Toy Love

Biography

The new wave sequel to the seminal kiwi punk band The Enemy, Toy Love expanded the Enemy’s brutally primal sound to include organ, angular guitar, and even more literate vocals.

By this stage of his musical development (early 1979 through 1980), lead-singer and song-writer Chris Knox was at his most populist peak, writing songs like ‘Pull Down The Shades’ and ‘Squeeze’, which became New Zealand pop classics.

Toy Love was more than just Knox’s band though, they welded his charismatic and warped vocals to Alec Bathgate‘s eclectic guitar playing, a young Paul Kean’s explosive bass playing, the poppy hooks of Jane Walker on keys, along with Mike Dooley holding up the fort on drums.

Toy Love were a band highly in demand, creating a stir on both sides of the ditch the band played continiously, holding up residencies were-ever they would land, but (due to the economics of the time) barely scraping by financially.

Everything would eventually came to a screaming halt when the band launched into recording their debut album. The sessions were a farce, with the band clashing with their engineer who just didn’t know how to handle such an eclectic and wild bunch of misfits.

They were tired.

The resulting album, though still containing quality material, wasn’t a patch on their earlier singles, each song sounded flat and warn-out and compounded the collapse of the group as a working unit. Knox and Bathgate would soon split to form the legendary Tall Dwarfs, whilst Paul Kean would become a part of The Bats.

The group made a triumphant return to the New Zealand album charts on Record Store Day, April 22nd 2012 with the release of the Double LP Live at the Gluepot, an extremely limited (400 copies worldwide!) live album sold exclusively at Real Groovy in Auckland.

Members

  • Chris Knox (Vocals, 1979 – 1980)
  • Alec Bathgate (Guitar, 1979 – 1980)
  • Mike Dooley (Drums, 1979 – 1980)
  • Phil Judd (Guitar, 1979)
  • Paul Kean (Bass, 1979 – 1980)
  • Jane Walker (Keyboards, 1979 – 1980)

Discography

  • Rebel/Squeeze 7″ Single (1979, Elektra, Z10015)
  • Don’t Ask Me 7″ Single (1980, Deluxe, Z10022)
  • Toy Love 7″ EP (1980, Deluxe, 20630)
  • Bride Of Frankenstein 7″ Single (1980, Deluxe, Z10029)
  • Toy Love LP / Cassette (1980, Deluxe, Z20008)
  • Cuts (Reissue / Anthology 2005, Flying Nun Records, FNCD473)
  • Live at the Gluepot Double LP (2012, Real Groovy Records)
  • Swimming Pool Split 7″ (w/ Knoxious 2012, Real Groovy Records, KNOXIOUS)
  • Pull Down The Shades DVD (Video Compilation 2012, Real Groovy Records, RGDV01)

Links

 

Tall Dwarfs

After Toy Love (the bastard son of The Enemy) disintegrated in 1980, Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate were so fed up with the ‘band’ approach to making music, that they formed The Tall Dwarfs as a performing collective absolutely opposed to the way they created music in the past.

Not that i’ve ever desperately wanted to have sex with Alec, ’cause he’s not really my type y’know, ’cause he doesn’t have breasts and a vagina. Apart from that, if i was to have sex with a fellow male musician it would probably be Alec
Chris Knox: Taken From Popwatch #10

Bringing in any number of contributors, the Tall Dwarfs forged a whole industry from home-recording. Knox had recently purchased a simple 4-track recorder, and it become the bases for the Tall Dwarfs recording regime (as well as the initial lo-fi steps of the just-formed Flying Nun label). Because of this freedom to recorded whatever and whenever they could, the Tall Dwarfs grew incredibly eclectic and bizarre, collecting fragments of found sounds, unusual toys, and whatever other ‘beautiful accidents’ they could muster, turning it into a beatles-influenced stew of pop (and not so pop) moments.

