Ken Stringfellow: The First American Artist To Tour in 2021

The Posies guitarist gives us a quick update on the final date of a brief sojourn through Spain

Ken Stringfellow in Spain (Photo: Ivan Valverde)

Ken Stringfellow is back on the road playing a string of club dates in Spain that concludes tonight in Madrid. 

“All safety and hygiene measures will be respected,” the power pop great wrote in a Facebook post announcing the first of three solo performances at La Bohemia in Castellon. “This is a very rare opportunity to see live music –and the ONLY American artist on tour anywhere at this time.”

For over 30 years, Stringfellow has been one of the most respected and renowned names in modern rock as a member of The Posies, R.E.M. and Big Star in addition to his own acclaimed solo catalog. Yet his announcement has gone largely unreported in the national press despite this promising news that an American artist–albeit one who lives in France–is on tour anywhere in the world. 

“I think my tour is only really known by people here in Spain, where it’s received significant press simply because I’m a prominently known artist here,” Stringfellow told Rock & Roll Globe via Facebook Messenger. “But I think no one has stopped to consider how rare what I’m doing is, as it’s so unlikely. There are occasional shows happening here in Spain, but they are local.”


Concert poster for Ken Stringfellow’s Madrid concert (Photo: Google)


For those of us here in the States, Stringfellow’s brief sojourn overseas offers a glimmer of hope for all of us who miss seeing live music, especially considering Spain was one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic. 

“People have been thrilled,” Stringfellow explains. “None of us can believe these shows are allowed to happen. I think it’s just giving people some relief after almost a year of cultural deprivation. Spain is experimenting with cultural events right now.”

So far, he says, the first two shows went over well enough, considering the venues are only seating a fraction of their capacities for the Stringfellow gigs.

“In most cases, alcohol can’t be served,” he tells Rock & Roll Globe. “Masks on the whole time. The Barcelona show was very dark, so it didn’t seem too unusual. it felt like people were close. La Bohemia was not dark; the venue is a big concrete box so it felt sparse, it’s always seated and by law many seats were blocked so the people were arranged with space.

Stringfellow also reveals that The Posies are close to completing work on their ninth LP; when asked for a possible album title, Stringfellow replied with a 😎. 

“Everything was tracked at my studio in Seattle in 2019,” he did reveal. “We were all together. We did some overdubs etc at Frankie’s studio in LA in February of 2020.”

In the meantime, Stringfellow admits that touring during quarantine is no picnic.

“It’s an immense amount of hassle,” he replied when asked about the perils of performing in clubs in the age of Corona. “It’s awkward. You have to get a Covid test for traveling anywhere. There are curfews. Travels are always delayed, or canceled and regrouped as there are so few passengers they might combine several under full flights into one and maybe not on the day you originally booked. You need papers to move from region to region in Spain or move after curfew in France. You need to wear a mask at all times and be mindful of hygiene at all times. Times for thesevevents changes constantly as curfews or mandated business closing times change daily. And it’s all totally worth it.”


VIDEO: Ken Stringfellow performs “Reveal Love” at home 2020


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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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