Big Star

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Thoughts on these fellas?

David, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

new answers

David, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

why, is there a new release or something ;-)

g, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake

mark s, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

I know you wanna buck the conventional critical wisdom and say something like that, but sometimes you just can't...

They really did make 3 really great records

g, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Agreed.

Sean, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

All of the hype is deserved. There only crime is partial responsibility for Teenage Fanclub.

Dan, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

They were touring recently.

David, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Their truest crime is their holy grail status, which they did not wish for but had foisted upon them.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

they're horrible, their first album sounds like kiss.

ethan, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

2nd best VU cover.

Mr Noodles, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

sisters/lovers is absolutely terrific. haunting and beautiful.

matthew stevens, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

They're grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! You gotta clean out those ears, ethan--that first record sounds more like a revved up Kinks crossed with the glam glory of T.Rex, and there's nothing wrong with that. If it sounds boring and cliched, now, it's only because they invented some of those cliches. (Besides, if it does sound anything like Kiss, and I'm not saying that it does, Kiss would have cribbed from Big Star, seeing as how Kiss' first album came out two years after Big Star's #1 Record.)

Ultimately, I'm most partial to Third/Sister Lovers, but the first two certainly have a prominent place in my collection.

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Thirteen

O My Soul

September Gurls

Down The Street

Mod Lang

I'm In Love With A Girl.

Yep. Legend secure...

JM, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

i heard the bands that sound like them first, therefore big star are secondary to awful indie-leaning alt rock. and the first album sounds so much like kiss. how could the nearly untouchable stax release that kind of shit?

ethan, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Their ballads were nice, the rockers crap. For that, see Cheap Trick or the Raspberries, or even the Beatles in a pinch

dave q, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

First two = classic. Sister Lovers = dull + overrated.

The Rasperries - NO! Sugary proto-poodle soft-metal.

Dr. C, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

ethan-i'vw made a kiss comparison myself ,but with the second album . the indie grandfathers aura works against this nice loser pop band , their first record sounds good anyway

francesco, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

For giving Teenage Fanclub a career, classic. For inspiring every other halfwit Glaswegian indie band, dud.

Agree with dave q, the soppy gurly ballads win over the rockers everytime (esp on #1 record), and yup Sister Lovers is overwrought and overrated but any Lp with Holocaust, jesus christ and Kanga roo is ok by me (though I prefer This Mortal Coil's versions).

I will pass on the Raspberries coz' all I know about them is that they taste nice in trifle.

Billy Dods, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Weeellll I've never been that partial to "#1 record" unless I'm completely in the right mood for it, the rockers sound forced but the ballads are wonderful, especially the last few on side two. "Radio city" is end to end genius without doubt. "Sister lovers" has too much of a reputation hanging around it of 'tortured genius' to ever live up to it - didn't NME vote it most depressing album of all time a few years back? Oh come on! But it still has moments. And I'm probably the only person here who'll admit that they like the Columbia live album (but hell I love the Posies so what do you expect?) The rockier songs from "#1" sound better on "Columbia" than the originals - discuss.

Rob M, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

The three BS albums are like a drunk's progress. First album - happy buzz, sociable and 'up'. Second album - nasty, sloppy, mean-minded, initially amusing but unpleasant to be with. Third album - all the grief, dysfunction and ultimate serenity of the hangover. I like a lot of their stuff, I love a bit of their stuff - ultimately Chilton has to take some of the indirect blame for lo-fi's cult of the fuck- up.

Tom, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Nice comparison Tom. Why didn't I have that idea? "Kangaroo" is the delirium tremens isn't it?

alex in mainhattan, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Never heard them in my life.

the pinefox, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

'Like Flies on Sherbert', the solo alb AC made after 'Sister Lovers', is the real good'un - we're talking one last reckless binge before the Betty Ford clinic beckoned. So ramshackle and woozy it makes the Dead C seem like King Crimson.

I also like 'I Am The Cosmos',the posthumous Chris Bell alb.

Andrew L, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Foxy: you might actually like 'em quite a bit, especially the slower moments (Ballad of El Goodo, for ex., and of course the immortal Thirteen.)

Everyone else: The first two records rock Third's world. Radio City is, I think, my favorite of the moment, b/c tho it has fewer instant hits it feels mature and thoughtful as opposed to angsty. Also, because of Septermber Gurls. Third has probably the most breathtakingly stunning songs, but I can't listen to something so morose that often. I need lifestyle music, eh?

Sterling Clover, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

dave q: I like the Raspberries reference. Very, very nice.

JM, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Big Star weren't on Stax proper but rather Ardent, a Stax subsidiary with which Stax misguidedly took on the white rock market. I don't think it was much of a priority for Stax, which was a mixed blessing in that it allowed such a singularly weird band to pretty much do what they wanted but hurt them in that the Stax guys didn't have much interest in or aptitude for promoting anything other than soul.

fritz, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Actually, Rob, I liked Columbia too, also being a fan of the Posies. I think it's maybe telling that I like a lot of the bands that Big Star influenced a bit more than I like Big Star proper (esp. Replacements), but mostly because they are more powerpop and eliminated most of the rawk cliches of those first two albums, whether they invented them or no.

Sean Carruthers, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

anyway, what's wrong with kiss?

g, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

or Teenage Fanclub for that matter? They have gotten a bit boring...

g, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

The first time I heard "Thirteen" I nearly cried. I *heart* this band so much.

Helen Fordsdale, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Big Star totally live up to the hype. Their history is nearly as compelling as their music. "Radio City" defines it's era, much like X's "Wild Gift" defines it's own era.

Mole Man, Saturday, 20 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Sean - doncha love it when everyone gets sidetracked?

I heard Big Star before I heard either the Posies or Replacements or even the Fannies (a brother who had exceedingly bad taste most of the time finally got something right when he got "#1 Record" / "Radio city" in '91), and I've converted my fellow bandmate (a Fannies / Replacements / Smithereens fan) into a BS fan, his trying to convert me on the 'Mats and Smithereens has never worked in my direction for some reason. But we're totally agreed on the Posies and the Fannies though. Odd. I just can't get my head around the 'Mats at all, I've tried loads of times with different LPs of theirs, but still nothing. Mind, Paul Westerburg's last solo LP was rather good!

Rob M, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Call me old fashioned but I think one property of an era-defining record ought to be people actually buying it during that era, not 20 years later.

Tom, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Smithereens - AAARGGGGHHHH (makes retching sounds)

dave q, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

It is an era defining record, era being 1990 unfortunately.

TFC way, way better than BS.

Billy Dods, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Could somebody PLEASE explain TFC's appeal? Start a new thread if you have to. This one really perplexes me.

dave q, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

From my experience, Teenage Fanclub is exemplary of most Britpop bands - Hey! We like such-and-such bands! Let's pay homage to them through shameless, lifeless emulation! Everyone'll LOVE us!

Bandwagonesque was all fine & good, but a bit slow (even when going fast) and surprisingly bland as a whole. Pleasant in certain situations, though. This is the only album I can confidently speak on, so feel free to ignore my pronouncements.

David Raposa, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Basically TFC = Big Star with 'originality' replaced by 'lyrics and sentiments early 90s students could relate to better'. As an early 90s student I hugely preferred them.

Tom, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

From my experience, Teenage Fanclub is exemplary of most Britpop bands

'Britpop' = term with huge ever growing scope creep

Nick, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...
"Thirteen" is such a fucking good song.

NA (Nick A.), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 20:35 (10 years ago) Permalink

Isn't it just.

Sick Nouthall (Nick Southall), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 20:52 (10 years ago) Permalink

I like the third one the best myself. "Radio City" is the most fully realized of the three "official" BS albums, but "Third" really did something that hadn't been done before, I think.

The Stax org was in such disarray in the early '70s that it's a wonder the records even got out there as much as they did. I've read that each of the first two albums only got into the marketplace in ridiculously small quantities...4000/5000 is a number I've seen.

I don't know if they "define" any era. A post above maintains that to define era, their records would've have to been bought by somebody. So I guess they were one of the first true indie/critic's bands...the reviews were mostly glowing. In retrospect they do seem to define the period much better than any number of more popular acts, though. I see nothing wrong with revisionist nostalgia myself.

For a long time I loved them without reservation, then went thru a period during which I'd just heard them too much. For a lot of us they were like the Beatles, the absolute gold standard of pop records. Now I just accept them as a great pop band, period, and wish people would quit gushing about them so much, or maintaining that they weren't really all that good. As a live band they seem to have sucked; but I can't think of any better-conceived record than "Radio City." Such style. And they seem to define not an era but a state of mind, one epitomized by the Eggleston "red ceiling" photo that graced the original "RC" LP...bad dreams and vibes in an oversexed room, distilled into melancholy, perhaps? With a few good times vaguely recalled? Maybe that's the '70s, I don't know.

Interesting to see what the new Big Star album will be like...

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 21:12 (10 years ago) Permalink

a friend of mine is assisting with the engineering at Ardent. He says it sounds amazing.

of course, Chilton & company could scrape a chalkboard with rusty chisels and this guy would say it's the best thing ever.

(I think I listen to Third the most, too)

Will (will), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 22:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

there is a new studio album?

kyle (akmonday), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 22:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, they've been recording at Ardent since March, I believe.

I wonder how committed Chilton is to the whole idea of Big Star these days. Probably not very. I didn't think much of "Hot Thing."

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

When did 'Hot Thing' come out?

de, Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:24 (10 years ago) Permalink

Umm, it was sometime after the Columbia reunion...maybe '95? It's on the somewhat misbegotten Rkyo "Big Star Story."

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:26 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, £15 for a 'best of', £10 for #1 Record/Radio City. Hmmm.

de, Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

Really? That's so wrong.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:50 (10 years ago) Permalink

3 years pass...

guys seriously I love "Ballad of El Goodo" so much

I want to be in a band that covers this

iiiijjjj, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:41 (7 years ago) Permalink

don't make me say a bunch of shit about it, just fire back re: yes this would be a pretty good thing to do, be in a band that covers this

iiiijjjj, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:42 (7 years ago) Permalink

yeah

ghost rider, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:45 (7 years ago) Permalink

I purchased the Blitzen Trapper song 'Summer Town' just because the vocal hook reminded me of BS' 'Thirteen.'

calstars, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:46 (7 years ago) Permalink

iiiiijjjjj where do you live?

calstars, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:46 (7 years ago) Permalink

Ya know, Evan Dando covered "El Goodo".

Pleasant Plains, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:50 (7 years ago) Permalink

'Thirteen'>>'El Goodo'

Drooone, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:51 (7 years ago) Permalink

fucking love them. i honestly feel sad for anyone who who passes them by.

Frogman Henry, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:51 (7 years ago) Permalink

drooone otm but it doesn't even matter

ghost rider, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:55 (7 years ago) Permalink

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake
-- mark s, Wednesday, October 17, 2001 5:00 PM (5 years ago)

"overrated"

gershy, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 05:18 (7 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake

-- mark s, Wednesday, October 17, 2001 5:00 PM (6 years ago) Bookmark Link

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

ENLIGHTENING

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:25 (6 years ago) Permalink

uh x-post

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:29 (6 years ago) Permalink

and 'mod lang' is what needs to get cover treatment

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:30 (6 years ago) Permalink

"Mod Lang" is quite easy to play, so a cover would be cool.

whisperineddhurt, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 15:30 (6 years ago) Permalink

and somehow, strangely, Big Star lives on.
http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/user/?region=gb_london&query=detail&interface=shepemp&event=257724
wish i could go ... is this one of them Don't Look Back things? Are they playing Radio City in its entirety?
i'll also take this opportunity to say that Alex Chilton probably has one of the top 5 singing voices in rock and roll history. Serious.

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 15:41 (6 years ago) Permalink

Actually, listening to Radio City and Third, Alex Chilton kind of reminds me of a vanilla Barrett Strong Rude from Lethem's "Forttress of Solitude." Moments on Third definitely sound fucked up enough to come from three-week coke binges.

That being said "Blue Moon" and "Stroke it Noel" totally PWNs! The former is better than "Thirteen" (which, sadly, contains no oboes).

Drugs A. Money, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 02:44 (6 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

sweet jesus this band is good. they seem to have such a unique and effortless ear for hook and melody. such a pleasure to listen to.
and on another note, 'i'm in love with a girl' appeared on a shuffle the other day. i was feeling a little absent-minded and it took me about 30 seconds to recall who it was without checking. such a sweet, simple song and yet it feels about 20 years ahead of its time.

Charlie Howard, Thursday, 8 May 2008 16:44 (6 years ago) Permalink

"i'll also take this opportunity to say that Alex Chilton probably has one of the top 5 singing voices in rock and roll history. Serious."

Agreed. Vulnerability and attitude in brilliant proportion.

Usual Channels, Thursday, 8 May 2008 16:59 (6 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i'll concur there

Charlie Howard, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:01 (6 years ago) Permalink

Sweet, poppy, cool, but also kinda fucked up. Quite obviously on Third, but also the hatefully desperate vibe on "Life Is White," and "She's a Mover" is some MANIC shit. I loved them when I was younger -- I was listening to "Thirteen" when I was 13 (funny how i hear it differently now -- so I was amazed when I put their records on about a month ago and they sounded better than ever. It's true, they will always somehow sound contemporary, like any inspired true-believing rock&roll, hey hey my my

people explosion, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:13 (6 years ago) Permalink

Hes got a good range on Like Flies On Sherbert too, a bit more free than the Big Star stuff

silkworm exploding, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:17 (6 years ago) Permalink

I love that album! It was a recent discovery for me. It's absolute proof that he was in complete sympathy with all things Rock n Roll. "Hey! Little Child" is amazing with its "Whold Wide World" beat* and Chuck Berry-level teenage lechery.

"Oh little fool, are you learning anything in school
maybe you might drop out, maybe travel somewhere down south
Hey hey little child"

*is there a better name for this beat? I had heard it all my life, but it never really came to life until I heard the Wreckless Eric song

people explosion, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:28 (6 years ago) Permalink

hehe! very observant. I really dont know though, have to do some research...

silkworm exploding, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:31 (6 years ago) Permalink

Radio City: best guitar and drum sound, ever. perfect. archetypal.

nerve_pylon, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:41 (6 years ago) Permalink

@people explosion:

it's called the "Cha-Cha".

Steve Shasta, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:43 (6 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JC0Wa3P_dO0&fmt=18

from the dvd accompanying the Oxford American Best of the South issue this month

will, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 13:13 (6 years ago) Permalink

that is sweet! thanks.

tylerw, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 14:06 (6 years ago) Permalink

the 'aptly titled number one record' thing's kind of off though, right? i thought that lazy stax distribution meant that they never really did much, sales-wise.

i'm seeing them in a couple of months. i think i'd maybe prefer to see alex play skewed guitar solos and clichés stuff alone, but, still, way exciting.

schlump, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 14:57 (6 years ago) Permalink

aptly titled 'cause it was their first.

cool video!

G00blar, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:17 (6 years ago) Permalink

"Hey! Little Child" is a cha-cha. xp

whisperineddhurt, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:23 (6 years ago) Permalink

why in the world would they couple this footage with that tune?

andrew m., Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:38 (6 years ago) Permalink

aptly titled 'cause it was their first.

ahhh, thanks.

schlump, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:58 (6 years ago) Permalink

have the ardent studio sessions been discussed here yet?

dell, Friday, 25 July 2008 10:55 (6 years ago) Permalink

I think what the fella meant was that it was No 1 Record as in it's NUMBER ONE, man. As in, Fuckin A, totally bodacious etc.

Freedom, Friday, 25 July 2008 12:35 (6 years ago) Permalink

have the ardent studio sessions been discussed here yet?

is that the thank you friends comp? i think this is where i heard about it. i was pretty excited to hear the demo of downs, because there's a story about the recording of it in the book. apparently they were playing it, when some ardent a & r guy bowled in saying, this could be a HIT!, this song has POTENTIAL!, and so alex said 'i want to use a basketball for the snare drum'. well good.

schlump, Friday, 25 July 2008 12:42 (6 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Could someone explain where the song "Jesus Christ" came from? That is to say, they never had, to my knowledge, any other songs with any religious content and yet it seems to be unironic in its sentiment. The "we're gonna get born now" perhaps belies this a small bit.

Freedom, Monday, 20 October 2008 16:31 (6 years ago) Permalink

"it seems to be unironic in its sentiment."

are you kidding. just listen to the way chilton sings the verses.

Shacknasty (Frogman Henry), Monday, 20 October 2008 16:33 (6 years ago) Permalink

"they did rejoice/fine and pure of voice/and the wrong shall fail/and the right prevail": this couplet seems so completely trite that maybe it has to be ironic given that the album as a whole is about fucky uppyness, but I dunno, does chilton discuss it anywhere?

Freedom, Monday, 20 October 2008 16:36 (6 years ago) Permalink

also there's loads of incongruous, disconcerting elements to the music which are clearly mocking or doubting the chorus.

Shacknasty (Frogman Henry), Monday, 20 October 2008 16:36 (6 years ago) Permalink

mm, i don't know. he likes playing around with traditional song forms, and i've heard him intro it live as his 'christmas song'. maybe it's just him writing a carol.

schlump, Monday, 20 October 2008 16:37 (6 years ago) Permalink

i think chilton tips his hand when he sings "we're gonna get BORN!" haha.
still, there are a couple tunes on #1 Record (Chris Bell's, I think) that are, to me, at least a little bit informed by the christianity. maybe just "my life is right" now that I think of it. "Lord, I've been trying ..." I think Bell was fairly conflicted with being a gay/southern/christian/rocknroller. And who wouldn't be?

tylerw, Monday, 20 October 2008 16:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

I've never thought this was ironic, nor the VU one

Niles Caulder, Monday, 20 October 2008 17:07 (6 years ago) Permalink

i dunno, i don't think that the VU's "Jesus" is ironic, necessarily -- though I suppose an argument could be made for a Jewish guy writing a hymn of praise to Jesus is ironic in some sense -- but it's not just a straightforward song. as reed has said, that third VU album is about love in all forms -- physical, spiritual, etc. i mean, i don't think lou has ever come out as a believer or anything. ANYWAY, i do think that Chilton's "Jesus Christ" is at heart a genre exercise, his own version of a christmas carol. i don't think it betrays any deepseated christian longings in the man though. fucking amazing song either way.

tylerw, Monday, 20 October 2008 17:35 (6 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

Big Star Albums Re-Released with New Tracks

Jazzbo, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 13:54 (5 years ago) Permalink

cool, i'll probably buy the LPs

some dude, don't make it dad (k3vin k.), Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:22 (5 years ago) Permalink

Big Star box set on the way http://blurt-online.com/news/view/2303/ Wonder how much overlap there'll be with the Thank You Friends comp (which is great).

tylerw, Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:00 (5 years ago) Permalink

tantalizing stuff here http://bigstarbook.blogspot.com/ As unified as Radio City sounds as an album (thanks in large part to John Fry behind the mixing board), it was actually somewhat cobbled together from a variety of sessions. What's Going Ahn stands out as the only track recorded outside the main RC sessions that was engineered by John Fry as a formal session (She's A Mover and Mod Lang came out of late night informal sessions by Chilton and Richard Rosebrough and Morpha Too and I'm In Love With A Girl were done by Chilton after the formal RC sessions).

Alex's acoustic demo for this song is simply stunning and will hopefully be included in the forthcoming Big Star box set. (There's also an equally strong demo for Life Is White.) Unlike a lot of demos, these are something far more than vague or rough sketches. The entire arrangements for the band are laid out in detail with just one guitar. Alex's vocals will send shivers down your spine – they're on par with Thirteen.

tylerw, Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

I keep meaning to order that book, it looks awesome.

Bathtime at the Apollo (G00blar), Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah i didn't even know it was out -- it does sound pretty great, like the author got a lot of access.

tylerw, Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

I enjoyed the 33 1/3 book, but maybe its release was rushed a bit, since it's littered with typos.

Craig D., Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:48 (5 years ago) Permalink

http://www.rhino.com/store/ProductDetail.lasso?Number=519760
great song from the box set streaming: the seed that grew into stroke it noel when alex heard the string part i guess. there's SO much unreleased big star stuff i'd love to hear; the javanovic book from a couple of years ago talked about alex eradicating all the backing vocals from takes of third era stuff to make a whole new record.

corps of discovery (schlump), Saturday, 30 May 2009 05:56 (5 years ago) Permalink

oh man this song is pretty good

i am rubber, t u.r.koglu (k3vin k.), Saturday, 30 May 2009 06:01 (5 years ago) Permalink

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake

vintage challops

L. Ron Huppert (velko), Saturday, 30 May 2009 06:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah song is nice; description of what's going ahn demo sounds great too, that song's pretty perfect. there are all these beautiful stories about the backstory (like a GREAT one i think i typed somewhere before about jim dickinson's crutches on nature boy), and one of them is a similar sort of thing as above about watch the sunrise; when big star were rock city but starting to hang out with alex, they ended up in the studio asking him if he had any songs or what he could do, and he sat and played it, and that's it, just with an overdubbed twelve string at the start. so great.

corps of discovery (schlump), Saturday, 30 May 2009 06:39 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah, the "Lovely Day" streaming on the Rhino site is awesome! Thought it was going to be the solo acoustic thing from the Thank You Friends site, but i guess not! Can't wait for this box ...

tylerw, Thursday, 4 June 2009 21:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah me neither; I'm thinking of pre-ordering it this weekend after I get paid, just so I don't forget about it when it comes out.

scott seaward (G00blar), Thursday, 4 June 2009 21:07 (5 years ago) Permalink

whoah that demo is amazing!! totally different lyrics/melody, but the weirdo rhythm of the backing track and the descending riff are all there - bizarre.

Kool G Lapp (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 4 June 2009 21:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

It's a neat historical document, but that song definitely isn't as good as "Stroke It Noel." In fact, it sounds a bit incongruous to me, kind of like an odd mashup.

Jesus Christ, Attorney at Law (res), Thursday, 4 June 2009 22:50 (5 years ago) Permalink

nah, it's not as good, but I pretty much love hearing ANYTHING by this band

tylerw, Thursday, 4 June 2009 22:53 (5 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, not as good as "Stroke It Noel," but it sure beats anything on that In Space crap.

Mr. Snrub, Friday, 5 June 2009 01:59 (5 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

keep an eye on the sky has leaked, apparently

dorroughmac (k3vin k.), Sunday, 13 September 2009 06:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

another box set i cannot afford at the moment. :'(

tylerw, Sunday, 13 September 2009 18:30 (5 years ago) Permalink

Anyone heard it? Is the previously unreleased stuff any good?

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 13 September 2009 18:37 (5 years ago) Permalink

cool interview! this box set does sound amazing ... if yr like me and have to wait before buying, there's this very neat recording: http://doomandgloomfromthetomb.tumblr.com/post/187210978/dusted-in-memphis-in-honor-of-yet-another

tylerw, Thursday, 17 September 2009 20:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

There's nothing revelatory in the unreleased stuff, just a lot of little bits and pieces that are nice to hear. I lol'd at this bit in the Pitchfork review "adding incomprehensible backing vocals to the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale""

Number None, Friday, 18 September 2009 17:24 (5 years ago) Permalink

incomprehensible if you don't speak French

*⁂((✪⥎✪))⁂* (Steve Shasta), Friday, 18 September 2009 17:53 (5 years ago) Permalink

hee hee!
is the live stuff as good as some are saying? better than the live ryko disc?

tylerw, Friday, 18 September 2009 18:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

I guess elementary French isn't a job requirement at Pitchfork. Haven't really delved into the live disc yet.

Number None, Friday, 18 September 2009 18:06 (5 years ago) Permalink

tbf those bkg vocals ARE really slurred n blurred. I thought they were done by Alex's gf tho.

Hat Trick Swayze (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 18 September 2009 18:08 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah, think they're done by "Leeza" who gets a shout out in "Kizza Me" ...

tylerw, Friday, 18 September 2009 18:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

I don't think the live album adds much. And there are various live shows that have circulated for years.

