Thursday, January 12, 2012

blog note: i've been slacking hard. one day you look up and a whole week has passed or a whole year or 20 minutes or whatever. i'm trying to make new year resolution to write a little more on here like the old days: more posts about things that i find amazing, people i admire, art books & movies, etcetera infinity. as well as the usual sketchbook doodles, announcements and general expressions of my personal worldview. mission statement! so with that, let me start off 2012 with a post about one of my favorite artists and inspirational figure: Chris Knox.

it seems sort of pointless to do biography or something when there are no shortage of places to get all the information on the internet. for me, i got into his record "songs of you and me album" when a good buddy who worked at a record store hipped me. it sounded weird and really "un-tough", if that makes sense. i think i was listening to a lot of DUDE music. lollapalooza rock. anyway, i got to see him later that year in cincinnati opening for barbara manning and it stands out as one of the most confrontational and punk shows of my life. he was wearing really short shorts (took his pants off onstage, so this was obviously a stage-specific outfit) and played the omnichord, guitar and sang into a headset mic to a bunch of burn outs in a bar/laundromat in ohio. it was mind-blowing. i was right up front, and during one song he put his hand on my head and then started pulling my head towards his crotch. i escaped his grip and was allowed to carry on un-molested. it was great. later on that night he drew me a picture and gave me a guitar string. i was 19 and stoked. 
soon after i got found a bunch of tall dwarfs cd's and got equally into those. tall dwarfs was/is his collaboration with alec bathgate (who made one of my favorite records of all time "gold lame." if anyone has this on LP i will trade you with a custom drawing/painting of your choice). listening to these two collaborate by mail on 4-tracks with little experiments and perfect little pop songs was inspirational and made me think that i could possibly write songs and record them. it was a major "punk" moment for me, more so than any so-called punk record ever was.
here's a video of them playing one of my favorite songs of there's "we bleed love" on television:
around that time i also found an old copy of forced exposure with a 20+ interview. (note: you can still get copies of this for $5 at that link. how is that possible? all the images in this post are scanned from that issue) and read all about his visual art. he's been a prolific artist and illustrator for his whole life. now i was really connecting with this guy. he was also an animator and designer. i highly suggest checking out this site that collects all his film and video work, including a couple long interviews HERE.
as my buddy paul said "he's a BIG DEAL in nz... a national treasure!" it's true and he is.
i keep coming back to his music over the past 15 or so years i've been aware of it and it never fails to inspire and mesmerize. in the summer of 2009, chris knox had a stroke and has continues to struggle with various health issues. there's been a number of benefit concerts and a compilation of people covering his songs, which i also suggest you check out here as it directly benefits mr. knox's recovery.
while lurking on the internet trying to find videos and things i came across this little nugget:
"if you display a bit of humanity you tend to get a human response" pretty much sums up entirely how i approach art and music making and how art and music affect me. i think that's what i've related to all along and what has stuck with me all these years. if you want to do something, there's really no reason you can't. 

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