Note to Readers
We critics should stand proudly behind our opinions, it's true, but there will always be those who say, "What gives you the right to judge?" Not that it will make my exquisite prose stylings any more or less authoritative, but I thought it might amuse you to read my long history of failure in show business and say, "Oh, so he's completely unqualified to judge!" It's arranged in chronological order by the date on which I joined the group. Note that the fact I played an instrument in the band does not mean I possess any degree of skill on it.
Abraham and Dennis have their own entries after mine.

Since 1987, I have operated (and by operate I mean keep tapes in a spare room and make copies whenever someone wants one) Crabapple Tapes Company, distributor of all the recordings listed on this page. If you're interested in purchasing anything, please contact me for more information. Items marked with an asterisk are also available on CD. I've linked to published reviews, as well. I am currently upgrading the entire Crabapple catalog to digital as time permits - the early items available on CD are now part of the "Crabapple Classics" reissue series.

The Pseudonyms
Tenure: 1985-present
Instrument played: On stage, acoustic guitar and backing vocal; on recordings, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, saxophone, vocals
Style: folk-punk/post-pub/acoustic soul/thrashabilly (we've developed a distinct brand of music that I can't really categorize)
Gigs: dozens, including several outdoor festivals; our most active period was 1994-1996, but we still play occasionally

  • The Prevention and Cure of the Modern-Day Consumer, 1987*
  • Death Valley He-Man Woman-Haters' Society Clubhouse Marching Band, 1988*
  • Delusions of Adequacy, 1991 [REVIEW]
  • From Here to Tahlequah, 1993
  • The Pseudonyms' Most Presentable Songs, 1987-1993, 1994
  • Behind These Eyes, 1994
  • Rhododendron's Left Home, 1995 [REVIEW]
  • The Pseudonyms Get Into Trouble, 1995
  • Ultra-Sound Examiner, 1996
  • Tocsin/Toxin [two albums in one package], 1997 [REVIEW]
  • In the Throes of Musical Ecstasy [live], 1998
  • Apotheosis Now, 1999* [REVIEW]
    Notes: The Pseudonyms consist of Ian Kabell and myself; we met in the eighth grade when Ian moved next door to me. Our story has many parallels to the famous saga of Low-Maintenance Perennials - years of making low-fidelity recordings in the basement, finally starting up a stage act, playing out to largely indifferent audiences, and finally acceptance that our fate was not to be the next Ween. We improved considerably over the years. For Apotheosis Now we pooled our savings and made a CD of our "greatest hits" in an actual studio with talented musicians. Since then I got married and had Abe, so things have slowed down a little, but we're still working on new songs.

    Mt. Pleasant High School Marching Band
    Tenure: 1986-1987
    Instrument played: Tenor saxophone
    Style: Marches & show tunes
    Gigs: Half-time of every home football game
    Reason for termination: Failure to convince the rest of the band to march on the same foot as me

    The Kowalski Trio
    Tenure: 1986-1987
    Instrument played: Bass, keyboards, banjo
    Style: Minimalist/aleatory instrumental rock
    Reason for termination: Transitioned into the act known as "John and Steve Knowlton"
    Recordings: Twist and Shout, 1987*

    Schafer & Knowlton
    Tenure: Spring 1989
    Instrument played: Bass, harmonica, vocal
    Style: Original guitar rock
    Gigs: High school talent show
    Reason for termination: Sang a number offensive to librarians, was later banned from that facility

    John & Steve Knowlton
    Tenure: 1988-1990
    Instrument played: Bass, vocal
    Style: Politically-oriented neo-folk
    Gigs: Several coffee house gigs
    Reason for termination: John hooked up with another group
    Recordings: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin, 1989*

    Solo work
    Tenure: 1989-1999
    Instrument played: Drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, saxophone, vocal
    Style: Same as the Pseudonyms, but less punk and more folk
    Gigs: A few open mic nights
    Reason for termination: Sold my drums when the neighbors started complaining
  • People Are Coldcuts, Too., 1990
  • A Whole 'Nother Thing, 1992
  • Steve Knowlton Jumps on the Country Bandwagon, 1992 [REVIEW]
  • Love Songs and Other Songs, 1993
  • Naturally Curly, 1994 [REVIEW]
  • Alma Calling, 1994
  • I Sold My Kids for Cheese, 1997
  • Love Vibration, 1998 (as "Severed Heads")
  • Knowlton Road, 1999*

    Blue Dog Studio ad hoc band
    Tenure: one week in 1990
    Instrument played: Bass
    Style: Classic rock covers
    Reason for termination: Fired for incompetence

    Gratiot County Players' Godspell pit orchestra
    Tenure: three weeks in 1993
    Instrument played: Acoustic guitar & ukulele
    Style: Godspell, the musical
    Reason for termination: The show ended its run

    The Salesmen
    Tenure: 1996-1997
    Instrument played: Drums
    Style: Alt-country
    Gigs: Four, including a radio show
    Reason for termination: Guitarist moved to New York without telling us
    Recordings: Anthology, 1997

    Peppermint Lounge
    Tenure: three weeks in 1997
    Instrument played: Bass, drums
    Style: Psychedelic lounge music interspersed with ska
    Reason for termination: Was hired to replace bassist who moved to Europe; he moved back

    Rhythm Jones
    Tenure: one week in 1998
    Instrument played: bass
    Style: Classic rock covers
    Reason for termination: Fired in favor of previously fired bassist who wanted a second chance

    Tenure: 1998-2000
    Instrument played: Bass
    Style: Christian folk
    Gigs: Occasional church services around Michigan
    Recordings: Phlip, 1998* [previously issued as Pony Tail Preacher]

    The Keith Meisel Conglomerate
    Tenure: 1998-1999
    Instrument played: Bass
    Style: Original guitar-rock, "Hendrix meets Paul Simon"
    Gigs: One
    Reason for termination: Guitarist decided he lacked necessary inspiration to continue

    Steve Knowlton and the Knowl-Tones
    Tenure: 1999-2001
    Instrument played: Guitar, lead vocals
    Style: Garage pop
    Gigs: About one a month, mostly in bars
    Reason for termination: Imminent birth of Abe

  • Knowlton Road, 1999* [REVIEW]
  • Half Jasons, 2000* [REVIEW]
  • Spackle and Grout, 2000* [REVIEW]
  • III, 2001* [REVIEW]
  • Revenge of the Quirky Genius: The Best of Steve Knowlton and the Knowl-Tones, 2002* [REVIEW] [REVIEW]

    Abraham Knowlton
    Instrument played: Vocals, toy piano
    Style: Improvisational noise
    Gigs: Every day to an adoring audience of two

  • Live at the Met, 2001*
  • Notable Speeches of 2003, 2004*
    with Dennis Knowlton:
  • Proceedings of the Ypsilanti Township Debating Society, 2005*

    Complaints, criticisms, or bribery reviews: Contact me!