In The Meantime… 

Canadian punk legends SNFU back in Whistler

snfu.jpg

Who: SNFU with Removal and Married To Music

What: The Punk Night

Where: Boot Pub

When: Sunday, Aug. 14

Open up your mouth and say SNFU, Whistler.

The Edmonton-spawned legends of hardcore skatepunk are coming back this weekend to play, what else, The Punk Night at the Boot Pub.

With a history tracing back to the cold, dark winters of early 1980s E-Ville the band, now based out of Vancouver, has weathered a dozen lineup incarnations, several different label associations and has nine full-length, seven-word-titled albums to its name, the most recent being 2004’s In The Meantime And In Between Time (count ’em – seven) on the band’s own Rake Records.

Along with the trademark seven word titling, there’s two more things about SNFU that haven’t changed over the years: guitar player Marc (Muc) Belke, and the enigmatic front man known by the creepy anthropomorphic moniker Mr. Chi Pig – described by Belke himself to be the heart and soul of the band.

Muc would know better than anyone that the endurance of SNFU owes to the enduring fascination with Chi – a curious, energetic being part Ninja, part leprechaun and part pit-viper – who has retained the ability to exert a cult-like hold over each new generation of punk kids.

"When you have had as many lineup changes as we’ve had… it’s pretty ridiculous," Belke told Pique in 2004. "In regards to Chi, his presence is so unique, he’s the one key component to SNFU. If he wasn’t in the band it wouldn’t really be SNFU."

On paper the band seems not long for this world. The album count is sufficient, the history long and storied. And while commercial success has for the most part evaded them – a contract with U.S. label Epitaph evaporated after Belke said the band rebelled against pressures to sound like an "Epitaph band" – they have street-level respect, that bittersweet measure of success in the underground.

On the business side of things, "SNFU has probably done everything wrong that we could do," Belke has said. "Building a good foundation with a record label is really important and we managed to do just two records with a label and skip off and do three records with another label and skip off."

Ironically, if it’s true that the band’s existence is tied to its front man, their chronic belligerence has likely been the key to the SNFU longevity. Chi appears incapable of towing anyone’s line. As Belke once described: "Chi is the real thing. The total embodiment of sticking to your guns and just doing whatever you want, regardless of what people think… That’s sort of what SNFU represents. It’s doing your own thing."

At present, there is no official end in sight for SNFU but when a hardcore band lives past the 20-year mark you always have to wonder if the next show will be the last.

With this band, however, things have never been what they seem. As Chi told Pique in January 2004 before a show with side project Slaveco: "As long as I’m still alive, there’s going to be an SNFU show somewhere."

For all punk fans know, this guy could live to be 500 years old, fronting a band of mutants and giant cockroaches in a post-apocalyptic world, creating ever more seven-word titled manifestos, belligerent eternal.

Joining SNFU at the Boot on Sunday is Vancouver hardcore band Married To Music and longtime punk/metal instrumental band Removal.

The following Sunday night, Aug. 21, The Punk Night hosts Vancouver bands Side 67 and The Excessives as an after-party for that afternoon’s Bowl Series comp at the Whistler skatepark.

For more information on shows at the Boot call 604-932-3338.

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