Chi Pig SNFU

 

Interview with Mr. Chi Pig from SNFU

Ahoi Chi, this is Astra from Germany. It´s so nice that you take the time doing this Interview with me. I wanted to do that Interview with you for a long time, so I´m glad I finally get the chance. Thank you for your Time, I really appreciate it.

So let´s start

First it would be nice for my readers to get an idea about Mr Chi Pig - Maybe you can tell us a few words about you, like a short Biography.

Astrid. I'm Kendall Steven Chinn , best know as Mr Chi Pig . I was born the 11th child of 12 on October 19 1962 in Edmonton Alberta Canada . I studied graphic design in my youth and commercial art . When I was 18 I started the band Live sex show . A year later in 1981 the Belke brothers and I started Snfu . I've been doing that my whole adult life , with a few breaks in between.

I know you´re half German, was your Mother born in Germany? Do you have Family over here in Germany?

No my mother was born in Canada to German immigrants and I'm not sure if I have any family in Germany.

3 Words:

Skateboard-Music-Art

What´s the connection for you?

That's a great question, all of those things are connected . All three of those things are a release . The aggression of punk rock is mirrored in skateboarding . The kind of art in attracted to takes risks and is thought provoking . It's a marriage of ideas I've been aware of for my whole life.

You met the Belkes through Skateboarding and started a band together called “Live Sex Shows” (1981). Who came up with the bandname? Followed by SNFU (Society´s No Fucking Use), why SNFU? What´s the story behind it?

Well the live sex shows was fun , it was like our first kick at the can . But the Belke's and I wanted to try something different and Evan c jones was the punkest kid we knew . So we started jamming with him and well as they say , the rest is history . I can't remember who came up with " live sec shows" but we figured it would stir up some controversy.

SNFU became a formative influence for the skate punk sub-genre. You were singing, writing the lyrics, doing the Artwork for the records etc. A lot of creative Stuff - where does the inspiration come from? All the words in your head for lyrics, the ideas for the Artwork? Have you ever dreamed of a Song that you later used on a record? Do you have a favorite place to write?

Well the words and images come to me all the time. I've had mental health issues since hit puberty and even though it can be scary at times I do in fact dream some melodies , or ideas for art . I'm influenced by my every waking moment .

You also served as a charismatic energetic frontman, wearing masks, having puppets and other stuff on stage, you played really crazy shows. Why was this stuff so important for the shows? Do you wanted to create a new Person on stage different to Ken Chinn? Or was it without any purpose?

Well performance is very important to me. You can't just get in front of an audience and play your songs , you have to perform them . Also it keeps it fun for me . I've played over 5000 shows in 30 years and I like to entertain myself onstage . The stage is my domain.

Over the years there were break up´s, it happened a lot during the years, new lineups…. Can you tell us a little bit about the different periods?

Well this is all I've ever done . I can be hard to be around and living in a tin can is hard for anyone . I've been blessed to have played with some of the best musicians in this band and I'm very greatfull . But the show must go on and people change , they get married , they have kids , they don't want to eat gas station food and sleep on floors all over the world . So from time to time I have new , or old friends join me to do this all again.

Lets talk about “Epitaph”, do you think it was good for you guys working with them? You had some differences at the time, something went wrong with the contract….

I do think working with epitaph was a good thing. The problem with the contract was I didn't understand the language . They signed a bunch of bands and measured success against rancid or the offspring . We where never going to be those bands . As great as they are I don't write " popular songs the way they do . So it was great for us at the time but I don't know if we where ever meant for a mass audience.

I saw SNFU in Arnsberg/Sauerland (my hometown) at the “Cult” be sure no one has seen a Show like this before. It’s a little Town, just 1 Club and mostly Punkrock Shows, but yours was very special. I remember this time (1995) very good, I was so excited to know more about you boys, so I talked to Marc after the Show, to make it short, the band members except you, wanted to see something else that night, they wanted to party, so I put them in my little little car and drove (drunk, holy shit, I broke my car) to the next Town to another Club. It was a fun night, I remember asking about you and they told me that you are “in the bus”, you were so quiet. Today I know, during this time you had really bad problems, your mom died, you had drug problems. How did this affect the relationship in the band at that time?

Well I had a nervous breakdown , I didn't know what to do except write and perform . The other guys didn't really know how to handle it either . It was a scary time but also probably our most creative period . That's a tough one.

It was the greatest industry prominence in your career, you enjoyed six-digit record sales and toured alongside successful punk rock acts like Green Day, Bad Religion and many more. What was it that made you want to sing, to travel, all this stuff that takes so much of the energy which you maybe didn’t have anymore?

No I didn't have a shortage of energy  and I don't know if we " enjoyed" those sales . We had better busses and better hotels but that ended up being the issue . We where touring like rock stars a bit but this band belongs in the van you know?

