SNFU at Sneaky Dee’s (431 College), Friday (March 19), 9 pm. $13.50. rotate.com.
Eight albums, 30 years and 20-odd members later, Ken "Mr. Chi Pig" Chinn, the only constant in SNFU's lineup, has earned the right to speak bluntly about the genre he's helped develop.
"I don't think there's much of a punk scene left," says Chinn from a noisy Montreal venue, where his veteran Edmonton/Vancouver punk band is about to perform.
"There are too many cookie-cutter bands. Some are doing it right, though. Calgary and Winnipeg have great scenes. [Winnipeg's] The Unwanted are amazing. And Montreal's Ab Irato."
Besides Chinn on vocals, the current lineup includes guitarist Ken Flemming, drummer Shane Smith and bassist Denis Nowoselski. The relationships are harmonious, including that with founding member/ex-guitarist Marc Belke, who had renounced the band's 2007 second reformation.
"Fortunately, everyone's happy and getting along, including Marc," Chinn says. "He recently sent me the entire SNFU back catalogue. Right now might be the strongest time in the band's history."
Since releasing their influential classic ...And No One Else Wanted To Play in 1984, SNFU's sound has shifted from traditional hardcore to a more melodic skate-punk style, most evident on 1996's FYULABA.
"You can only play the same stuff for so long," says Chinn, "and we wanted to go in a different direction. FYULABA and our first record are my favourite releases."
Though they have no plans for another album, like ex-labelmates Youth Brigade, they released a biographical documentary last year. Open Your Mouth And Say... Mr. Chi Pig (Prairie Coast) details the band's ascension through the hardcore ranks and Chinn's drug abuse and alleged schizophrenia, and features interviews with SNFU-influenced bands D.O.A., Dead Kennedys, Youth Brigade, Broken Social Scene and others.
"The Stern brothers [of Youth Brigade] started filming their documentary around the same time as us," explains Chinn, "but that was a completely unrelated project. Ours was something we've been wanting to do for years."