Shi Qian was from Gaotangzhou. He had an ugly appearance, but was very fit and agile, nimble and moved very quickly. Once he went to Jizhou and stole for a living. Due to his excellent thieving skills, he was nicknamed 'Flea on a drum' (鼓上蚤).
Once, Shi Qian ran into some trouble with the county office in Jizhou, but was eventually saved by Yang Xiong. Later, Yang Xiong killed his adulterous wife and planned to join the Liangshan band, and at the same time, Shi Qian had just raided a tomb and witnessed the whole scene. Shi threatened to inform the government that Yang had killed his wife if Yang did not agree to take him along to Liangshan. Yang Xiong, Shi Xiu and Shi Qian then made their way to Liangshan to join the band.