We have heard, and seen, yaogun on China Central Television. We have seen yaogun’s only real anthem reinvented in protest. We’ve even seen that anthem of anthems (“Nothing to My Name”) reinvented for the Idol set (2009’s Super Girl, the massively popular Chinese televised singing competition):
But we have gone from an age where yaogun, occasionally, is broadcast on television to an era in which brands now scamper after yaogun. And, in the spirit of the previous post, I give you, again, Anarchy Jerks.
The band known as Anarchy Jerks, Anarchy Boys and A Jerks, emerged in the late nineties as part of the Boredom Brigade, aka the Wuliao Jundui/Wuliao Contingent. They were all about the Oi!, to a fault – particularly on their contribution to the otherwise fantastic compilation that gathered the four bands together. You have, by now, hopefully caught the video window into the punk scene out of which they emerged in an earlier post. The band is back, and working on a new record.
But here’s where we shift from the band’s re-emergence to their commercial prospects.
In celebration of Ray-Ban’s 75th anniversary, the band – who seems to have settled on the name A Boys – performs a stripped-down version of one of their contributions to the 1998 Boredom Brigade compilation, “Loser’s Rock N’ Roll”:
And, turning to fellow Brigadiers Reflector: The trio recorded “You Are My Sunshine” for Yili’s Breakfast Milk:
Last year, Converse took two bands, and a skate team, to Austin for SXSW. Earlier this year, Subs, a band I’ve spent some time with in my day, was recently signed on for Adidas’s All Originals campaign.
And over at Beijing Daze, you can read about another Ray Ban artist and Armani’s entree into the fray.
This is one of those instances when you wonder about whether it’s good for the cause, or a sign of the End Times. International brands, and local ones too, are starting to see value in yaogun, and, as long as they’re paying a decent rate – which isn’t necessarily the case, and you can find more on that tip at China Music Radar’s summary of an interview done by Shanghai 24/7 on the subject – bands can’t be faulted for signing up. It’s not exactly new to the world, but it is new to yaogun, and we see the growing pains with ham-fisted branding of big events and general awkwardness.
Yaogun needs all the help it can get, and so we can only hope that ‘gunners be wary as they navigate these uncharted waters. And that the brands they sign on with – specifically, the agents that unite bands and brands, who are not known for their ability to spread the wealth – are paying for the privilege of aligning themselves with these rock bands.