The Flowers (Chinese band)
From left to right: Yang, Xingyu, Zhang Wei, Wenbo
|Also known as||花儿乐队|
|Past members||Da Zhang Wei
The Flowers, (simplified Chinese: 花儿乐队; traditional Chinese: 花兒樂隊; pinyin: Huār Yuèduì), were a Chinese rock 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.
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 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 became 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. They signed to EMI in 2001 and brought in a fourth member, guitarist Shi Xingyu. Strawberry Statement, the Flowers' second album was released in December 2001. By this time, the group 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 studio album, I Am Your Romeo in July 2004. On the album, the band experimented with various musical styles including hip hop and techno. The band seemed to be a long way from their punk roots but were as straightforward as ever in their ideals... or lack of them. Da Zhang Wei said, "We have to earn our living through music... Pleasing our fans is our reason for making music and we don't care about other things." The songs itself still remained fairly upbeat and the lyrics pretty direct, although Zhang Wei softened the tone moderately for some of the love related songs. The band released an impending song, "Xi Shua Shua", in 2005. The song became a hit on the mainland. It was included on the band's fourth studio album, Hua Ji Wang Chao, or Blooming Dynasty, released in July 2005. The album won numerous awards around China and sold some 200,000 copies in the forty days after its release and was considered a great success in the country's pop music scene. The Flowers made an appearance at the China Central Television's Lantern Festival gala show later that year. The group was also nominated by organizers of the Pepsi Music Chart Awards in China for awards in categories such as Best Arrangement, Best Lyrics, Best Composer and Best Rock 'n' Roll Band. The nominations were later canceled by the board of judges when plagiarism accusations involving the band came to light.
Plagiarism accusations and scandal
The band's increasing fame soon brought their works under closer scrutiny. The group suddenly found themselves accused of plagiarism when it was discovered that they had copied at least twelve 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", as well as "Hua Die Fei", which ostensibly sampled O-Zone's "Dragostea din tei". Under the credit of 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. 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. Later in the year, the band released their fifth studio album, Hua Tian Xi Shi in September 2006. In 2015, Belgian and Dutch media again reported of an overt case of plagiarism, this time regarding the song "Tong Hua Sheng Si Lian" which closely resembles the song "Heyah Mama" of the Belgian girl's band K3.
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.
Hua Ling Sheng Hui (2007-2009)
The Flowers would soon release their sixth 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. 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. The band 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
In July 2008, it was announced by the Flowers' record label that the band's guitarist, Shi Xingyu, quit the band after seven years with the group. Following Xingyu's departure, the band held a talent competition in Beijing with fifty 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 tenth 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.
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.
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 (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.
- 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)
- Bloom off the Flower over Plagiarism
- Video Shows 'The Flowers' Fighting - china.org.cn
- Niemi, Petra (7 March 2008). "'The Flowers - From punk pop to hip hop". gbtimes.com. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- Yuan Yuan. "Blooming Pop". Beijing Review. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "Huaer holds competition for new band member_English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2012-04-11.