But a lot of the demos are pretty great. The remastering is excellent, and the book is good. I really like it. I thought the P4K review was good (although, can I just add that the P4K review of the new Jim O'Rourke album is nearly unreadable.)

Where is Stephen Gobie? (Dandy Don Weiner), Friday, 18 September 2009 19:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

I've only listened to the first disk so far and it's louder than I'd like but not overwhelmingly so for 2009. It's really great, as you'd expect. I'll have more to say as I finish listening to it.

Soul Finger! (Euler), Friday, 18 September 2009 19:04 (5 years ago) Permalink

eee i want this pretty bad ... is the best deal on Amazon? Going for $49.99 right now.

tylerw, Friday, 18 September 2009 19:20 (5 years ago) Permalink

kinda want this but thinking it's gonna be everything i already have plus some mildly interesting filler

velko, Saturday, 19 September 2009 10:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

pitchfork often reads like a high-school newspaper.

amateurist, Saturday, 19 September 2009 18:48 (5 years ago) Permalink

so does the box set have the fullness of the first two studio albums, in their correct orders?

amateurist, Saturday, 19 September 2009 18:48 (5 years ago) Permalink

pitchfork often reads like a high-school newspaper.

yes

Mr. Que, Saturday, 19 September 2009 18:52 (5 years ago) Permalink

nothing to say about the box set yet; listening to Sister Lovers though and thinking there ought to be a # to call when it seems like the right album to have on

btw d/l'ed that radio show Tyler from your blog and was surprised to see that it's where a take of "I Will Always Love You" that I've had for a while comes from. If that counts as having fun in the studio, shit, I don't know want to know what downs would be like. That take is fucking dark...they're having a lark until the spoken part and then no one's laughing, or should be, anymore; it's off the cliff.

Soul Finger! (Euler), Saturday, 19 September 2009 20:45 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah, it's dark -- I guess I've just had a theory that Alex Chilton is not actually a really depressed person -- just that he realized around this time that he could *sound* like a really depressed person, that he was really just following the sound of his own voice, if that makes sense. Maybe not.

tylerw, Saturday, 19 September 2009 20:57 (5 years ago) Permalink

Or following the girls/drugs.

Soul Finger! (Euler), Saturday, 19 September 2009 21:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

lol yeah ... it is nuts how young chilton still was at that point, even tho he was practically a music industry veteran by then

tylerw, Saturday, 19 September 2009 21:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

on the box, the Chilton vox on "I Got Kinda Lost" are great.

Soul Finger! (Euler), Sunday, 20 September 2009 07:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

lead vox, I should say

Soul Finger! (Euler), Sunday, 20 September 2009 07:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

so does the box set have the fullness of the first two studio albums, in their correct orders?

― amateurist, Saturday, 19 September 2009 18:48 (Yesterday)

um, sort of... a bunch of tracks have been replaced with alternate versions but the running order is the same except for one Chris Bell song added near the end of Radio City. See here:

http://www.rhino.com/store/ProductDetail.lasso?Number=519760

I don't think Sister Lovers ever really had a running order so I'm not sure about that, it looks different from the Ryko CD.

sleeve, Sunday, 20 September 2009 15:05 (5 years ago) Permalink

also "There Was A Light" with Chilton lead vox (and it's excellent; a demo sounding like a Sister Lovers outtake); so it has my four fav songs from I Am The Cosmos: the last two I mentioned (with Chilton as lead), plus "I Am The Cosmos" and "You And Your Sister" (the regular album versions).

Soul Finger! (Euler), Sunday, 20 September 2009 15:46 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah I like I Am The Cosmos (the album) a lot, but it's overshadowed by how unbelievably amazing You & Your Sister is ... one of my fave songs ever. other songs can't help bit suffer in comparison ...

tylerw, Sunday, 20 September 2009 15:58 (5 years ago) Permalink

Those four I listed are really great, but "You And Your Sister" (a B-side!) aches so hard; a cost of keeping it in the closet.

Soul Finger! (Euler), Sunday, 20 September 2009 16:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah, that's kinda what i think the song must be about. not easy being a closeted gay christian southern dude in the 70s i'd imagine.

tylerw, Sunday, 20 September 2009 16:08 (5 years ago) Permalink

"And I'm thinking, Christ, nullify my life."

Wow, the clarity really helps "Daisy Glaze"; before I just focused on the "you're gonna die" and "nullify my life" part but now the beginning part is spread wide open instrumentally, with lots going on in the background besides the ache...Radio City is such a great album.

Soul Finger! (Euler), Sunday, 20 September 2009 16:20 (5 years ago) Permalink

btw the transposition of Christ with heroin ("Heroin") there is a genius pop lyrical move, like the kind that justifies a whole career.

Soul Finger! (Euler), Sunday, 20 September 2009 16:21 (5 years ago) Permalink

(I'm guessing that's a Bell write despite it being a Chilton vocal)

Soul Finger! (Euler), Sunday, 20 September 2009 16:22 (5 years ago) Permalink

love that dolly parton cover, tyler

the nader of civilization (k3vin k.), Sunday, 20 September 2009 17:14 (5 years ago) Permalink

I listened to the live set on the fourth disk of the box, and it was no big deal. It's good but I don't it justifies purchasing the set. The band seems a little edgy, probably because they were opening for Archie Bell and the Dells, and that's not a great match for songs like "ST 100" and "The India Song". A low point is the sequence "Thirteen" -> "The India Song" -> "Try Again" -> "Watch the Sunrise", where you can hear the crowd getting more and more restless; as a listen it's deflating. Then they come back strong with "Don't Lie To Me" and things improve a little, but they've lost the crowd by then. And on a box set where you already have multiple versions of many of these, saggy versions of them are bad value. I don't see myself relistening to the live set very often.

The Sister Lovers demos are pretty nice but I'll take the album versions over them easily.

Disks 1 and 2 are pretty great though!

Euler, Sunday, 4 October 2009 14:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

tbf those bkg vocals ARE really slurred n blurred. I thought they were done by Alex's gf tho.

they sound terrible to me, and I wish they had been removed, honestly. They were indeed done by Alex's girlfriend Lisa, who apparently did a lot more vocals on the album. Alex deleted these, which if I remember correctly, upset both Lisa and Jim Dickinson a lot. The latter felt like it seriously damaged the album. This is all from the Big Star book, whose name eludes me at the moment.

Mike Crandle, Financial Analyst, Bear Stearns, New York, NY 10185 (res), Tuesday, 6 October 2009 04:39 (5 years ago) Permalink

"Kangaroo" is next-level. I don't like the This Mortal Coil version though

waldo geraldo faldo (Curt1s Stephens), Tuesday, 6 October 2009 04:41 (5 years ago) Permalink

They were indeed done by Alex's girlfriend Lisa, who apparently did a lot more vocals on the album. Alex deleted these, which if I remember correctly, upset both Lisa and Jim Dickinson a lot. The latter felt like it seriously damaged the album. This is all from the Big Star book, whose name eludes me at the moment.

yeah, i was kinda meaning to chip in with this having read the book and being amazed that these have been released. it's kinda how the lp was intended until LX split and hastily deleted everything, apparently for the worse. still haven't heard but pretty intrigued.

i love the story in that book about jim dickinson's crutch & kid & piano on nature boy, it totally changed how i hear that song

peter falk's panther burns (schlump), Tuesday, 6 October 2009 07:05 (5 years ago) Permalink

wait, there ARE versions of Third w/ more female backing vocals that have been released? and what book are we talking about here?

tylerw, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 07:11 (5 years ago) Permalink

the book's by rob jovanovic if i recall correctly, i forget the name; and i haven't heard the set but am under the impression that it has at least something offa third with lesa's vox

peter falk's panther burns (schlump), Tuesday, 6 October 2009 07:16 (5 years ago) Permalink

ooh guess what mother-in-law got me for my birthday!

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 19 October 2009 17:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

I'm lovin a lot of the previously unreleased stuff - the evolution from the Lovely Day demo to Stroke It Noel is beautiful. Original version of Downs is shocking.

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 19 October 2009 17:27 (5 years ago) Permalink

can you ask your mother in law to get this for me too?

tylerw, Monday, 19 October 2009 17:34 (5 years ago) Permalink

maybe. when's yr birthday

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 19 October 2009 17:35 (5 years ago) Permalink

So all I've ever had is the #1 Record/Radio City twofer, never managed to get ahold of Third/Sister Lovers. If I pick up the box, will I still be needing to track that down?

& other try hard shitfests (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 19 October 2009 18:31 (5 years ago) Permalink

i actually found a CD copy of third/sister lovers at a sale a couple months ago. buried in a pile of garbage so i was shocked/pleased to find it. it's probably not all that rare tho

idyll of october 2009 (k3vin k.), Monday, 19 October 2009 18:33 (5 years ago) Permalink

the box set has all the stuff on the Ryko CD reissue of 3rd/Sister Lovers with a couple extra/extended things so I would say no, you don't need to track down any other versions.

and yeah, there's no "official" running order really for the album - the box set has a completely different (and imho mostly better) running order than the Ryko reissue.

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 19 October 2009 19:04 (5 years ago) Permalink

Thanks, thats exactly what I was wondering.

& other try hard shitfests (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 19 October 2009 19:09 (5 years ago) Permalink

what is the tracklist for the boxset? i wonder if it's the same that's on my italian bootleg from the 80s that i reprogrammed my ryko CD to.

♪♫(●̲̲̅̅̅̅=̲̲̅̅̅̅●̲̅̅)♪♫ (Steve Shasta), Monday, 19 October 2009 20:49 (5 years ago) Permalink

^^^for sister lovers^^^

♪♫(●̲̲̅̅̅̅=̲̲̅̅̅̅●̲̅̅)♪♫ (Steve Shasta), Monday, 19 October 2009 20:50 (5 years ago) Permalink

Here's the tracklist for the disc its on in the box:

1. Lovely Day (demo)
2. Downs (demo)
3. Jesus Christ (demo)
4. Holocaust (demo)
5. Big Black Car (alternate demo)
6. Manana
7. Jesus Christ
8. Femme Fatale
9. O, Dana
10. Kizza Me
11. You Can't Have Me
12. Nightime
13. Dream Lover
14. Big Black Car
15. Blue Moon
16. Holocaust
17. Stroke It Noel
18. For You
19. Downs
20. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
21. Kanga Roo
22. Thank You Friends
23. Take Care
24. Lovely Day
25. Till the End of the Day (alternate mix)
26. Nature Boy (alternate mix)

& other try hard shitfests (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 19 October 2009 20:55 (5 years ago) Permalink

it is not the same

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 19 October 2009 20:58 (5 years ago) Permalink

(btw mo-in-law also got me the bio ref'd upthread so I am gonna be deep in Big Star country for a few weeks methinks)

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 19 October 2009 20:59 (5 years ago) Permalink

So I did end up grabbing Keep An Eye on the Sky a couple nights ago and finished my first listen on the ride in this morning. Fantastic, such a revelation for me. But after reading some comments in this thread about the live disc, I'm wondering if anyone could point me to some good bootlegs. Because if that is a lackluster Big Star set, I'd certainly love to hear what is considered a great set.

& other try hard shitfests (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 22 October 2009 14:39 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah love the covers on the live set. T Rex! "Slut"!

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 22 October 2009 15:18 (5 years ago) Permalink

i dont really know what album to buy by them, but i love thirteen, and was it alex chilton or cheap trick who sang the that 70's show theme song?

FACK, Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

Cheap Trick covered the Big Star song "In the Street" for the That 70s Show themesong and appended a refrain from "Surrender" to the end

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:17 (5 years ago) Permalink

From wikipedia: "In a Rolling Stone magazine article in 2000, Chilton thought it was ironic that he is paid $70 in royalties each time the show is aired." (Dunno what's "ironic" about it, but kind of cool anyway. Alex deserves to make some money so he can keep on doing ... whatever it is he does with his time these days.)

tylerw, Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:22 (5 years ago) Permalink

being a dirty old man, I imagine

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:30 (5 years ago) Permalink

I think he referred to it as "That $70 Show"

feed them to the (Linden Ave) lions (will), Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:40 (5 years ago) Permalink

the ironing is delicious

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:42 (5 years ago) Permalink

But srsly, is the Big Star "In Space" record the only thing he's done this decade? That's, um, not very much. I know Big Star has played maybe a handful of live shows ...

tylerw, Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:46 (5 years ago) Permalink

surely its no surprise that he's super lazy? post Big Star his output is totally sporadic

Jesus, the Czar of Czars (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 22 October 2009 22:55 (5 years ago) Permalink

hey he's done some Box Tops reunion shows, too!

feed them to the (Linden Ave) lions (will), Thursday, 22 October 2009 23:06 (5 years ago) Permalink

hey, how do i attack "keep an eye on the sky"? just listen all the way through or where should i start

k3vin k., Saturday, 24 October 2009 23:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

Disk 3 is pretty inessential if you already have Sister Lovers, so I wouldn't say there...unless you're already in a Sister Lovers mood (which I wouldn't wish on anyone, and I love the album; I gather you know what I mean). Disks 1 and 2 are great, though the opening pre-Big Star songs are only good. But the alt takes of songs from the first two albums are great. I'd start there.

Euler, Sunday, 25 October 2009 09:56 (4 years ago) Permalink

kind of am in a Sister Lovers mood to be honest, but i'll take your advice

k3vin k., Sunday, 25 October 2009 14:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

After replying this morning I found myself in a Sister Lovers mood too and I listened to that 1975 radio session boot that Tyler made available, and that shit burns: like straight through Sister Lovers into an even darker place, if that's possible. There's an evil, dissolved vibe to the proceedings; Chilton tosses out the line "I'd rather shoot a woman than a man" so lazily that it's kinda shocking, the casualness of its violence mirroring the casualness of Chilton tossing his pop future away. The recording is shitty but some of the fuzz seems to be distortion on the guitar. It's well worth a listen.

Euler, Sunday, 25 October 2009 14:41 (4 years ago) Permalink

interesting facts gleaned Jovanovic book: piano on Nature Boy is played by William Eggleston. You can hear one of Eggleston's young sons fiddling around with an organ in the background. Eggleston had hurt his leg recently and was on crutches. At 2:03 you can hear one of his crutches fall off the piano and hit the ground; Chilton stifles a giggle

I can't tell the difference between every village on your te (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

I love that "Nature Boy" -- weirdly, it's the first version of that song I ever heard! Does Eggleston appear on anyone else's records?

tylerw, Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

I was totally oblivious to his involvement with Big Star, I only knew him from his photography. don't think he was much involved with music

I can't tell the difference between every village on your te (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

his photos appear on other peoples records

mizzell, Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

well yeah I know but I mean I don't think he played music much

I can't tell the difference between every village on your te (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

weird that that list omits Primal Scream's Dixie Narco EP

I can't tell the difference between every village on your te (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

(half of which is clearly in the mode of Big Star's 3rd)

I can't tell the difference between every village on your te (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

also lolz I never knew there was a connection between Chilton and Dennis Wilson, altho that explains a lot

I can't tell the difference between every village on your te (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

apparently after the Box Tops broke up he and Dennis spent a weekend kicking it with Charlie Manson & the Fam.

feed them to the (Linden Ave) lions (will), Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:55 (4 years ago) Permalink

and good times were had by all

tylerw, Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

Speaking of Chilton + Beach Boys, that fragment of "Don't Worry Baby" on the Thank You Friends comp is gorgeous -- wish there was a whole take of the song!

tylerw, Thursday, 29 October 2009 21:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

there's alex playing 'wouldn't it be nice' on some live acoustic release or boot. and doing jesus christ and stuff.

apparently the family's attempt to get to LX ended when he hit charlie. goodtimes.

& hearing the stifled smile in nature boy is so beautiful

peter falk's panther burns (schlump), Friday, 30 October 2009 01:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

apparently the family's attempt to get to LX ended when he hit charlie. goodtimes.

!!!! did not know this. is there a link somewhere with a comprehensive account? I just got a third-hand telling from one of the engineers who worked on In Space.

feed them to the (Linden Ave) lions (will), Friday, 30 October 2009 01:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

i totally can't remember where i heard it :/
i would guess the rob jovanovic book, and if not dumb angel, the dennis wilson book - probably the former. i think it's only referred to in passing, so there's no comprehensive account, just the idea that alex wasn't easily persuadable and so ... hit charlie.

peter falk's panther burns (schlump), Friday, 30 October 2009 01:46 (4 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

got the Jovanovic bio for xmas (though not the box set grrr). Seems good, except the pukeworthy Ryan Adams quote on the back, and the first line of the book! "Unlike many US cities, Memphis has a rich and varied history ..." Uhhhh. What?

tylerw, Sunday, 27 December 2009 17:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

<3 <3 big star

livinginthesunlightlovinginthemoonlighthavingawonderfultime (Curt1s Stephens), Sunday, 27 December 2009 17:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah they're the best. also, just looking at the photos in the book, an extremely good looking band! How come they weren't huge? they had it all!

tylerw, Sunday, 27 December 2009 17:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

"Unlike many US cities, Memphis has a rich and varied history ..." Uhhhh. What?

lol yeah you're gonna LOVE the footnotes haha. its not a bad book once it gets going, lots of crazy stories. Chilton seems like kinda a dick (big surprise)

larry craig memorial gloryhole (Shakey Mo Collier), Sunday, 27 December 2009 17:27 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, re: chilton's dickishness, this article, covering the late 70s/early 80s is great: http://www.crawdaddy.com/index.php/2009/11/12/alex-chilton-1975-1981/
He does seem like a weird guy! Even though I think he's the element that makes Big Star brilliant and not just really good power pop, he sure doesn't seem interested in that sort of music.

tylerw, Sunday, 27 December 2009 18:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

still reading the bio -- while there are some great stories/quotes/etc., man, this guy is not strong when it comes to writing about the actual music. is the 33 1/3 Radio City book better?

tylerw, Wednesday, 6 January 2010 21:22 (4 years ago) Permalink

yikes, based on my exp with the 33 1/3 books, writing about the actual music is the worst ime.

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 6 January 2010 21:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i don't know, it's just this writer chokes whenever he actually discusses songs/albums. Like with Sister Lovers all he can say is "this album is an enigma, made for listening to late at night" or something similarly insightful.

tylerw, Wednesday, 6 January 2010 21:31 (4 years ago) Permalink

the 33 1/3 book for radio city is actually done by a guy that played with alex chilton awhile back. he manages to get actual words out of chilton, so it does have that going for it. although, no real surprise, chilton's comes off as pretty indifferent or dismissive about some of the material on the album.

Bastards of Young Dro, Wednesday, 6 January 2010 22:22 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i looked at the 33 1/3 guy's blog and he seemed to have a better handle on music-writing thatn Jovanovic ... Will probably pick that up once I have the new box set ...

tylerw, Wednesday, 6 January 2010 22:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

this is nothing to do with any of the above but i hope LX starts playing some more solo shows sometime. he seems to get such a bang out of standards and rattling through rock n roll numbers with pickup groups, and that's where he's at now.

high-five machine (schlump), Wednesday, 6 January 2010 23:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

i've not read the Jovanovic book, but i've heard similar criticisms about it. heard it about the Pavement book (which i've not read either), too. but i figured that a good deal of the blame for that one could be laid at the feet of Pavement...

will, Wednesday, 6 January 2010 23:30 (4 years ago) Permalink

(he did do the Pavement book, right?)

will, Wednesday, 6 January 2010 23:30 (4 years ago) Permalink

the Pavement book has this anti-Malkmus slant because Malkmus was against the book idea and the other dudes were all like "see, he is a dick... anyway, wanna hear my new song?"

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 6 January 2010 23:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, pavement book is fine in terms of telling the story of the band ("they made records/toured/broke up") but when it comes to the music, it seems like he doesn't really have anything to say. i do appreciate that he digs fairly deep into the prehistory of these bands ...

tylerw, Wednesday, 6 January 2010 23:46 (4 years ago) Permalink

having interviewed Alex Chilton in 1981 and seen him play in various contexts since then--maybe I've seen him 30 times, in every situation from Panther Burns to Big Star reunion to half-assed Alan Vega thing in NYC to New Orleans gig in which he was part of a band doing Huey Smith and Coasters covers to solo shows--I do think he's been a misunderstood artist in almost every way possible. He, I believe, is interested or was interested or is intermittently interested in the kind of thing Big Star did (gloss on West Coast '60s pop and so forth). The thing that people who have never spent time in Memphis truly attempting to soak up what's unique about the town's musical heritage can never understand is the sheer range of the musical endeavor the town has essayed. In Chilton's case, many people who have a rather limited understanding of what music is and will always be, at least in North America, think that the "powerpop" aspect of Chilton supersedes the other stuff he has been interested in preserving, much like Snooks Eaglin or some other broad-ranging musician who has sensed that the intersection of pop and something deeper and older (Elmore James meets the Beatles). In other words, there's always been something else and Alex Chilton has realized that--it's the source of his power and the reason so many people whose minds stop at "September Gurls" or whatever can't get their heads around the other stuff. The blues, r&b, thwarted pop, and so forth. I mean Artful Dodger were a good band but who cares about 'em now, whereas the Big Star records are a bit deeper.

The rub is that Alex Chilton sorta realized the contrast between the pop expectations of the '60s and the other stuff, which was always there and which is in my opinion as important as the Beatles or the Byrds. Chilton is correct to say that "Radio City" is a matter of production values as much as it is music; incorrect, perhaps, or just perverse, to say that the songs aren't "about" anything. Chris Bell, on the other hand, was more a Beatles obsessive.

So that's why I like the folkie shit on the Big Star box that came out this year. Like "Country Morn," where the words are all about how Chris Bell can't understand the world. Bell, had he lived, would've turned into...what? Freedy Johnston? Hard to tell. Whereas Chilton understood, I think, the limits of pop and its ability to understand the world, and I think he realized his audience (who is in the main rather more stupid than he is, given the short-sighted nature of pop fans who, after all, have an interest in getting RID of their past as opposed to gaining strength from it, as Alex Chilton has at least attempted to do) has the somewhat idiotic idea that pop gets rid of history. Quite the opposite, right? Which is why 99% of everything written about Big Star sorta misses the point. At this late date in my life, I think "Third" is the one. A record that actually sums up what I've tried to grope toward in this post, about the way the past and present fight each other in the struggle to create pop, and the limits of pop. This is what Alex Chilton has tried to describe, and if he failed, so have we all.

ebbjunior, Thursday, 7 January 2010 03:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

ebb i surmise u r eddh and i would just like to say that you are my favorite poster on ilm and one day i wish to write with as much ease and beauty as you dawg. <3

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Thursday, 7 January 2010 08:16 (4 years ago) Permalink

seconded re. edd; so rich with ideas worth expressing.

I'd like to read more about why you think Third articulates something about how "the past and present fight each other in the struggle to create pop". The limits of pop part, I think I can see that, or at least how to go about trying to argue that. But where's the part about the past in Third? And I'm sympathetic, don't worry: I've spent my pop life trying to think backwards with enough grace to understand, say, Elvis Country.

Euler, Thursday, 7 January 2010 08:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

Hi,

I did get a 'best of' but apart from a few tracks, I 'liked' rather than 'loved' it.

Possibly because of all that Teenage Fanclub / etc phase we all went through. Which is not their fault, obviously, but it all seemed like old news in a way.

OK, shoot me now.

Mark G, Thursday, 7 January 2010 09:06 (4 years ago) Permalink

i got into big star when i was a devout seventeen year old posies fan, and initially had a similar 'old news' response, but those three albums kept drawing me back, and only became more intriguing and enigmatic with each further listen. don't write 'em off yet, mark!

i am not down with ppl farting on salami (stevie), Thursday, 7 January 2010 09:21 (4 years ago) Permalink

Well, put it this way, I had a similar (but different) reaction when i first heard "Odessey and Oracle", but our Alice insisted I play it again (and again), and she was right. (Alice is my daughter, she was eight then)

Mark G, Thursday, 7 January 2010 09:35 (4 years ago) Permalink

look at this guy
http://sexandfury.tumblr.com/post/323568501/alex-chilton

tylerw, Friday, 8 January 2010 21:44 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

guys, the alex chilton solo demos on the box set ... holy moley.

