Mr. Chi Pig of SNFU performs at International Beer Haus, Thursday

Mr. Chi Pig and his legendary punk band SNFU could play You Make Me Thick along with other hardcore anthems in Red Deer next week.

Mr. Chi Pig and his legendary punk band SNFU could play You Make Me Thick along with other hardcore anthems in Red Deer next week.

The Edmonton-born Vancouver-based group, which performs Thursday Aug. 25 at the International Beer Haus, has gone through an impressive roster of more than 30 musicians since forming in 1981.

The one constant has been lead singer Ken Chinn, known to fans as Mr. Chi Pig.

Chinn grew up Asian and gay in Edmonton. He was an outsider, who credited The Sex Pistols with fuelling his growing escapist interest in punk music in the late 1970s. Like those seminal English punkers, Chinn also came from a troubled background. He was the second oldest of a dozen children in a family that was destabilized when his father was sent to jail when Chinn was 12.

His mother suffered from schizophrenia and remarried an abusive man. Chinn described his stepfather as a weekend alcoholic. At some point, Chinn also began hearing voices in his head, which would have a profound impact on his songwriting.

In 1981, he formed the band Society’s No F—king Use (better known as SNFU) along with twin brothers Marc and Brent Belke, whom he met through the skateboarding subculture.

If the Belkes had the work ethic, business savvy and talent to succeed, then Chi Pig had the charisma and driving need to make music.

He stated after yet another shake up of the group’s musicians, that SNFU will always live on. “These songs are my life. I’ll f—king play them ‘til I die.”

The band first rose to North American influence with its debut studio album …And No One Else Wanted to Play from 1985. The recording was called a “scorcher” for pushing the limits of musical energy and “excitement.”

It wasn’t long before musicians began dropping from exhaustion — including original drummer Evan C. Jones, who left the band for health reasons. A series of other instrumentalists also bowed out, either due to the punishing performances, musical differences or internal tensions.

SNFU had been rising the crest of fame, touring with the Dead Kennedys, Youth Brigade, Dayglo Abortions and Voivod. But discord led to the group disbanding in late 1989, after the album Better Than a Stick in the Eye. During this time, Chinn relocated to Vancouver, started a few short-lived groups, experimented with drugs and began to openly identify with being gay.

He was invited back for a successful SNFU reunion tour in 1991. The re-invigorated band signed with Epitaph Records, attained six-digit sales with its new albums, and toured with Green Day and Bad Religion.

But 2001, SNFU went on hiatus after the departure of yet more band members and the end of its deal with Epitaph. This was an off-and-on period for the group. SNFU reformed to create the album In the Meantime and In Between Time, which got rave reviews in 2003. But the group again disbanded in 2005, with Chinn descending into depression, poverty, addiction and, ultimately, homelessness.

Work on a solo album likely saved Chinn’s life. He agreed to start taking meds for his mental illness, entered assisted living and a drug treatment program for his crystal meth addiction.

He and former SNFU bassist Ken Fleming, who had switched to guitar, began playing sets of SNFU material with a new rhythm section in 2007. They decided to reform the band, leading to a third incarnation of SNFU, which toured Europe, Canada and Central America in 2007, while continuing to record new material.

The group has stayed active ever since — albeit with an evolving roster.

The band has been the subject of a biography (…What No One Else Wanted to Say by Chris Walters) and a documentary (Open Your Mouth and Say… Mr. Chi Pig, by Prairie Coast Films).

Fans might hear some of their favourite SNFU songs played in Red Deer, such as Painful Reminder, about a boy’s romantic obsession with his homeroom teacher, She’s Not on the Menu, or Drunk on a Bike.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $15 from www.ticketfly.com or the venue.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw addressed vaccine uptake and the COVID-19 situation in the province Tuesday. (File photo by Government of Alberta)
Red Deer down to 817 active cases of COVID-19

Province reports 1,449 new cases

Red Deer Rebels goalie Chase Coward tries to find a loose puck during WHL action at the Centrium earlier this season. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Changes on the horizon for Red Deer Rebels next season

New coach, roster adjustments among top priorities for Sutter this offseason

Renovations and construction have begun at Red Deer Dream Centre. (Photo contributed)
Renovations underway at Red Deer Dream Centre

Christian-based addictions treatment centre

Red Deer County's municipal planning commission gave approval for a new directional sign for a business located near Elnora.
(Image from Red Deer County)
Red Deer County garden centre and winery gets sign approved

Delidais Estate Winery and DA Gardens is located near Elnora

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer County approves home-based hair salon

Salon would be located in rural residential area just west of Innisfail

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Labour Minister Harry Bains arrives at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, June 26, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File
‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

This photo provided by World Food Prize shows Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted.  On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Thilsted was named this year's recipient of the $250,000 World Food Prize, which was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize researchers who have improved the quality and availability of food. (Finn Thilsted/World Food Prize via AP)
World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

FILE - Norman Lloyd, executive producer of Hollywood Theater, a series of high-class dramatic shows seen on affiliated stations on the Public Broadcasting Service, poses for a photo on Dec. 26, 1974, in Los Angeles. Lloyd, the distinguished stage and screen actor known for his role as a kindly doctor on TV's "St. Elsewhere," has died at 106. Manager Marion Rosenberg said the actor died Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)
‘Saboteur,’ ‘St. Elsewhere’ star Norman Lloyd dies at 106

‘Saboteur,’ ‘St. Elsewhere’ star Norman Lloyd dies at 106

A Palestinian man inspects the rubble of a partially destroyed residential building after it was hit by Israeli missile strikes, at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, early Tuesday, May. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire as confrontation escalates

Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire as confrontation escalates

Heidi Illingworth, federal ombudsman for victims of crime, takes part in an interview at her office in Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Watchdog worries federal benefit for parents of missing, murdered kids going unused

OTTAWA — The federal ombudsman for victims of crime says she remains… Continue reading

Most Read