Song of the Day: Michael Knott - Jail

By in Song of The Day | 2 Comments

As you’ve undoubtedly already read elsewhere, and seen all over the chrindie corner of the internet, Michael Knott died earlier this week. Much has been written about the man, the music, the iconic artist, so I don’t intend to re-tread any of that ground here. This is a Song of the Day post after all.

Nonetheless it does seem fitting to use this week’s SOTD column to feature more of Knott’s work. He wrote and recorded so many incredible albums from the 1980s through the 2020s that it’s hard to pick a “best” or even a “favorite.” However, there is certainly something special about the quirky-titled Rocket and a Bomb. I remember when the album first came out in ’94. I was attending a Christian college in SE Tennessee where I’d finally met my tribe. We were all huge LSU fans and would lap up all the Christian alternative, punk and metal we could find.

But this album was different. It lacked the gothic/post-punk of LSU and even Knott’s earlier solo album, in favor of a singer-songwriter style. The album is comprised of songs Michael had written mostly while doing urban ministry in Hollywood, California. There are true-to-life stories about celebrity relations, befriending homeless people, and even suspected cannibalism. These were subjects that no one had dared to put in a Christian bookstore up until this point in history. But darn it all if it wasn’t the catchiest thing he’d ever released. The whole album is chock full of earworms.

“Jail” will have you singing along to the oo oo oo’s–even grinning ear to ear as that guitar lick kicks in–all while you hear about a man facing jail time with no one to care about whether he gets justice or not. And that right there is the beauty of Michael Knott’s ability as an artist and a songwriter. He’ll having you crying at the human condition and laughing at the absurdity all in the span of a 45-minute rock and roll album.

RIP Michael Knott.

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March 16, 2024 12:44 pm

I’ve always loved this song as well. While “Screaming Brittle Siren” will always be my favorite Knott solo album, this one is a close second. I’m fairly certain that this song, “Jail” is about an experience that Knott himself had. If I remember correctly he had worn a military type jacket out in public that still had the insignia on the sleeves, much to the chagrin of the local law enforcement. He apparently was arrested and spent a small amount of time in jail. Maybe someone else might remember the rest of the details, but I remember reading an interview… Read more »

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