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 21:54 (4 years ago) Permalink

I know!!!

you gone float up with it (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 28 January 2010 21:59 (4 years ago) Permalink

which songs do you mean? this set is on emusic now, but since i have all the studio albums i ignored it.

Daniel, Esq., Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:01 (4 years ago) Permalink

mainly the sister lovers solo 12-string demos (end of disc two, beginning of disc three), but also the handful of radio city solo demos (end of disc 1, beginning of disc 2) ... kind of amazing performances, and esp. with the sister lovers ones, they cast the songs in a whole new light. and jesus, i love his voice.

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

i've also been digging the live set (disc 4) quite a bit. pretty rough in parts, but i love hearing chilton's guitar playing ... also, anyone who's played a show to an uncaring audience can take heart in listening to it -- one of the greatest bands of the 70s playing to a crowd that couldn't care less.

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:05 (4 years ago) Permalink

just listened to samples of demos for holocaust and nighttime. not sure i hear much of a difference (obv., can't tell much from :30 samples). it seems clearer/cleaner.

Daniel, Esq., Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

after years of being familiar with the basketball-as-snare-drum+steel drums and drunken piano version of Downs its truly revelatory to hear him play it crystal clear on a 12-string like its just some pretty ditty. the sound of the demos is just fabulous, I agree with Tyler there... the other demo stuff made me hunt down his 1970 album, which is hit-or-miss but has a few tunes that are drop-dead gorgeous AM radio Big Star pop template sort of stuff ("Every Day As We Grow Closer", "EMI Song (Smile)" in particular)

The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

I think its just striking to hear the songs-as-written with all the space and fragility already built into them - they're integral parts of the structure. whereas you hear 'em on Third and its easy to think all that stuff was a studio-trick afterthought.

The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:16 (4 years ago) Permalink

i agree with you on some of the songs, now that i'm listening to more. esp. blue moon

Daniel, Esq., Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i mean, i like that you can hear the craft that went into the songs a little clearer, rather than being carried away by the overall destructo mood of Sister Lovers. Like on "Holocaust" it *doesn't* sound that different -- it's a solo piano thing on the demo, but the structure is pretty similar, even the weird dissonant "free" part. You kind of imagine that being something that just "happened" in the studio as the result of drugged out performers, but it's clear that's how Chilton envisioned the song from the start. and there's something pleasing/relieving (and typically chilton-esque) about the comically doomy chord he hits right at the end. "man, what a sad song, right?"

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:21 (4 years ago) Permalink

booklet has some sick photos, too -- like the outtakes from the radio city shoot at TGI Friday's! TGI Friday's in Memphis in 1973 was where the party was!

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

actually i mostly wish they had more from chris bell's solo stuff, but i guess that all made it's way into the i am the cosmos disc/reissue

Daniel, Esq., Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

title song and especially you and your sister are breathtaking tracks.

Daniel, Esq., Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i haven't gotten that ... has anyone else (the double disc i am the cosmos thing)? worth it?

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:26 (4 years ago) Permalink

the very FIRST TGIF, if I recall correctly

x-post

The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:27 (4 years ago) Permalink

I only have the Ryko I Am the Cosmos, can't imagine there's all that much more...?

The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:27 (4 years ago) Permalink

Big Star film stuff (ref'd in the Jovanovic book)

The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

not sure there is more. wasn't even a proper album, was it? just singles and scattered stuff assembled after bell's death

xp

Daniel, Esq., Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

I AM THE COSMOS - DELUXE EDITION contains a remastered version of the original 1992 Ryko compilation on one disc, plus a second disc of rare and unreleased music recorded between 1970 and 1976. On the second disc, all but two of the 15 tracks are previously unreleased. Among the wealth of unissued recordings are eight alternate versions and mixes of album tracks, including "You And Your Sister" with Mellotron in place of the original's string arrangement, and a later version of "Get Away" featuring Big Star's Alex Chilton on guitar, Ken Woodley on bass and Richard Rosebrough on drums.

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:31 (4 years ago) Permalink

i'd probably get it if it wasn't so much $$$ -- as with all rhino handmade products. why is it that they can charge $40 for 2 discs?

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

the ryko discs on emusic are "deals," i.e., sale priced. that deluxe edition isn't available, tho.

Daniel, Esq., Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

as for the rest of the box set -- totally good. the alt mixes of #1 Record are not an improvement overall, but what the hell, I know that record inside and out, I may as well hear some different backing vocals. random note: Steve Cropper on "Femme Fatale" is soooo good. One take apparently? And he didn't even know the song? Haha. Dude is amazing.

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 23:50 (4 years ago) Permalink

the different mixes/versions of Watch the Sunrise are the best of the lot imho

The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 28 January 2010 23:54 (4 years ago) Permalink

is that chilton singing backing vox on "you & your sister", or am i just hearing things?

johnnyo, Friday, 29 January 2010 02:31 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, that's him

tylerw, Friday, 29 January 2010 02:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

How many songs on the box set are the exactly same as previously released on the three albums (as on common CDs)? All the 3rd stuff I've heard now sounds remixed.

PaulTMA, Friday, 29 January 2010 02:48 (4 years ago) Permalink

not too many are exactly the same, though the 3rd stuff is mostly the same (or at least it says it's the same). Dunno about remixing -- I know the Ryko release was "remixed" when it was released, so I don't know if Rhino is just using those versions or if they did their own remixing. Sounds *better* for sure, not sure if it sounds different.

tylerw, Friday, 29 January 2010 02:53 (4 years ago) Permalink

Some intro's/outros are longer, 'You Can't Have Me' and the 'Manana' intro of 'Jesus Chist' is longer given it's own track. Certainly sounds like different mixes to me, but there's no annotated information up on Spotify for these tracks.

PaulTMA, Friday, 29 January 2010 03:06 (4 years ago) Permalink

gonna have to listen to the Sister Lovers stuff on the box again. I thought the 1st and Radio City alt takes were breathtaking. But I wasn't really in a mood where Sister Lovers made sense at the time and so it kinda washed over me that listen through.

1970 is great---and great sounding thanks to Terry Manning. The cover of "Jumpin Jack Flash" is better than the original b/c Alex finds the funk Jagger/Richards sensed but didn't fully articulate.

Euler, Friday, 29 January 2010 08:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

apart from the extended stuff already mentioned 3rd/Sister Lovers tracks sound the same as the previous Ryko reissue to me. I'm sure its been remastered, but that's different.

The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 29 January 2010 16:21 (4 years ago) Permalink

TGI Friday's was indeed born in Memphis.

Trip Maker, Friday, 29 January 2010 16:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

just looking at those pictures makes me feel a little bit drunk

tylerw, Friday, 29 January 2010 16:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

and speaking of those pics, pretty awesome that it's eggleston playing piano on "nature boy" ... really beautiful recording -- chilton and him should've done a whole album of standards together.

tylerw, Friday, 29 January 2010 16:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

The "Cheshire Cat smile" of Alex's mentioned in the Crawdaddy article, I have experienced it and indeed it is not pleasant.

the clones of tldr funkenstein (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 29 January 2010 16:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, from everything i've read, chilton is at the top of my list of artists i love who i'd never want to meet. him and lou reed, i guess.

tylerw, Friday, 29 January 2010 16:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

TGI Friday's was indeed born in Memphis.

― Trip Maker, Friday, January 29, 2010 11:25 AM (9 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

not according to wikipedia
The Friday's restaurant chain was founded in 1965 in New York City,
Their second location was established in 1970 in Memphis, Tennessee's Overton Square district; that location has since closed.

mizzell, Friday, 29 January 2010 16:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

Shoot I don't know nothing. I always thought the Overton Square one was the OG.

Trip Maker, Friday, 29 January 2010 16:39 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

http://www.bigstarstory.com/
Seems like a recipe for a lot of panning over photographs and talking heads, but, who knows, maybe they've unearthed some cool stuff ...

tylerw, Monday, 15 February 2010 20:48 (4 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...

see here: Alex Chilton RIP 2010

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 00:35 (4 years ago) Permalink

what the fuck

bug holocaust (sleeve), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 00:46 (4 years ago) Permalink

sad

calstars, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 00:49 (4 years ago) Permalink

r.i.p.

magic ksh (some dude), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 01:30 (4 years ago) Permalink

big star have a few nice songs. am i supposed to be impressed?

mittens, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:16 (4 years ago) Permalink

no, you're supposed to turn up your nose and post incredibly ill-timed messages on the internet about your failure to be dazzled

magic ksh (some dude), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

OMG! rip.

be impressed if you're impressed. they do have outstanding songs. in any event, the passing of chilton and hummel is rapid succession is very sad.

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

Magic Ksh:

Maybe it's cos I'm a 21st century lazy twat who's reliant on spotify and doesn't care about the context of a band's music, but I just don't get Big Star. And I want to like them, so I can be cool :(

mittens, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:21 (4 years ago) Permalink

Ugh I feel like a pretentious twat

mittens, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:21 (4 years ago) Permalink

Wait, I've only just noticed Hummel has passed away. My own fault for not reading the topic properly. Sorry :(

RIP

mittens, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:22 (4 years ago) Permalink

haha yeah i mean you're allowed your opinion, the timing was unfortunate was all but if that was totally unintentional don't sweat it

magic ksh (some dude), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 03:53 (4 years ago) Permalink

figured out "way out west" on the guitar tonight -- hummel didn't write a lot of songs, but hey, he wrote that one! RIP.

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 03:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

When is ksh coming back?

he's always been a bit of an anti-climb Max (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 04:05 (4 years ago) Permalink

ksh has come back as user "CaptainLorax"

terry squad (k3vin k.), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 05:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

RIP Andy. What a shocker.

tom d: he did what he had to do now he is dead (Tom D.), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 08:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

RIP.

It's kinda weird because I've been digging "Way Out West" a lot lately. A few weeks back someone I (sadly) still care too much for decamped for a month in LA. She'll be back in August, but it still made me sad. Our relationship hadn't played out like I hoped and the song captures that whole feeling particularly well.

Anyway, this morning I got an e-mail from her. The first in a few weeks, it was actually a form letter asking for help on a project she's starting once she gets back to Houston. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but you know it's just another chapter in whatever it is between us. And then right after I find out about Andy...news I really didn't want to hear.

Thanks for the music, man.

Roomful of Moogs (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 14:26 (4 years ago) Permalink

and though it's no one's (not even Hummel's) fave song on #1 Record, I had come around to really liking the India Song -- kind of adds a unique element to the album as a whole. in the Big Star book, Hummel said he was kinda embarrassed by it, but it's a pretty little thing -- kind of makes me think of the Incredible String Band.

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 14:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

I've always held a soft spot for that song, actually.

he's always been a bit of an anti-climb Max (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 15:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

India Song is unfairly maligned. I've always liked it.

scott pgwp (pgwp), Wednesday, 21 July 2010 04:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

I didn't used to but it's hard not to now, weird.
I'm gonna play it and Way Out West on my show tomorrow night, for sure.

Trip Maker, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 04:52 (4 years ago) Permalink

Bastards of Young Dro, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 05:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

and why don't you come on back from way out west
and love me, we can work out the rest...

good news if you wear cargo shorts (contenderizer), Wednesday, 21 July 2010 06:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

r.i.p.

good news if you wear cargo shorts (contenderizer), Wednesday, 21 July 2010 06:05 (4 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

damn, i totally missed the news that andy hummel passed away too last year

rip

buzza, Monday, 14 February 2011 06:26 (3 years ago) Permalink

I was at a rep theatre in Toronto tonight, and they played "September Gurls" before the film.

clemenza, Monday, 14 February 2011 06:29 (3 years ago) Permalink

guess the box set won a grammy for best liners? it really is an essential box, even if you've got the albums already.

tylerw, Monday, 14 February 2011 19:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

did Jody Stephens post on ILX once or did I just imagine that?

kingkongvsbasedgodzilla (Drugs A. Money), Monday, 14 February 2011 22:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

did he? that'd be cool, he seems like a nice guy.
hey i just posted a rare-ish big star bootleg over yonder: http://doomandgloomfromthetomb.tumblr.com/post/3297965849/way-out-east-havent-seen-this-show-posted-around

tylerw, Monday, 14 February 2011 22:41 (3 years ago) Permalink

That is awesome.

Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 17 February 2011 00:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

it really is an essential box, even if you've got the albums already.

Tyler, can you elaborate? I haven't sprung for it, it just didn't feel like alternate versions and a dodgy bootleg (much less than soundboard quality doesn't work for me) justified the investment.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 17 February 2011 01:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

My buddies who recorded at Ardent describe the studio layout as one small central room with surrounding bigger rooms.
The only thing in the central studio is Jody's drums. They heard him rehearsing along with Big Star records (that he had to borrow from someone) getting ready for the SXSW reunion gig.
I've said it on here elsewhere, but the box is definitely the best encapsulation of a band's career that I've ever experienced.
xp well it sounds AMAZING and the booklet is incredible. The live disc in there breaks my heart, though, and I can't listen to it very often. A band at the absolute top of their game playing in a room full of people that seem completely disinterested. But they fucking cook. The choice of cover songs is inspired, as well.

Trip Maker, Thursday, 17 February 2011 01:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

The alternate versions of songs from Third (the acoustic demos) really put that stuff into a different context that is worth hearing.
I didn't like the first album all that much until I listened to it in the box set, but I can't describe why or how. The price of the box is worth the version of the Radio City band doing the Chris Bell song "There Was A Light" alone, in my opinion.

Trip Maker, Thursday, 17 February 2011 01:21 (3 years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I know you didn't ask me, but I listened to Big Star every day for at least six months after buying the box set.
The live disc is pretty poor sounding. It pretty much reveals just how undervalued Big Star was in their lifetime (and in their own environment, even). Heavy listen. And they cover Hot Burrito #2.

Trip Maker, Thursday, 17 February 2011 01:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

re: the box set, the chilton solo demos are really the main draw for me -- just these beautiful solo 12-string versions of radio city/sister lovers tunes. they really highlight how well-crafted those songs really are - and how planned out. the sister lovers stuff has a rep for being "crazy/improv" in the studio kind of stuff, but the demos show that chilton had it pretty well mapped out for the most part. as for other unreleased stuff, like trip maker sez, "there was a light" is essential, as is "got kinda lost." i really like the live disc -- the sound quality seems pretty clear to me, and there is a lot of chilton's fantastic guitar playing. the burrito bros cover is rad. anyway, if you can get it for $40 or so, totally money well spent.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 February 2011 03:11 (3 years ago) Permalink

also, yeah, the live disc is amazing in that you can literally count the number of hands clapping. i think it's six.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 February 2011 03:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

Add me to the fans of the box. It's a really gorgeous package. My issues with it are sorta minor. The rarities impact was dulled slightly by that Thank You Friends thing on Big Beat from 2008, which scooped the box by offering 19 rare/unissued Chilton/Ice Water/Big Star trax--most of which popped up again on the box, but there still are some exclusives (although Ardent should be dropping expanded editons of 1970 & 3rd/Sister Lovers later this year which may fix that). On the other hand, that set had only a couple of the Chilton solo demos, which are a real revealation as both Tyler & Tripmaker have said.

I've picked up three of the four (now OOP) Box Tops cds from the Sundazed garage sale. It would have been nice to have had some of the Chilton originals on the box, but I imagine space limitations and licensing restrictions kept them off the table. "Together" and a post-break up b-side "Since I Been Gone" would have fit in well on the first disc.

Your cousin, Marvin Cobain (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 17 February 2011 09:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

that thank you friends set is essential too! even with the overlap w/ the big star box. haha, maybe i'm not the most reliable source for this stuff, i love it all.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:21 (3 years ago) Permalink

the box set surpasses all previous releases/reissues from the band. I gave away my copies of the other versions I had after I got the box set. the demos/alternate versions are almost all uniformly amazing, the booklet and packaging are gorgeous. it's THE comprehensive document of the band's output.

never meant to heart anyone (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

the box set is totally amazing, though I did a double take on some of the Chris Bell tracks which are sped up a tad from the original CD issue. (The same is true for the Chris Bell remaster.) There are a million ways to screw up that kind of modified track listing plus rarities project, but they didn't screw it up and the result is a whole new perspective on albums that anyone who bought the set has already listened to dozens of times.

skip, Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:29 (3 years ago) Permalink

huh, hadn't noticed the differences in the chris bell tracks -- wonder if that's more true to chris' intentions, or just a mistake?

tylerw, Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

i haven't gotten the latest reish of i am the cosmos, though. i like my ryko version ...

tylerw, Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:32 (3 years ago) Permalink

hmmm yeah I only have the Ryko version, hadn't noticed the difference either

I've been wanting to get that Ardent comp for awhile, just haven't been able to afford it.

never meant to heart anyone (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

there's one pretty amazing big star thing on the thank you friends set that didn't make the box set -- the radio city version of "big black car" ... at least i think it's the radio city version. earlier, anyway.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:35 (3 years ago) Permalink

IIRC was done to match the speed on the 45, which was different from what was on the album. Definitely for "I am the Cosmos" but I seem to remember it for another track too.

skip, Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

the demo version of Big Black Car with just the 12-string... whooeee

never meant to heart anyone (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

ha, yeah, that song is wasssssssted. also, the "maybe we'll fuck in a holiday inn" line (as opposed to third's "sleep") is wild.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:40 (3 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

http://omnivorerecordings.com/artists/big-star/

tylerw, Friday, 4 March 2011 02:35 (3 years ago) Permalink

Awe-some.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 4 March 2011 03:16 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah looks cool, tho the whole record store day thing kinda bums me out. there are so few record stores anywhere near me! ugh. and when i did go to a record store day thing a year or two back, they didn't have any of the "special" releases I wanted!

tylerw, Friday, 4 March 2011 18:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

Big Star’s Third to be Performed Live in NYC

http://ardentstudios.com/2011/03/14/big-stars-third-to-be-performed-live-in-nyc/

the Hogg who would be Boss (will), Tuesday, 15 March 2011 00:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

One can only imagine the track sequence repercussions.

taco al pastorius (Steve Shasta), Tuesday, 15 March 2011 00:29 (3 years ago) Permalink

oh man a real test pressing! that's like the Big Star Golden Ticket

sleeve, Tuesday, 15 March 2011 00:34 (3 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Got the boxset for my birthday! Man this sounds good. Love the piano on "Every Day As We Grow Closer". Listening together with the giver now (only 10 songs into the first disc) - thx love :)

willem, Monday, 4 April 2011 20:01 (3 years ago) Permalink

was just listening to that first disc. great, great stuff. and it just gets better!

tylerw, Monday, 4 April 2011 20:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

I just listened (like, an hour ago) to that 1974 boot posted above---it's good! The band sounds down (gear stolen'll do that). But the "Candy Says" is really nice, scuzzy & aching.

Euler, Monday, 4 April 2011 20:08 (3 years ago) Permalink

cool, yeah, i love that recording. almost comical, them having all their equipment stolen. a band with bad luck! but it's impressive that chilton can make borrowed equipment sound so good. and the "candy says" is pretty nice, too bad there isn't a studio version of that one!

tylerw, Monday, 4 April 2011 20:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

is there anything different about this "test pressing" version of third that's gonna be available on record store day?

Bleeqwot the Chef (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 4 April 2011 20:20 (3 years ago) Permalink

here's the info:

What the heck is Big Star Third, anyway? To be honest, it’s the kind of thing a doctoral thesis could be written about: a “lost” record re-discovered years after it was recorded, one that has seen many track listings, titles and album covers, a classic, an enigma.

Third comes from sessions with Big Star’s Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens and a bevy of session musicians, recorded with producer Jim Dickinson in 1974 and early 1975. Whether it was actually intended to be a Big Star album is up for debate, but a couple hundred test pressings made in 1975 clearly list it as Big Star III, as does the original tape box (now lovingly reproduced here for you). Until the cavalcade of reissues began in 1978, all that existed were those test pressings. And since that time, it has been reissued and resequenced into something other than what the original product was: a 14-track pressing of pure bliss.

We here at Omnivore have decided to transport you back 36 years, to a time and place where this platter of polyvinyl chloride was all that existed–a truly faithful replica of that Ark of power pop goodness (complete with replicas of the original tape box, tracking and lead sheets, mastering card and pretty white blank label). This limited edition is being cut from the original assembly reel, on the same lathe at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis and by the very same engineers who cut it the first time, Mr. Larry Nix and Mr. John Fry! Pressed on high quality vinyl at RTI, this should be the definitive version of this album.

To make things even more special, in the worldwide, limited run of 2,000 copies, five copies of the original test pressings (courtesy of Jody Stephens) will be inserted into the mix. Which means not only that you can listen to a bit of history—but if you’re lucky you could own it, too. To make things even cooler, those five copies have been signed by Jody, original mastering engineers Larry Nix and Ardent’s John Fry.

Third time’s the charm, indeed.

tylerw, Monday, 4 April 2011 20:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

woah talk about winning the lottery if you got an actual test pressing.

damn i want that bad, record store day is getting so stupid but there is some good stuff, really want this, the pink floyd thing, and the arthur russell reissue

Bleeqwot the Chef (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 4 April 2011 20:26 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah i want a lot of the record store day stuff this year, too! but i probably won't even make it to a record store ;_;

tylerw, Monday, 4 April 2011 20:27 (3 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

hmmm

Artist: Big Star with John Davis
Album: Live Tribute to Alex Chilton EP
Format: 7 inch 33-1/3 rpm vinyl
Release Date: 6/2011
Description: This 7-inch 33-1/3 rpm vinyl was produced to give people a little peak into the special night that was the Big Star tribute to Alex Chilton that took place in Memphis on the night of May 15, 2010 at the historic Levitt Shell.
Here's a message from Big Star drummer Jody Stephens about this special item:
“For our last performance as Big Star, Jon, Ken and I had some very good friends join us to celebrate the music and lives of Alex, Andy and Chris on May 15, 2010. The performances really tell the story of what happened and how we all felt about that evening at Memphis' Levitt Shell. The idea of trying to release the show in its entirety was overwhelming in the sense of time and effort needed for all performance clearances. So I thought, first artist first: John Davis was the first of many wonderful guest artists to join us on stage. He wailed on three songs: "In The Street," "Don't Lie To Me" and "When My Baby's Beside Me." These were just the right amount songs (and time) for an EP release. So with mastering engineer Larry Nix and Big Star's engineer, John Fry, and our Neumann cutting lathe all residing in the Ardent Studios building how could we not cut vinyl?
“We hope to release more of the show down the road. Thank you.”
-Jody Stephens

tylerw, Thursday, 28 July 2011 19:44 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm in no place to judge people's weight issues or anything, but JON AUER GOT HUGE.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 28 July 2011 19:47 (3 years ago) Permalink

He didn't avoid parties, apparently.

Dave Zuul (Phil D.), Thursday, 28 July 2011 19:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

the biggest star

tylerw, Thursday, 28 July 2011 19:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

"a little peak into the special night"

Arrrggghhh. Is it that fucking hard to proofread a press release these days?

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Thursday, 28 July 2011 20:13 (3 years ago) Permalink

jon stoutfellow

buzza, Thursday, 28 July 2011 20:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

the biggest star

answering_machine, Tuesday, 25 October 2011 08:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_7SK2yeqR_4
kind of bored by the narrative approach of "why wasn't this band more popular" but maybe that won't be the whole shebang. also a little bored by that effect on photos that makes them "move" or whatever. but who am i kidding, i'll watch this.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

hmm what's the track at the end...? I didn't recognize it (and yes I have the box set) Agree about the ho hum angle but otoh ... studio footage!

