Chi Pig (real name Ken Chinn), iconic frontman of Canadian punk/melodic hardcore veterans S.N.F.U., has passed away at age 57. Cause of death is not yet known.
His longtime bandmate Dave Bacon broke the sad news on Facebook, writing, "On behalf of Ken’s family, to his punk rock family: It breaks my heart to say this, but our beloved friend has left this mortal coil just a short while ago. He is now at peace. May he live on in our hearts and memories forever."
Kerrang published a beautiful tribute to Chi Pig, which reads in part:
Born to a German mother and Chinese father, Kendall Chinn was the second of 12 children and endured a turbulent childhood. Watching the Sex Pistols on TV, his life was changed by the impact of punk rock and he renamed himself Mr Chi Pig as he formed his first band, Live Sex Shows.
In 1981 that band morphed into SNFU – Society’s No Fucking Use – and swiftly became key players in the burgeoning skate-punk scene in Vancouver and far beyond.
Chi’s charismatic presence and his eccentric performance style (which at times included masks and puppets) defined the band’s image as they released a string of three classic albums – …And No One Else Wanted To Play (1985), If You Swear You’ll Catch No Fish (1986) and Better Than A Stick In The Eye (1988). The band’s live schedule intensified as they toured relentlessly, playing shows throughout the U.S. and Europe.
[...] Splitting in 1989 due to inter-band conflict, SNFU reformed two years later and soon signed to Epitaph Records (then home to the likes of Pennywise, NOFX, Rancid and The Offspring). Three further albums followed – the most enduring of which is 1995’s The One Voted Most Likely To Succeed. Now viewed as elder statesmen by the so-called third wave of US punk bands, SNFU began to sell records as they toured with the likes of Green Day and Bad Religion.
Kerrang also points out that Chi said in an interview with Beat Route this past fall that he was ill and nearing death.
Fellow musicians have begun paying tribute. Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wrote: "Oh man. This breaks my heart. Chi Pig was one of the greatest front people I’ve ever seen. I saw SNFU at Gilman when I was 16. I thought he was going to jump through the ceiling. Super smart. Great lyrics. Amazing album titles. So funny. He had an amazing mask collection. lead singer for SNFU. What a bummer. Sending love to all the Edmonton and Vancouver punks. What a loss."
Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham wrote: "RIP Mr. Chi Pig. A front person on a different level and a Punk god. Thank you Ken Chinn for all you did."
88 Fingers Louie called him "an absolute legend and the greatest frontman ever."
Mike Patton (of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, etc) wrote, "Mr Chi pig , a dear friend from SNFU, has moved on . Wish you a good trip my brother. A HUGE influence on me. His vocal approach and ferocious stage attack was something that impacted me deeply."
Fishbone, Propagandhi, NOFX's Fat Mike, Operation Ivy's Jesse Michaels, Nardwuar and others paid tribute as well.
See their tributes and watch some classic S.N.F.U. live videos, as well as a more recent one and the trailer for the 2010 documentary on Chi Pig, below.
Rest in peace, Chi Pig.