80s new wave mania: "China" Red Rockers (1983)
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
December 3, 2017 8:47am CST
This band from New orleans in 1979 by John Thomas Griffith (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James Singletary (lead guitar) and Darren Hill (bass). They called themselves the Rat Finks, were heavily influenced by the Clash and the Dils and played politically motivated punk. The addition of drummer Patrick Butler Jones prompted a name change to the Red Rockers inspired by the Dils’ song “Red Rocker Blues.” From the “Good as Gold” album, “China” was written by Griffith, Hill, Singletary and producer Dave Kahne. “China” was the Red Rockers breakout and only major hit charting at Billboard #53. However, the MTV video was popular and the song became an 80s new wave stalwart. Who knows what the song is about but it has a great new wave pop sound. “China” did in the Red Rockers. Their punk fan base lashed out calling the band a sellout leading to their 1985 breakup.
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• United States
Oh, wow, I hadn’t heard this song in a long time. I’m genuinely surprised that they are from the US, because that definitely has a British sound to it (especially the way they sing “China”). I think you need to give JJ a quick note that this isn’t related to Sammy Hagar!