The Slants is the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band. Our signature “Chinatown Dance Rock” has been featured by NPR, Conan O'Brien, HBO, and Time Magazine. We've performed at anime/comic conventions and schools; we've even performed inside a Multnomah County Library.
The band doesn’t shy away from our bold portrayal of Asian culture nor our love for geek culture and the arts: the “Misery” music video features footage from the steampunk martial arts Tai Chi epic; “You Make Me Alive” offers an ode to cosplay culture; and “Adopted” was a collaboration with high-flying aerial arts group, AWOL Dance Collective.
In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, here is a list of our band-approved Asian and Asian American works:
China Dolls by Lisa See
Set in the late 1930’s, China Dolls follows the lives of several Chinese American women who face the harsh reality of living as Asian American entertainers in a Chinatown. It’s stirring, exciting, and informative.
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee
It's no secret that The Slants loves food, especially Asian food. Not only do we regularly publish food guides and have active Yelp accounts, but we also film our culinary adventures while on tour as well. Lee’s book is a perfect example of the band’s quest for the very best food around the world while combining humor, history, and personal stories.
For the last several years, The Slants have been collaborating with the Tai Chi martial arts trilogy by releasing several music videos alongside the films. The films feature a hilarious comic book feel while combining steampunk accessories, the Chen style of the martial art t'ai chi ch'uan, and an all-star cast including Tony Leung, Angelbaby, and Shu Qi.
No-No Boy by John Okada
Considered one of the most important Asian American novels, No-No Boy tells the story of a Japanese American in the Pacific Northwest after the internment camps. It’s the very first Japanese American novel ever written and gives a deep, inside look at the meaning of identity.
Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang
This is the memoir that provided the inspiration behind the well-loved television series. Packed with even more personal stories, the book is darker and dives more deeply into issues of assimilation, drugs, 90’s hip-hop culture, and food. Though Huang himself is often surrounded in controversy for his statements, there’s no doubt that his memoir provides a refreshing, important, and honest look at Asian American identity.
Other books that band members enjoy while on the road:
Ken Shima (lead vocals):
The Odyssey by Homer
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
The Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Tyler Chen (drums):
Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman
The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, and Neil Strauss
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Simon “Young” Tam (bass):
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Hi-Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker by Eric Liu
American Born Chinese by Gene Leun Yang
Scott Pilgrim (Vol1-6) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
For more great recommendations, customized to your tastes, try My Librarian.