The Uncanny Frankie Valley (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

have i forgotten how to get youtubes to show up?
sounded like an early version of "ST 100/6" maybe? definitely not on the box set.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

also a little bored by that effect on photos that makes them "move" or whatever.

Ken Burns much?

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Thursday, 17 November 2011 21:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

well i dunno, this is not just panning over a photo laboriously a la burns, but kinda like cutting up the elements in the photo and zooming out to give it a sort of 3-d effect? there's probably a name for it. just feel like i've seen it a lot lately.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 November 2011 21:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

first place I recall seeing it was The Kid Stays in the Picture

The Uncanny Frankie Valley (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 17 November 2011 21:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah...i think maybe it's in the beatles documentaries too? the ones that came w/ the reissues.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 November 2011 21:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

first place I recall seeing it was The Kid Stays in the Picture

^^me too. i thought it was pretty neat for a bit but then it got old. and yeah, way overused these days.

2012 republican presidential nominee II: Hot, Ready and Legal! (will), Thursday, 17 November 2011 21:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i mean, it looks cool kind of, but it also just screams to me "we don't have any really good footage of this band!" which then calls into question the existence of a documentary in the first place.

tylerw, Thursday, 17 November 2011 21:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

This doc sounds like a great one

for me to poop on

velko, Thursday, 17 November 2011 21:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Picked up the box for $20 at Bullmoose in Maine - a cut-out with a slice through the bar code! I'm as impressed as everyone else. One thing to c orrectc itt - the live disc sounds great, not bootleg quality at all!

Has anyone done a comprehensive A/B comparison between the released versions and the alternate mixes? I don't hear significant differences in many of them.

Was anything left off the box that can be found elsewhere? What's unique to the Ardent comp?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 2 February 2012 23:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

afaik, the demo of Big Black Car that's included on the Ardent comp is unique to that release. and it's great too.
some of the alt mixes on the box set are pretty similar to the released versions, yeah. haven't done an a/b comparison.
& yes! the live disc sounds great.

tylerw, Thursday, 2 February 2012 23:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

Don't have either in front of me at the moment, but the ardent thing has an extra Icewater track and an exclusive snippet of Alex singing "Don't Worry Baby".

Lady Writer, Male Seether (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 2 February 2012 23:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

in other news, looks like that big star doc is showing at sxsw http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_FS12365

tylerw, Thursday, 2 February 2012 23:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

i feel like i'm really late to the party, but i'm just starting to get into big star for real. i've given #1 record a shot several times over the last decade but could never get into it that much, other than the big obvious stuff like Thirteen and September Gurls. but this time i skipped straight to Third and i love it, particularly the last half. over on the What is the original track sequence for Big Star's third record? thread (which prompted me to check out Third, incidentally), it seemed like the original tracklist is the way to go, even if it wasn't what Chilton intended for release:

i love the descent into o dana, big black car, holocaust and then kangaroo. Kangaroo, especially. what a fantastic song.

also, way upthread someone linked to a good article that focuses on Alex Chilton from 1975 to 1981. that link is now dead, but it's still online at http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/crawdaddy/2011/07/alex-chilton-1975-1981.html . the reason i mention it is that there was some brief discussion upthread about whether or not the lyrics of "Jesus Christ" are ironic. fwiw, the article says:

With less inspired results, Tiven had Chilton and company run through “Jesus Christ”, a song Chilton had recorded for Third. “I thought that was a really good song,” Tiven says. “When we did it, Alex sang it in a German accent and sang, ‘You’re going to rot in your grave tonight, Jesus Christ.’ He was really trying his best to be as offensive as possible.”

Z S, Friday, 10 February 2012 20:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

So, you have the cd with #1 Record AND Radio City on it, then?
Cuz Septembur Gurls is on Radio City while Thirteen is on #1 Record.
I had a similar experience to you, but it was Radio City that really clicked for me. It's an all time favorite now. I think it's a perfect record. After picking up the box set, though, I love it ALL. The demos of the Radio City songs and the Third songs are really great, check them out.

Trip Maker, Friday, 10 February 2012 20:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't actually own #1 record or radio city, i was just going off of memory and thought both songs were on #1 record. i'm planning on returning to those records at some point (Radio City in particular, i haven't given it a fair chance), but for now i'm just going to take my time with Third and let it soak in.

Z S, Friday, 10 February 2012 20:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

the demos of the Third material on the box set really put the lie to that album being half-assed/messy/drug-addled madness. Chilton's arrangements are clear as day.

xp

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 February 2012 20:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

I mean sure there are weird production choices and touches and a lot of the delivery is off-the-cuff but the songs themselves have very definite structures

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 February 2012 20:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh man, i should check that out. in the allmusic review of Kangaroo it mentions that Chilton recorded the guts of it on a single track, just 12-string guitar and vocal, and all of the other stuff was added the next day. i'd love to hear that original middle of the night version, although i love the washes of chaos of the recorded version too.

Z S, Friday, 10 February 2012 20:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

if there's a solo 12-string demo version of Kanga Roo (similar to those for Stroke it Noel, Big Black Car, Downs, Jesus Christ etc), it's not on the box set. The liner notes to the ryko reissue go into how Kanga Roo was recorded - iirc Jim Dickinson said Alex had overdubbed the mellotron and feedback and some other stuff all one channel as a deliberate challenge/test of Dickinson's patience and mixing skills

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 February 2012 21:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

my other favorite anecdote from the Ryko reissue was about using a basketball as a snare drum for Downs

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 February 2012 21:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

i got all 3 albums on some weird german 2cd many years ago... the tracklist for sister/lovers is 17 tracks long and really weird...

and the answer is: Opinions differ. (stevie), Friday, 10 February 2012 21:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Kizza me
You can't have me
Jesus Christ
Downs
Whola lotta shakin' going on
Thank you friends
O, Dana
Femme fatale
Stroke it, Noel
Holocaust
Nighttime
Kanga-roo
For you
Take care
Blue moon
Dream lover
Big black car

and the answer is: Opinions differ. (stevie), Friday, 10 February 2012 21:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

that is weird. and plus, it loses the back to back order of Holocaust into Kanga-roo (Kanga Roo? Kangaroo?) which works so well not only because they're both in the same otherworldly bleak territory but also because the beginning of Kangaroo uses an almost identical melody to the one in Holocaust.

Z S, Friday, 10 February 2012 21:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Holocaust chords are "borrowed" from Yoko Ono's "Mrs. Lennon" fwiw

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 February 2012 21:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

I need "Blue Moon" near the end, find orderings where it's not p hard to follow

Euler, Friday, 10 February 2012 21:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

similarly, I find any arrangement that doesn't put Stroke it Noel first absolutely baffling

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 February 2012 21:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

haha I love the Ryko opening with "Thank You Friends"

Euler, Friday, 10 February 2012 21:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

Holocaust chords are "borrowed" from Yoko Ono's "Mrs. Lennon" fwiw

never knew this, fwiw. mind's on crooked now.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 10 February 2012 22:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's pretty blatant - same key, tempo, piano part, etc.

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 February 2012 22:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Damn, you weren't kidding.

pplains, Friday, 10 February 2012 22:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yoko ruins everything.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 10 February 2012 22:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

I should finally listen to Big Star. I have everything else released on Ardent and a lot of records recorded there. The Hot Dogs and Cargoe have become two of my favorite records, but I keep putting Big Star off for some reason.

JacobSanders, Friday, 10 February 2012 23:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

speaking of mrs. john lennon and holocaust

Z S, Saturday, 11 February 2012 06:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Third turns out to be even better when you're wasted and bummed out! who could have predicted that?!

Z S, Sunday, 12 February 2012 05:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

seriously though, as much as i enjoy the first half, there's this run from blue room>take care>jesus christ>femme fatale(well, eh on that one tbh)>o,dana>big black car>holocaust,kanga roo>thank you friends that's just astounding

Z S, Sunday, 12 February 2012 05:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

very seriously though

Z S, Sunday, 12 February 2012 05:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

opening chords to angie always make me wanna go "on a dark desert highway..."

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 12 February 2012 05:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

blue room lol

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 12 February 2012 05:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

blue room>take care>jesus christ>femme fatale(well, eh on that one tbh)>o,dana>big black car>holocaust,kanga roo>thank you friends

otm tho (except femme fatale cover is good too)

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 12 February 2012 05:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh, i didn't mean the carrot signs to mean lesser than or greater than, i just meant i liked that whole flow from song to song!

and i like femme fatale cover too, actually, just not in the context of that slide into wasterdom

Z S, Sunday, 12 February 2012 05:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

i just meant i liked that whole flow from song to song!

oh yeah, me too. might be my favorite song sequence anywhere ever. awesome in that it's relatable no matter how good or bad i'm feeling, and however dark it gets, it never brings me down. plus just songs. could live inside blue moon forever.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 12 February 2012 06:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm so happy to have Third in my life. I dunno, this afternoon I devoted some serious time to #1 Record and Radio City, but Third is just...way more appealing to my ears. I always try to stay open to stuff, and i'll revisit their first two over and over again (and probably update this thread in 2017 or something), but at the moment Third really appeals to me more than the others.

Z S, Sunday, 12 February 2012 06:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

first two are really great (like REALLY great), but i agree. third forever.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 12 February 2012 06:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't know, the first two seem relatively straightforward to me. don't get me wrong, it's great pop, and repeated listens earlier today i was enjoying them (and i'll keep checking them out and i'm sure at some point i'll revive this thread and feel like a dumbass for not loving them from the beginning), but Third really hits at something a bit skewed that really appeals to me.

Z S, Sunday, 12 February 2012 06:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, that's the difference. first two are brilliant, aching power pop gr8ness. 3rd is alltime rip yr guts out weirdo darkness shit. and i'm way more in that camp, but you know, i'm cool with brilliant aching power pop too.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 12 February 2012 06:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm sure at some point i'll revive this thread and feel like a dumbass for not loving them from the beginning

one week later!

ok, i'm officially obsessed. i don't think i've listened to anything else in the last week, and since i just started digging into the demos/i am the cosmos/icewater/rock city shit it's only going to deepen from here.

WHAT'S GOING AHN!!!!

tmi but (Z S), Sunday, 19 February 2012 16:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

having said that, with that said, that being said, that having been said, i am a little afraid to wade into the alex chilton solo stuff. also, that big star biography mentioned upthread by rob jovanovic has some nice tidbits and i'm glad i took a few hours to read it, but it really is pretty terrible.

tmi but (Z S), Sunday, 19 February 2012 17:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

Chilton album 1970 is well worth time even without having to try to "get" Chilton

Euler, Sunday, 19 February 2012 17:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh, definitely. it's more the post big star output that i'm wary of. is there a good collection that picks out the good stuff?

tmi but (Z S), Sunday, 19 February 2012 17:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

It sounds like Third is the Big Star record for me by what you guys said above. How do Big Star compare to other bands on the Ardent label like Hot Dogs or Cargoe?

JacobSanders, Sunday, 19 February 2012 17:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost re: good stuff. Speaking as someone whose favorite Chilton song is the fucked up version of "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It" I'm not sure how anyone could define "good" with reference to his post-Big-Star stuff. That 1970 album is pretty good without getting too complicated about things...been listening to it a lot since it appeared on Spotify.

dlp9001, Sunday, 19 February 2012 19:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

How do Big Star compare to other bands on the Ardent label like Hot Dogs or Cargoe?

Oh Jacob.

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 19 February 2012 19:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

What?? So I've never heard Big Star, their records aren't cheap ya know

JacobSanders, Sunday, 19 February 2012 20:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

i've never heard any other bands on Ardent. But check out youtube! just search for big star +

september gurls
the ballad of el goodo
big black car
holocaust
what's going ahn
feel
thirteen
kangaroo

and so on

tmi but (Z S), Sunday, 19 February 2012 20:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

impressive that anyone would've heard of hot dogs and cargoe without hearing big star first -- they're basically footnotes to the big star story. those records are decent, but imo they pale in comparison to big star.
as for chilton the top 30 comp is a pretty decent overview. i've grown to love pretty much anything he's been involved with, but suffice to say he was taking a radically different approach to music making in his post big star days.

tylerw, Sunday, 19 February 2012 20:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

Surely he was trolling?

Dalai Mixture (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 19 February 2012 22:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

I wasn't trolling. I've been hoping to find their records while out record hunting. With certain groups I put off listening to them until I find them. I could go on you tube and listen to big star or I could wait until magic happens and I find one at a flea market. It's silly but it's also fun leaving certain groups to be heard.

JacobSanders, Sunday, 19 February 2012 23:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i can understand that! with big star, though, i don't think i've ever seen one of their records on sale! they had major distribution problems back in the day (they were on Stax for the first two) and very few records were printed in the first place (i think 5K or so for the first, maybe 20K or so for the second).

tmi but (Z S), Sunday, 19 February 2012 23:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

One trip through Tennessee didn't turn up a Big Star record, but I'll be there again this summer. What I really want is the Chris Bell solo record, if anything for being called I Am The Cosmos. What I love about the Cargoe record is the flashes of a southern feel underneath the power pop. I assumed that had more to do with Terry Manning though, I'm hoping Big Star have that too.

JacobSanders, Monday, 20 February 2012 00:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

O man the beginning this thread. lol Old ILX. Ethan, such a worthless critic.

President Keyes, Monday, 20 February 2012 00:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

aside from a 45, Chris Bell had no solo vinyl.

Mike Love Costume Jewelry on Etsy (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 20 February 2012 00:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh it's a collection of demos and stuff.

JacobSanders, Monday, 20 February 2012 00:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

It is, but it wasn't issued until 1992 and only on CD not vinyl

That one 45 though, I Am The Cosmos b/w You And Your Sister is spectacular. Perhaps even a bigger vinyl score than the first two Big Star albums.

Lee626, Monday, 20 February 2012 00:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

For some reason I assume it was a actual release, on pair with Dennis Wilson's solo record.

JacobSanders, Monday, 20 February 2012 01:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

i am the cosmos (the collection) has had at least one vinyl reissue

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 20 February 2012 01:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wasn't aware of that. I see there's also a new "deluxe edition" 2-CD Chris Bell set out with alternate versions on the second disc, including a later version of "Get Away" with Chilton on guitar.

Lee626, Monday, 20 February 2012 01:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah they put out i am the cosmos on vinyl around the time of that deluxe edition iirc. not the sort of thing i'd expect to find for cheap though!

tylerw, Monday, 20 February 2012 02:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

"I Am the Cosmos" is not the touchstone that so many would indicate. I appreciate the sentiment, but it's not as engaging as anything Big Star or This Mortal Coil haven't released.

suspecterrain, Monday, 20 February 2012 12:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

the posies' cover introduced me to this song, and it's still my favourite tbh

the world is just a racist onion (stevie), Monday, 20 February 2012 14:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

Vinyl reissues of all the Big Star stuff are very very available.
Originals, not so much.

Trip Maker, Monday, 20 February 2012 15:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

i know someone (maybe on this thread) was repping hard for how great the recent third vinyl reissue on 4 men w/ beards is. haven't herad it though!

tylerw, Monday, 20 February 2012 18:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, it's wonderful. both sound & sequencing couldn't be better.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 20 February 2012 18:42 (2 years ago) Permalink


kind of wish i could read this!

tylerw, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

H-bombs?

skip, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't think i've heard them, but i believe that's Peter Holsapple's band?

tylerw, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

that's awesome. where'd you find it, tylerw?

Z S, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Like Flies on Sherbet" is a hilarious/awesome record fwiw

many xposts

erotic war comedy pollster (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

"my rival... I'm gonna stab him on arrival" = classic

erotic war comedy pollster (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

http://whatanicewaytoturn17.blogspot.com/ - this site has a bunch of fun chilton-y stuff.

tylerw, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

in some ways it's the next logical step from Third - the performances and arrangements become even more unhinged/sloppy/off-kilter but the nihilism and sentimentality are replaced with lust, sneering cynicism, and reckless abandon

xp

erotic war comedy pollster (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

Is that a Pete Frame tree? My copy of the omnibus edition of RFT vol 1 & 2 doesn't have that one.

xp, aha, "Pete Frame-style"

Steamtable Willie (WmC), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

yes, it's not his handwritng

Charles Kennedy Jumped Up, He Called 'Oh No'. (Tom D.), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Cut my gut, stab me in a alley. Call me a slut in front of your family..." also = classic.

dlp9001, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

"As soon as I go out/ Forget what I’m about"

Charles Kennedy Jumped Up, He Called 'Oh No'. (Tom D.), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

Stroke It Noel is the greatest, most joyous song ever recorded by anyone ever, anywhere, ever, in the world.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Saturday, 25 February 2012 09:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Big Star’s Third Landmark Album to be Performed At SXSW 2012

GSD&M Presents An All-Star Collective Including Jody Stephens of Big Star, Mike Mills and Peter Buck of R.E.M., Chris Stamey of the dBs and More

Evening To Include Screening of Big Star Documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me

Thursday, March 15 at Austin’s Paramount Theater

"…a Rosetta stone for a whole generation" Peter Buck

In a night that will combine the best of SXSW 2012 Film and Music, an all-star group of musicians will gather at Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre on Thursday, March 15th to celebrate the Big Star legacy through a complete performance of the band’s seminal Third album. This highly anticipated event comes two years after the untimely death of legendary Big Star singer/songwriter Alex Chilton and a hastily organized tribute show that became an emotional and musical highlight of SXSW 2010.

Prior to the musical performance the SXSW Film Festival will host the debut screening of the feature-length documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Work-in-Progress), also at the Paramount Theatre. The film is a portrait of talented musicians who never got traction within the confines of the music industry but went on to craft three albums now recognized as pop masterpieces and influenced countless musicians including R.E.M., the Replacements, Wilco, Teenage Fanclub, Ryan Adams and many more.

As with previous live performances of the album in New York City and North Carolina which drew enthusiastic crowds and critical acclaim, the SXSW show will consist ofa core of top-tier musicians who will perform the album in its entirety including Jody Stephens of Big Star on drums; Mike Mills of R.E.M. on bass; Mitch Easter of Let’s Active and Chris Stamey on guitars; Charles Cleaver on piano; and for this performance, guest guitarists Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies, as well as a wide range of guest vocalists who are still signing on for the evening. Austin's own Tosca String Quartet, along with guest brass and wind musicians including Memphis's Jim Spake, will perform the original orchestrations from the album. Austin’s GSD&M is the show’s executive producer in conjunction with SXSW and High Road Touring.

The event is open to SXSW Film, Music, Gold and Platinum Badge holders, as well as SXSW Film Passes and Music Wristbands. For those without Badges, Passes or Wristbands, a limited number of advance single tickets are available for $25 via the Paramount website (austintheatre.org/film). Advance Ticket sales will end at midnight the day before the screening. Advance Ticket purchases do not guarantee reserved seating or entry to the theatre. Badge holders receive priority entry, followed by Film Passes and Music Wristbands. Once Badges, Passes and Wristbands have entered, Advance Tickets will gain entry, and then as capacity allows, day-of-show single tickets, which m ay be purchased for $25 at the Paramount Theatre box office approximately 15 minutes prior to the screening. For those who wish to attend the performance only, $25 tickets will be sold starting at 8:45pm if seats are available. Advance Ticket holders for are still advised to arrive to the theatre at least 30 minutes prior to the screening time. In the event that a screening reaches capacity before an advance ticket purchaser can be admitted to the theatre, the purchase price will be refunded at the Paramount Box Office (refund valid only within 20 minutes of screening start time).

There were brilliant moments in the studio,” said Big Star drummer Jody Stephens. “Performing this album after all those years, with these talented people, brings the songs to life in a way that is pure joy.” One of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 albums of all time, Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers, has long been revered by artists and critics as one of the most influential albums ever produced. "There's something about this record that connects with my generation, and apparently many generations" said Chris Stamey, musical director for the show and member of 1980s power pop group the dBs. “With this performance we hope to breathe life into a bittersweet album that ha s come to mean so much to so many musicians and fans.”

A signed commemorative poster will be available at the show with proceeds benefitting the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic. Donations to this worthy organization are encouraged. Further information is available at NewOrleansMusiciansClinic.org.

Please note absolutely no filming will be permitted inside the Paramount Theatre. Still photography with flash must be limited to the first three songs, and subsequently only permitted without flash.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 17:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

when Auer/Stringfellow weren't mentioned in the headline i was gonna cry foul but ok they're in there

DNRIYHM NATION 1814 (some dude), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 18:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

still kind of funny to see two guys who've been in the band for 20 years now billed as 'guest guitarists'

DNRIYHM NATION 1814 (some dude), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 18:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Hey! Has anyone got a recording or a link to the WLYX broadcast from 1975, sometimes bootlegged as Beale Street Breakdown, and sometimes credited to Sister Lovers? Looking for it for work purposes. Thank you kindly.

Manfred Mann meets Man Parrish (ithappens), Sunday, 22 April 2012 12:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I checked Tyler's blog - but both those links are expired.

Manfred Mann meets Man Parrish (ithappens), Sunday, 22 April 2012 13:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

i have the files on my hard drive and could prob send them to you pretty easily - you on yr work email today?

I accidentally sonned your dome (stevie), Sunday, 22 April 2012 13:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

I am: thanks ever so much Stevie. Much appreciated. Robert Gordon suggested I hear them for an insight into AC live round Sister Lovers time.
As public thanks, here's this amazing live performance of Holocaust, with a band made up Chris Stamey and Will Rigby, from 1978:

Manfred Mann meets Man Parrish (ithappens), Sunday, 22 April 2012 13:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

& speaking of chilton w/ the dbs, these shows are highly recommended: http://dbs-repercussion.blogspot.com/2012/03/alex-chilton-rip-live-1977-feat-chris.html

tylerw, Sunday, 22 April 2012 19:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks Tyler. Gold.

Manfred Mann meets Man Parrish (ithappens), Sunday, 22 April 2012 19:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'll try to reup the beale street green/breakdown discs sometime soon too.

tylerw, Sunday, 22 April 2012 19:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

Just quickly browsing through those shows and they are AMAZING. Not always in a good way, but a great sense of where Chilton was at that point.

Manfred Mann meets Man Parrish (ithappens), Sunday, 22 April 2012 19:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

version of "Take Me Home And Make Me Like It" is really pretty amazing on there.

Flat Of NAGLs (sleeve), Sunday, 22 April 2012 20:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah -- nyc show is pretty together, philly show goes off the rails. in an entertaining way!

tylerw, Sunday, 22 April 2012 20:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Hi -- Message me if you're interested -- have a spare ticket for the Big Star Third concert at the Barbican tonight. Think they're £25 ish. You'd have to sit next to me though :/

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 28 May 2012 15:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

GOOD GRIEF TERRIBLE SHOW

No one said yes, but GOOD MOVE

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 02:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

ha, really? what was so bad about it?

tylerw, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 02:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

Ach, just way too "tasteful". I love Third - hearing the songs live made me bawl - but it was so bloodless. Made me realise what an underrated vocalist Alex was. Jody looked AMAZING though.

Sole redeeming moment was Robyn Hitchcock turning up to do "Downs" and dedicating the song to Tom Hibbert.

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 02:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great.

Those songs just don't lend themselves to that treatment – on the record they are tearing the songs are being pulled apart from the inside. On stage, with revolving musicians, they necessarily have to be anchored. That meant that too much of it plodded, as a result of imposed order. The slow ones were miles better than the rockers.

John Bramwell opened with Nature Boy, then obviously just went and got pissed. He all but missed his cue for Thank You Friends, running back to the stage late, and through the second half he was sitting behind me, chuntering on at conversational volume through the show. Twat.

Manfred Mann meets Man Parrish (ithappens), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 09:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

Although, arguably that's totally in the spirit of Third!

