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Red Rock: The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll Paperback – October 1, 2011

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Frequently Bought Together

Red Rock: The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll + Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music (Cornell East Asia, Vol. 57) (Cornell East Asia Series Number 57) + China's New Voices: Popular Music, Ethnicity, Gender, and Politics, 1978-1997
Price for all three: $63.75

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Earnshaw Books (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9881998247
  • ISBN-13: 978-9881998248
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A rollicking account of how a global genre was transformed as it sank down roots in a very special setting." —Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

"In-depth, thoughtful, and well-written. . . . An especially welcome addition to world music collections." —Library Journal (October 15, 2011)

"The ancient rhythms of East meets West have rarely been played out so intensely or at such a raucous volume." —Jonathan Watts, author, When a Billion Chinese Jump

"No dusty research required, no distant Q&A's necessary, as performer, promoter, writer and pure fan, Campbell was part of the Beijing rock scene when the needle hit the mainline . . . [An] insider's guide to the otherwise impenetrable world of what will become known as the golden period of Chinese rock music . . . pulsing with the energy of the country itself." —Steve Barker, DJ, BBC Radio

"Jonathan Campbell’s Red Rock has the narrative power of a fine novel, and is at the same time a cogent work of historical analysis . . . the benchmark against which all future accounts of the phenomenon will be measured." —Teng Jimeng, author, Music-Made America: Popular Music Since 1960s

"A vivid and faithful description of Chinese rock, Jon Campbell has achieved a significant feat with this book." —Hao Fang, former editor Rolling Stone (China)

"This is a rare China book that isn't focused on politics or profits, simply people yearning for change and a stage." —

"The West has largely forgotten the power of rock 'n' roll. . . . In China, the music never has seemed more vital or necessary, and as an astute listener, sharp journalist, and excellent writer, Campbell does an outstanding job explaining why." —Jim Derogatis, rock critic, co-host of Sound Opinions

About the Author

Jonathan Campbell immersed himself in China's rock scene as a drummer, writer, promoter and more. He has brought Chinese acts to the world stage, and brought dozens of overseas bands to China. His writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, South China Morning Post and many more. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

More About the Author

Jonathan Campbell was born in Montreal, raised in Toronto, graduated from Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, and received a Master's in International Studies from the Jackson School for International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA. He moved to Beijing in 2000 to study Chinese and figure out what to do with his Master's degree. Within weeks he began his descent into the local rock world, first, as drummer in several bands and later as chronicler, booster, promoter, agent and then some.

His writing appeared in a range of local, national and international media outlets including The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Wire, Paste Magazine, and the South China Morning Post. Over the years, he's taken and sent rock, folk, punk, classical and metal groups to somewhere in the neighbourhood of two dozen cities across China as well as helping a few Chinese bands get overseas. He has worked on and with several Chinese music festivals and produced a Jazz Series at Peking in theatres across the country. He has appeared in many documentaries, reports, books, articles and theses, and attended many international music conferences as part of China delegations.

His website:

He has been called many things:
- "An astute listener, sharp journalist, and excellent writer" (Jim DeRogatis, author, rock critic, co-host of "Sound Opinions")
- "The ultimate Beijing insider" (Jan Wong, Red China Blues, Jan Wong's China, Beijing Confidential)
- A "stalwart of the Chinese music scene" (China Music Radar);
- An "instrumental behind-the-scene (figure)" (Beijing Daze);
- "Hutong guru" (;
- The "busiest man in Beijing showbiz" (
- "The Dr. [Norman] Bethune of China's rock scene" (Tian Jianhua, of punk band Reflector);
- Kang Mao, vocalist for garage-punk band Subs, said, in the documentary about her band, Rock Heart Beijing, "He's a good guy. He's smart, and knows how to drive a car. He is able to bear hardship."

After ten and a half years, he left Beijing in late 2010 and currently lives in Toronto.

More info at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kexj on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Red Rock captures modern China, how social changes happen and the impact of music. I was in Taiwan in the late 1980's and remember how when Cui Jian's "Nothing to Lose" would play everything froze. Never have I known a song to have such a strong impact on a entire society, especially after the events of June 4. Red Rock does an excellent job of covering the beginnings of this song/singer and other bands heavy metal, punk and pop as they awkwardly and haphazardly grew into the voice of post-Cultural Revolution China.
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This book is a great, great, great read for anyone interested in the current shifts in China's rock scene (and previous history with pop culture). Campbell even-handedly deals with a lot of sticky subjects, keeping a westerner's perspective without delving into impolite generalizations about this very complex country. He sums up, as best as he can, a sprawling music scene, and includes some very informative chapters about how the scene got to be here at all.
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By douglas allen warren on April 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
if you are into chinese rock history or rock history and knowledge in general...then this is a great book to read.
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