SELLOUT: Chris Knox? WTF

Posted April 28th, 2008 by Eric Greenwood · 6 Comments

I had the surreal pleasure of helping book Chris Knox at a Hot Dog stand in Columbia, SC way back in 1995. We picked him up at the airport, and he was wearing flip flops, short soccer shorts, and a tank top, which quickly let us know that he didn’t give a fuck- not in a patronizing pseudo-punk affront, but in a genuine couldn’t-care-less demeanor. He played a phenomenal in-store at local record shop, Manifest, before the requisite vegetarian dinner. His show at the hot dog stand was amazing. The crowd was mesmerized by his one man bag of tricks, his impromptu audience toe sucking, and, of course, his infectious barrage of crafty pop songs. When I saw this ad for Heineken (which features his song “It’s Love” off 2000’s Beat) my reflex double take was quickly overtaken with curiosity. In a strange turn of events, I’m honestly happy for him. He’s a great songwriter and deserves not only the accolades but also the cash. It’s just unfortunate that his music has to find an audience through a cheesy beer commercial.

Tags: sellout

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Apr 29, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    “…I’m honestly happy for him. He’s a great songwriter and deserves not only the accolades but also the cash.”

    “I realize it’s some times shitty to be in a touring band. You don’t really make that much money, unless your selling out stadiums the world over. Everybody’s downloading your album, so your CD’s just collect dust at the merch table. But, artists are supposed to have it rough. My sympathy only extends so far. But it seems that lately more and more people are relenting and actually feeling sorry for bands and their income plights, even overlooking the occasional blatant sellout. I’ve never been a fan of bands shilling for corporations. It’s just tacky.”

    Guess you’d be happy for Band of Horses if you booked them a show.

  • 2 K // Apr 29, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Chris Knox has paid his dues and then some. BoH, not so much.

    The sad thing is I saw that commercial the other day and didn’t realize it was Knox. Though, the fact that I found myself singing along rather disturbed me and indicated that I “knew” the song.

  • 3 Eric Greenwood // Apr 30, 2008 at 7:40 am

    haha. slick burn, anonymous. nothing gets past you. i’m flattered. actually, i thought someone might notice the inconsistency, which is why i said “in a strange turn of events.” selling out at all to me is shitty, and i’m embarrassed for mr. knox for having to shill for beer to make a buck, which i also alluded to. i’m obviously conflicted here. but one some level, i am glad he’s getting some attention because he’s been far undervalued for too long. band of horses…not so much, as k said. knox has paid decades worth of dues. but the bottom line is it’s lame. putting a good spin on it doesn’t take away the sellout aspect of it all.

  • 4 Anonymous // Apr 30, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    dear decider’s of dues paid,

    thank you for the clarification

  • 5 K // Apr 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Dear Anonymous, it’s our blog, our opinion, our prerogative in this space to decided whatever the hell we want. I feel sorry for Chris. He shouldn’t have to sell his songs to beer conglomerates. Times are tight, he’s getting old, drawing comics for the newspaper doesn’t pay the bills, whatever. It’s all just sad. Anyhow, you’ve got your own blog, so why not post on it instead of trying to get our goat. You could post about the term “sellout”, for instance. I look forward to reading your blog.

  • 6 Chris Knox // May 6, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Idly googling my own name to see what impact this ad had had and found you guys!

    Sellout, my flabby arse! I LIKE beer! (Well, I didn’t realise it was Light till after I’d said yes, please to their impassioned entreaty to use my worthless ditty…). I sold another song, Not Given Lightly. to a NZ breadmaker – after checking they weren’t using Monsanto grains – and it put my kids through college but refused to let Tegel Chicken use this same song for a local ad. Said no to 40 grand on that count so I’ve got my fucking scruples, OK?!
    Good.

    It’s been freaking out a few of my US mates though. In a good way! And yeah, the ad’s lame but it is by Todd Haynes who made Safe, Velvet Goldmine and Superstar (not to mention I’m Not There which opens over here in a coupla days) and if he can lower his fine self to Heineken ads then so can I.

    Good to read you’re still alive Eric, I remember that gig all too well – the rider beer was Miller Lite from memory and we paid for real stuff rather than let that shit past our lips.
    And K, you wouldn’t be Kim, would ya?

    Cheese,
    Chris