Mad God 40/40 (Z S), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 12:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

ha, yeah, that sounds about right.
they should open the shows with "whole lotta shakin'".

tylerw, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 14:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

gotta say, this looks pretty fun

tylerw, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 16:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Can anyone provide a basic guide to the chords of 'I am the Cosmos?' I can tell it's capo-ed. Is the first chord just a straight up D-formation? Can't really tell with all the layering and phasing.

calstars, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

http://www.bigstarreference.com/tabs/cosmos/cosmostab.html

skip, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 02:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

That looks amazing.

5-Hour Enmity (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 6 November 2012 00:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

want

Poliopolice, Tuesday, 6 November 2012 00:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

there are only 2 events on that showings calendar! :(

Poliopolice, Tuesday, 6 November 2012 00:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

looks great

Force Boxman (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 6 November 2012 00:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

would love to see this

calstars, Tuesday, 6 November 2012 04:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

Won best doc at Indie Memphis film festival.

Trip Maker, Tuesday, 6 November 2012 14:58 (1 year ago) Permalink

will try if i'm feelin OK.

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 November 2012 09:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

Saw it at the London Film Fest (& contributed to the Kickstarter). Fantastic.

Wandering Boy Poet, Saturday, 10 November 2012 19:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

playing again IFC Center Thursday 7:30. Can't make it, but y'all should go.

drunk 'n' white's elements of style (Hurting 2), Monday, 12 November 2012 22:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...


the butts band!

tylerw, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:37 (1 year ago) Permalink

and ed begley jr.!

tylerw, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

Don't forget the two one-hit wonders appearing in the coming weeks.

Roadside Prisunic (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 27 November 2012 17:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

i had to look up chi coltrane, i thought maybe it was like john coltrane's younger brother or something

tylerw, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 18:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Was Ed Begley Jr. doing music or stand-up or what?

Moodles, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 19:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

He was the drummer in the Thamesmen.

and I scream Fieri Eiffel Tower High (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 27 November 2012 19:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

RIP

tylerw, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 19:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

Didn't realize the documentary would be playing here next week until my friend alerted me. (Not having read this thread closely enough, didn't even know it existed.) Anyway, got a ticket and looking forward to it.

clemenza, Friday, 15 March 2013 21:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

so want to see that

his girlfriend was all 'ugh and he wears a solar backpack' (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 15 March 2013 21:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

anyone know a good way to track a movie to see when it will come to a certain city? something akin to songkick for films, I guess.

calstars, Tuesday, 19 March 2013 12:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

They've got a site with a calendar--this may help.

http://www.bigstarstory.com/events.html

clemenza, Tuesday, 19 March 2013 12:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

The documentary's really great. I think it'll get great reviews, win awards, be a big deal.

The director must have gotten some grief over the Replacements movie, because this time the music's front and center. (I'm going to henceforth view that film as a practice run, a chance to learn about how to interview people.) Lots of time given to specific songs--"September Gurls," "I Am the Cosmos," others. The film really honors Chris Bell's part in the story; it's almost as much a film about him as it is about Chilton. As I've said before, I've never been a Big Star worshipper--I have their albums, love a few songs, but couldn't name more than six or seven. I will spend some time with them now, and listen closer.

Two great comic-relief detours: the inaugural (and last--geez, it was such a good idea) Rock Writers Convention in 1973--I think you see Mike Saunders and his Oscar Gamble-size afro flash by--and the brief section on the Cramps. Lots of good interview footage with Billy Altman, whom I'd never seen before. One surprising omission: Christgau, who was probably the band's highest-profile supporter. I've seen lots of Christgau, so I didn't mind. (Maybe he disliked the Replacements movie so much that he declined this time.)

clemenza, Sunday, 24 March 2013 04:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

is there any good footage, clemenza? I can sorta imagine/recall from the bio that there could be some that eggleston shot

schlump, Sunday, 24 March 2013 04:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

That's probably the best stuff: a documentary Eggleston (I'd never heard of him before) made in '74 about local crazies. There's not a whole lot of Big Star footage, but there are some great clips from when Chilton was bouncing around in the late '70s and early '80s. There's one photograph of Chilton's girlfriend during those days--very beautiful.

clemenza, Sunday, 24 March 2013 05:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

Eggleston doc = "Stranded in Canton" and i believe it's still up on youtube in its entirety.

Hector. Hector the Booty Inpsector. (will), Sunday, 24 March 2013 13:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Will be checking that out thanks.

Johnny Too Borad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2013 14:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

There's a brief shot of Robert Fricke with his arm around Jody Stephens, which has no need to be included

'Separate Lives', by Phil Collins & Marilyn Manson (PaulTMA), Sunday, 24 March 2013 16:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

Robert Fricke, the five-star dentist in Los Altos, California? Honestly, not sure who that is.

Stranded in Canton, that's it--thanks.

clemenza, Sunday, 24 March 2013 16:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

looks like there's a soundtrack to the doc coming out too, with "21 unissued tracks"... which seems a little bit astounding, considering that box set was packed with unissued stuff. can't imagine there'll be anything totally amazing, but, i guess i want to hear it!

tylerw, Wednesday, 27 March 2013 18:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

ah ok -- alternate mixes, "movie mixes"! pretty much what i figured.

tylerw, Wednesday, 27 March 2013 18:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

Did any of the other (ie, not what ended up on Radio City) Dolby Fuckers stuff get a legit release? Or were those tapes erased?

Vol. 3: The Life & Times of E. "Boom" Carter (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 27 March 2013 18:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

4 weeks pass...

Big Star's Third: An Orchestrated Live Performance of the Legendary Album
Featuring Mike Mills, Jody Stephens, Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Pete Yorn, Marshall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, Reeve Carney and many more
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Central Park, MN
7:00 PM – 10:00PM -- FREE EVENT - Arrive Early for guaranteed admission
Artist Website: http://bigstarthird.com/

Big Star's Third is a full performance of the iconic album by an astonishing who's who of rock music featuring famed vocalists including Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Marshall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, Reeve Carney (Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark), Jonathan Carney (Mercury Rev) and Beck Stark (Lavender Diamond), supported by an all-star band including Mike Mills (R.E.M.) on bass; Mitch Easter (Lets Active) and Chris Stamey (The dB's) and Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star) on guitar; Charles Cleaver on keys; Django Haskins (of The Old Ceremony), Brett Harris and Skylar Gudasz on harmony and guitar; and original Big Star member Jody Stephens on drums, all backed with a twenty- piece chamber orchestra including the famed cellist Jane Scarpantoni. In addition, the concert will feature a selection of earlier songs, including the much-hailed “September Gurls” and “In The Streets” (which was used as the theme of the popular TV sitcom “That ‘70s Show, performed by Cheap Trick).

brb buying poppers w/my employee discount (forksclovetofu), Friday, 26 April 2013 02:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

pete yorn and...pete yorn!

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Friday, 26 April 2013 02:58 (1 year ago) Permalink

i remember admitting to my high school crush that i liked the pete yorn song that was on the radio at the time. things did not go well.

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Friday, 26 April 2013 02:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

good catch on Pete Yorn, I'll ask them to fix that action.

brb buying poppers w/my employee discount (forksclovetofu), Friday, 26 April 2013 03:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

pete yorn...you OWE me now!

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Friday, 26 April 2013 03:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

!!!

Reeve Carney (Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark)

!!!

controversial vegan pregnancy (contenderizer), Friday, 26 April 2013 03:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

Today was the 20th anniversary of their first show back together, live in the Hearnes Center parking lot at the University of Missouri.

pplains, Friday, 26 April 2013 03:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

i mean, thank you, friends!

controversial vegan pregnancy (contenderizer), Friday, 26 April 2013 03:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

so...we've never polled "third"?

brony james (k3vin k.), Friday, 26 April 2013 03:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

don't worry, it's "holocaust"

controversial vegan pregnancy (contenderizer), Friday, 26 April 2013 03:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

"nighttime" imho

brony james (k3vin k.), Friday, 26 April 2013 03:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

obviously kangaroo

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Friday, 26 April 2013 05:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Liked the documentary, review forthcoming. Lack of archival footage (most seemed silent home movies with contemporaneous audio accompanying) sort of used as a strength, as with both Bell and Chilton gone it winds up being more about the fans and associates, and the afterlife of the band (entire second half).

Might go to the Central park thing but I have Hitchcock restoration (not Robyn, who appears briefly in doc) to attend.

also one interviewee seemed to imply Bell was gay/bi without getting any more explicit.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

Does the soundtrack really have any crucial alt takes? I figure the box set took care of those.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

the gay/bi thing has been rumored for years

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

huh surprised they didn't go into that a little more -- thought it was generally accepted that Bell was gay (but stayed mainly in the closet due to his Christianity). not sure if i can back it up, but i always got the feeling "you and your sister" was sort of about this?

tylerw, Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

i want to hear the sdtk, but am sort of annoyed that it exists -- seems like they're inventing "rarities" for the most part ("movie mixes" etc).

tylerw, Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

had no idea Chilton did b/g voc on "I Am the Cosmos" either

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

oh man 'you and your sister' is the best

well-composed selfie (Matt P), Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah it's bell's finest moment imo. devastating.

tylerw, Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

Will Rigby w/a 1978 story:

On a little portable cassette machine Alex played us "I Am the Cosmos" for the first time. And told us some things about Chris Bell, Big Star, Ardent, and the whole scene that we probably didn't need to know: that John Fry, the owner of the studio and label, was gay, and so was Chris, and that Chris got jealous that John got interested in Alex (and that this was the reason that Chris erased the master tapes of #1 Record); or that Alex was better at tennis than Chris, who could never beat him no matter how hard he tried. I know Alex to be an enthusiastic embellisher of the truth, but when "You Can't Have Me" appeared on the belated release of the third Big Star album later that year I recognized what/who it must be about, and I still can't hear it without thinking about all this.

http://boogiewoogieflu.blogspot.com/2008/03/paper-hat.html

Fry is interviewed in the film, but not on this subject.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

Alex was better at tennis than Chris, who could never beat him no matter how hard he tried

lol this casts "Tennis Bum" in a new light

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:43 (1 year ago) Permalink

also one interviewee seemed to imply Bell was gay/bi without getting any more explicit.

I read talk on another forum that Bell's family supposedly requested/insisted this not be covered in the film.

Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

that woulda been my guess, actually

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

I worked for/with John Fry at Ardent, and for all the rumors that were spread around that office, him being gay never made the rounds that I recall. Not that some people didn't find him peculiar in an unspecified way. He was married when I knew him, which I realize doesn't mean much.

DLee, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

How someone can crush on anyone other than Jody Stephens, I have no idea.

pplains, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

haha yeah he was definitely the pretty one

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

without a doubt
they're all pretty cute though!

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

yes i did just pop in here to say that

also i saw the trailer and was dubious because i need no convincing about the greatness of this band and it seemed to just be people telling me things i already knew

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

but now dr m is making it sound a little more appealing

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah I totally want to see it, even though I'm a little wary of it being mostly "CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT NO ONE LIKED BIG STAR IN THE 70S WHAT A TRAGEDY THEY WERE SO GOOD"

tylerw, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

well having Stax declare bankruptcy when Radio City was getting ready to ship didn't help

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

also one interviewee seemed to imply Bell was gay/bi without getting any more explicit.

I read talk on another forum that Bell's family supposedly requested/insisted this not be covered in the film.

This was absent from the liner notes to the box set as well.

A couple of things that got me into the band were big articles that ran in Mojo (1999) and the original Revolver (2000). IIRC, in the latter there's a great quote from an insider (either Fry or Jim Dickinson) about Bell's problems with going Born Again: "He realized believing wasn't going make him stop wanting to take drugs or stop being a homosexual."

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

lol this casts "Tennis Bum" in a new light

I love that song!

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

Everybody I know who has seen the movie says it is so much more than "OMG, people missed out!" Total tearjerker.

The "Chris Bell was gay" rumor makes the rounds all the time, based afaict on absolutely nothing but non-specific third-hand stuff, or only Will Rigby exclusively. Which gives it the weight of air, even if true. Reminds me of the same stuff re: the equally long dead sensitive soul Nick Drake. From the "Fruit Tree" (fruit!!!) box set liners:

"His sensitivity became a shield. His friends sometimes wondered if he was a repressed homosexual. That would have explained his sense of defeat at age 18, his intense need for privacy, his denial of the body, his inability to touch people, his idealized view of women and his failure to have a girlfriend. But if he was homosexual he was far from gay. He was so deeply repressed that he could not imgine a physical salvation.Too private to talk about his moods, Nick wrote songs that mapped his melancholy with precision. Singing to an audience, he could communicate."

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

Pretty sure Chilton makes some sneery homophobic remark about Chris Bell in that KUT radio broadcast - after Bell was dead, classy huh?

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

In fact it was "Chris was a homosexual. That's why we had to break up."

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

A friend worked with A.C. right after his move to NYC, not impressed w/ him as a human.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

xp yeah, uncomfortable moment -- though that whole interview is alex trolling, I think. not that it excuses it...

tylerw, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

You can totally see why Alex Chilton would be a hero to Westerberg. A real tell me to jump, I'll sit down guy. AC as a human ... I can only assume the guy had massive issues - mental, chemical, social. Good days, bad days.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

I saw him play some time ago, and when someone requested a Big Star song, he played Michael Jackson's "Rock With You." In fact, I want to say he played it twice.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 June 2013 17:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

ha, i like that
A real tell me to jump, I'll sit down guy
yeah, a friend saw him on both the box tops and big star reunions and said chilton seemed like the friendliest, most fun guy at the box tops show (where the crowd was about as unhip as you can get) and bored/unpleasant at the big star show.

tylerw, Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

A lot of people thought he let the Posies guys sing the songs they did because he couldn't, but apparently he absolutely hated a lot of the Big Star stuff. Bad feelings.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

he played Michael Jackson's "Rock With You." In fact, I want to say he played it twice.

this kind of thing is why AC was awesome

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

dude obviously had a contrarian streak a mile wide

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

I dunno Josh, if Grisso's quote is accurate, and from the tapdancing-around I heard in this doc, the Chris-was-gay talk seems closer to secondhand, and we're not getting first anytime.

Some gays are always on the lookout for cultural totems who aren't Liberace.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

In fact it was "Chris was a homosexual. That's why we had to break up.

def recall this from the radio show, which is also the one where Alex does Riding Through the Reich or whatever that pseudo-Nazi jingle he had was

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

haha, yeah, he was obviously in a "provocative" mood for that particular broadcast.

tylerw, Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

Much talk in the film of how he had no use for Big Star after the fact, and then ppl were "flabbergasted" at the reformation in '93. Um, ka-CHING?

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

are the Cramps in the doc at all...?

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

just a bit. More Tav Falco.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think the Big Star reunion was really just a matter of catching him in the right place at the right time.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 June 2013 19:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

also i saw the trailer and was dubious because i need no convincing about the greatness of this band and it seemed to just be people telling me things i already knew

― free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, June 27, 2013 6:16 PM (4 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

but now dr m is making it sound a little more appealing

― free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, June 27, 2013 6:16 PM (4 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i didn't want to say so earlier, but i didn't think this doc was too great. they did well, given the paucity of footage from back in the day, but it's overlong, it lacks pace, it spends too long having indie rockers and such telling you they love big star, etc. is this by the same guy who did the replacements doc?

my eventual wife (stevie), Thursday, 27 June 2013 21:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Who is the dude working on the Grant Hart doc?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 27 June 2013 21:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

yes and yes
that's why i was apprehensive

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, 27 June 2013 22:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

at least i think so! formula seems the same, and it's not one that interests me for the abovementioned reasons

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Thursday, 27 June 2013 22:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

So any significant differences in that new alt-take collection, soundtrack to this doc maybe? Good review in Rolling Stone, but yknow...

dow, Thursday, 27 June 2013 23:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yeah, it's the soundtrack (though may have more/different than the movie, as these things sometimes work out)

dow, Thursday, 27 June 2013 23:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

doc isn't "great" at all, simply bcz of lack of live footage etc for starters, but I think it's an entertaining film for ppl who are not steeped in the lore. I've played the LPs (not lately) but never became a superfan who read about em.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 June 2013 18:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

If this guy could get rights to the 'Mats music and cut the fan talk down to a reasonable length, maybe that project wd work too.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 June 2013 18:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

i'm sure i'll enjoy it (and i'm pretty steeped in the lore), but yeah, not expecting it to be "great".
listened to sdtk last night (it's on the various streaming services) -- fine, but nothing essential.

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 18:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

also it seems reasonable to spend a lotta time w/ critic interviewees cuz they "made" BS's rep to a degree, given the sales/distrib disasters.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 June 2013 18:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah they really are the ultimate critics band -- wasn't their biggest gig (at least in the 70s) a rock critic convention?

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 18:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

yes, that's basically the focal point of the first half of the film.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 June 2013 18:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

It's remarkable to think that Big Star, let alone the VU (was Big Star the first band to cover the VU?), was a hard to find relative obscurity as recently as the '80s, given what an influence both those bands were on so much of what came out of the college rock scene at the time. Was it really just critics that kept (either) act alive? I imagine musicians passing the LPs around like totems helped at least as much. Not to mention critics who were also musicians.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 18:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

(was Big Star the first band to cover the VU?)

Bowie

Number None, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

On Pin Ups, or around then? He was definitely in there, but I'd say scenester rock star who hung at Max's and produced Lou Reed that same year (72?) is trumped by kids stranded in Memphis, even if they got there a year or so later.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

think this is from 67 or 68

i dunno, VU records might've been slightly hard to come by before the mid 80s, but they must've had a much higher profile than big star thanks to Lou Reed's relative rock stardom in the 70s. i don't think more than a thousand people even knew the name big star before the mid 80s?

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

I don't think you can overemphasize how obscure the VU was. I mean, it took 25 years for the Sex Pistols album to go platinum, and that was one album with historic hype behind it. Want to say the VU, like Big Star, was mostly out of print in the early '80s.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

This was actually recorded before the release of The Velvet Underground and Nico

Number None, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

I believe somewhere in this 11-part interview, Mo claims to have not known the band was influential until the mid'80s:

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

Mott the Hoople covered Sweet Jane on All the Young Dudes (1972). so no

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 19:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

I dunno, I didn't have a problem finding/buying the VU & BS albums in the early-mid '80s, but then I was going to school, then working, in NYC.

I saw Chilton at Folk City (a $3 night booked by Ira Kaplan) circa '85, maybe, and I'm p sure the audience knew those BS records well.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 June 2013 19:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

ha well, half the people in the audience at folk city that night were probably interviewed for the documentary.

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

from quite early on, Big Star were always a biggish cult band in UK and European music-hipster circles - music journalist Max Bell wrote a 4-part story on them in 1978 for the NME - and by the time i was buying albs in the mid 1980s most big star and chilton-related discs were pretty easy to find in london (and there's that great 1980 live in london alb recorded at dingwalls in camden).

Ward Fowler, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

xpost But Mott had that direct Bowie connection as well, at the exact same time. Bowie gets massive credit for being the first to glom onto the VU, but again, he was part of that scene. Big Star couldn't have been farther from that scene.

Who was the first to cover Big Star? Replacements? Bangles?

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

Michael Jackson

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Friday, 28 June 2013 19:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

there have been bands that critics liked more than audiences basically for as long as there were professional rock reviewers. but what i'm kind of curious about re: big star is that the hype seems to have been that they WOULD have been huge (at least on the first two albums). That rather than them being a challenge to the audience, the audience would have eaten them up if only they'd hear them. I know around the same time Xgau cracks that the Move's "Do Ya" was "rated single of the year in the rock press, apparently the only place it was distributed," so whether or not Big Star was the first critics fave to be presented this way, they're definitely one of the more enduring of the first class.

da croupier, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

actually, I think Todd Abramson had take over booking the indie-darling sets from Ira K by '85 at Folk City

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 June 2013 19:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

Big Star couldn't have been farther from that scene
well i dunno, they covered "Baby Strange"

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

xposts EMI reissued the first two lps in Britain as a double album just prior to Bell's death, bringing to mind Xgau's definition of a "legend in one's time" (which he said re:the New York Dolls, who got a similar reissue treatment at the same time).

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 28 June 2013 19:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

Who was the first to cover Big Star? Replacements? Bangles?

― Josh in Chicago, Friday, June 28, 2013 12:25 PM (19 minutes ago)

1979, Australia!

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 28 June 2013 19:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Wanna say that Game Theory might have been the first US band?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 28 June 2013 19:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

db's probably had some big star in their repertoire early on, right?

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 19:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

I dunno, I didn't have a problem finding/buying the VU & BS albums in the early-mid '80s, but then I was going to school, then working, in NYC.

All the VU records (except for Loaded which, bizarrely, never went out of print) were reissued in 1985 so yeah, those were easy to find then.

Some Big Star was available on import in the US, but not that easy to find (and pricey if you did find it).

Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 28 June 2013 20:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

Big Star couldn't have been farther from that scene
well i dunno, they covered "Baby Strange"

I meant literally far from that scene. Think there were a lot of T. Rex or Lou Reed records in Memphis record stores in the early '70s? Maybe. I've talked to a lot of people 10 years older than me who grew up in the midwest or the south beholden entirely to what would be played on AM radio. That's the Replacements in a nutshell: they grew up listening to AM radio, and became what they became when they later bumped up against hip stuff like Big Star and Johnny Thunders and the Only Ones.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

I don't get the Bowie/Mott dismissal. Technically they were even FARTHER away from the VU scene than Big Star was, what with the whole Atlantic Ocean thing. Bowie rescued Reed's career and was the first high-profile booster of the Velvets.

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 20:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

bang a Gong was top 10 single in the US in 1971. Walk On the Wild Side was top 20 in '72.

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 20:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

Some gays are always on the lookout for cultural totems who aren't Liberace.

^choice

well-composed selfie (Matt P), Friday, 28 June 2013 20:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

xp i've lost track of what exactly we're arguing -- i'm going to say that while both bands were obscure, big star were more obscure. based on extensive research!
more interesting thing maybe is when the college rock/indie "canon" started to come into place and be solidified ... i guess it probably has to do with REM interviews.

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

woah! that garagey r&b VU cover is amazing! yardbirds covered VU live too. an early VU covers comp could be cool.

not vu, but an early lou/cale song if I recall correctly:

brio, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:26 (1 year ago) Permalink

here ya go - http://www.philxmilstein.com/probe/index.htm#session419

covers of VU material during VU lifetime:
1. The Banana: There She Goes Again
2. David Bowie: I'm Waiting For The Man
3. The Riats: Run Run Run
4. The Riats: Sunday Morning
5. The Yardbirds: Smokestack Lightning/I'm Waiting For The Man

early VU ref. in song:
6. David Bowie with The Riot Squad: Little Toy Soldier

alt. VUs:
Oklahoma:
7. Velvet Underground Ltd. of Enid, Okla.: Correct Me
8. Velvet Underground Ltd. of Enid, Okla.: Why Don't You Love Me

Australia:
9. Velvet Underground: Somebody To Love
10. Velvet Underground: She Comes In Colours

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

well those dudes have bar-story material for life

well-composed selfie (Matt P), Friday, 28 June 2013 20:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

(Speaking of Southern AM, "Walk On The Wild Side" was at least Top 20 in mah neck of the woods; ditto mucho Bowie, from "Space Oddity" ownward). Big Star were much more obscure than VU, even in the early 70s Central Southeast: I only heard about 'em in a few rock mags, no rock clubs; I only heard 'em via radio promos sold for 99 cents in a B'ham headshop. But they were inspiring to hear and hear about, as the Winston-Salem High School kids, already rocking but not yet as the dB's, would doubtless agree (if they heard 'em that early). The VU made their living playing live, and ranged pretty far afield at times (that Texas live album was fascinating: the band that did not play no blues revealed their roots after all, with no pandering--hey Moe Diddly)

dow, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

But if only I'd gone more often to the right clubs in Memphis...

dow, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:37 (1 year ago) Permalink

from that VU covers comp tyler linked:
The Banana: There She Goes Again
1967, orig. unrel. (10 copies made); rec. by U.S. GIs in Qui Nhon, Vietnam (on generator-powered equipment); band name aka The Electrical Banana

brio, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

how did that Yardbirds cover come about? that seems pretty odd

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 20:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

yardbirds played with the VU a couple times.
I wrote a lil about it (w/ mp3) here: http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com/2013/01/15/the-yardbirds-im-waiting-for-the-man-vu-cover-live-1968/

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 20:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

But if only I'd gone more often to the right clubs in Memphis...