Over time, in the united states the Tall Dwarfs and knox’s solo material would become synonymous with the new zealand scene – as knox had become something of an iconoclastic figure with then-trendy lo-fi movement. Although Knox’s solo material started to take precedence over the Tall Dwarfs in the mid-90s (bathgate now lives in christchurch, knox in auckland), they continued to release album after album almost annually.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Tall Dwarfs – The Sky Above, The Mud Below

2001, Flying Nun, FNCD456

After 20 years of continually releasing dynamic, independent and thoroughly inventive music – the Tall Dwarfs have released perhaps their most laid-back and restrained full length with ‘The Sky Above, The Mud Below’, their 13th album. Wearing their influences on their sleeve, the album varies between shades of the Beatles and Beach Boys brands of pop, and the Tall Dwarfs trademark lo-fi inventiveness. For the first time, the group incorporates digital techniques (which might send some shivers down the spine of the purest of listeners – don’t worry it’s only for editing purposes!) to modify their endless collection of loops, sample snippets, tape-effects and found sounds.

The warmth of their previous recordings is still very evident, this time being far more reflective than their previous albums. Both Bathgate and Chris Knox (who has now reached the ripe old age of 50) seem at peace with themselves, and how they make music – no longer concerned with the “lost opportunities” that their other recent albums such as ’50 Flavors Of Glue’ and Knox’s solo release ‘Beat’ portrayed.

The album starts with the chirpy, upbeat tribute to the late great George Harrison “Meet The Beatle” inspired by Chris’ accidental run-in with Harrison a couple of years ago. “I know that guys like me are a drag, you must have had it up to here with fans” – a lyric typical of Knox’s content throughout the album. He’s playing for himself now, and songs like “Meet The Beatle” and the follow-up “Beached Boy” demonstrates he knows his place in the (music) world. Knox absolutely dominates the vocals on the first half of the disc, creating an introspective flow based around timid, tentative instrumentation – it’s hard to believe this is the same duo that raised so much hell as The Enemy back in the late 70’s.

“Room To Breathe” again recalls long lost beatles numbers, with Bathgate’s first vocal outing sharing a great deal of character with long lost Lennon classics. As the understated (and undervalued) member of the duo – Bathgate has a great deal of talent for playful melodies that goes unrecognized. “Melancholy” sees Knox bring out the oven trays (for percussive effect) along with some gentle wilting Mellotron from Bathgate – a sickly sweet ditty that’s already burnt its impression on my brain – imminently hummable.

Bathgate’s given the job of pulling off the album’s one true radio hit, though, with the self-effacing sing-a-long “Baby, It’s Over”, featuring some of the best organ and synth the Tall Dwarfs have ever committed to tape. Similar to the catchy (and somewhat revolting) singles from last album ’50 Flavors Of Glue’, it’d be a surefire hit if only pop songs were judged on merit rather than marketing ability!

“You Want Me Shimmy” is the prime moment of humor on the album, Knox trying his hardest to pull off an allman brothers impression, but comes off somewhere between captain Beefheart and Tom Waits! Definitely the result of many whiskey soaked nights behind the mixing board, it serves as a great foil to the more serious songs on the album.

The album concludes with an additional 8 tracks (described on the cd as a free EP) under the ‘International Tall Dwarfs’ moniker to coincide with material collected from international fans, called The Weidenhausen Impediment. The EP features Graeme Downes guitar work, a loop from Jad Fair (of Yo La Tengo), vocals, clarinet and guitar from Jeff Magnum and Laura Carter Of Neutral Milk Hotel (and Elf Power) and instrumentation from the entire Clean crew, along with a loop from unknown Dutch band ‘Mongrell’. Following on from the International Tall Dwarfs stunning debut ‘Stumpy’ — considered by many as the Dwarfs best album.

It’s quite evident that digital recording hasn’t made too much of a difference to the way the boys make music, the album still showcases the Dwarf’s disdain for flashy production – and it takes until the trailing EP before their trademark tape manipulation comes into play. all in all though, the many guest stars (and occasional stolen sample byte) blend perfectly into the dwarfs lo-fi madness – with even the guests from neutral milk hotel being relegated to merely impersonating possums on ‘possum born’. one of the best albums of the year so far, filled to the brim with catchy sing-a-long choruses, strange lyrical bents and references.