1997 Brent Belke and Dave Rees left the band, at that time, to be honest, I thought “That’s it SNFU” because it was the line-up I knew from the shows over here in Europe and I couldn’t really think about someone else doing their positions. I loved this lineup (1995)

The Shows were awesome, so much energy from all of you guys, so much enthusiasm. For me the best band for sure. I loved all the records you did, your voice was so unique, I never heard something like that before in combination with the shows, just awesome.

Do you felt like something was going to happen within SNFU?

Not really , I mean becoming a four piece was strange at first and Brent was such a huge part of our sound . But I've heard the same thing from people when Evan and jimmy left or Dave and Jon ( who have both been back in the last two years) or Curtis an ted . Everyone has a favourite era . Yours was the epitaph era apparently.

2003 you were releasing the 8. Studio Album, followed by touring until 2005. Then there was a cut again. Always ups and downs in the SNFU career, why was it so unstable?

Because I'm so unstable .

A lot happened in between, you had really bad health problems, lived on the streets, drugs … but you are still alive (which is wonderful). I always asked myself, what is it? What does it makes him so god damn strong? Maybe you can tell us what it is?

Haha well I've been very very weak actually , but I always find a way to pick myself up and people that help me and believe in me . That's how.

You came back, with Ken Fleming in your bag SNFU spent the next several years touring Europe, Canada and Central America, working on new stuff, without Marc Belke. For me one of the main person in SNFU, I couldn’t even think about a show without him. How about the fans, how was the reaction about it?

Are you still talking to Marc or the other old members sometimes?

Well Marc was a huge part of the band for over 20 years and moulded the sound , there's no doubt . Marc moved on , being in a punk band is hard . He decided to leave the company he helped build so obviously there are people that have different feelings about that . But what I've discovered is people love hearing those songs and want new ones . I have no shortage of great musician to help stay true to the snfu sound that's for sure . I haven't spoken to Marc since last summer but Dave bacon our new/ old bass player has , randy our guitar player and him talk .

What about the new members, who are they?

The current line up is Dave Bacon on bass he's from the if you swear era of the band 85-87 dirty Kurt from the Real Mckenzies ( fat wreckords ) Randy Steffes ( former snfu/ green day / Lagwagon sound man road dog and bif naked guitar player ) and Adrian white on drums ( Strapping Young Lad / Front Line Assembly ) .

A biographical documentary film about you entitled Open Your Mouth and Say... Mr. Chi Pig was released in March 2010. Produced by the Canadian company Prairie Coast Films and directed by Sean Patrick Shaul, the film reviews your life and career, containing interview footage with such notables as Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene and Joey Keithley of D.O.A.

I´ve seen the documentary and I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. All these nice people talking about you, you talking about yourself, it was so emotional for me. I think it´s one of the best documentaries I´ve seen about a musician so far.

How important was it for you? How were you feeling after you’ve seen it the first time?

That movie was emotional for me but I'm glad I did it . I'm fine with how it turned out and I got to heckle myself at the premiere , that was fun.

2011 the group managed to tour the following year in support of the band's first official biography, Chris Walter's ...What No One Else Wanted to Say, released via GFY Press.

I´m sorry but I couldn’t read the book because no one wanted to send it out here, I can´t order it in Europe. What do you think about the biography?

I'm glad someone did a biography of us , there's some parts that aren't quite accurate. I've know Chris the author a long time , he rushes a bit which is weird because he self publishes and doesn't have any real deadlines but overall it's good . You can actually order it in Europe from the snfu page at killthe8.com so no excuses ! Go order it! Ha .

Let´s start talking about your new Album, the first since 2004. What does it mean for you?

How has the creative process changed with the new lineup?

The new album is very special to me ,  I needed to prove to myself I still had it in me . And the world to some extent . The process was similar and the guys did a great job capturing the snfu sound . So I'm very proud of this record .

The Album comes out over here in November, so I could just listen shortly to some of the songs, but I have to say, I like it, a review will follow for sure.

Your voice changed over the years. Was it hard for you to work on the album or did it just come naturally?

It was hard to do , I've been very hard on myself all my life and it's taken it's toll . It's my voice , I'm a 51 year old man that's lived a hard life . If people expect me to be in my 20's forever they will be sadly disappointed . I suspect they use me and other artists they admire to stay attached to their youth and that's ok . But they aren't the same people either and I think that's the real issue . Let go my friends be what you are , not what you were . I'll do the same .

SNFU toured in Japan lately, was it the first time for you in Japan? Can you tell us about the shows, the crowd?

Japan was an amazing experience for me , the crowds were amazing , I can't wait to go back . Canada is always a good time . We're part of the cultural fabric here .

A little Canadian tour followed, how about that?

Well for the future we are going back to Europe in July and August then when I get back I'm doing an acoustic record ( DNFU distortion' s no fucking use ) some snfu classics and some new material . Then I'm going to do acoustic shows in Costa Rica in September and Southern California . Then over the winter snfu will start to write a new record I think . We also have a split record with death by stereo coming out sometime next year .

I want to say thank you Mr. Chi Pig for your precious time, for singing incredible great songs and for giving me still this warm feeling in my heart when I´m listening to SNFU. Always loved….

 

Astra

 

 

 

 

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