SMZB 生命之饼 / SDL 死逗了 – « Sound Of Rebellion » (自由的声音), 2000

We already talked about Wuhan early punk bands, with the 2003 Wuhan punk compilation « Travel in Desert » (荒漠旅行), featuring SMZB 生命之饼, Si Dou Le (SDL) 死逗了, Polang 破浪, Disover and Big Buns. They were some of the most influential early punk bands in Wuhan, defining the sound of this city for more than a decade. Wu Wei (from SMZB), Zhai Hai (from SDL) and Zhu Ning (the drummer for virtually all the bands) were featured in Wang Shuibo documentary, « Never Release My Fist » (绝不松开我的拳头), on the history of Wuhan punk, I can’t recommend it enough. I also wrote something on Wuhan punk history if you want more background.

Except for this Wuhan punk compilation, there are very few records available of this era, especially for SDL, which has three tracks on « Travel In Desert » (« Say Yes or Say No », « 摩托青年 » and « 心灵敌人 »). There is also a SDL 7″ vinyl published in 2004 by the German record « Depraved and Devilish », entitled « A Dream in Our Hearts », which includes two of the already recorded song, « 摩托青年 » (« Motor Youth ») and « 心灵敌人 » (« Enemy in Your Soul »). 500 copies of this 2 track vinyl were released in support of SDL European tour in 2002 (the band broke up after the tour).

I was thus very happy to find, after years of searching, the split cassette tape between SMZB and SDL, published in 2000 by the same German label, « Depraved and Devilish » (they also released a vinyl of Fanzui Xiangfa 犯罪想法 and another of SMZB, see their website), entitled « Sound of Rebellion 自由的声音 » (which would normally translate into « Sound of Liberty »). This split cassette tape contains 13 SDL and 12 SMZB songs, a gold mine if you want to listen to SDL songs – and none of them were previously released! – recorded between 1999 and 2000. If SDL songs are totally new, you can find other versions of SMZB tracks, in their first 1999 cassette tape, « 你是该死的 » or their first CD album, « 50.000 » – but even SMZB songs are kind of new, since it’s another orchestration and rhythm. So here is the digitized version of the cassette tape, I am sorry for the audio quality, I did my best to transfer the tape from my Walkman to the computer:

Tracklist:

A1. SDL – Violence Against America
A2. SDL – China’s Burning
A3. SDL – I Want To Fuck You
A4. SDL – Beautiful Baby
A5. SDL – Bitter Fruit
A6. SDL – I’m Not A Punk
A7. SDL – Happy Birthday
A8. SDL – Never Compromise
A9. SDL – Kick
A10. SDL – He’s Your Doll
A11. SDL – Joke
A12. SDL – Untitled
A13. SDL – Change Brain
B1. SMZB – Safe Pagenant
B2. SMZB – Welcome To Fuck
B3. SMZB – I Won’t Do It
B4. SMZB – Steele Needle
B5. SMZB – Save Indite Assiciation
B6. SMZB – Pornographic War
B7. SMZB – Other’s Misery My Happiness
B8. SMZB – I’m Not Important
B9. SMZB – Clumsy Music Weekly
B10. SMZB – Childrens Song
B11. SMZB – You Are Over
B12. SMZB – Chinese Doll

SDL songs are very raw, dirtier than the three songs they previously released. We can find some similarities between SDL and SMZB’s early songs – which shouldn’t surprise us, since they shared members and were in the same Wuhan punk circle. For instance SDL « I Want to Fuck You » and SMZB « Welcome to Fuck », or more political songs, criticizing the Chinese government (as two of SDL songs, « China’s Burning », a variation of The Clash « London’s Burning », or « Change Brain » with its lyrics: « Red flag exchanges you / You don’t mind »), a typical theme of Wuhan punks. We can also find meta-songs about punk lifestyle in both bands (« I’m Not A Punk » and « Never Compromise » in SDL side, which reminds me of SMZB later song, « What’s Punk Rock« ).

A song that also very much interests me, is SDL first track, « Violence Against America ». It refers to the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999, killing three Chinese journalists and outraging the Chinese public. Large demonstrations were organized in several Chinese cities, with the participation of many young Chinese. Among them were a lot of underground musicians and artists. As Caroline Grillot relates in her very interesting article (in French) « Dixia Chengdu » on the Sichuan capital underground music circle, Chengdu underground musicians participated to the anti-US demonstration, throwing molotov cocktails on the US embassy, and organizing anti-US concerts at Chengdu’s Little Bar.

In short, this is for me a very important find, and for all those who are interested in Wuhan early punk music (well maybe not a lot of people), it is a piece of Chinese counter-cultural history!


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