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.
Stringfellow performing with the Posies in 2005
October 30, 1968 |
Hollywood, California, United States
|Genres||Alternative rock, punk rock, power pop|
|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|
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.
Stringfellow attended college at the University of Washington, where he and Auer remained in touch, trading cassettes of songs.
In 1988, Stringfellow 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.
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. An expanded version of Failure with eight bonus tracks was reissued by Omnivore Recordings in 2014.
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.
The band's next record, Frosting on the Beater, was released in 1993 and included the song "Dream All Day", which hit No. 4 on the modern rock charts and No. 17 on mainstream radio. 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.
In 1993, Stringfellow 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.
In 1997 Stringfellow began a long association with R.E.M. "The first thing that happened was Peter [Buck] kept calling me and saying, 'Hey, do you want to play some music?' I said, 'Sure. I have to go on tour for a couple of months, but when I get back that would be great'. A few months later I called him because Stephanie [Buck, Peter's wife] had mentioned something to me about playing bass on some demos. It kind of seemed more like a Minus 5 project at that point. Then he told me, 'Actually, we're doing an R.E.M. tour for about a year and we need somebody to play guitar and keyboards, so we think you should audition'. Then a week later he calls and says, 'Well, actually we cancelled the tour, but we still want you to audition'. Finally it was, 'If you just want to come down to San Francisco in about a month, you have the gig. You don't have to audition.'"
Although the Posies were Stringfellow's main project during much of the 1980s and 1990s, 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.
Stringfellow co-wrote and recorded several songs with Scott Miller's band The Loud Family in the mid-1990s, appearing on their albums The Tape of Only Linda (1994) and Interbabe Concern (1996) as a guest guitarist and vocalist.
In March 2015 he announced a country album together with Holly Muñoz. The album was recorded at his studio and was a response to Willie Nelson's 1975 album Red Headed Stranger. The album received positive reviews.  The Boston Globe commented that it was a " fascinating left-field listen" noting "the gorgeous back-and-forth dueting of Stringfellow and Munoz". Willie Nelson's daughter Amy Nelson also called the album "amazing" on her Instagram feed and thanked them on behalf of the Nelson family.
Stringfellow 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 (2012). Released on Lojinx (Europe), Spark & Shine (US) and Target Earth (Japan), Danzig in the Moonlight featured Charity Rose Thielen and Margaret Cho. In 2008, he also released an EP of cover songs, The Sellout Cover Sessions Vol. 1. 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.
In 2016, he produced and performed on the final Game Theory studio album, Supercalifragile (2017), a collaborative project that completed the unfinished album Scott Miller had been working on at the time of his death.
Stringfellow has composed soundtracks for short films such as The Kitchen Party and Bunker.