Chris Knox Profile

Gary Steel
13 May 2013

Where to start with Chris Knox? He’s one hell of an entity. This is where we’ll start with Chris Knox: It’s impossible to imagine New Zealand cultural life without his contribution to it.

What’s hard about all this is that it’s too easy to make this appreciation sound like an obituary – existing entirely in the past tense – when it’s actually not like that. Chris Knox had a stroke in 2009, and no-one emerges from a serious stroke exactly the way they were before. Chris acknowledged that in a wordless interview I conducted with him a year after the stroke: I’m still in here, he said, I’m still me, but...

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Chris Knox @ Fast Forward II 1995
Chris Knox and Rackets - Squeeze (live at the Kings Arms, 2010)
Songs Of You & Me, 1995
Chris Knox, 1990
Interview with Chris Knox, 20 April 1995. Directed by Ross Cunningham.
Polyfoto Duck Shaped Pain & "Gum" from 1993
Toy Love interview, The South Tonight, 1980
Chris Knox in 2005
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Chris Knox and The Nothing at Laneway, Auckland, 1 February 2010, with Shayne Carter on guitar, Roy Martyn on bass and Stefan Neville on drums
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry
Knoxious (Chris Knox & The Rackets) - Gagarin
One Fell Swoop
Not Given Lightly
Chris Knox at Mainstreet, December 1980
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Gallop
Chris Knox at the Rumba Bar, 1982
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
Chris Knox at a launch for his comic Jesus On A Stick at Auckland's Gluepot, circa 1986. Crouching is Dieneke Jansen from Flak.
Chris Knox interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.4
Chris Knox Interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.1
Chris Knox supporting Blondie, France, 1998
Chris Knox, mid 1980s
Chris Knox in a promo shot for the Beat album, 2000
ScreenTalk interview with Chris Knox
Chris Knox's cover for Forced Exposure magazine, 1993
Chris Knox at New Plymouth's Bowl Of Brooklands, January 1982
Photo credit: Photo by Glen Tucker
Face Of Fashion
The legendary 4-track studio at Summer St, 1984
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Inside Story
A self portrait
Photo credit: Photo by Chris Knox
Chris in his back yard
Photo credit: Photo by Barbara Ward
Radio with Pictures - A Pointless Exercise with Tall Dwarfs, 1981
Chris Knox's Beat album, released by Flying Nun in 2000. It was his final album for the label he had helped create.
Chris Knox Interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.2
Get A Life
Chris Knox, 1989
Chris Knox at the Nitpicker's Picnic, 1985
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
An unpublished Chris Knox cartoon from 1984/85, created for Mark Everton's Listener Soundcheck column.
Photo credit: Mark Everton Collection
A Chris Knox self portrait
Photo credit: Photo by Chris Knox
Summer St, Auckland 1984
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Chris Knox cartoon for Mark Everton's Soundcheck column, 1984/5
Photo credit: Mark Everton Collection
Chris Knox with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein after Chris supported Blondie, Paris, 1998
Half Man, Half Mole
Not Given Lightly - Interview and Performance, November 1997
Chris Knox at Auckland's Windsor Castle one Saturday afternoon in March 1980, with assorted members of The Androidss and The Spelling Mistakes' Julian Hanson
Photo credit: Photo by Karen Stevens
Chris Knox cartoon for Mark Everton's Soundcheck column, 1984/5
Photo credit: Mark Everton Collection
Chris Knox with the legendary TEAC. Doug Hood is in the mirror
Photo credit: Alec Bathgate
Songs For Cleaning Guppies, 1982
Chris Knox Interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.3
The original photo used on the cover of the vinyl version of 1989's Seizure album
Trivia:

Within weeks of his stroke, plans were afoot for a benefit album, Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox. It was a moving tribute, and an exposition of just how great so many of his songs are, as interpreted by the likes of Bill Callahan (Smog), Yo La Tengo, The Mountain Goats, Will Oldham and locals like Don McGlashan.

Knox has appeared several times at gigs since his stroke, including the inaugural Laneways festival in 2010 (with The Nothing) and at the launch of a Toy Love vinyl release at Real Groovy. His vocals are wordless, but hey, how many vocalists can you understand, anyway?