The Clean – Compilation

1986 Compilation, Flying Nun, NORMAL51

In 1978 the New Zealand underground scene was on the verge of explosion. The Enemy, Bored Games, and The Spelling Mistakes were showing that New Zealand could produce great punk music, and all with a great ‘do-it-yourself’ gusto. The Enemy later developed into seminal early 80’s punk outfit Toy Love, and with their eventual collapse, guitarist/vocalist Chris Knox formed the infamous lo-fi pioneer duo the Tall Dwarfs with fellow Toy Love member Alec Bathgate. David Kilgour was a great fan of the Enemy, and had developed a relationship with the musicians that made up the Dunedin scene at the time. In 1978 he set about learning guitar, then forming a band that would eventually capture the essence of the 2nd wave of New Zealand underground music, the so called ‘Dunedin Sound’.

After a period of almost 2 years and a plethora of line-up changes, Kilgour settled on his brother Hamish on drums and original bass-player Peter Gutteridge (who after leaving the band before the majority of their output was an original member of the Chills, The Puddle, and then eventually his own band Snapper). This formation would go onto write a handful of The Clean‘s early songs, and eventually resurface in 1983 as The Great Unwashed (for a short tour and subsequent album), but it was Robert Scott (also of The Bats) who secured The Clean’s line-up in late 1979.

After touring haphazardly for there first three years of existence (often supporting The Enemy), Kilgour was propositioned by young upstart Roger Shephard, who had come up with the idea of forming a record label to release The Clean’s noticeably inspirational music to the masses. Shephard put together Flying Nun records in 1981, and The Clean’s breakthrough single Tally Ho! Was the label’s 2nd release (following The Pin Group‘s ‘Columbia’). Featuring a young Martin Phillips on organ accompaniment and recorded for no budget whatsoever, the single rocketed into the New Zealand charts – which was considered impossible for a self-distributed minor label recording at the time. Phillips’ catchy, driving organ and the gentle sing-song nature of Kilgour’s vocals had immediately struck a chord with the New Zealand public, but the band failed to fully capitalize on this early success.

Over the course of the next two years, the clean only put out two EP’s, Boodle Boodle Boodle was recorded by Doug Hood and features a stunning array of pop-classics (“Anything Could Happen”, “At The Bottom” and the Gutteridge penned classic “Point That Thing Somewhere Else”) and the equally superb ‘Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-So Sounds So-So, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten’ EP (track highlights included the instrumental “Fish” and jangly masterpiece “Beatnik”).

This complacency with relative seclusion eventually led to a number of self-imposed band break-ups, and delayed their eventual debut album release till 1990, which brought Vehicle – by which time the Clean had become a part time band for all three members, due to the demands of their various other musical exploits.

Compilation documents the high-times of the early Clean. Released by Flying Nun as an LP (then re-released during the 90’s CD reissuing phase), the album gathers together Tally Ho! And the original 2 EP’s, several tracks from the ‘Oddities’ self-recorded album, as well as live material recorded crudely on a fan’s cassette recorder.

The quality of the recording is of no concern though, as it becomes immediately apparent on listening to these lo-fi masterpieces that the Clean were on to something special. From the twin-guitar and bass onslaught of pounding pop opener “Billy Two”, the chugga chugga bass and steaming lead-guitar of “At The Bottom”, through to the quirky pop highlights of “Beatnik”, “Oddity” and “Hold On To The Rail” – there isn’t a single dud in this wonderful archive of one of pop-rock’s truly great bands.

Ear-marked by a stunning live rendition of signature tune “Point That Thing Somewhere Else”, the live tracks are murky, but show the band in full flight. Waves upon waves of guitar distortion, pounding bass and drums and kilgour’s enigmatic, hushed vocals characterize a band that did more for the New Zealand live scene than any other band has done before or since.

Rough and ready, this is a compilation of the most well-honed, dynamic guitar music your ever likely to hear. Simmering solo’s, bass that gets your foot tapping, and primal, aggressive drumming lead to a winning combination. Though the Clean may have since failed to live up to the expectations that this album documents, they have become a crowning monument for New Zealand in the history of pop-rock, and i’d recommend anyone with more than a passing interest in music to give this classic a try.

