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March 6, 2014

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Punk pioneer Paul Collins brings his beat to China

This weekend brings a chance to see a true legend and punk pioneer whose influence is recognized by groups such as Green Day.

Through March 15, US punk veterans The Paul Collins Beat will undertake a 10-show China tour.

On Saturday, it will play at Yuyintang in Shanghai.

“We are so excited to be able to come and play our music for the Chinese people. This is my first trip to China and for me it is the trip of a lifetime,” says frontman Paul Collins through e-mail. “We will give the best of my rock ’n’ roll, songs that I have written over the last 30 years, from my beginnings with The Nerves and then The Beat right up until now. We hope to have everyone dancing and singing along.”

The tour is organized by Round Eye, a Shanghai-based punk group that brought MOTO and Daikaiju to China.

The American power pop group will not only play some of the main cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing, but also some less-known ones like Kunshan, Suzhou, Wuhan and Hefei. The tour will be an adventure, with the band visiting smaller cities that many international touring acts never get the chance to see.

As one of the originators of the power pop genre and one of the first musicians to introduce punk rock to a wider audience, Collins founded the band in the late 1970s.

Collins spent his pre-teens living in Greece, Vietnam and Europe before returning to his native New York.

He studied at the prestigious Julliard Music School and eventually moved to San Francisco, where he joined songwriter Jack Lee and bassist Peter Case to form The Nerves in 1974.

The Nerves proved to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning US punk rock scene. After it disbanded in 1977, Collins moved to Los Angeles and formed The Beat.

The Beat toured with The Police, The Jam and Joe Jackson. They also made numerous TV appearances and recorded their debut self-titled album with producer Bruce Botnick. The album featured Beatles- and Byrds-influenced guitars and catchy choruses, defining the skinny-tie power pop that The Knack took to the charts.

In the 1990s, The Beat re-formed as The Paul Collins Beat, continuing an amazing musical legacy with a new lineup that features Juancho Lopez (bass), Manolo Cahuchola (guitar) and Christopher Bongers (drums).

In 2011, the legendary band Green Day launched the American Idiot Broadway Musical Production. Each night included a live rendition of the song “Walking Out On Love,” which was written by Collins.

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is an outspoken fan of the song. To celebrate the success of the musical, The Paul Collins Beat joined Green Day on stage for live performances in New York.

“I met Billy Joe a while ago and he was the nicest guy you could ever meet. He was so happy to meet me that he invited me to play ‘Walking Out On Love’ with the band on stage,” Collins says. “Because it is such a short song, we did it three times in a row. That was a big night for me.”

Now, Collins and the band are looking forward to meeting as many Chinese rockers as they can.

“I love the fact that rock ’n’ roll is worldwide and I hope to come back home with many new friends in China,” Collins says. “Please come to our shows. We want to meet all of you and make friends. We hope you like the kind of rock ’n’ roll we play and we hope that this will be the first trip of many,” he adds.

Date: March 8, 9pm

Venue: Yuyintang, 851 Kaixuan Rd

Admission: 80 yuan at door, 60 yuan for presale, 40 yuan for students


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