we could see the stage and watch the rest of the concert. It was a great and tiring day and we spent the rest of the time taking more pictures with the pretty ladies around and enjoyed the rest of the show.
Cashbox: What can we expect next from M.I.C.?
Serré: "The best is yet to come!”, "Look out for a much-improved M.I.C. another CD and more touring for me and the boys!"