Like the song says, I hit the city and I lost my band. I know that some of you don’t understand.

I moved back from China two years ago but sometimes I miss my brother Woodie Wu in the most profound ways. I’d give anything to be able to pop over and have a quick jam with Mr Wu Mengke right now.

As discussed in Big in China, Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” became our band’s signature way of saying good bye to departing friends – and they departed all the time in such a transitory community. We worked the song up with a totally new arrangement and in a way that often made it feel like our most original song – even more so than the 10 or so songs we wrote together.

Once we decided to leave and I was playing my last frenzied runs of shows, the song took on a much heavier meaning for me; I was saying good bye to everything i loved about my life in Beijing, very much including my wonderful band. Below is a nice video of us performing “You’re Gonna Make Me LOnesome when YOu Go,” though it is far from our finest effort. I think it may have been the very first time we played it with this arrangement. It is the great hutong bar, Jianghuy Jiuba.

6 replies
  1. The Price of Tea
    The Price of Tea says:

    Hi from Beijing. I just finished you book, literally. It made me laugh and made me cry…on many levels. I, too, am writing a memoir about my family's expat experience in China, though it is set in Shanghai (we have since moved to BJ)…currently publishing it at
    I'm wishing I was here when you were…I'd love to hear some good old fashioned blues. Spent Easter with some friends who live at the Riv with a creepy Easter Bunny, too.

  2. alanpaul
    alanpaul says:

    Thank you. I will cruise over and check out your site and ongoing memoir.

    I would appreciate if if you spread the word about Big in China, around Beijing and elsewhere. Recommendations from expats in China are particularly welcome.

  3. The Price of Tea
    The Price of Tea says:

    Already started. Susan Conley (The Foremost Good Fortune) will be here in June for a reading at the Bookworm. Any plans for you?

  4. alanpaul
    alanpaul says:

    Thanks. susan is working it really hard. I curtailed if for the next six weeks because my son jacob's bar mitzvah is coming up, and the movie deal sort of ate my time. I am plotting a fall trip and will make sure you and everyone I can think of know. Probably September.

  5. theo
    theo says:

    alan – the video clip… is this the night that the guy from the wsj was shooting? i remember thinking then that the music, venue, vibes were all particularly good that evening.


  6. alanpaul
    alanpaul says:

    Thanks Theo. No, that was a lot later.. when I returned to Beijing for the Cd tour..May 2009… this was March 2008, and we were just working this out.. i think you guys were there this night… intense times, in the middle of Tibet uprising…


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