I expect that by now you're all up with the news that Chris Knox , an iconic kiwi artist with a 30 year career taking in solo material, The Enemy, The Tall Dwarfs and The Nothing, has suffered from a stroke. Rather than go over all the details here I recommend that you check out the blog that has been established to provide news and updates on his recovery - http://chrisknox.blogtown.co.nz/. The irony is that that blog could well be Knox's first official website.
Since forming The Enemy in Dunedin in 1977 Knox has earned a crust as a musician, cartoonist and critic. His stroke has meant he can't do any of those things at present so fans are being called on to support him by buying his music. It's hardly an imposition. Knox's last album, A Warm Gun, recorded with his band The Nothing is one of his finest albums. Buy it from his blog and you'll ensure maximum profits return directly to Knox.
Some of Knox's more talented fans, including David Kilgour, The Mint Chicks, Lou Barlow, Graeme Downs, Guided By Voices, The Mountain Goats, Jay Clarkson, Martin Phillips, Jay Reatard, Yo La Tengo, Lambchop, Shane Carter, Pumice, Alec Bathgate, Will Oldham, Jeff Mangum, and Bill Callahan, are currently working on a fundraising album of Knox covers.
The list of contributors to that tribute album are an indication of the high regard with which he is held by musicians around the world. So it's no suprise that his songs have already been covered by many kiwi and international artists. This episode of Counting The Beat gathers some of those covers.
Perhaps the best known cover of a Knox song is Frente's 1993 version of the classic 'Not Given Lightly', which while going nowhere overseas certainly garnered the Australian band a lot of attention in New Zealand.
A couple of years earlier the Tall Dwarfs song 'Face of Fashion' was covered by Marshall Crenshaw, an American singer songwriter who got his break playing Knox favourite John Lennon in a Broadway show and playing Buddy Holly in the movie La Bamba.
In 1999 ethereal 4AD group Hopeless Blister covered another Tall Dwarfs song, ' Outer Skin'. The song originally appeared on the 1993 Tall Dwarfs album PolyPhoto, Duck-Shaped Pain and Gum.
Perhaps because of his iconic status Knox has been covered by relatively few New Zealand musicians. One group that has is The Hasslehoff Experiment (pictured) who in 2002 recorded a cover of The Tall Dwarfs 'Brain That Wouldn't Die' for the Flying Nun 21st anniversary album Under The Influence, an album that also featured Knox covering his Tall Dwarfs bandmate Alec Bathgate.
In just the last month two Knox songs appeared on a compilation released by German label Morr Music. The compilation, Not Given Lightly, is a collection of electro-acoustic covers of Flying Nun and eighties kiwi indie songs, including the title track and a cover of the Tall Dwarfs 'All My Hollowness To You' by It's A Musical.
Incidentally, this is only the second time ever that Counting The Beat has included music by non New Zealand artists. I've loaded a number of Knox clips on the video page. Also National Radio have a heap of material available to be streamed - Chris Knox interview and song - Interview about The Nothing - The Nothing live .
Download the Counting The Beat - Chris Knox covers podcast
Don't miss the next episode of Counting The Beat: Counting The Beat Podcast RSS