Chris Knox

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...

Chris in his back yard
Photo credit: Photo by Barbara Ward
Chris Knox in the basket of Dennis Hall's balloon, Levin, 20 March 2008. He was in Levin along with Phil Dadson for the latter's musical spectacular in which at least 15 hot air balloons carried a musician and their instrument.
Photo credit: Trevor Heath, Horowhenua Kete, CC licence 4.0
Chris Knox Interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.3
Chris Knox @ Fast Forward II 1995
Chris Knox Interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.2
Inside Story
Summer St, Auckland 1984
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
ScreenTalk interview with Chris Knox
Not Given Lightly
Chris Knox, at Mainstreet, December 1980
Photo credit: Mark Gallop
A self portrait
Photo credit: Photo by Chris Knox
Chris Knox cartoon for Mark Everton's Soundcheck column, 1984/5
Photo credit: Mark Everton Collection
The legendary 4-track studio at Summer St, 1984
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Chris Knox at the Nitpicker's Picnic, 1985
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Chris Knox Interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.1
Chris Knox at the Rumba Bar, 1982
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
Chris Knox with the legendary TEAC. Doug Hood is in the mirror
Photo credit: Alec Bathgate
Chris Knox cartoon for Mark Everton's Soundcheck column, 1984/5
Photo credit: Mark Everton Collection
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 at a launch for his comic Jesus On A Stick at Auckland's Gluepot, circa 1986. Crouching is Dieneke Jansen from Flak.
Get A Life
Chris Knox - Songs Of You & Me, (Flying Nun, 1995)
Chris Knox in 2005
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The original photo used on the cover of the vinyl version of 1989's Seizure album
Toy Love interview, The South Tonight, 1980
Chris Knox at New Plymouth's Bowl Of Brooklands, January 1982
Photo credit: Photo by Glen Tucker
Chris Knox and Rackets - Squeeze (live at the Kings Arms, 2010)
Songs For Cleaning Guppies, 1982
Chris Knox, 1990
An unpublished Chris Knox cartoon from 1984/85, created for Mark Everton's Listener Soundcheck column.
Photo credit: Mark Everton Collection
Face Of Fashion
A Chris Knox self portrait
Photo credit: Photo by Chris Knox
Not Given Lightly - Interview and Performance, November 1997
Chris Knox's 'It's Love' appears on a Heinz ketchup TVC, 2023
Knoxious (Chris Knox & The Rackets) - Gagarin
Chris Knox with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein after Chris supported Blondie, Paris, 1998
Chris Knox's Beat album, released by Flying Nun in 2000. It was his final album for the label he had helped create.
Interview with Chris Knox, 20 April 1995. Directed by Ross Cunningham.
Half Man, Half Mole
Chris Knox interview: 4-track and Flying Nun Pt.4
Chris Knox interview, Give It A Whirl, 2003 (NZ On Screen, 2003)
Chris Knox, mid 1980s
Chris Knox in a promo shot for the Beat album, 2000
Polyfoto Duck Shaped Pain & "Gum" from 1993
Chris Knox supporting Blondie, France, 1998
Chris Knox, 1989
One Fell Swoop
Chris Knox's cover for Forced Exposure magazine, 1993
Radio with Pictures - A Pointless Exercise with Tall Dwarfs, 1981
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

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?

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