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The Chi way or the highway



SNFU show a celebration of belligerence

By Shelley Arnusch

Who: SNFU with Moneen, Full Blast & The Antithesis

Where: Garfinkel’s

When: March 31

Tickets: $10-$15

"As long as I’m still alive, there’s going to be an SNFU show somewhere."

— Mr. Chi Pig quoted in Pique Newsmagazine, Jan. 16, 2004.

Earlier this week CBC.ca pop culture columnist Dan Brown posed the question "When does a band stop being a band?" in regards to the upcoming release of new material by British supergroup The Who.

Or, he argues, The Who-half. With legendary drummer Keith Moon "The Loon" and bass player John Entwistle both long gone from the world stage for "the great rock ’n’ roll hall of fame in the sky," just who are The Who anyway?

No one is dead, but in a sense, the question applies to iconic Canadian punk band SNFU, set to headline a high-octane show of punk-metal craziness at Garfinkel’s this Wednesday night.

Who, exactly are SNFU?

Go to the bio page on the official SNFU Web site and there’s a mockingly long list, 17 names strong, of former members with lineups numbered "Mach 1" to "Mach 10."

That’s not including the present lineup touring on account of full-length album No. 9 In The Meantime And In Between Time . SNFU Mach 11, let’s call them.

Longtime fans of the band probably just finished counting, confirming yes, there are indeed seven words in the title, a quirk the band has maintained since recording 1985’s debut And No One Else Wanted To Play .

"I don’t even know if there’d be enough excuses to not have a seven word title," says guitar player and original band member Marc Belke.

Aside from Belke and the seven-word album titles, there is one more constant throughout the band’s tumultuous 22-year on-again-off-again history: the enigmatic frontman two generations of raw skate punk fans know only by the creepy anthropomorphic moniker Mr. Chi Pig.

"When you have had as many lineup changes as we’ve had, I think we’ve had at least 10 different lineup changes, it’s pretty ridiculous," muses Belke. "But I sort of think, in regards to Chi, he’s such a unique performer and his presence is so unique, he’s the one key component to SNFU. If he wasn’t in the band it really wouldn’t be SNFU."

It’s rare to find a guitar player who actually supports frontman syndrome – the bane of both real and fictional bands – but in Belke’s case, it’s completely understandable. Part evil leprechaun, part Ninja, part pit viper, Chi’s always been the most intriguing figure in punk rock, exerting a cult-like hold over his legions of fascinated fans with each sinister cock of the head.