― dow, Friday, June 28, 2013 3:37 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Hey, not every place can be as hip as TGI Friday's.

pplains, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah, that was funny in the Eggleston clips, was TGIF a Memphis thing to start?

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 June 2013 21:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

xpost Tyler, that list of covers is awesome!

Shakey, I didn't mean to dismiss Bowie at all, at least not in the truly negative sense. I just meant that Bowie was a) a collector of sorts, a notorious train-jumper/scene-hopper/in search of the next big thing guy, b) a superstar in 1972 who was spent plenty of time in NYC and c) obviously was so enmeshed in the NYC scene that he produced/wrote for Reed the same year he wrote for/produced Mott, whom he had cover the VU. So not a dismissal, per se, just that Bowie seemed more or less a Lou Reed peer/pal rather than an upstart who discovered the VU.

Obviously plenty of people in America were listening to Bowie, T. Rex et al. by the mid-70s. Looks like Bowie even played Memphis in 72. But if you were not in a major city it was pretty easy to miss stuff, let alone stuff with shit distribution. And again, big star (ha) or not that Lou Reed might have been, VU albums were largely out of print til the mid-80s, Big Star was apparently even harder to come by, and to this day neither of them has I imagine sold jack shit.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

Huh, this is interesting:

The Riot Squad were a London-based pop group who saw Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, singer Graham Bonney and a young David Bowie come and go from their ranks during their 1964 to 1967 run. Some earlier Bowie biographies have no mention of this brief stage of his career.

Ian Shirley wrote a history of The Riot Squad for Record Collector magazine, here’s an excerpt about the three months that David Bowie fronted the group, via David Bowie.com:

In early March 1967, the band divided, with Gladstone, Crisp and Clifford going off to form soul band Pepper. Evans retained The Riot Squad name, along with Butch and Del. He was quick to recruit Rod Davies (guitar), Croak Prebble (bass) and a new lead singer.

Evans recalls: “I saw David Bowie with The Buzz at the Marquee and thought that he was fantastic. I approached him and he agreed to join.” Though Bowie had a growing reputation in London, like the Riot Squad he lacked a hit record.

Butch was underwhelmed when Evans informed him he’d offered the future Ziggy Stardust the job: “I thought, ‘Oh no, I don’t like him.’ We had supported Bowie months earlier. His presentation was superb, but his material was terrible.” Saying that, when Bowie turned up for their first rehearsal in a Tottenham pub, Butch admits he “fell in love with him because he had such charisma and he looked so cool when he walked in”.

The band had a few days to work up a set-list before their next gig and Bowie took charge in helping to knit together a running order. He even brought in a track from an unreleased LP by a US band called The Velvet Underground, “I’m Waiting For The Man.”

Bowie’s manager Ken Pitt returned from a trip to New York with an acetate of The Velvet Underground & Nico in late 1966 and his young client was immediately infatuated with the album. A song written by Bowie around that same time, “Little Toy Soldier,” quoted an entire chunk of “Venus and Furs.”

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

So, I totally stand corrected, Bowie was a really early adopter!

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:37 (1 year ago) Permalink

the earliest [you can dl all those early VU covers at the link too]

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

but i think chilton deserves some credit for honing in on the softer side of the VU -- not sure who else was doing that at the time, seems like most bands latched on to the amphetamine rock of "waiting" and "white light" along with just the good time vibes of "sweet jane." big star did "candy says" too.

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

I know Eno (who certainly heard the first album when it came out) has always cited the third album as his favorite and the one that ultimately influenced him the most. "What Goes On," etc.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:43 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah, true! and wasn't it eno who said "big star's first record only sold 1,000 copies but everyone who bought it went on to become a rock critic"?

tylerw, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

bang a Gong was top 10 single in the US in 1971. Walk On the Wild Side was top 20 in '72.

― the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, June 28, 2013 1:13 PM (1 hour ago)

What if I told you that "The Letter" spent 4 weeks at #1 in 1967

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 28 June 2013 21:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

lol tyler

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 21:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

re:TGI Friday's - It's mentioned in notes to the box that after Memphis passed a "liquor by the drink" law, Friday's established their first location outside of NYC there in 73 or so. It quickly became a favored hangout for the Ardent gang.

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 28 June 2013 21:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

Curious that R.E.M. is always cited as being influenced by Big Star, since compared to the power-pop crew they bore very little resemblance at all (as opposed to, say, Wire or Gang of Four or that sort of thing). Even Mike Mills, who has been touring Big Star stuff (playing Chicago tonight, I think, but I'm seeing Rush) has been quick recently to cite the idea of Big Star as an influence more than the music.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 21:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

Like, the Replacements, Posies, dBs, Game Theory, Teenage Fanclub, Wilco, Matthew Sweet, Elliott Smith, sure - you can hear bits and pieces (or, you know, outright copies) of Big Star in all those bands. But not really in REM, not to my ears.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

Smith seemed particularly suited:

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

I know they talked it up in the press at the time, but I was really hard-pressed to discern any of Big Star's "Third" in TFC's "Bandwagonesque". The wall of distorted guitars that were the center of TFCs approach at that time seemed worlds away from "Third" to me.

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 22:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

Sure as hell hope those sealed copies of The Velvet Underground and Nicoand White Light/White Heatand The Velvet Underground and Loadedwere in print when I bought 'em in the mid-70s, because I paid full price: $5.99 each! I know Loaded and Live In Texas 1969 was still in print, because I got it soon after release.
On campus, the canon seemed to form as student DJs moved from, say, Fleetwood Nicks to Richard & Linda, Browne to Zevon (then "Excitable Boy" hit, so hey to wimpy program directors), and various factions were getting abck to classic frat rock (the music of out childhoods; also: Animal House, drinking age was 18), so bands soon realized they could go from Seeds, Standells,Swingin' Medallions to Ramones, Stooges, B-52s as the night went on (then the actual B-52s & Pylon came to town). Etc.

dow, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

"I know..." shouldn't have mentioned Loaded again sorry

dow, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

and Bowie was responsible for getting at least some of the Velvets' catalog reissued in the 70s. He is liberally quoted in the liner notes of the MGM Archetypes reissue of White Light/White Heat in 1974.

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 22:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

Like, the Replacements, Posies, dBs, Game Theory, Teenage Fanclub, Wilco, Matthew Sweet, Elliott Smith, sure - you can hear bits and pieces (or, you know, outright copies) of Big Star in all those bands. But not really in REM, not to my ears.

― Josh in Chicago, Friday, June 28, 2013 3:02 PM (7 minutes ago)

I'm going to do something daring and post this first without consulting google/wiki, but IIRC: it was mid-80s REM who found Alex washing dishes in some New Orleans shithole and took him on the road with them as an opening act. Could be urban legend though, caveat emptor.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 28 June 2013 22:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

Alex seems like one of the few rock stars who would be found washing dishes by choice.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

During those lean years, Chilton washed dishes at Louis XVI Restaurant in the French Quarter and cleaned an Uptown bar called Tupelo’s. His most hazardous gig? Working with a local tree clearing company, trimming tree branches away from River Road power lines with a chainsaw, while perched in a cherry-picker.

At one point, Chilton and Coman joined a Bourbon Street cover band called Scores. During five-hour gigs at Papa Joe’s, patrons called out requests for R&B standards from printed song lists. “It was an adventure,” Coman said. “It was like we were a human jukebox.”

With few other prospects, Chilton contacted Frank Riley, the New York agent who booked his friends in the dB’s. Riley subsequently arranged the tours that established Chilton as a solo act.

Chilton, Coman and future Iguanas drummer Doug Garrison barnstormed Europe, then criss-crossed America in a’73 Buick LeSabre with a missing driver’s side window.

“There might not be many people in the club, but the R.E.M. guys would be there,” Coman said. “The caliber of fans was much higher than the numbers.”

http://www.nola.com/music/index.ssf/2010/04/post_7.html

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 28 June 2013 22:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

The band had a few days to work up a set-list before their next gig and Bowie took charge in helping to knit together a running order. He even brought in a track from an unreleased LP by a US band called The Velvet Underground, “I’m Waiting For The Man.”

I posted the youtube upthread!

Number None, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

I def heard about the dishwashing gig in the mid-80s; don't remember the REM connection, but soon enough he played an off-handed, yet chirpy-to-Sharrockin' gig at a tiny bar in Tuscaloosa (I've still got a good tape of it somewhere). He was quoted by the taper re hadn't started getting royalties for the Bangles' version of "September Gurls."

dow, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

That same nola link:

Thanks to his low overhead in New Orleans, Chilton subsisted on periodic Big Star, Box Tops and solo gigs, augmented by modest publishing royalties. Cheap Trick covered Big Star’s “In the Street” as the theme music for the Fox sitcom “That ‘70s Show”; Chilton received royalty checks as a result. He saw little reason to hustle additional work.

“He was kind of lazy,” Kersting said, laughing. “He took it very easy. He’d say, ‘Why work when I don’t have to?’ He wanted a very simple life. He was not interested in fame. He was interested in money — he wanted enough to be comfortable and to travel.”

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 28 June 2013 22:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

Sounds p rational to me.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Friday, 28 June 2013 22:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

he called That 70s Show the "That 70-cent Show" or something similar iirc, in reference to his royalties

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 22:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

I don't get the Bowie/Mott dismissal. Technically they were even FARTHER away from the VU scene than Big Star was, what with the whole Atlantic Ocean thing

Pretty damn sure Can and Faust (to name but two) were familiar with the Velvet Underground, e.g., as Julian Cope pointed out compare the intro basslines on "European Son" and "Father Cannot Yell". The obscurity of the Velvet Underground has been exaggerated over the years, I mean:

"...from 1970 to 1972 the band's repertoire drew heavily on songs by the Velvet Underground and the Fugs."

... the band being Plastic People of the Universe... from Prague!

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Saturday, 29 June 2013 08:58 (1 year ago) Permalink

First time I heard of Big Star was when R.E.M. were on Rockline (nationally syndicated radio call-in show) in 1985. The host pointed out a certain sonic similarity to the Byrds; Stipe said, "I hate the Byrds," and mentioned Pere Ubu, Mission of Burma, and Big Star as their influences.

Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 29 June 2013 12:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

I wonder if he said that to Roger McGuinn when I saw him open for them that year...

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 29 June 2013 14:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

xpost. the modern lovers addition of Foggy Notion to their repertoire would have before Big Star added Femme Fatale & Candy Says, yeah?

Spikey, Saturday, 29 June 2013 14:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

xp haha, yeah, wonder what the post-show conversation was like here: http://youtu.be/hpShuPQW8SA

Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 29 June 2013 17:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

Stipey might have hated the Byrds but Peter Buck was always open about his fervent fanhood

Euler, Saturday, 29 June 2013 17:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

Stipe didn't care for the Beatles either. This could be a bit of frontman contrarianism, or maybe something to do with MS having plenty of blind spots in terms of the canon, unlike Buck.

Master of Treacle, Saturday, 29 June 2013 17:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

Whether or not Stipe or Buck liked the Byrds, there's definitely more than a little Byrds in the REM. More Byrds than Big Star, that's for sure. Minimal Burma and Pere Ubu, to my ears, though I can hear how the latter two could be influences.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 29 June 2013 19:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

The Byrds similarities were heavily played up in R.E.M.'s early days, so Stipe might've just been reacting strongly to try to shake them off a bit (and in fact from Fables on, the jangly Rickenbacker thing became far less of a defining characteristic).

Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 29 June 2013 20:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

growing up in the south, I heard REM's declarations of Big Star fandom as a nod to ~left of the dial~ southern roots, because there weren't a lot of precedents for ambitious alt-y rock bands from the south

Euler, Saturday, 29 June 2013 20:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

I know they talked it up in the press at the time, but I was really hard-pressed to discern any of Big Star's "Third" in TFC's "Bandwagonesque". The wall of distorted guitars that were the center of TFCs approach at that time seemed worlds away from "Third" to me.

― the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 28 June 2013 22:06 (Yesterday) Permalink

Not 3rd, but Radio City absolutely. At least half of Bandwagonesque sounds like it could have been outtakes from Big Star's second album - compare, say, "What You Do To Me" to "Back of a Car". My ears sense substantial Badfinger influence on Teenage Fanclub as well.

Whether or not Stipe or Buck liked the Byrds, there's definitely more than a little Byrds in the REM. More Byrds than Big Star, that's for sure.

― Josh in Chicago, Saturday, June 29, 2013 3:51 PM (28 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Really, there's alot of Byrds in Big Star too.

Lee626, Saturday, 29 June 2013 20:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

Oh, man, Big Star totally subsumed the Beatles and Byrds. When my guitar teacher and I went trough the first two albums in their entirety - he was barely familiar with them - we were shocked by how well they nailed George's sound in particular, or perhaps generally the Beatles c. the White Album. He also loved the Strat sound on the second album, which was done with old-school tube compressors (like the Beatles) but which he heard as a distant precursor to the compressed Strat sound of the '80s. The '70s, after all, were a real Les Paul decade, so of course Alex would shift from Les Paul to Strat.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 29 June 2013 21:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

xpost. the modern lovers addition of Foggy Notion to their repertoire would have before Big Star added Femme Fatale & Candy Says, yeah?
probably right around the same time? at least that precise modern lovers version of foggy notion is from 73. though knowing richman, he had most likely been playing VU songs since 68-69.

tylerw, Sunday, 30 June 2013 00:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

I don't hear a ton of Big Star in REM, but I hear the Byrds in both. Listen to "Candy" from Dr. Byrds and Mr. Hyde - practically sounds like Chilton on lead vocals.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Monday, 1 July 2013 07:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Alex in New York at the Chelsea Hotel, 1970. Note copy of Untitled in his hand.

BTW, since he was in NYC in '70, I wonder if Alex ever dropped in to Max's and caught a VU set?

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 1 July 2013 08:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

Note copy of Untitled in his hand.
Good catch.

Pastel City Slang (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 1 July 2013 09:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

practically sounds like Chilton on lead vocals.

"After a period in New York City, during which Chilton worked on his guitar technique and singing style (some of which was believed to have been influenced by a chance meeting with Roger McGuinn at a friend's apartment in New York when Chilton was impressed with McGuinn's singing and playing), Chilton returned to Memphis in 1971..."

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Monday, 1 July 2013 10:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

xp Another early VU cover, from 1971

If you tolerate Bis, then Kenickie will be next (ithappens), Monday, 1 July 2013 11:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

Was reading the Mats book and I came across this:

Somewhere along the line, I found myself in the backyard standing across from Alex Chilton. I gave him a few general compliments and then gave special attention to "Hey Little Child." I told him I loved the rhythm. Alex smiled and said, "Yeah, the old cha cha cha." Like it was one o his first girlfriends. A few seconds later, he told me he was going downstairs and he invited me to come along. Soon I found myself in a crowded basement, seated on an old couch surrounded by Alex Chilton, Freedy Johnston and Slim Dunlap, and everyone but me and Peter Jesperson had a guitar. The guys were trading songs and riffs in a gentlemanly way, but the aural dance floor cleared when Alex started playing transcriptions he'd done of Nina Simone solos and then, mind-blowingly, of Wagner's overtures. It was amazing. Watching Alex's fingers crawl up and down the frets like a family of crazy spiders, I go the impression he could do whatever occurred to him on that guitar, that anything was possible and that every note he chose to play had a green glow around it, the glow of having been chosen among millions of options. It was magical, virtuosic, gracious, infinite, unexpected and completely perfect.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 1 July 2013 11:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

what if alex chilton have been in the traveling wilburys

Poliopolice, Monday, 1 July 2013 14:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

There shoulda been a Bizarro World Traveling Wilburys with Chilton, Arthur Lee, Roky Erickson, and Skip Spence.

Esperanto, why don't you come to your senses? (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 1 July 2013 14:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

still never heard this one:

http://www.discogs.com/Alan-Vega-Alex-Chilton-Ben-Vaughn-Cubist-Blues/release/1320578

Ward Fowler, Monday, 1 July 2013 14:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

that's one of the best records, seriously.

tylerw, Monday, 1 July 2013 14:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

Idiot Hollywood blogger Jeff Wells: "Big who?":
http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2013/07/didnt-last-long-didnt-tour-much/

Murder in the Rue McClanahan (jaymc), Monday, 1 July 2013 16:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

it's like i always say, if i've never heard of them, they must suck!

tylerw, Monday, 1 July 2013 16:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

Wells is such a moron. And I love how much Glenn Kenny likes to poke at him.

This amigurumi Jamaican octopus is ready to chill with you (Phil D.), Monday, 1 July 2013 16:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

The comments are interesting. Wells (whom I've never heard of, I don't think): "I've always been reasonably aware of pretty much everything that happens of any importance or avant-garde-ness or catchiness, perhaps only in a passing or fragmentary but...you know, if the right fly or mosquito flaps its wings in a cool, never-before, half-interesting way, I tend to at least hear about that."

To make this statement and not have heard of Big Star is a real stretch for me. I mean, I'd never heard of Manuel Göttsching until I read about him here, and I'd never heard of Arvo Part until I watched Gerry one night a couple of years ago, but Manuel Göttsching and Arvo Part aren't Big Star, right?

clemenza, Monday, 1 July 2013 16:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

he is deluded about what he's aware of. The guy is a film blogger (actually, an awards blogger) and didn't have any use for Abbas Kiarostami til his last film. The last week he is his own parody...

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Monday, 1 July 2013 16:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

first place i heard about big star was in an obscure music magazine called rolling stone, about 20 years ago now.

tylerw, Monday, 1 July 2013 16:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

I love how " I would have at least picked up on a fragment of their lore, their sound…" is followed up by the barrage of "That 70s Show? Replacements? Bangles?" comments, like multiple hits to the head.

New Authentic Everybootsy Collins (Dan Peterson), Monday, 1 July 2013 17:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

but Manuel Göttsching and Arvo Part aren't Big Star, right?

― clemenza, Monday, July 1, 2013 9:50 AM (16 seconds ago)

well, they are (part is arguably more influential & well-known), but only their respective certain circles/streams. i'm not surprised, even at my advanced age, to so frequently stumble across "important" artists of whom i've never heard. then again, i don't claim to catch wind of culture's every butterfly wingbeat...

Me and my pool noodle (contenderizer), Monday, 1 July 2013 17:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

Alex started playing transcriptions he'd done of Nina Simone solos and then, mind-blowingly, of Wagner's overtures

So when Alex shouted out, during a particularly rambunctious take of "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It" on the "Bach's Bottom" album, it was more than just a funny aside?

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Monday, 1 July 2013 17:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

What I knew and didn't know growing up had less to do with relative obscurity than with four books: Christgau's '70s guide, the red Rolling Stone guide, Lillian Roxon's encyclopedia, and Logan & Woffinden's encyclopedia. If they weren't in one of those, like Göttsching and Part, then I likely didn't find out about them until my 30s or 40s. If, as with Big Star's prominence in Christgau's book, they were, then I knew about them, though sometimes I wouldn't actually hear them until later. (I just checked, and Big Star aren't in either the red or blue Rolling Stone guide, I guess because their albums weren't in print.)

clemenza, Monday, 1 July 2013 17:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

So when Alex shouted out, during a particularly rambunctious take of "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It" on the "Bach's Bottom" album, it was more than just a funny aside?

LOL I forgot to put in what he shouted out which was, of course, in his delicious accent, "IT'S GETTING LIKE WAGNER"

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Monday, 1 July 2013 17:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

I've never heard of REM, the Byrds, Beach Boys, or Beatles, and I know a lot about music. For instance, did you know a band called Black Sabbath recently reunited? I think one of the Beastie Boys used to be in that band. Ever heard of the Beastie Boys? They're really good, though I liked them better before they went rock. I wonder when they'll put out a new record?

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 1 July 2013 18:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

Thing about that asshat Wells is his stubborn ignorance in the face of ample evidence, his refusal to admit wrong and instance on doubling down on the most ridiculous stuff.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 1 July 2013 18:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

So, I guess a Doobie Brothers documentary would be more up your alley, Wells?

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 1 July 2013 18:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

nice Artforum piece on the doc

http://www.artforum.com/film/id=41722

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 15:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

New York opening is today !

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

also VOD

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

Elliott Smith's name spelled wrong in the iTunes listing. Will rent this ASAP regardless.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

Will have to get it via VOD/iTunes since it's not playing anywhere even close to me.

This amigurumi Jamaican octopus is ready to chill with you (Phil D.), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

new dn anyway

JACK SQUAT about these Charlie Nobodies (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

Alex Chilton actually did what some people probably thought the Velvet Underground were trying do—but wouldn't have collectively had the stomach for anyway—which is to present a vaguely and pervasively frightening vision, the world ending with a whimper not a bang, the looming horror of the madness yet to come. etc. etc.

The Velvet Underground ends as a grotesque Archie comic on Loaded, but there's so much about Big Star that really, really scares me because of Third/Sister Lovers and makes me want to go to the dentist and get my teeth fixed and so forth.

fields of salmon, Thursday, 4 July 2013 05:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

I actually only got into Big Star three to four months ago because I was looking to buy a compressor pedal for my electric guitar. People kept saying, "If you want to know how a compressor works, listen to Big Star." And then I heard "September Gurls."

fields of salmon, Thursday, 4 July 2013 05:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

The Velvet Underground ends as a grotesque Archie comic on Loaded

Fucking great album you mean

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Thursday, 4 July 2013 10:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

"13" is about as "grotesque Archie comic" as you can get. in a good way.

brio, Thursday, 4 July 2013 11:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

The guys were trading songs and riffs in a gentlemanly way, but the aural dance floor cleared when Alex started playing transcriptions he'd done of Nina Simone solos and then, mind-blowingly, of Wagner's overtures.

The Cliches album wasn't a guitar showcase, exactly, but it did include his take on J.S. Bach's Gavotte.

DLee, Thursday, 4 July 2013 12:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

People kept saying, "If you want to know how a compressor works, listen to Big Star."

Yeah, man, they learned so much about everything from the Beatles. Think of the guitar solo in "Nowhere Man" ...

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 July 2013 12:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

The doc was OK, not great. They maybe did as well as they could considering how little footage exists, or how few photos or, you know, how many living members of Big Star. They used a lot of photos and images multiple times, and there was a bit where I thought a TGI Fridays doc would be a cooler use of time, but there was some neat stuff in this.

So is Big Star the closest any major rock band has come to losing all its members? What other bands (of, say, three or more) are down to one?

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 July 2013 21:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

Ramones are down to their drummers (and CJ), only Michelle's left of the Mamas & Papas

da croupier, Saturday, 6 July 2013 21:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

Oh, that's right, re: Ramones!

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 July 2013 21:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

Skynyrd getting there.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 July 2013 21:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

Jimi Hendrix Experience completely gone.

pplains, Saturday, 6 July 2013 21:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

How quickly we (I) forget.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 July 2013 21:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

Badfinger? I just looked at their wiki page to check and apparently, there were like 26 Badfinger line-ups.

pplains, Saturday, 6 July 2013 21:59 (1 year ago) Permalink

the band's just garth and robbie now, right?

Puff Daddy, whoever the fuck you are. I am dissapoint. (stevie), Saturday, 6 July 2013 23:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

^Yeah, and Ronnie Hawkins too (if he counts).

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 6 July 2013 23:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

MC5's just Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson.

