I first interviewed Knox in 2014. He is a session guitarist who worked with the Psychedelic Furs, R.E.M, and others.. He toured with Siouxsie and the Banshees and Cyndi Lauper, and toured and recorded with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan. In 2012, Knox moved from New York City to Berlin, where he plays and teaches. We talk about the move, his evolution from rock guitarist to a roots-meets-iPad artist and his new project with Eric Mingus, Bursting Blue Bone Bark. We also discuss the brilliance of Chris Whitley, his unlikely dragooning into becoming a cellist, and more. Check out the performance videos either before or after watching the interview.
Some emotional vignettes, a bunch of Mary Halvorson, and, to start off, a set by Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy.
Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy Doors Of Perception [Cuneiform Records]
Björkenheim adds some new tones to his signature edgy yet vocal style, (like wave form distortion), yet his distinctive instrumental voice continues to shine through.
The new release Star Babies from The Tetrahedrons features an all star aggregation that includes modern guitarist Knox Chandler (REM, Depeche Mode, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithful, The Golden Palominos); Chris Palmaro (Michael Franks, Marc Cohen, Joan Osborne) on piano, synths and horn arrangements; John Conte (Billy Joel, Rosanne Cash, Ian Hunter, David Bowie) on “bass guitar with full frequency modulation”; and Tony Beard (Go West, Foreigner, Steve Vai, Roger Daltrey) on drums and percussion. It is rare that musicians on this technical level get together to let their musical and sonic imaginations run free. This crew made their first record, Cydonia Suite, as the Swinging Tetrahedrons a decade and a half ago, which makes this release something of an event. Knox was nice enough to go into detail for Guitar Moderne about the making of the record.
Someone recently asked me to define roots moderne. Bursting Blue Bone Bark, the Berlin-based project of Knox Chandler and Eric Mingus, epitomizes the answer. Chandler’s combination of National steel guitar and iPad apps, joins Mingus’ guttural blues shouting and vocal noises for music as primal as the Aborigines and modern as tomorrow.