Alec Bathgate [November 2004]

Alec Bathgate isn’t a household name in New Zealand. Though his most famous group (Tall Dwarfs) and his subsequent partner-in-crime (Chris Knox) may have achieved a level of recognition slightly beyond the typical indie-rock crowd, Bathgate remains one of New Zealand’s best and lowest profile song-writers. I spoke with Alec on the eve of releasing just his 2nd solo LP, ‘The Indifferent Velvet Void‘, due to be released in November 2004.

So it’s been a clear 8 years since [debut solo release] Gold Lame came out. Have you gotten sick and tired of people telling you to release another album yet?

Well, actually, not many people have been hanging out for another album! I occasionally have someone tell me how much they like gold lame, which is nice, but not many people seem to have discovered it.

What was the inspiration for the Indifferent Velvet Void?

Lyrically there seem to be some deep issues being thrown around.

There’s a few themes that run through the songs on the album (death, loss, self-doubt, confusion… All that good stuff). So, yeah, it’s a bit dark, but quite poppy as well, which hopefully offsets what the lyrics are saying.

Is your writing and recording methodology different from the way the tall dwarfs work? Has much changed from the early days of Chris’s 4-track?

Tall Dwarf songs are recorded pretty quickly as we don’t normally have long together. The songs tend to then evolve over a period of time (whenever we can get together to do further work on them). Generally we don’t know when we begin how they will end up. With the solo album i would completely write a song before recording it and would have a fairly clear idea of how i wanted the final track to sound. My album was recorded on computer which has sort of replaced the 4-track as the preferred recording medium for the home recordist (even though tape is still better). Having 24 tracks is pretty insane after years of struggling away with a 4 track, plus there’s lots of effects built into pro-tools that you couldn’t possibly afford to buy as outboard gear.

The album is coming out on Auckland label Lil’ Chief. How did you connect with them? Do you still feel part of the Flying Nun roster?

Chris Knox gave them a CDr of the album late last year (after Flying Nun had turned it down). I really liked the records they had put out and their enthusiasm for what they were doing, so was really happy that they wanted to release it. I’m still signed to F.Nun for Tall Dwarf releases and they’re reissuing the Toy Love album (early next year i believe).

Scott Mannion from Lil’ Chief / the Tokey Tones appeared as a Tall Dwarf [along with Pumice‘s Stefan Neville] for a recent Helen Young Studios session. Are there any plans to release the material?

I was impressed by the re-takes of ‘The Brain That Wouldn’t Die’ and ‘Nothings Going To Happen’. We were really happy with how the Helen Young session worked out, particularly as we only had a short time to learn the songs with the other people (we hadn’t played with any of them before and only had two days to practice). We’ll possibly do a short-run pressing of them sometime in the future to sell at gigs.

What’s your most proud moment on the album?, I guess your aware I’ve been thrashing ‘Should I Wake Up?’

Most people who hear the album seem to mention ‘Should I Wake Up?’ ‘Slow Fuzz’ and ‘Broken Cup’ are probably my favorite songs on the album.

Are you a picky song-writing?, do you think taking such a long-time between releases has worked well for your albums?

I never intended to do another solo album. It just requires soooo much work, so i guess it took 8 years to muster up the enthusiasm to go through it again (plus we did three tall dwarf albums in that time)…All the songs were written over the 18 months i was making the album, i didn’t have any songs hoarded away, and in the year since i finished it i haven’t written anything. I think it’s good to have a break from writing (and playing music) to keep it interesting and enjoyable.

Any plans on any live performances or videos for the album?

I did the Wunderbar gig in Lyttelton a few weeks back and also did two shows with Pine in Auckland last weekend. I’ve always been reluctant to play solo, but I’ve actually been enjoying it! I ‘d actually really like to play some more. As for videos there’s a plan to do a video for ‘Slow Fuzz’, so hoping that works out.

