• Steve Leggat
  • Jon Du of Taiwanese band Forests

I had my midlife crisis about 20 years early. After interning at the Reader in 2009 and 2010, I moved in spring 2011 to Taipei, Taiwan, to work for Groupon—and after realizing that the Taiwanese work ethic was somewhat less humane than the Free Beer Friday style of good ol’ Groupon USA, I quit and joined two bands.

Brash? Reckless? Yes and yes. But that’s what happens when you live in a tropical, earthquake-ridden island in the center of Asia that’s full of expats living the dream. (And by “dream” I mean earning triple what you do in half the time—some people pay $50 an hour for private English tutoring.) Getting involved in music is easy over there, friends. I’m not saying you should all quit your jobs and move to Asia, but also, you should all quit your jobs and move to Asia.

The Republic of China, Taiwan (ROC), lies off the southeast coast of China. It’s a place that seems to attract transients, and in the six months I was there half the people I met moved on to other countries. (Some never leave, though, and you can usually tell what year they came over by the size of their pant leg.) The music scene is small, incestuous, and enthusiastic—and when I told people I was from Chicago, they’d say, “Oh, like Cap’n Jazz and CSTVT!”