“A lot of the music here in metal and punk is highly political. Their country is under the gun twenty-four seven from China, so that’s what informs the music. That’s what gives it the immediacy and the passion.”

Taiwan-based Canadian author and musician Joe Henley talks about his new book, “Bu San Bu Si: A Taiwan Punk Tale.”

The novel, published by Camphor Press, offers a gritty but sympathetic portrayal of Taiwan’s hardcore rockers as it follows young guitarist Xiao Hei, whose dreams of punk grandeur are left unsatisfied by the beer-soaked concert halls his band calls home.

Keith Menconi, a Taipei-based freelance writer, radio host, and regular contributor for The News Lens, caught up with Joe recently to talk about his new book, counterculture in Taiwan, and the challenges of writing authentically about a place that you did not grow up in.

Today’s guest

After his arrival in Taiwan a little over a decade ago, Joe Henley managed to find his way into the local punk scene fairly quickly and he has been captivated by it ever since.

Playing the role of participant observer, he has both performed in a number of local bands including death metal outfit Revilement as the group’s lead singer, and has also written about the local music scene extensively as a columnist and freelance journalist for a number of English-language publications.

"Bu San Bu Si: A Taiwan Punk Tale" is his second novel.

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Editor: Olivia Yang