Alec Bathgate

[flickr-photo:id=234859489,size=t] the george harrison to chris knox‘s john lennon. alec bathgate’s always kept a couple steps back in his fellow tall dwarfs shadow, but released a lovely little byrds-jangle-pop album (with heavy beatles and beach boy flourishes) in 1996. somewhat more technically competent than knox, and somewhat reserved (in comparison at least), bathgates’ a reflective, precarious song-writer of great talent.
bathgate then resurfaced in a solo capacity a mere 8 years later with the superb indifferent velvet void, an album chock full of pop-classics and weighty lyrics. signing to the auckland-based lil chief, bathgate has played just one solo show prior to it’s release, as part of a joint cd-release promotion with fellow christchurch popsters pine.
discography
picks in bold

recommended songs
download from mp3.co.nz

  • pet hatesrn
  • should i wake up?rn
  • life ain’t easy (when your dead)rn

The Enemy

Biography

Young Dunedin guitarist Alec Bathgate and drummer Mike Dooley lined up Invercargill-born record store employee Chris Knox as a bassist in mid 1977, unaware he couldn’t actually play. Eventually the group would secure a gig at the Old Beneficiaries Hall, so Mick Dawson was brought in – allowing Knox to assume his rightful vestige as the new groups vocalist.

Knox was a long-haired, bearded counter-culture type – but more in the hippy frame than the burgeoning punk style of the time. The group would encourage crowd involvement and invite their mates around for regular practices, hashing out a vast selection of original songs in public.

In a breezy 18 month life-span the group would play a ridiculous amount of shows, firmly establish themselves as New Zealand’s very best original punk group, inspire the formation of groups such as The Clean, The Chills and Bored Games – and mutate into something completely different before they even unleashed a studio recording on the world (though a handful of studio cuts have made it on to compilations over the years).

The Enemy’s legend was based on Knox’s confrontational stage antics (stealing Iggy Pop’s tricks like rolling in broken glass, cutting himself etc), unconventional appearance and dress and free-flowing lyrics – though the band were no slouches either!

It the tail end of the seventies The Enemy played at our school dance. Chris Knox was the evilest person I’d seen. From the start I was dreading the moment he might come off the stage, and, like, tap me on the shoulder or something.

I thought I was punk but inside I was cowering. Thank god they only lasted two songs before school principal Dave Rathbone ran onto the stage and kicked them off.

– Shayne Carter [Taken from Mysterex: Kiwi Punk and Beyond #3]

The Enemy were HUGELY influential – venturing North to Christchurch just a couple months after forming, and eventually rolling on to Auckland to dominate their local punk scenes, everything would eventually come to a close when Mick Dawson decided to head home to Dunedin.

The trio of Bathgate, Dooley and Knox would go through a couple line-up changes, and head in a New Wave direction, reconvening as Toy Love.

Note: AudioCulture has an EXCELLENT history of the group on their artist profile.

Members

  • Chris Knox (Vocals, 1977 – 1978)
  • Alec Bathgate (Guitar, 1977 – 1978)
  • Mike Dooley (Drums, 1977 – 1978)
  • Mick Dawson (Bass, 1977 – 1978)
  • Phil Judd (Guitar, 1978)

Discography

  • The Enemy At The Beneficiaries (2001 Archival Live Recording, Restrainer Records)

Links

 

Friend

chris knox recorded friend as a project work – an experiment in digital technology using pro-tools in his own home studio setup. fairly abstract, electronic and fractured; its a huge departure from his analog recordings, and is a difficult first listen due to its music concrete style.
discography
picks in bold

  • inaccuracies & omissions 1 [2003 flying nun FNCD471]

Jean-Paul Sartre Experience – Jean-Paul Sartre Experience

1994 / 2003 Reissue, Flying Nun, FNCD078

With Flying Nun reissuing a number of their long out-of-print release, it was about time the boys from Jean-Paul Sartre Experience saw the light of day again. Their early discography is as follows: they released a self-titled EP, then followed it up with a mini-album entitled Love Songs.

These were then released as a cumulative album, which was initially also named love songs, and then expanded and changed to the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, just to confuse archivists. The end result is quite a collection of genuine pop-classics, and was the moment in time when the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience was really hitting their stride.

