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The Flowers (Chinese band)

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The Flowers (Chinese band)

The Flowers
From left to right: Guo Yang, Shi Xingyu, Da Zhang Wei, Wang Wenbo
Background information
Also known as 花儿乐队
Origin Beijing, China
Genres Mandopop, pop punk
Years active 1998–2009
Labels EMI Music China, SH Push Typhoon, New Bees Music
Past members Da Zhang Wei
Guo Yang
Wang Wenbo
Shi Xingyu

The Flowers, (simplified Chinese: 花儿乐队; traditional Chinese: 花兒樂隊; pinyin: Huār Yuèduì), were a Chinese mandopop pop punk band formed in Beijing in 1998. The band consisted of Dà Zhāng Wěi (lead vocals, guitar) (大张伟), Shí Xǐngyŭ (guitar) (石醒宇), Guō Yáng (bass guitar) (郭阳), and Wáng Wénbó (drums, percussion) (王文博). The Flowers recorded and released six studio albums before splitting up in 2009.

History

Zhang Wei, Guo Yang and Wang Wenbo met while attending high school. During their early career, they played music in the style of pop punk that was reminiscent of American pop punk bands such as Green Day and Blink-182 who were the group's influences. The band first began playing in local bars and smoky clubs around Beijing. Unable to hide their hunger for commercial success, the band became somewhat aloof from the scene and often derided in some quarters for their attitudes. The trio first signed on to a small Beijing-based Chinese independent label, New Bees Music in 1998. A year later, the band released their debut studio album, On the Other Side of Happiness. The album turned out to be a surprise hit as the accessible nature of songs like "Stillness", "Disillusion" and "School's Out" from the album made the band perfect for the music market they had wished to conquer. The band were somewhat credited for helping to give disaffected Chinese youths a resonant voice, as many of them were deeply affected by their songs and felt that the band's lyrics reflected their own life experiences. As a result, punk music in general became more widely known in China.

In light of the band's commercial impact, some over enthusiastic commentators even went as far declaring The Flowers as the true bringers of punk to the Chinese. They pointed out that fans had previously found even the acoustic grunge of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York difficult to comprehend.

The Flowers became involved in a two-year long lawsuit with their first company, New Bees Music. The dispute almost brought the band to a premature end, but was eventually settled out of court. The Flowers marked the end of their purgatory by signing to EMI in 2001 and bringing in a fourth member, guitarist Shi Xingyu. By this time, the band had become tired of the simple but effective music which had made them popular. The band was looking to diversify its sound.

The Flowers recorded and released their third album I Am Your Romeo in July 2004. On I Am Your Romeo, The Flowers experimented with various musical styles including plagiarism when it was discovered that they had copied at least 12 of their songs from various foreign artists including the song "Xi Shua Shua," which was most under fire due to its similarities to Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi's song "K2G". Under the credit of lead singer Zhang Wei, he and representatives of EMI admitted in an official statement to the press that while the songs were not plagiarised, there were some flaws in the songs. So far, none of the artists have responded to the issue. Because of the media buzz surrounding the band and to avoid disputes and authentication problems, the Flowers chose to stay away from all music award ceremonies, dropping out of all music award competitions for the rest of 2006. Contrary to his belief, Zhang Wei claims he listens to hundreds of songs every week and when he writes the songs, some melodies come naturally without having to manifest their origins. Zhang Wei claimed to the press that he and his bandmates have so many tunes - from having listened up to 100 songs per day - stored in their heads that they "have no time to identify, revise and remove" ones which aren't theirs.[1] Later in the year, the band released their fifth studio album, Hua Tian Xi Shi in September 2006.

