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Mike Park

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In the early to mid-'90s Mike Park was part of the third wave ska revival with his band Skankin' Pickle. Mixing humor with ska rhythms and influences drawn from hardcore, punk, and metal, Skankin' Pickle released five records through their own Dill imprint before disbanding in 1996. Park went on to launch Asian Man Records, which released ska and punk records from such groups as Alkaline Trio, MU330, Screeching Weasel, and his own band, the Chinkees, whose releases included Peace Through Music (1999) and Searching for a Brighter Future (2002). Of Korean descent, Park had always used his music to confront issues of importance to the Asian community in America. His work with the Chinkees was no different, turning the supposed negative connotation of the band's name on its ear with lyrics denouncing racism, and in the same vein came the 1999 establishment of Plea for Peace, a nonprofit foundation devoted to arts education as a tool for peace and cultural harmony. Besides his roles as label owner, ska-punk rocker, nonprofit founder, and pickup basketball player, Park was also a solo singer/songwriter. His debut, For the Love of Music, appeared in 2003, and North Hangook Falling followed two years later. As opposed to his other music outlets, Park's solo work was quieter and largely acoustic. ~ Johnny Loftus

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