As the Hangzhou G20 summit edges nearer, a wave of clampdowns is crashing down on China’s art and music scene. Concert approval procedures are tightening up, foreign artists are finding it even tougher to get performing permits and live-houses are faced with stricter rules on who they can and can’t book. Regardless of how tight things are getting, these restrictions haven’t done much to keep the underground music scene quiet for 2016, especially the punk scene. Highlighted by Celtic punk rockers SMZB's (生命之饼) newest video release, 10,000 Ways to Rebel, their latest anthem which is a as much a tribute to the rebellious punk spirit as it is a tribute to China’s most famous skinhead.
Keeping a low profile is never something that came naturally to the veteran rockers from China’s ‘punkest city’, Wuhan. Their latest single and music video, ’10,000 ways to Rebel’, is no exception. The video, released on the 5th of May, is as a defiant tribute to the punk community and to everything that being punk entails. At the same time as striking a chord of defiance, the video strikes on a more touching note as it runs through a tribute to the life of one China’s most famous punks, Mi San Dao’s frontman, Lei Jun, who died one year earlier on the same date the video was released.
SMZB's Wu Wei (right) with Mi San Dao’s Lei Jun (middle) who sadly died of a heart attack on 5th May 2015, aged just 39.
**Picture taken from SMZB's official Weibo account**
The song opens with a hoarse yet melodic chant from lead singer, Wu Wei, and is followed by SMZB's familiar brand of explosive Celtic-fused punk rock chorus (for those of you haven't heard SMZB before, think the love child produced from a Dropkick Murphy, Flogging Molly and Rancid orgy). When the song kicks in the video begins its montage of cameo appearances from 27 Chinese punk bands from 19 different provinces across China, each shown energetically yelling a line from the song. The roster of cameos includes stalwarts, such as Demerit (过失), Old Doll and to the relatively new bands, such as Dalian’s The Tough Kids.
10,000 Ways to Rebel is more than just a tribute to Beijing’s most famous skinhead. It's a homage to the entire Chinese punk scene, past and present. Not just a homage, but a dispatch to the scene to keep their fists clenched and to embrace being a square peg in a round hole and to fight for their right to do so. On the face of it, the message of holding true to yourself and not being shaped by the society around you is a standard punk motto, however, doing so in a society where the very concept of rebelling is against the socialist guidelines its built upon, shows that this song is more than just about being proud to be punk. It’s about standing up for what you believe in and never giving up finding ways to keep standing tall.
SMZB’s latest album is due for release towards the end of summer, 2016, with a tour to follow in September/October. Rumor has is the band are also planning a European tour for this year. We'll get back to you on the details of that.
Listen to SMZB!
SMZB Official Douban: https://site.douban.com/smzb/ (Scroll down to see a list of all the bands tracks)
SMZB Official Weibo Account: http://weibo.com/smzb?refer_flag=1001030101_
SMZB Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smzb8964/?fref=nf