Whether it be a school play, a big presentation or a keynote speech at a Brony convention — we all have cause to suffer from acute stage fright now and again. Not everyone, however, is able to execute an incredible drum solo, vomit on stage, carry on drumming with indefatigable aplomb and subsequently go insanely viral on the Interwebs. Translation: Sadly, we can’t all be Kelvin Cheung, O Music Nominee for Most F**ked-Up Live Performance Gone Viral.
Cheung, a college student from Vancouver, shot to Internet stardom after a video of his “Epic Drum Solo Fail” made it to the Web. For those who have not yet seen said vid, check it out here before we go any further.
A modern-day hero to bands like Real Estate (who shared Cheung’s video with us for WTF Wednesday), Cheung has enjoyed ample praise for his projectile performance.
After Cheung reached out to us — ecstatic about his O Music Awards nomination — the O Music Blog chatted with the young drummer about his hopes, his dreams and what happened that fateful, regurgitation-plagued evening.
Note to all casting directors out there: Cheung wants to be an actor. He also really likes Jeremy Piven, so if you’re reading, dude, toss a kid a tweet.
How do you feel about your nomination?
I wasn’t expecting it. But then again, I wasn’t expecting pretty much everything that happened with the video. Like it getting 1.5 million views and being on Ray William Johnson’s =3, on the front page of reddit and Break.com and everything.
So what was the story behind that day? What happened?
It was a final concert for this band camp at the end of the summer — I was part of the staff there. We’re like a tour band around British Columbia. We usually don’t get much time to eat at all before concerts and usually the food is cold food that’s packed to go. But it was the final concert, so our instructor was like, ‘We’ll treat the staff. You guys can have some fast food tonight.’
So then everyone got treated to Wendy’s or something like that. But I demanded that I have Burger King. So then I got a big Whopper meal. I guess it was the combination of inhaling such a big meal and the concert hall being super stuffy with barely any ventilation. I also have the tendency to not have the strongest stomach.
Had that ever happened during a performance before?
No. One and only. I found out that a week after that there was a Salmonella outbreak in meats, so maybe that had to do with it. There are some pretty funny comments that are made on the video about how I puked, though. Like, some comments were like, ‘He puked the nerd out of him,’ ‘He had so much awesome in him that he had to puke it out,’ and the funniest one, ‘He puked from eating all that p*ssy.’
So how did the video get so popular?
I uploaded it at the end of 2011 — pretty much New Year’s Eve. I decided to upload it after my friends had been egging me to do it for a long time. I posted it on Facebook and then my friends saw it and shared it with their friends. So it had a few hundred views the first few days. But then within a couple of weeks it was just getting more and more — thousands and thousands — and it really just grew exponentially and took off from there.
I guess the first big publicity I got from it would be that I found out it was on the front page of Break.com. My friends kind of predicted that it would go viral, but we never imagined what would happen next. My roommate decided to upload it onto reddit. A few people had already posted it onto reddit, but they hadn’t got much attention. But by coincidence and luck, my roommate uploaded it and his post was the one to get the most up-votes, and within just less than a couple of hours it got on the front page and it ended up being the top video on reddit.
When did you start playing drums?
I started playing when I was 12. Actually my first choice was the trombone, but then I was a really small kid and my music teacher was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to hit the higher notes because you have to slide the trombone. She was afraid that my arm wasn’t long enough. So then I guess the next coolest alternative was the drums.
Are you still playing? Are you still in the same band?
Not in the same band, no, but I still play once in a while. Definitely not as frequently. I would say that that performance was definitely the climax of my drumming days so far.
Got any offers from musicians to play with them?
No, I haven’t, but I did get some musical endorsements. A few indie bands tweeted me and posted about me. Tommy Lee tweeted me. I sent it to some well-known Internet personalities.
What was the coolest endorsement that the video got?
Definitely Kassem G when he hosted =3. That was one of the main targets to get word for the video. Ray Williams Johnson is the most-subscribed, most all time-viewed YouTube user in all of history. So that already had more than five, six million views. And of course, this is even more unreal and crazy.
Why do you think you should win this award?
Just from looking at it, other nominees — you have like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z and all those people — I guess I would say I deserve to win because I represent the guy next door. Sitting next to you in class. I would say I’m the most ordinary and casual of them all. I think maybe I’m the most relatable and down-to-earth.
So what’s next for you?
I’m still doing my undergrad, so I have a couple of years of school left and then I’m actually pretty torn about what I want to do after. One side of me wants to go into law, but then the other side of me is really interested in the entertainment industry. This exposure has motivated me — seeing the power of social media and the Internet and how much of a platform it is for anybody that wants to get out there and make a scene and effect social change.
Image courtesy of Kelvin Cheung