Chris Knox

Chris Knox

Chris Knox (born 2 September 1952) is a New Zealand rock and roll musician, cartoonist, and DVD reviewer who emerged during the punk rock era with his bands The Enemy and Toy Love. After Toy Love disbanded in the early 1980s, he formed the group Tall Dwarfs with guitarist Alec Bathgate, much loved for their honest, unpolished sound and intense live shows. His 4-track machine was used to record most of the early Flying Nun singles.

He has also released a number of solo, self-produced albums which feature his Casiotone. Knox has also released an album under the pseudonym 'Friend'.

At the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards Knox's song, ballad "Not Given Lightly" (1990) was announced as New Zealand's thirteenth best song of all time, as voted by APRA members.[1] A love song written for "John and Leisha's mother" - his partner Barbara - this track never scaled commercial heights though it has belately generated some income for the songwriter through its use in TV advertising (notably for Vogel's bread).

Knox has played live in front of audiences all around New Zealand, winning a reputation for his sometimes confrontational style, and performed annually at Wellington's infamous Bar Bodega. He has also extensively toured internationally. His swing through the US in 1995 included, among others, stops in Seattle to play the Crocodile Cafe. His minimalist, DIY sound played well to ears then-focused on grunge, with its retro-punk stylings.

A long-time resident of Auckland, Knox has spent time as a newspaper columnist and film reviewer for Real Groove. His satirical comic strip Max Media appeared in the NZ Herald every week for more than fifteen years. He has also been an occasional television film reviewer, hosted a Television New Zealand season of classic movies, and presented two seasons of arts series New Artland.

Knox launched his own label 'A Major Records' in 2006 to release the album Chris Knox and the Nothing. This was the first album Knox recorded in a professional studio, rather than in his trademark DIY style, since his time with Toy Love.

Knox's "It's Love", from the 2000 album Beat, has been used in "Share the Good", a Heineken Premium Light commercial directed by Todd Haynes and cinematographed by Edward Lachman.

On 11 June 2009 Knox was admitted to Auckland hospital suffering from a stroke.[2] The album Stroke - Songs For Chris Knox was released in New Zealand on 16 November 2009. It features 33 artists performing Knox's songs. The album is a way for Knox's fans to contribute to the costs of his rehabilitation. All artists contributed their time and talent without charge. Artists include Jay Reatard, David Kilgour, The Mint Chicks, Shayne Carter, Yo La Tengo, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Bill Callahan, The Mountain Goats, The Bats, The Chills, The Verlaines, Jeff Mangum, The Nothing (including Chris), Tall Dwarfs and Lou Barlow.

The Greenwich Village arts venue Le Poisson Rouge hosted a benefit concert for Knox on 6 May 2010.[3] Artists included Jeff Mangum and Yo La Tengo, who both participated in the 2009 benefit album for Knox.


  • Songs for Cleaning Guppies (1981)
  • Guppiplus (1987)
  • Seizure (1988)
  • Croaker (1991)
  • Polyfoto, Duck-Shaped Pain and Gum (one CD, 1993)
  • Meat (compilation of tracks from Seizure and Croaker, 1993)
  • Songs Of You And Me (1995)
  • Yes!! (1997)
  • Almost (bonus CD to go with Yes!!, 1999)
  • Beat (2000)
  • Inaccuracies & Omissions (as Friend, 2002)
  • Chris Knox And The Nothing (as Chris Knox and The Nothing, 2005)
  • A Warm Gun (as The Nothing, 2008)
  • Stroke - Songs for Chris Knox (various artists, 2009)


  1. ^ Chris Knox, "Not Given Lightly", The Listener 194(3352) [7–13 August 2004].
  2. ^ Musician Chris Knox Suffers stroke, Radio New Zealand.
  3. ^ "Jeff Mangum Announces Rare Performance at Chris Knox Benefit". Pitchfork. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 

External links

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