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Biography: Ken Stringfellow - Ask R.E.M. Band Member Ken Stringfellow YOUR questions

2006-03-29 11:02

INTERVIEW: Ken spoke to us about R.E.M., his new album, his time as lead singer in The Posies, Penguins, Politics and more. Read interview

In Jo'burg? Go to his Gig
Ken Stringfellow (R.E.M. band member, solo artist and front man for Big
and The Posies) will be performing at the Blues Room in Village Walk, Sandton on 12th March, following his two Jo'burg gigs with R.E.M.. He will showcase his solo album - Soft Commands - which is earning rave reviews and winning him new fans overseas since its release last year. Call (011) 784-5527 to book or go to

The R.E.M. Tour
Ken's playing with R.E.M. on their Around the Sun tour of South Africa. Book through Or Win tickets here

ABOUT KEN STRINGFELLOW (presumably, his real name)

He sounds like... The Everly Brothers meets ELO meets LSD-era Beatles meets alternative, with very rock moments. He writes lyrics as blue eyed soul as Ryan Adams could ever wish to. Listen to his music - click here

His childhood... Ken was born in San Francisco as an orphan and later adopted. His then 11 year old sister Kate Stringfellow said it best, if innaccurately (see interview):

"My dad adopted him from an orphanage in San Francisco. He was also born in San Francisco. He sung down the streets going to school because he loved music so much" ... "Ken plans to get more well known around the world like the Backstreet Boys. He turned from a boy singing music down the street skipping to school to a star just waiting to show his stuff. I never thought that I would say this. But, I am glad to have a brother that loves music."

Ken sounds nothing like the Backstreet Boys!

His career... A few sources describe Ken Stringfellow as "flirting with stardom" and by South African standards he's probably done more than that. He currently plays with R.E.M. - on albums as well as part of their tour band. He first made it overseas the early '90s with critically acclaimed "power pop" band "The Posies". (The Posies' third album Amazing Disgrace is available in some good SA record stores for about R110).

When the Posies broke up, a steady stream of the most star musos came knocking on Ken's door. First, Alex Chilton recruited Ken to tour with Big Star, and later, he began touring with R.E.M. as a backing vocalist and musician and became a steady member of Scott McCaughey's revolving door of pop discovery - the Minus 5. But through it all, Ken's never stopped crafting his own personal brand of endearing pop gems and has three critically acclaimed solo albums to his name.

Quote: " I could prattle on at length, giving myself favourable contrast to the morally truncated shelf fungus whose fruiting body both rots from the inside and comprises the whole of "popular music" today." A Hunter S. Thompson fan perhaps?

The future... according to his publicity, not only will Stringfellow be releasing his album Soft Commands here but he's also reforming In 2005 watch out for two new studio albums from Ken with The Posies and getting back with Big Star for two new albums.

Want to know more about Ken, the R.E.M. tour or anything else?
Post your questions for him and we'll include them when we interview him in Cape Town on Friday 4th March.

We posted this biography so that MWEB users could post questions for us to ask Ken Stringfellow when we interviewed him on the Cape Town leg of the R.E.M. world tour.
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