Puff Daddy, whoever the fuck you are. I am dissapoint. (stevie), Saturday, 6 July 2013 23:17 (1 year ago) Permalink

Then there's lonely old RIngo....

pplains, Sunday, 7 July 2013 00:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

Only one of the mid-'60s Temptations still living. (Dennis Edwards, who replaced David Ruffin in 1968 is also still alive)

Lee626, Sunday, 7 July 2013 01:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

Then there's lonely old RIngo....

Erm . . .

DLee, Sunday, 7 July 2013 12:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

Paul died in 1968 as any fule kno

Puff Daddy, whoever the fuck you are. I am dissapoint. (stevie), Sunday, 7 July 2013 13:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yeah, seriously. Did no one tell you? They replaced him in the studio with the guy from Badfinger.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 7 July 2013 13:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

Just wanted to post on some of the Chris Bell comments above. First, I was prepared to judge the film based on how much time they spent on Bell, and am happy to report it's a ton. He's so fascinating, and sadly, just as this thread has become obsessed with AC's MJ covers, overlooked. The Jovanovic Big Star bio which came out in 2005 noted that it was quite possible he was struggling with being gay (I don't have the bio sitting around with me, but it's pretty well sourced IIRC).

Much more importantly, the bio & film documented that Bell in fact had a pretty decent hand in writing Radio City as well. perhaps someone can jump in with more info, but given that there isn't a bad song on that record, but it seems like I have read it's more than just 'Back of a Car' which is more than enough.

Bonus awesomeness-a John Jeremiah Sullivan piece on Chris Bell: http://www.oxfordamerican.org/articles/2010/apr/05/john-Jeremiah-sullivan-chris-bell-big-stars-other-/

campreverb, Sunday, 7 July 2013 14:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

My fave part in the entire documentary is when folks hear "I Am the Cosmos," and exclaim "so this is where Big Star went!!!!"

The doc claims they wrote a lot in the studio, so I imagine it's a lot like early Beatles: maybe one guy wrote more, but they made each other better. I'm not sure the first album is better than the second, but it's more ... pure. Less restless. Man, when my teacher and I went through the first two albums on guitar, "O My Soul" took at least twice as many pages to chart out than anything else!

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 7 July 2013 14:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

link above not working for me; try this:

http://www.oxfordamerican.org/articles/2010/apr/05/john-Jeremiah-sullivan-chris-bell-big-stars-other-/

and I agree; Chris Bell as important as Alex Chilton was on Big Star's first album, and yes he did make several uncredited contributions to Radio City as well, though it's unclear exactly what and how much from what i've read.

Lee626, Sunday, 7 July 2013 15:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

My fave part in the entire documentary is when folks hear "I Am the Cosmos," and exclaim "so this is where Big Star went!!!!"

there were people interviewed for a documentary about this band who had never heard that album?! did they just grab random ppl off the street?

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Sunday, 7 July 2013 15:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

the interviewees mean "this is where some of the spirit of big star went" more or less
i liked the doc, not a big fan of the band or the tour. Thinking i should try third again though.

how bad could it be to be stuck to the couch, forever... (forksclovetofu), Sunday, 7 July 2013 15:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yeah, it meant "there was this band I loved that changed its sound, and I just realized that sound had disappeared with its founder Chris Bell, who reappeared picking up right where he left off." Back then, barely anyone knew anything about Big Star, let alone that its founder had departed for Europe and practically disappeared. If you were one of the few who bought the records as they came out, you'd probably think Chilton was the mastermind, too. And if you followed Chilton post Big Star, you'd probably also have wondered, huh, what happened to that guy? Solo Chris Bell underscored his contributions better than they could be heard in Big Star, I think.

i liked the doc, not a big fan of the band or the tour.

What tour are you talking about?

I can't imagine anyone not liking the bulk of those first two records. They should have been '70s dorm-room standards.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 7 July 2013 15:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/calendar/big-stars-third/
not so much a tour as an ongoing tribute performance
I'm likely showing my age but "70's dorm room standards" kind of explains why i don't care much for big star

how bad could it be to be stuck to the couch, forever... (forksclovetofu), Sunday, 7 July 2013 15:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

chris' original is fine but i prefer this cover version

Puff Daddy, whoever the fuck you are. I am dissapoint. (stevie), Sunday, 7 July 2013 15:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

I really enjoyed this movie. It was disjointed a bit, but generally very moving.

Poliopolice, Monday, 8 July 2013 04:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

Much more importantly, the bio & film documented that Bell in fact had a pretty decent hand in writing Radio City as well. perhaps someone can jump in with more info, but given that there isn't a bad song on that record, but it seems like I have read it's more than just 'Back of a Car' which is more than enough.

In the Rick Clark notes on the old cd twofer, John Fry is quoted that "There somewhere between two and four tracks on Radio City that Chris had a hand in writing, where he said, 'Well I'l get rid of my interest in those.' "Back of A Car" was certainly one...You can probably figure the rest out by listening..."

My guesses: "Back of A Car", "What's Going Ahn" (demoed right after he quit), "You Get What You Deserve" and "Daisy Glaze" (ambitious structure I don't quite see coming all from Alex, although Stephens & Hummel are also credited so who knows...). it also should be mentioned that in that first post-Bell demo session, the band tackled both "I got Kinda Lost" and "There Was A Light"--both solo Bell compositions, possibly suggesting Fry's memory was fuzzy regarding what was recorded and what actually went on the lp.

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 8 July 2013 04:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

huh, to me the keepers on the Bell album are Cosmos, Sister, & those two, "I Got Kinda Lost" & "There Was a Light". & those I've gone back to again & again since I got the Ryko v in the early 90s. but the rest of that album has never really sunk in.

Euler, Monday, 8 July 2013 08:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

I've always felt that "Daisy Glaze" (my favorite Big Star song, most days) felt more like Bell than Chilton.

WilliamC, Monday, 8 July 2013 12:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

huh, to me the keepers on the Bell album are Cosmos, Sister, & those two, "I Got Kinda Lost" & "There Was a Light". & those I've gone back to again & again since I got the Ryko v in the early 90s. but the rest of that album has never really sunk in.

"Look Up" is damned good as well.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 8 July 2013 12:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Speed of Sound" is my favorite in spite of the pained vocals in the first verse.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 8 July 2013 13:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

That Big Star recording of "There Was a Light" is like my favorite thing ever. Love it.

Trip Maker, Monday, 8 July 2013 14:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

"You Get What you Deserve" seems like a Bell tune, the lyrics especially.

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Monday, 8 July 2013 17:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

I couldn't tell you why, but that's the one that's always seemed like the most "classic rock" of their discography, even more so than "September Gurls" or "Back of a Car". Would totally fit into a ROCK 99.1 THE BRICK set between Steve Miller and Fleetwood Mac.

pplains, Monday, 8 July 2013 18:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Don't Lie to Me" is straight-up '70s blues boogie, until the weird breakdown.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 8 July 2013 18:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

I know there's a 1000 reasons why Big Star's not in the Classic Rock canon, but back in my DJ days when I'd be playing "Fox on the Run" by Sweet or Diesel's "Sausalito Summernights", I'd still wonder.

pplains, Monday, 8 July 2013 18:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

Seems the Bangles couldn't make out the lyrics to 'September Gurls:'

"September gurls, do so much
And for so long, 'til we touched"

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Monday, 8 July 2013 18:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

vs

" I was your butch and you were touched "

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Monday, 8 July 2013 18:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

They may have changed them.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 8 July 2013 18:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

i really can't parse "i was your butch" (which i didn't know was the line til, uh, last week)

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Monday, 8 July 2013 18:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

Pastel City Slang (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 8 July 2013 18:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

is there a good accurate source for Big Star lyrics? They have a lot of lines that I've always wondered about.

Moodles, Monday, 8 July 2013 18:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think I just found the answer to my question

Moodles, Monday, 8 July 2013 18:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

for all your big star reference needs

Matt Poop (Matt P), Monday, 8 July 2013 18:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

That site did not answer my question about what a September Gurl is.

Poliopolice, Monday, 8 July 2013 19:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

Always makes me think of the beginning of a new academic year.
I work on a college campus.

Trip Maker, Monday, 8 July 2013 20:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

That site did not answer my question about what a September Gurl is.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 8 July 2013 20:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

I thought the college reference for a long time, but then that fails to explain what a December Boy is.

Poliopolice, Monday, 8 July 2013 20:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

^^Ready for holiday break, footloose & fancy free?

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 8 July 2013 20:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think Alex once said something to the effect that the dates in the song had to do with star signs and such.

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 8 July 2013 20:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

"I was your butch" wtf???

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Monday, 8 July 2013 20:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

Of course there's always the possibility that they are just crap lyrics

Poliopolice, Monday, 8 July 2013 20:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

needs kd lang cover

xp

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Monday, 8 July 2013 20:26 (1 year ago) Permalink

i wish old butch and you would touch

brimstead, Monday, 8 July 2013 20:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

i didn't believe the "i was your butch" line either until i heard mike mills sing it a week ago with the world's big star experts standing behind him (stephens, stamey, the posies guys, etc.).

Thus Sang Freud, Monday, 8 July 2013 20:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

they prob don't know either.

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Monday, 8 July 2013 20:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

Lots of incorrect lyrics on that Big Star Reference page fwiw

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 8 July 2013 21:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

hmm ilx thread Big Star vying to replace bigstarreference.com for all your Big Star reference needs.

Matt Poop (Matt P), Monday, 8 July 2013 21:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Speed of Sound" is my favorite in spite of the pained vocals in the first verse.

Agree tho I totally misremembered which song this was. That said, I'd say that the pained vocals (and lyrics) are a big part if why I love this one so much. Synth break is awesome too.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 8 July 2013 22:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah the synths on this album (is it just that song?) are really great

Matt Poop (Matt P), Monday, 8 July 2013 22:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

Much more importantly, the bio & film documented that Bell in fact had a pretty decent hand in writing Radio City as well. perhaps someone can jump in with more info, but given that there isn't a bad song on that record, but it seems like I have read it's more than just 'Back of a Car' which is more than enough.

― campreverb, Sunday, July 7, 2013 10:07 AM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

from the Rob Jovanovic book

So it was hardly surprising when Chris Bell quit Big Star in November. The band had already started work on a number of new tracks, including 'Way Out West', 'O My Soul', and 'Back of a Car'.

...

'We had four songs,' Hummel says. 'A couple were written at Alex's house one night. If memory serves, they were "Back of a Car", "Got Kinda Lost", "There Was a Life", and I'm not sure of the other but it was one of Alex's songs, maybe "You Get What You Deserve.'

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Monday, 8 July 2013 23:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

Lots of incorrect lyrics on that Big Star Reference page fwiw

― Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, July 8, 2013 5:13 PM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Whole forum page on that site to discuss what the lyrics really are - "This board was created to discuss/debate the accuracy of the lyrics posted on the Big Star Reference. Start a thread by using the song title in question as the subject. State what line you are questioning and offer your opinion as to what is being sung."

http://www.bigstarreference.com/cgi-bin/bsrboard/bsrboard.cgi?board=lyrics

Lee626, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 00:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

First song I looked was a mess:

"O, DANA"
(Chilton)

I rather shoot a woman than a man, *** "I'd rather..."
I worry whether this is my last life
And girl, if you're listening
I'm sorry, I can't help it

O, Dana
O, Dana
Come on

I'm forevermore fighting with Steven
We do our big boo coos *** "we do our big beau coups"
But we know, over Boulder Dam *** "...overboard and down"
And strung out twice

We seldom know what things are
Two illusions going very far

I got busted across the bridge
They rounded up every soul
But, now I'm on the East Side
She says, "Don't give a girl a chance"
She's not afraid to take a chance

She's got a magic wand
That says play with yourself before other ones

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 9 July 2013 01:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

Alex and Chris's harmony on 'Sister' sounds like they're put through a phase shifter. Or is that clean?

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Tuesday, 9 July 2013 03:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

'You and Your Sister" that is

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Tuesday, 9 July 2013 03:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Tuesday, 9 July 2013 03:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Harmony on "Thirteen" during "and I'll take you" is phased.

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Tuesday, 9 July 2013 04:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think Alex once said something to the effect that the dates in the song had to do with star signs and such.

That is correct. (Alex Chilton, b. Dec. 28)

DLee, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 12:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

Saw somebody reading about this new doc in one of the free subway newspapers- at last Big Star has arrived!

Pastel City Slang (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 9 July 2013 13:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

listened to the first disc of that ardent records story comp this morning -- totally recommended if you haven't heard it. a bunch of cool late 60s psych pop.

tylerw, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 14:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

do you mean Thank You Friends,? that's a great comp!

nerve_pylon, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 14:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

yes, that's the one. really great, i wish it was four discs instead of just two... and just the minute of chilton singing "don't worry baby" at the end is worth price of admission alone. and the "big black car" demo! i don't think that's appeared on any of the other big star rarity things, for some reason.

tylerw, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 14:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

I listened to that comp too and don't recall the non-Big Star -related stuff (which makes up almost half the set) being all that impressive. Will have to listen again. Cargoe seems well regarded, their albums are on Spotify. What other Ardent stuff should I check out?

Lee626, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 21:26 (1 year ago) Permalink

Wow, just heard that Terry Manning album, which is nuts. Also found some comp o Memphis garage-scuzz from the era.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 21:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

first disc has plenty of throwaway beatles rips, but it's all entertaining enough. never anything less than charming.

tylerw, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 22:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

^^fair amount of Jim Dikinson garage autuer stuff too.

Mr. Mojo Readin' (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 9 July 2013 22:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah! that guy needs a box set of his own.

tylerw, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 22:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

I did post this on another thread, but I was pleased with it, so I'll post here to – a piece I wrote last year about Third/Sister Lovers and its aftermath

If you tolerate Bis, then Kenickie will be next (ithappens), Wednesday, 10 July 2013 11:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Post here, too," even

If you tolerate Bis, then Kenickie will be next (ithappens), Wednesday, 10 July 2013 11:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

Pre-coffee, dirty glasses, I saw this exchange:

^^fair amount of Jim Dikinson garage autuer stuff too.

yeah! that guy needs a box set of his own.

And thought I was reading the Jim DeRogatis thread. Phew!

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 10 July 2013 12:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

Christ "O My Soul" is good. The bit where Chilton comes back after the breakdown with "You're really a nice girl!" is such a brilliant 70s transmutation of 60s British Invasion sensibilities.

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 12 July 2013 22:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

tacos

Murder in the Rue McClanahan (jaymc), Friday, 12 July 2013 22:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

Christ "O My Soul" is good. The bit where Chilton comes back after the breakdown with "You're really a nice girl!" is such a brilliant 70s transmutation of 60s British Invasion sensibilities.

― Naive Teen Idol, Friday, July 12, 2013 11:01 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Absolutely.

waterface, Friday, 12 July 2013 23:26 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Has tom petty ever acknowledged big star as an influence?

joe schmoladoo from 7-11 (Shakey Mo Collier), Saturday, 27 July 2013 05:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

Be surprised if he'd heard them when he started out, undoubtedly borrowing from the same sources however

Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Saturday, 27 July 2013 11:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 27 July 2013 12:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

i doubt petty heard them in the 70s, but i have a 1973 mudcrutch bootleg where they play george harrison's "isn't it a pity" and it sounds pretty close to big star.

tylerw, Saturday, 27 July 2013 14:37 (1 year ago) Permalink

I wonder if Chilton ever listened to Zeppelin. House of the Holy, musically, sounds an awful lot like bits of Big Star.

If you tolerate Bis, then Kenickie will be next (ithappens), Saturday, 27 July 2013 16:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

"I made [Big Star] to be as big a success as possible, but I did it my own way. … I’m not gonna start letting what’s current in the taste of the music business dictate what I do," he told Gordon. With a marked tendency to opt for obscurity or infamy rather than conformity, he admitted, "I’d be happier doing anything in this world— delivering papers, I don’t care—than if in 1971 I’d tried to sound like Ten Years After or Led Zeppelin."

Number None, Saturday, 27 July 2013 16:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

i remember playing "feel" for someone who had no idea who big star was and when the vocals kicked in he said it sounded like led zep. and it kinda does!

tylerw, Saturday, 27 July 2013 16:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

i thought the same thing the first time i heard them!! didn't tell anyone because it felt like a ludicrous thing to think but i clearly remember thinking it.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Saturday, 27 July 2013 16:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

xpost To be fair, Chilton was the model of an unreliable witness to his own life …

If you tolerate Bis, then Kenickie will be next (ithappens), Saturday, 27 July 2013 16:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

Feel is def a weird "first song" for Big Star -- at least it was not what I was expecting, having read about them before hearing them.

tylerw, Saturday, 27 July 2013 20:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

Chilton hated Zeppelin.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 27 July 2013 21:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

Bell was more of the mainstream rocker--"Feel" and "Don't Lie To Me" were his songs.

Uncle Cyril O'Boogie (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 27 July 2013 21:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

Feel is def a weird "first song" for Big Star -- at least it was not what I was expecting, having read about them before hearing them.

^^^ this. was very relieved to hear el goodo after feel, the very first time i listened to #1 record - was much more what i wanted to hear.

There shouldn't be a thread for Dennis Perrin tweets. (stevie), Sunday, 28 July 2013 08:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

"September Gurls" guitar tone is like being insanely high.

MatthewK, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 12:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

That sound's not a guitar – it's a Fender MandoGuitar. You can perhaps guess what two instruments it combined.

Wantaway Striker (ithappens), Tuesday, 10 September 2013 12:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

Dog and manduitar?

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 12:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Ha

I Am the Cosimo Code (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 10 September 2013 13:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

I found recently that I could get nearly that exact tone with a compression pedal cranked up all the way.

Poliopolice, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 13:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

(with a Fender Jaguar, if it matters)

Poliopolice, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 13:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

I bought a JangleBox compressor on the strength of some gear nut forum threads that specifically discussed the recording of "September Gurls."

fields of salmon, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 14:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

I used a Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone.

Poliopolice, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 14:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

Second from treble pickup on a strat

PaulTMA, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 15:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

i've said it before, but chilton is an amazing guitar player -- some of the stuff he pulls off on live recordings is astonishing.

tylerw, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 15:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

Think I've probably said this before as well, but in that respect he is like Jonathan Richman, a guy known as a songwriter, performer and "personality" but who obviously works to keep his guitar chops up.

I Am the Cosimo Code (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 10 September 2013 18:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

Does anyone know, specifically, what Chilton's problem was? He seemed to become spectacularly spacey and incompetent almost at the same time he was producing some of his strongest work... Hallucinogens? Booze? Doesn't have the telltale signs of coke or heroin, although Bell obviously went down to horse so hard drugs were obviously on the scene...

fields of salmon, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 22:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

incompetent???

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 22:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

though if there was a problem, it may have stemmed from his inadvertent discovery that children by the millions were not, in fact, singing for alex chilton.

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 10 September 2013 22:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

That sound's not a guitar – it's a Fender MandoGuitar. You can perhaps guess what two instruments it combined.

I thought it was just a capo-ed Strat put through the same kind of massive tube compressor that the Beatles favored on stuff like the "Nowhere Man" solo.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 02:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 11 September 2013 03:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

That appears to be the very rare "bass" guitar.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 04:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

B-b-but what kind of amp was it played through?

I Am the Cosimo Code (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 11 September 2013 04:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

Ha - after writing that post I put a Tele through a dialed-out compressor and felt like I was insanely high. Didn't realise Big Star played Mandocasters - even the bridge pickup on my Tele was pretty close.
Dunno if you're having a dig, Naive Teen Idol, but that is indeed an electric mandolin - they are only about 2 feet long overall, as opposed to the 34" scale of a bass.

MatthewK, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 05:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake
― mark s, Wednesday, October 17, 2001 5:00 PM (11 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Cool Internet discourse
A+ poptimist excreta

velko, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 05:43 (1 year ago) Permalink

Ry Cooder on the Mandoguitar:

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 14:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

Digging Nothing Can Hurt Me, which is alternative takes and re-mixes, as seen in the movie of the same name apparently.

I Am the Cosimo Code (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 12 September 2013 14:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

I thought it was just a capo-ed Strat put through the same kind of massive tube compressor that the Beatles favored on stuff like the "Nowhere Man" solo.

Maybe it is, maybe it's not-- but like I said, you can get a sound that is pretty damn close without a Mandocaster (which I'd never even heard of).

Poliopolice, Thursday, 12 September 2013 15:35 (1 year ago) Permalink

Went through the vinyl section of the one remaining centre of town record/cd shop today and found they had both #1 Record and Radio City in there. Not sure if I should be as surprised as I was. Good to see, but does leave me wondering how well known they are these days.
Are they something every semi aware indie kid has known about since Teenage Fanclub were popular?

There are some odd semi obscure cd titles that appear in that record shop on a regular basis . That is to say odd titles appear regularly not individual titles reappear I don't think. Not sure if there's one semi informed cd buyer in the place or if there is a directive of what to buy from elsewhere. Somehow still not got around to really ask after several years.

Stevolende, Thursday, 12 September 2013 19:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

You can get new audiophile pressings of the first two fairly cheaply ($25-30 for the pair).

A Made Man In The Mellow Mafia (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 12 September 2013 19:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

And the SACD twofer if you are into niche digital formats. Plays on ordinary players too. It sounds BRIGHT but I think those controls were turned up at Ardent Studios rather than at the mastering plant.

MatthewK, Friday, 13 September 2013 05:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

I'm a wasted face, I'm a sad-eyed lie, I'm a holocaust.

emil.y, Wednesday, 1 January 2014 03:59 (9 months ago) Permalink

Documentary is on Netflix now.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Wednesday, 1 January 2014 06:26 (9 months ago) Permalink

Watching now. Really well done. "When I said Ardent, people thought I had said Argent!"

Can One Hear the Shape of a Ron Decline Bottle? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 5 January 2014 18:56 (9 months ago) Permalink

great documentary. wish it discussed the making of third a little bit more but can't really complain

akm, Sunday, 5 January 2014 19:30 (9 months ago) Permalink

Looks like Stranded In Canton is on Youtube.

Can One Hear the Shape of a Ron Decline Bottle? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 5 January 2014 20:21 (9 months ago) Permalink

And just in case you've never heard Elliott Smith sing "Thirteen"

Can One Hear the Shape of a Ron Decline Bottle? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 5 January 2014 20:24 (9 months ago) Permalink

was posted over in the netflix thread but this panther burns clip is a must watch, so good

tylerw, Sunday, 5 January 2014 21:39 (9 months ago) Permalink

Really enjoyed the movie, and not just as a band bio -- along the way it hits on interesting things about Memphis, the music biz, the weird world of rock crit, how pop culture myths are made and sustained, and the central mystery of how art happens. I almost think it's better that they didn't get to interview Alex. It lets the film revolve around the absence of him and Chris.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 5 January 2014 21:51 (9 months ago) Permalink

otm, every word.

Can One Hear the Shape of a Ron Decline Bottle? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 5 January 2014 22:23 (9 months ago) Permalink

thanks JR for Stranded in Canton, that was fucking great

rip van wanko, Tuesday, 7 January 2014 21:39 (9 months ago) Permalink

I like how TGI Friday's was THE place to be. How times have changed.

Poliopolice, Tuesday, 7 January 2014 22:09 (9 months ago) Permalink

lol "Axel Chitlin"

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 7 January 2014 22:09 (9 months ago) Permalink

I like how TGI Friday's was THE place to be. How times have changed.

Totally agree. It took such a huge mental leap for me to see TGI Fridays as anything other than what it is now.

Non-Stop Erotic Calculus (bmus), Tuesday, 7 January 2014 22:53 (9 months ago) Permalink

was it the first TGI Fridays?

akm, Tuesday, 7 January 2014 23:05 (9 months ago) Permalink

second after nyc according to google

Hunt3r, Tuesday, 7 January 2014 23:15 (9 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, that part cracked me up. It was so subtle like finding out the Stone's hung out at the first Applebees while recording Exile.

