By Suzanne Sanders, 30 July 2004
Ken Stringfellow is a busy guy. He’s a co-founder of indie favorites the Posies. He’s a part of the critically acclaimed the Minus Five. He’s been a part of Alex Chilton’s Big Star, and he’s worked with R.E.M.
Oh, and he’s a solo artist.
That’s how you can see him tonight at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. You also can catch him with the Posies Saturday night at Wicker Park in Chicago.
“Being a solo artist is not really a big chapter in my life,” Stringfellow said. “It’s more like everything is a little episode.
“Those kind of things happen all the time. There’s always something new coming along. So putting out a solo record is just another episode, and that’s what’s particularly dominant in my life right now.”
Stringfellow’s latest solo effort is this year’s “Soft Commands,” which has essences of the easy melodies of Burt Bacharach and even some reggae stylings, all underscored by Stringfellow’s clear voice and sharp songwriting.
“I write about everything,” he said. “And some things are better being projected through a reverse telescope. Every piece of fiction is an assembly of facts with the names blurred. Everyone has an agenda and a set of beliefs they want to reflect, and that’s OK. I don’t even try not to be subjective.”
And Stringfellow likes the clearly non-objective curves that his career has thrown him.
“My career happened without thinking. I’ve been playing in bands since I was a kid, and 20 years later, I’m still going,” he said. “The lack of control only teaches you how life really is. As a musician, you can’t help but live this way, but that’s OK. Other people are caught by surprise by change. Change is always shocking, but I feel that maybe I can accept it more.”
One thing that Stringfellow surely accepts is the appreciation his fans show.
“I haven’t a clue why they like me. It’s truly a mystery,” he said. “Sometimes I think, ‘OK, give me a sign if I’m doing the right job.’ But, if I make some people happy, and I’m not forcing it, then it’s all worth it.”