The Flowers, (花儿乐队, 花兒樂隊, Huār Yuèduì), were a pop rock and mandopop boy band formed in Beijing in 1998. The group consisted of four members: 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). They have since recorded and released six albums, the most recent on September 29, 2007.
Dubbed as "China's first famous adolescent band," The Flowers had barely blossomed into youth when they first appeared on the Chinese music scene in 1998. Originally, the lineup consisted of Da Zhang Wei on lead vocals and guitar, bassist Guo Yang and drummer Wang Wenbo. The three members, Da Zhang Wei, Wang Wenbo and Guo Yang, met while still attending high school and during their early career, The Flowers were a trio band playing in the style of pop punk music reminiscent of fellow 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 were somewhat aloof from the scene and often derided in some quarters for their attitudes. The trio first signed on to a small Beijing-based Chinese indie label, New Bees Music in 1998. A year later, the band would release their debut album On the Other Side of Happiness which 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 wished to conquer. The band were also somewhat credited for helping to give disaffected Chinese youths a resonant voice, as many teenagers 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. The Flowers marked the end of their purgatory by signing to EMI and bringing in a fourth member, guitarist Shi Xingyu. Fortunately the change wasn't just a superficial face-lift, as the band had by this point become tired of the simple but effective music which had made them so popular. Like many other musicians, the band was looking to diversify its sound.
On their 2004 album, I Am Your Romeo, The Flowers experimented with various musical styles including hip hop and techno and the band seemed to be to be a long way from their old punk roots but were as straightforward as ever in their ideals... or lack of them. Vocalist Da Zhang Wei says, "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 are still fairly upbeat and the lyrics pretty direct, although Zhang Wei has softened the tone a bit for some of the love related songs. The band managed to score a hit with the song, "Xi Shua Shua", which was a hit on the mainland. The song was included on the band's fourth album Blooming Dynasty which was released in July 2005, winning numerous awards around China. The album 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. 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, but were later canceled by the board of judges when plagiarism accusations involving the band came to light.
Plagiarism accusations and scandal Edit
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 12 of their songs from foreign artists including their hit song "Xi Shua Shua," which was most under fire due to its similarities to Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi's song "K2G". Under the credit of lead singer Zhang Wei, he and representatives of EMI admitted in an official statement to the press that while the songs were not plagiarized, there were some flaws in the songs. So far, 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.
The Fighting Incident Edit
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 cellphone 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 new and 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 album. 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) Edit
The Flowers would soon release their sixth full-length 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 with 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. Most recently, 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 were currently preparing for a New Year film celebrating 2009 where they play street rowdies of ancient Beijing who get involved in comical situations.
Shi Xingyu leaves, breakup and solo careersEdit
It was announced by the Flowers' record label that the band's guitarist, Shi Xingyu, had parted ways with the group in July 2008 after seven years with the group. The band was holding a talent competition in Beijing with 50 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 10th year anniversary concert tour. However, on June 21, 2009, the group eventually decided to go their separate ways. Da Zhang Wei has since recorded a solo album which was released in August 2009.
Da Zhang Wei Edit
Da Zhang Wei (born Zhang Wei) was born August 31, 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. His favorite colors are yellow, black, and pink, and his favorite numbers are 3, 8, and 1. Zhang Wei appeared in Beijing May 24, 2007 to support Taiwanese girl group S.H.E's 10th album release, Play.
Shi Xingyu Edit
Shi Xingyu, nicknamed Xiao Yu (小宇), was born January 11, 1983 and was the last to join the band in 2001. His favorite bands include Blink-182 and Smash Mouth. His favorite numbers are 3, 6, and 9, and he enjoys reading Doraemon.
Guo Yang Edit
Guo Yang was born May 29, 1978 in Beijing, and like Da Zhangwei, also sees Green Day and Nirvana as sources of inspiration. His favorite colors are red, blue, yellow, and pink, and unlike the rest of the band, does not have favorite numbers. He dislikes chatting and being waken by a phone.
Wang Wenbo Edit
Wang Wenbo was born October 22, 1982 in Beijing. His inspirations are Green Day, The Cure, and Nirvana, and his favorite colors are white, black, pink, and light blue. He likes sleeping and listening to music and dislikes being messy and making mistakes during performances. He likes all numbers from 0 to 9.
- 1999–Next to Happiness (幸福的旁边, Xingfu de pangbian)
- 2001–Strawberry Statement (草莓声明, Caomei shengming)
- 2004–I Am Your Romeo (我是你的罗密欧, Wo shi ni de luomiou)
- 2005–Blooming Dynasty (花季王朝, Hua ji wang chao)
- 2006–Hua Tian Xi Shi (花天囍世)
- 2007–Flower Age Pageant (花龄盛会, Hua Ling Sheng Hui)
The Flowers also contributed two songs to the 2000 compilation album 'Flowers Birds Fish Insects' (花鸟鱼虫).
- 2007–Qiong Kaixin (穷开心)