Ken Stringfellow

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Ken Stringfellow
Ken Stringfellow rockstar pose 2005.jpg
Stringfellow performing with the Posies in 2005
Background information
Born (1968-10-30) October 30, 1968 (age 45)
Hollywood, California, United States
Genres Alternative rock, punk rock, power pop
Years active 1988–present
Labels Hidden Agenda, Sony Music, Manifesto, Yep Roc, Sellout! Records, King of Patio Records, Blue Collar Distro, Lojinx, Thick Syrup Records, Spark & Shine
Associated acts The Posies, Big Star, R.E.M., The Disciplines
Website kenstringfellow.com

Kenneth Stuart Stringfellow (born October 30, 1968) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer. Best known for his work with The Posies, R.E.M., and the re-formed Big Star, Stringfellow's discography includes more than 200 albums.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Stringfellow was born in Hollywood, California. His father, a television executive, relocated the family frequently as his career developed, and Stringfellow went to elementary schools in New York, Chicago, and Detroit. After his parents divorced, in 1978, he moved to Bellingham, Washington. In high school, Stringfellow, who had learned to play piano at nine and guitar at 11, met Jon Auer, with whom he would later form The Posies.[4]

Stringfellow attended college at the University of Washington, where he and Auer remained in touch, trading cassettes of songs. In 1988, he and Auer began playing together as The Posies and self-released their first album, Failure, which included some of the earlier material they'd written separately. Immediately after the record's release, Stringfellow left the University of Washington to focus on the Posies full time.[5]

Career[edit]

Failure was well received by the press and put into regular rotation at college and commercial radio stations, prompting Stringfellow and Auer to quickly assemble a full band. Adding Mike Musberger on drums and Rick Roberts on bass, the Posies made their live debut in May 1988, two weeks after the release of Failure. The album was subsequently reissued by the Seattle-based independent label, Pop Llama. Following a series of dates with The Replacements, Hoodoo Gurus, and They Might Be Giants, among others, the Posies were signed by DGC, a Geffen Records imprint. Dear 23 was released on DGC in September, 1990, with the album's lead single, Golden Blunders, appearing in the Top 10 on the college radio charts.[6] The band's next record, Frosting on the Beater, was released in 1993 and included the song Dream All Day, which hit #4 on the modern rock charts and #17 on mainstream radio.[7] In addition to extensively touring the United States, the Posies toured internationally and developed large followings in Europe, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere. Their final record for DGC, Amazing Disgrace, was released in 1996. The Posies broke up in 1998, but reformed in 2000 for an acoustic tour and later recorded two more albums, Every Kind of Light in 2005 and Blood/Candy in 2010. In 2003, Stringfellow and Auer released Private Sides, a six-song split EP on Arena Rock Recording Co./Rykodisc.[8]

Although the Posies were Stringfellow's main project during much of the 80s and 90s, he additionally performed and recorded with Sky Cries Mary, a band he founded with Auer in 1989, Lagwagon, Saltine, White Flag, and The Minus Five. Notably, in 1993, he and Auer were recruited to join Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens for a Big Star reunion; Stringfellow and Auer performed and recorded with Big Star until Alex Chilton's death in 2010. He continues to perform in projects related to Big Star, including the ongoing series of "Big Star's Third" concerts.[9][10]

In 1997 Stringfellow began a long association with R.E.M.. He performed with the band on world tours in 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2005, and appears on several R.E.M. records, including the Man on the Moon soundtrack, Reveal, and Around the Sun.[11] In 2007, he formed The Disciplines with members of the Norwegian pop band, Briskeby;[12] The Disciplines released two records, Smoking Kills in 2009 and Virgins of Menace in 2011.[13]

He has released four solo albums: This Sounds Like Goodbye (1997, on the Hidden Agenda label), Touched (2001, on Manifesto Records), Soft Commands (2004, on Yep Roc Records), and Danzig in the Moonlight. Released in 2012, on Lojinx (Europe), Spark & Shine (US) and Target Earth (Japan), Danzig in the Moonlight featured Charity Rose Thielen and Margaret Cho.

Stringfellow additionally released an EP of cover songs, The Sellout Cover Sessions Vol. 1 (2008).[8] He has toured extensively in support of each of the albums.

Since 2005, Stringfellow has been increasingly involved with production, and has composed film music and string arrangements. He has produced albums for Damien Jurado, The Long Winters, and Carice van Houten, and, as a sideman, he's worked with Brendan Benson, Cali, Snow Patrol and others. Beyond North America and Europe, Stringfellow has also collaborated with Senegal band Waflash.[14] Stringfellow has composed soundtracks for short films such as The Kitchen Party and Bunker.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Stringfellow lives in Paris with his wife, Dominique Sassi, and daughter. He was previously married to The Fastbacks' bass player Kim Warnick. They divorced in 1996, after a three-year marriage.

Selected Discography[edit]

Solo[edit]

  • This Sounds Like Goodbye (1997)
  • Touched (2001)
  • Soft Commands (2004)
  • The Sellout Cover Sessions Vol. 1 (2008)
  • Danzig in the Moonlight (2012)
  • I Never Said I’d Make It Easy: a Ken Stringfellow Collection (2014, initial Australian release)

with The Disciplines[edit]

with The Posies[edit]

with R.E.M.[edit]

with Jon Auer[edit]

  • Private Sides (2003)

with Sky Cries Mary[edit]

with Big Star[edit]

with The Minus 5[edit]

with Lagwagon[edit]

with Chariot[edit]

  • I Am Ben Hur (1998)

with The Orange Humble Band[edit]

  • Assorted Creams (1998)
  • Humblin' (Across America) (2001)

with Saltine[edit]

  • Find Yourself Alone (1999)
  • Reveal Love (1999)

with Bootsy Holler (as "Twin Princess")[edit]

  • The Complete Recordings (2000) [15]

White Flag[edit]

  • On the Way Down (1999)
  • Eternally Undone (2001)
  • History Is Fiction (2002)
  • Piangi Con Me (2006)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hall, Michael James. "Column - A threesome with Ken Stringfellow featuring R.E.M., Posies & Big Star". February 9, 2012. Q. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Zubair, Iris. "Questions With: Ken Stringfellow on R.E.M., Drug Use, and French Healthcare". March 7, 2013. Dallas Magazine. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Greenidge, Laurel. "Ken Stringfellow: Biography". 2013. AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Velvet Rope Staff. "Ken Stringfellow Performs at Starlight". February 17, 2013. Velvet Rope Magazine. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Huey, Steve. "The Posies Bio". 2014. MTV/Rovi. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Jamieson, Robert. "The Posies: Dear 23". December 1, 2002. Pop Matters. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Ulaby, Neda. "The Posies: How Do Bands Make Money Now?". July 29, 2009. NPR. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Discogs Staff. "Ken Stringfellow Disccography". 2014. Discogs. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Sachs, Tony. "Remembering Alex Chilton: Icon and Iconoclast". March 18, 2010. Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Danton, Eric R. "R.E.M., Big Star Members Join Blitzen Trapper Onstage at SXSW". March 18, 2012. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Ken Stringfellow Credits". 2014. AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Sachs, Tony. "Ken Stringfellow Masters the Disciplines of Rocking Out". February 25, 2011. Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Staker, Brian. "THE DISCIPLINARIAN Ken Stringfellow". 2010. Blurt. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  14. ^ http://4nap.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=191&Itemid=216
  15. ^ http://theposies.net/ken-stringfellow/music/ken-stringfellow-eps/twin-princess-the-complete-recordings/