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience (later shorted to JPS Experience or JPSE due to legal hassle’s with Sartre’s estate) was formed in Christchurch in the mid-80’s and immediately set about creating a suite of songs that tread the line between charmingly naive love songs (‘Let there be love’), upbeat sing-a-longs (‘I like rain’) and even kooky, disjointed attempts at white-bred rap (‘Crap-rap’).

Both blessed and cursed with all 4 members being songwriters (with Dave Mulcahy, Jim Laing and Dave Yetton all providing both guitar and vocals) their songs were fresh, invigorating and stylistically scattered in these, the early years.

Eventually the band would split after years of tightening their formula until things just weren’t fun anymore (their last album, the wildly uneven and downbeat bleeding star). Mulcahy then launched the brilliant, larger than life, and unfortunately short-lived Superette, eventually going solo. Yetton created his own ‘sissy-pop’ project – The Stereo Bus which eventually grew out of its humble solo beginnings to be a very popular 5-piece. And lastly their drummer Gary Sullivan (who often took the back stage in JPS Experience’s career) formed the acclaimed, but commercially ignored scuzz-rockers Solid Gold Hell.

Dave Yetton had a penchant for creating what he freely admitted was girly pop – soppy love songs and silly, carefree lyrics. Mulcahy acted as the ever-vigilant older brother with tracks like ‘Firetime’, adding structure to result in a perfect balance of playful melodies and sobering lyrics. Their songs were playful, yet intelligent (‘Flex’), reflective, but upbeat (‘Grey parade’) – you’d expect with such a clash of idea’s the songs would fail to gel, but luckily Jean-Paul Sartre Experience is one of those releases that exceeded all expectations.

‘Loving grapevine’ is perhaps the most perfect example of how their songs worked so well. Jim Laing’s demented, gleeful vocals are so exuberant you can’t help but think how much fun they had recording the album. A relatively straightforward pop number, the song is highlighted by cheery backing vocals – when the guitar solo strikes mid-song, it almost seems out of place.

In fact, the vocals are the most distinctive element of the album, three vocalists perusing a myriad of approaches add up to an awful lot of styles. Even the more serious numbers (‘Transatlantic love song’) seem characteristic when accompanied by such out and out fun numbers as ‘Jabberwocky’ and ‘Let there be love’.

The instrumentation is brilliantly suited though too, particularly Sullivan’s drumming which seems to drive the seriousness of the songs — the more fun and over-the-top the songs, the more disjointed and playful the rhythm. For an album with no credited bassist, their sure are some catchy grooves too – particularly the slowly building ‘Jabberwocky’. It rolls and rolls as the song grows and grows, building tension and allowing ragtime piano and guitars to float in.

Follow that up with the funky, disjointed slop-hop sing-a-long ‘Crap rap’ (trust me, it’s a lot better than it sounds) with bass that pops and grooves in an ultimately impressive fashion (considering the pedigree of these four white southern boys).

I would challenge any lover of pop to come away from this album without at least one favorite. I mean, who could resist the ever-charming ‘I like rain’ and it’s Casio-tone melody? These are the kind of songs Chris Knox would have been making if he weren’t such a crotchety old bastard. High recommended for days inside, days at the beach, days spent snuggle with loved ones, or nights spent partying.

At their peak in the mid to late 80’s, JPS Experience were considered one of the finest and most popular bands in New Zealand, along with their noisy neighbors The Headless Chickens and The Straitjacket Fitz. This album is the perfect document of the cheery, upbeat side of classic New Zealand pop, and a firm addition to Flying Nun’s current catalog of reissues.

Chris Knox

Biography

I’ve had a hard time starting this profile.

A man who’s done so much for New Zealand (underground) music that it wouldn’t really be the same without him – Knox was responsible for so many changes in the way we think about music here in New Zealand.

In The Enemy he proved that New Zealand underground music was indeed a viable and precious quantity, absolutely illuminating the Dunedin punk scene that had sprung up around his quirky (and utterly convicted) troop.

When The Enemy became Toy Love they located and conquered Auckland, but were ripped apart by the complacency and vindictiveness of the big-label music scene (and apathetic Aussie crowds) in Australia.