Fighting incident

In 2007, the band once again made headlines. Following the plagiarism scandal nearly a year before, The Flowers were seen eating at a restaurant in Beijing near Chaoyang Park. The group were seen talking and soon started arguing with one another. What began as loud talking led into a fight when Zhang Wei hit another band member and shoved another man who was trying to intervene, the report said. This whole scene was captured on cell phone by a man nearby who was also in the restaurant with his girlfriend. The band's label admitted that there was a dispute, claiming that it was all because they had different views on the band's upcoming album. According to a senior official from the record company, Zhang Yi, the quarrel began when Zhang Wei and another fellow band member expressed differences on the sound of the record. Zhang even added that the band felt very pressured during the recording after having been involved in a plagiarism scandal. Some have even questioned whether the fight was a mere publicity stunt to promote sales for the upcoming album, but Zhang Yi stated that the band was too busy to do so.[2]

Hua Ling Sheng Hui (2007-2009)

The Flowers would soon release their sixth full-length studio album, Hua Ling Sheng Hui, or Flower Age Pageant in September 2007. The songs were very much different from the band's previous efforts as the group had gone deeper into their Chinese roots incorporating elements of upbeat music, ballads and dance-pop. In an interview, Zhang Wei explained his motive was to incorporate traditional Chinese performances and cultural treasures to the younger audience hoping they would enjoy the bouncy feel of their first single off the album, "Qiong Kaixin" (or "Shiny Happiness") and, at the same time embrace traditional Chinese culture. The same year, The Flowers received the award for Best Mainland Band at the China Music Awards.[3] Most recently, The Flowers were asked to write and perform a Mandarin version of the theme song of the hit Disney film High School Musical 2 which the group happily agreed to.[4] The band had also expressed interest in movie acting and at the time were preparing for a New Year film celebrating 2009 where they would play street rowdies of ancient Beijing who get involved in comical situations.

Shi Xingyu leaves, break-up and solo careers

It was announced by the Flowers' record label that the band's guitarist, Shi Xingyu, had parted ways with the group in July 2008 after seven years with the group.[5] The band was holding a talent competition in Beijing with 50 contestants competing to be a new member of The Flowers. The winner would have been able to participate in the recording of the band's new album and its upcoming 10th year anniversary concert tour. However, on 21 June 2009, the Flowers eventually decided to go their separate ways. After the band's break-up, Zhang Wei embarked on a solo career, releasing his debut solo album in August 2009.

Members

Da Zhang Wei

Da Zhang Wei (born Zhang Wei) on 31 August 1983 in Beijing. His inspirations are Green Day, Ramones, and Nirvana, and his favorite bands and singers include Blink-182, Geri Halliwell, Missy Elliott, and Eminem. He likes art, performing, eating fast food, and socializing and dislikes basketball.

Shi Xingyu

Shi Xingyu, nicknamed Xiao Yu (小宇), (born 11 January 1983). Xingyu was the last to join the band in 2001. His favorite bands include Blink-182 and Smash Mouth. He enjoys reading Doraemon.

Guo Yang

Guo Yang (born 29 May 1978) in Beijing, and like Da Zhangwei, also sees Green Day and Nirvana as sources of inspiration. He dislikes chatting and being waken by a phone.

Wang Wenbo

Wang Wenbo (born 22 October 1982) in Beijing. His inspirations are Green Day, The Cure, and Nirvana. He likes sleeping and listening to music and dislikes being messy and making mistakes during performances.

Discography

  • Next to Happiness (1999) (幸福的旁边, Xingfu de pangbian)
  • Strawberry Statement (2001) (草莓声明, Caomei shengming)
  • I Am Your Romeo (2004) (我是你的罗密欧, Wo shi ni de luomiou)
  • Blooming Dynasty (2005) (花季王朝, Hua ji wang chao)
  • Hua Tian Xi Shi (2006) (花天囍世)
  • Flower Age Pageant (2007) (花龄盛会, Hua Ling Sheng Hui)

References

  1. ^ Bloom off the Flower over Plagiarism
  2. ^ Video Shows 'The Flowers' Fighting - china.org.cn
  3. ^ The Flowers - From punk pop to hip hop | Culture | Radio86 - All about China
  4. ^ Yuan Yuan. "Blooming Pop". Beijing Review. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Huaer holds competition for new band member_English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 

External links

  • (Chinese) The Flowers @ Sina.com
  • (Chinese) Official Blog
  • (Japanese) The Flowers @ Yaogun.com
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