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Chris Knox

Image: Stuff

Chris Knox’s Biography

Last Updated:
16/05/2019, 8:56 pm
Arts Foundation Laureate 2009
Chris Knox is an important figure in the New Zealand alternative/indie/post-punk rock scenes.

Chris is also known as the spiritual godfather of the Flying Nun recording scene. As well as releasing his own music on Flying Nunn, Chris was involved with the recording of many bands on the label.

He has been an integral figure with three of the country's important rock bands: The Enemy, Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs as well as a prolific solo recording artist. Chris was the vocalist for The Enemy, which was one of this country’s first punk bands. Toy Love had a number of hit singles in New Zealand before the band ended in 1980. Chris then formed the Tall Dwarfs, with guitarist Alec Bathgate, a band much loved for their honest, unpolished sound and intense live shows. He conitinues to make music with his band The Nothing.

An extensive touring musician, Chris has played live in front of audiences all around New Zealand and extensively internationally. He spent 1995 touring Europe, America and Australia, attracting widespread interest and acclaim for his album Songs of You & Me. The album reached the top of US college radio charts and received unprecedented attention in mainstream American music media. At the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards, Chris’s Knox's song Not Given Lightly (1990) was announced as New Zealand's thirteenth best song of all time as voted by APRA members.

Chris has been making music, reviewing film for Real Groove Magazine and writing columns for the newspaper. He has also been writing a cartoon strip under the name Max Media in the New Zealand Herald since 1987, and has been an occasional television film reviewer. He hosted the Television series of classic movies, entitled The Vault and appeared on television reviewing movies in Backch@t and is currently on TVNZ6 presenting the arts programme The New Artland.

Chris resides in Auckland. He was selected as a Laureate in March 2009. On 11 June 2009 Chris was admitted to Auckland hospital suffering from a stroke. The public outpouring of support for Chris and his family following the announcement of his illness was enormous. Chris received excellent professional support and care from his family and he was determined to return to art making again.

In April, 2012, almost three years after suffering his debilitating stroke, Chris surprised Auckland punk rock band Rackets by joining them in a performance at Real Groovy Records. The band members said "it was a nerve-racking, but thrilling experience". The performance, at Real Groovy on Queen St, Auckland, celebrated the launch of a new album from Chris Knox's former band Toy Love.