Knox and his fellow burned band-mates returned with a new outlook on the kiwi music way of life. He saw that creation is far more important than clarity, and with a few simple steps (purchasing a four-track recorder, a chance encounter with Christchurch music-enthusiast Roger Shephard) set about defining the ‘Lo-Fi’ (a term yet later sunned) revolution of early 80’s Dunedin.

Knox then set about forming the utterly eclectic and thoroughly low-tech Tall Dwarfs with his fellow former Toy Love buddy, guitarist Alec Bathgate – the whimsy to his destructive element and a high quality song-writer in his own right.

The Tall Dwarfs remained highly productive and totally engaging throughout the 80’s, forming a cult of quirky, dark songs with bizarre narratives and eclectic touches (tape-loops and sound-manipulation became common-place early on), but in the later 80’s, Knox started working on his own solo material (as well as continuing to record and produce a number of his compatriot artists on Flying Nun).

‘Not Given Lightly’ could be called the apex of Knox’s career – his most commercial success and his most oft referred and covered ‘classic’ song, it’s also well-documented as his very first love song (and some would point out that his wife Barbara had certainly deserved one by the time of its release..).

So into the 90’s Knox stride as an icon of the New Zealand music scene, alternating between The Tall Dwarfs and his own solo albums, just as his journalistic side was starting to bloom.

Come the mid 2000’s and Knox is involved at all levels of New Zealand music. He is an acknowledged historic figure in the New Zealand scene (even winning a Silver Scroll for the heart-wrenching ‘My Only Friend’ in 2000), a valued journalistic resource, an archivist and historian, and yet is still finding new avenues to expand his musical vocabulary, releasing a new recording as Friend in 2003 that explores a new, hi-tech alley.

Knox’s life took an unfortunate turn in June 2009 when he suffered a deliberating stroke that left him unable to speak (or sing). After a long period of recovery and with huge support from the local music industry, Knox struggled own despite his own limitations, recording new material (without actually vocalizing words) with Auckland pop-punk trio Rackets under the name Knoxious.

Awards

RIANZ Awards 1994

  • Cover Design of the Year

APRA Silver Scrolls 2000

  • Song Writing for ‘My Only Friend’

Discography

  • Chris Knox Ego Gratifaction Album – Songs For Cleaning Guppies (1982, Flying Nun Records, FN Me001)
  • Seizure (1989, Flying Nun Records, FN125 / FNE30)
  • ‘Not Given Lightly’/’Guppiplus’ 12″ Ep (1990, Flying Nun Records, FN127)
  • ‘Not Given Lightly’/’Face Of Fashion’/’Love Song (Part 1)’ 7″ Single (1990, Flying Nun Records, FN152)
  • ‘Not Given Lightly’/’Face Of Fashion’/’Love Song (Part 1)’ 12″ Single (1990, Flying Nun Records, FN153)
  • Song For 1990 10″ Ep (1990, Flying Nun Records, FN155)
  • Croaker (1991, Flying Nun Records, FN165)
  • Polyphoto, Duck-Shaped Pain & “Gum” (1991, Flying Nun Records, FN249)
  • ‘Under The Influence’/’Stasis’ 7″ Single (1991, Flying Nun Records, FN266)
  • Not Given Lightly Ep (1993, Communion, COMM26-2)
  • Meat (1993 Communion Comm 28-2)
  • Song Of Me And You (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN313)
  • ‘One Fell Swoop’/’Giving Her Away’/’S.O.S.’/’Shrapnel’/’Mother’ Cd Single (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN316)
  • ‘One Fell Swoop’/’Mother’ 7″ Single (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN316)
  • Songs From 1990 Ep (1996, Caroline, CAR7528)
  • Nunfest ’96 Etched 7″ Disc (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN372)
  • Yes!! (1997, Flying Nun Records, FN400)
  • Almost (1998, Dark Beloved Cloud)
  • Beat (2000, Flying Nun Records, FN444)
  • Inaccuracies & Omissions (As Friend, 2003, Flying Nun Records, FN470)
  • Chris Knox and the Nothing (As Chris Knox and the Nothing, 2005, A Major Label)
  • A Warm Gun (As The Nothing, 2008, A Major Label, AMAJ001)

Links