Darin, Tuesday, 7 January 2014 23:44 (9 months ago) Permalink

What was the new statute that changed Memphis nightlife? Liquor by the drink? Will never understand Southern alcohol legislation

Can One Hear the Shape of a Ron Decline Bottle? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 7 January 2014 23:51 (9 months ago) Permalink

doc had some nice/funny stuff in it, a bit overlong and hindered by lack of any footage of the band which is a real bummer but not surprising. skirting of Bell's gayness a bit odd.

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 8 January 2014 16:43 (9 months ago) Permalink

It helped that there are such great supporting characters in the Big Star story like Jim Dickinson and Wm. Eggleston. Dickinson's widow was great in the doc.

brio, Wednesday, 8 January 2014 16:59 (9 months ago) Permalink

yeah my favorite parts were probably the bits with Eggleston and Dickinson

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 8 January 2014 17:05 (9 months ago) Permalink

skirting of Bell's gayness a bit odd.

anything more essentially vetoed by his family

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 January 2014 17:11 (9 months ago) Permalink

yeah I get that. and man did his sister look uncomfortable on camera.

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 8 January 2014 17:41 (9 months ago) Permalink

Guys, one of the Box Tops posted on our borad once, for realz:So it's called _When Pigs Fly_...

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 11 January 2014 06:54 (9 months ago) Permalink

Hadn't really dawned on me that some of those other Box Tops also had careers in music.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:08 (9 months ago) Permalink

i didn't think much of the big star doc, but that tav falco clip is just pure unadulterated boss. "well, the best of the worst."

chris bell's sister may have been uncomfortable on camera, but the evident rawness of her brother's death for her came through very clearly and powerfully.

in re. chris's gayness i think the film managed to get across what it needed to.

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:45 (9 months ago) Permalink

i bought one of the lesser box tops albums recently, it had the little cut out mark in the //middle// of the jacket! what foolishness is that?

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:46 (9 months ago) Permalink

also am impressed with the effeminate quality of alex chilton's voice. tav falco has something of that, too. do you think it was part of their attempt to set themselves apart from conservative suburban west TN or something? or was it just in the water?

best thing on the big star doc DVD is that mini-feature where john fry talked about how the first two big star records were made. that was pure gold. wish there was a whole 2 hours about that.

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:51 (9 months ago) Permalink

also why do i get kind of angry when a bunch of british alt.rock mofos show up in these docs to retroactively "validate" their cult heroes? i don't need the guy from hot chip to tell me big star were the best.

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:52 (9 months ago) Permalink

I haven't seen the doc yet but there may be some kind of sense to that as the early 90s Big Star revival was mostly inspired by British bands dropping the band's name in interviews.

Position Position, Saturday, 11 January 2014 11:58 (9 months ago) Permalink

at least Bono wasn't in it

Number None, Saturday, 11 January 2014 12:47 (9 months ago) Permalink

needed more posies

the "Weird Al" Yankovic of country music (stevie), Saturday, 11 January 2014 12:57 (9 months ago) Permalink

I haven't seen the doc yet but there may be some kind of sense to that as the early 90s Big Star revival was mostly inspired by British bands dropping the band's name in interviews.

― Position Position, Saturday, January 11, 2014 5:58 AM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

sure, but... who gives a fuck?

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Saturday, 11 January 2014 13:13 (9 months ago) Permalink

Suppose it makes a change from Thurston Moore and Henry Rollins

Master of Treacle, Saturday, 11 January 2014 15:47 (9 months ago) Permalink

also am impressed with the effeminate quality of alex chilton's voice. tav falco has something of that, too.

A lot of times IME that's just how some southern men talk. It sometimes codes as effeminate or "gay" but it's just a particular combination of dialect and lilt that I've heard IRL from a lot of men from Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Georgia.

Ian from Etobicoke (Phil D.), Saturday, 11 January 2014 16:15 (9 months ago) Permalink

My uncle has the same accent. You can especially tell when he says something like "well I don't know."

pplains, Saturday, 11 January 2014 16:48 (9 months ago) Permalink

Carolinas for sure. I used to find it really distracting in certain men because it had a way of increasing their appeal by roughly 1/3 even when they were not particularly appealing people.

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Saturday, 11 January 2014 16:57 (9 months ago) Permalink

i.e. Lindsey Graham

pplains, Saturday, 11 January 2014 16:57 (9 months ago) Permalink

wait that's a different accent than the one i'm talking about

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Saturday, 11 January 2014 16:58 (9 months ago) Permalink

It's still that kinda sing-songy, rounded and somewhat feminine way of speaking.

No, not the same one, but along those lines.

pplains, Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:06 (9 months ago) Permalink

Somehow this discussion is reminding me of this story Arthur Alexander: Classic or Dud/S & D?

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:08 (9 months ago) Permalink

sure, but... who gives a fuck?

ok, but without these talking head dudes the documentary probably doesn't come to be made - their interest and where they took the stuff they found in big star records is kinda part of the story. I actually agree with you, for the most part when one of them comes on I'm like "eh, you're probably just gonna say how much you like the music, not super-interesting" but at the same time, the people who got their minds blown by big star and who made music informed by their take on big star seem like part of the story to me that should somehow be included...to me it's more like, the interviewer should make those dudes dig a little deeper when they're talking

combination hair (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:21 (9 months ago) Permalink

Otm. I'd rather those dudes weren't there or had something more interesting to say but it's kind of the price of entry and if it is kept to a minimum I can live with it.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:14 (9 months ago) Permalink

in the Rob Jovanovic bk on Big Star, p much chris bell's happiest time is when he's hanging out in london w/ glyn johns etc. at some point somebody says, "never underestimate the influence of the beatles on chris bell" - so that musical dialogue with britain is inscribed into big star's music right from the start, and is worth including in a documentary abt them, and showing that it is a living dialogue, even when the ppl engaged in the conversation aren't always esp inspiring

Ward Fowler, Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:51 (9 months ago) Permalink

well, i'd say tf guy comes across as far more engaged and engaging than cheap trick were, despite my general higher regard for the works of cheap trick.

Hunt3r, Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:18 (9 months ago) Permalink

i.e. Lindsey Graham

― pplains, Saturday, January 11, 2014 10:57 AM (7 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

wait that's a different accent than the one i'm talking about

― mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Saturday, January 11, 2014 10:58 AM (7 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

also, lindsey graham is gay.

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:39 (9 months ago) Permalink

His sister doesn't want to talk about it either.

pplains, Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:59 (9 months ago) Permalink

Chilton's lyrics swing between awesome and awful, huh

Sufjan Grafton, Sunday, 12 January 2014 01:11 (9 months ago) Permalink

I realised the other day I am kind of burned out on Big Star. Maybe because there are only three albums? but that's not the case with the VU (I never play Loaded really).

MatthewK, Monday, 13 January 2014 10:31 (9 months ago) Permalink

The doc is a bit long but overall pretty good I think. The Posies weren't really even interviewed, which was weird. The lack of performance video, especially from the reunion years is odd, too.

Seems like the reason Chris' sexuality was downplayed was because it wasn't essential to the story. His spiritual life was something I didn't know about.

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Monday, 13 January 2014 14:47 (9 months ago) Permalink

but who decides what's essential?

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:19 (9 months ago) Permalink

In Space wasn't even mentioned in passing, was it? That struck me as a little odd, but I know few who have heard it, and fewer who defend it.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:44 (9 months ago) Permalink

aero otm, the post-dissolution noisemakers kinda made Big Star.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:44 (9 months ago) Permalink

i really wanted to like the film but was pretty let down. i wasn'ta big fan of the Jovanovic book either, but even though it was poorly written it at least tried to go into depth on lots of things, like their drunken/drugged up adventures around memphis, or the influence of Lesa and Holliday Aldredge on Third. the film shallowly covers many things when it could have dug into just a handful of things and had much richer material.

there's this one part about 2/3 of the way through when some guy says(paraphrasing)

"Lesa Aldredge. Yeah, she was a huge influence on Third. Her influence on that record cannot be overstated. She was Alex's muse."

that's the only line in the doc that talks about her. her influence cannot be overstated...but it can definitely be understated! i mean, she and her sister were dating alex and jody at the time, and that's part of why the band and the record were sort of known as Sister Lovers at the time! anyway, it just seemed like there were a lot of things like that which could have warranted much more time, but instead just got a casual reference in the doc.

part of my problem with it, though, is that i'm starting to really dislike documentaries of this entire style. what is the point of the film? to introduce more people to big star? it starts to feel like a promo, especially when the rock stars of the late 80s and early 90s appear to make sure that viewers understand that important, well respected musicians like big star a lot. i dunno. there are tons of docs like this, and i always feel like at the end there should be a website where i can just donate money to the band and buy their t-shirts or something.

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 15:46 (9 months ago) Permalink

(that last bit is getting away from the music/band, so it's probably of zero interest on this thread. and of course i know nothing at all about film, so my opinion on that is pretty much worthless too. but it seems like there's a final cut pro "90 minute documentary" template that people use to make documentaries and it all seems so cookie cutter. i saw The Thin Blue Line a few months ago for the first time, and i'm probably being grossly unfair in thinking of that and a music documentary in the same general category and expecting similar levels of craftsmanship)

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 15:50 (9 months ago) Permalink

it's the same guy making them i think -- he's doing (did?) one about grant hart too. he lacks curiosity, i think that's the problem.

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:51 (9 months ago) Permalink

The template for me -- in terms of the style/editing, lopsided focus, length, being made by not-necessarily-filmmakers, and crowdsourciness -- for better or worse is the MC5 doc.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:54 (9 months ago) Permalink

i have watched lots and lots and lots of documentaries and these are definitely weak sauce in terms of meaningful/substantive content or style imo

however, i would like to praise this movie's visual presence, at least the golden images of 70s men playing music that i like
that part i really enjoyed tbh!

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:54 (9 months ago) Permalink

i really wanted to like the film but was pretty let down. i wasn'ta big fan of the Jovanovic book either
What about the 33 1/3 book?

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:55 (9 months ago) Permalink

Favorite part was the graphic where they added the Argent logo right next to the logos of Stax, Volt and Enterprise- because Al Bell loved Star Trek! OK, which they didn't tell us either but

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:57 (9 months ago) Permalink

xpost
forgot about that one, it's on Radio City, right? i'd love to read it, especially as i recently picked up a used copy (a 1986 german repress) so it's on constant rotation right now

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 15:58 (9 months ago) Permalink

i do wish they had talked to/about more women but that doesn't seem to ever be the case, not even the ones "whose influence cannot be overstated"

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 15:59 (9 months ago) Permalink

Yes, Radio City.

There is more information about Alex's relationship with Lesa in the recent Oxford American Tennessee Music Issue.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:05 (9 months ago) Permalink

33 1/3 book is wayyyyy better than the jovanovic book. not perfect, but way more in tune with the music and written well for the most part.

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:06 (9 months ago) Permalink

I went to the City Winery tribute to Big Star a few years ago in NYC, which was pretty damn cool for the most part. It was a really weird setup, cause it was general admission, so we just walked in and a hostess led us to an area and was like "where do you want to sit". There were seats at a table right up front in the center, so we suggested "there" would be OK, and they just let us sit there, even though the room was almost full! Turns out we were sitting with Lesa Aldredge and her son. I had no idea, but then all the sudden this woman (who was very nice though loopy) got up and got on stage to sing. Very weird night, but cool all around. Oddly enough the son worked a block away from where I lived at a sandwich shop. NYC is completely bizarre for these kinds of things.

grandavis, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:12 (9 months ago) Permalink

Only have dipped into the 33 1/3 book as of yet, but so far I'd agree with tyler. Story about how John King got started -with the founder of FedEx!- in radio and heard The Beatles before anyone else because he had received promos of the Vee Jay releases is some great stuff.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:13 (9 months ago) Permalink

NYC is completely bizarre for these kinds of things
A corollary is what a friend of mine once said: "in New York if you meet somebody with a famous last name, they ARE related to that person you think they are."

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:16 (9 months ago) Permalink

that's cool about Lesa, grandavis! She seems like an interesting part of the whole story. you can hear her late 70s EP over here: http://doomandgloomfromthetomb.tumblr.com/post/72775470034/lesa-aldridge-barbarian-women-in-rock-ep-we
it actually uses the big star backing track for "til the end of the day"

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:17 (9 months ago) Permalink

Guys, if you didn't like this doc that much, you should at least continue on the Memphis vibe and watch Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:18 (9 months ago) Permalink

yeah need to watch that -- is it out on DVD yet? I actually just picked up Robert Gordon's new Stax book (also called Respect Yourself) from the library, but haven't started it yet. looks good though, gordon certainly is the man for the job.

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:20 (9 months ago) Permalink

Hah yeah it was really cool/strange. Gonna check out that Aldredge record. She was pretty damn endearing during the tribute. Kept wondering if the kid was A. Chilton's son, is there a possibility?

grandavis, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:20 (9 months ago) Permalink

I got the DVD of that at least five years ago. Have the Robert Gordon book too, haven't it read it yet. Feel like Rob Bowman's Soulsville, USA is already the definitive book, which Gordon himself kind of acknowledges.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:23 (9 months ago) Permalink

Stax doc is aces, and a lot more informative about their business clusterfucks than I expected it would be.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:27 (9 months ago) Permalink

The only thing they left out of that doc was Al Jackson's horrific death.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:30 (9 months ago) Permalink

a truly great music doc is the Cannibal Corpse one from a couple years back, but for the most part, if the band's canonical, it feels like there is for sure a template on what people want to see - and I'm assuming this has to do with how, for it to be successful, you have to be speaking to people who don't generally give a shit about music. like, people enjoy music on whatever level, but people who're already music-obsessed would prefer something that really digs deep -- whereas for general audiences, I think there's already a large barrier in place, and it's been decided that this "the incredible true story of how this came to be and what it meant to people down the line" is the template for getting around that barrier. to venture beyond that would be risky, and to take risks you need the assurance that you're not going to be throwing a lot of money down the toilet.

combination hair (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:38 (9 months ago) Permalink

agree -- making documentaries is not free and takes a lot of time. it's going to have to appeal to a more mainstream audience or risk being that movie that only some people have barely heard of rather than streaming on netflix for the world to see

therefore i am obliged to mention this, which should be streaming somewhere along with the other 3 in the series at some point shortly (but not on netflix)

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:44 (9 months ago) Permalink

i wish more music docs would just show loosely edited archival footage, maybe some voiceovers or something, and let us come to our own conclusions about it. like For All Mankind but instead of space, it's music.

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:56 (9 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, like The Kids Are Alright.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:58 (9 months ago) Permalink

i saw the documentary on a boat during ATP new york, and what i remember most is how great it was to hear the music on a nice big loud sound system. it was a great-sounding documentary.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:01 (9 months ago) Permalink

The same day I watched this I watched the Patty Schemel doc Hits So Hard, which wasn't really well put together from a cinematic point of view, but leaves few stones left unturned.

Ian from Etobicoke (Phil D.), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:05 (9 months ago) Permalink

i wish more music docs would just show loosely edited archival footage, maybe some voiceovers or something, and let us come to our own conclusions about it

I totally agree w this but unfortunately this just isn't possible for the vast majority of pre-internet music, simply because most bands were not that well-documented on film during their existence

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:09 (9 months ago) Permalink

i know, it's just what i wish -- that there were a super fan weirdo in the audience with a camera who 30 years later is like "hey anyone want to see these tapes?" for every band i like

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:11 (9 months ago) Permalink

hell, even bands i don't like
i'd watch basically anything like that

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:12 (9 months ago) Permalink

yeah you never know with some of these bands, seems like there's always random unseen stuff popping up.
parts of the dylan/scorsese doc, the parts that use pennebaker's footage of the 66 tour, are like this, no narrator or talking heads, just this cool archival fly on the wall footage. i wish the whole thing was like that. i guess eat the document is out there.

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:15 (9 months ago) Permalink

"charlie is my darling" is a great example of that kind of doc, and it was about eight thousand times better than "crossfire hurricane," the other rolling stones documentary that got cable play last year.

but there is obviously room in the world for many kinds of docs. sometimes you need narration and easy-to-follow stories. sometimes you don't.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:19 (9 months ago) Permalink

left a bad taste in my mouth when someone in the film called lesa aldredge chilton's "muse" and it just kind of hung there. "muse" is kind of a yucky concept for this day and age.

you know what musician doc was great? the albert ayler one.

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:27 (9 months ago) Permalink

also i'm aware that the bands rediscovering big star in 80s/90s is a huge part of their legacy and indeed how some of us even know about them but that doesn't justify, cinematically, all the boring fucking talking heads in the doc who just say variations on, "this band was great!"

mitch easter is incredibly annoying btw, he uses "like" as a filler word more than any 13-year-old girl.

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:29 (9 months ago) Permalink

sometimes you need narration and easy-to-follow stories. sometimes you don't.

(bonus question: fcc, can you tell me what New York New Wave guitar player appears in the above video)

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:31 (9 months ago) Permalink

"they were, like, the best, like, BAND, like out there. i mean, you know, they like, you know, like had this like SOUND you know."

xpost

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:34 (9 months ago) Permalink

(xp) haha. and i do not know what nynw gtr player appears in that spot, but i will say that every single dude in it looks like they belong in a bar in bushwick in 2014.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:35 (9 months ago) Permalink

best part of the doc was the WTF of realizing that TGI Friday's was the center of the party scene in Memphis in the mid-70s

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:04 (9 months ago) Permalink

i know, it's just what i wish -- that there were a super fan weirdo in the audience with a camera who 30 years later is like "hey anyone want to see these tapes?" for every band i like

or even just the audio! when i finally started to get into big star i searched everywhere for some sort of concert recording or even just a single song...didn't find anything. tylerw, do you know of one?

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:05 (9 months ago) Permalink

(not counting 1993's "Columbia: Live at Missouri University" recording, of course. which is hilarious, btw, because "Missouri University" doesn't exist. such a quintessential missouri to have a big star connection and then that happens)

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:07 (9 months ago) Permalink

There was a decent live gig released in 1992 on Rhino, then there were some sketchy boots released in the later 90s.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:12 (9 months ago) Permalink

IIRC the rhino thing is "live on the radio"

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:13 (9 months ago) Permalink

(i mean, that's not the title, but that's what i think it is. live, on the radio.)

★feminist parties i have attended (amateurist), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:14 (9 months ago) Permalink

boots of the early 70s period with chris bell, or from one of the other lineups?

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:14 (9 months ago) Permalink

Isn't there one if those live on the radio things with Lightman on bass? WLIX or WLIR or something

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:15 (9 months ago) Permalink

look for Nobody Can Dance from the late 90s:

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:15 (9 months ago) Permalink

sorry, i should just back in and research it myself.

"Chilton and Stephens recruited bassist John Lightman for a handful of East Coast live dates, including a WLIR radio broadcast later issued as Big Star Live." looks like this was in 74/75, after Hummel left.

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:16 (9 months ago) Permalink

uh guys there's a whole live set on the Big Star box

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:17 (9 months ago) Permalink

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:22 (9 months ago) Permalink

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:23 (9 months ago) Permalink

lol

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:25 (9 months ago) Permalink

although i am disappointed in my lack of skills, i am really looking forward to checking out that live disc when i get home!

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:26 (9 months ago) Permalink

no live recordings w/ bell that i know of. the live set on the box is super killer, lots of great chilton guitar work, some tunes they don't play anywhere else. sounds as if they're playing to about three people.
this bootleg is very nice too, only instance of the band playing "candy says": http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com/2012/12/14/big-star-cambridge-performing-arts-center-march-31-1974/

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:27 (9 months ago) Permalink

Weren't there only a handful (at most) of shows with Bell?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:45 (9 months ago) Permalink

yeah, i think probably less than a dozen? the jovanovic book mentions them covering "cinnamon girl" which would be interesting to hear.

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:48 (9 months ago) Permalink

Some of these shows on Youtube. WLIR and Cambridge Performing Arts, at least.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:52 (9 months ago) Permalink

some very good chilton thangs + reunited big star over here too: http://dbs-repercussion.blogspot.com/search/label/Alex%20Chilton
the 1977 chilton shows are fantastic: http://dbs-repercussion.blogspot.com/2012/03/alex-chilton-rip-live-1977-feat-chris.html

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:59 (9 months ago) Permalink

Big Start got their biggest push from the Replacements, and to a lesser degree, REM.

So weird, Chilton seemed to avoid Big Star songs as a solo artist. Although he played "Motel Blues" on the really good bootlegged Alex Chilton live show (released last year Electricity By Candlelight http://theseconddisc.com/2013/11/06/alex-chilton-jeff-vargon-interview/) and that was a cover he played during the Big Star years (and is on the original Big Star Live album.)

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:04 (9 months ago) Permalink

he didn't think his big star songs were very good iirc

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:08 (9 months ago) Permalink

got their biggest push from the Replacements

completely not coincidentally, the promo cd comp that ryko put out to hype their 1992 big star reissues was called "a little big star."

fact checking cuz, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:12 (9 months ago) Permalink

(funny, though, to think there was once a time when getting a push from the replacements meant something.)

fact checking cuz, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:13 (9 months ago) Permalink

well and another reason that Big Star faded off the map was because their distribution was really hosed by the label issues, and it was exacerbated by a lack of product on CD until Ryko came along. Pretty sure the only way to get a CD of Big Star prior to Ryko was import only (that's how I got mine.)

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:28 (9 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, that twofer of the first 2 albums on Line (German label) was one of the most valued things I owned back in the olden days.

channel 9's meaty urologist (WilliamC), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:35 (9 months ago) Permalink

so uh whoever said Bell being gay isn't germane -- if yer making a 110-minute doc about the band, it's relevant. Esp if "You and Your Sister" is written to a boy, and there's anything more than snark to Chilton saying in a late '70s radio interview "The band isn't together because Chris is a homosexual."

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:48 (9 months ago) Permalink

Didn't say it wasn't germane, said it wasn't germane to the story of the band, unless of course there is significant evidence that Chris wasn't in the band because he was gay. You think that was the case? I've never heard that before nor read about it. Can't remember offhand, but I don't think Bell's sexuality was discussed in that biography or in the 33 1/3 book either.

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:42 (9 months ago) Permalink

they talk plenty about Bell's sexuality (and Christianity) in the bio iirc. not so much in the 33 1/3 since it's about Radio City.

tylerw, Monday, 13 January 2014 21:45 (9 months ago) Permalink

ah thanks. I'm too lazy to go pull that off the shelf.

So yeah, then maybe they should have dwelled more on that then.

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:49 (9 months ago) Permalink

I made this comment a few months ago....

Does anyone know, specifically, what Chilton's problem was? He seemed to become spectacularly spacey and incompetent almost at the same time he was producing some of his strongest work... Hallucinogens? Booze? Doesn't have the telltale signs of coke or heroin, although Bell obviously went down to horse so hard drugs were obviously on the scene...

― fields of salmon, Tuesday, September 10, 2013 6:18 PM (4 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

And I actually still feel that way after watching the doc. There's that one comment—who was it?—"well, Alex was just interested in drugs and booze" (I'm paraphrasing). This doc could have told us more about that, about the failed move to NYC and a return to Memphis that must have felt anticlimactic, or did it? I also echo the sentiment upthread that the doc didn't focus on Aldridge—or really any relationships—enough. Other things I wondered about:

1. What was it like being a privileged white person in that area in the early 70s?
2. What was it like being a white musician making British-influenced music in a predominantly black city known for its own forms and styles
3. Couldn't the doc have actually tried a little harder to figure who was ultimately responsible for fucking up the promotion and distribution of Big Star records?
4. What was Alex's life like in NYC?
5. What was Alex's life like in the 80s and 90s in New Orleans?
6. What happened to Hummel?
7. What does Jody do now?

fields of salmon, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:44 (9 months ago) Permalink

I read the 33 1/3 book and it's good but it suffers from the same problems as the doc (in fact the doc almost seems to take its storylines from the book).

fields of salmon, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:45 (9 months ago) Permalink

6. What happened to Hummel?

from the doc it seems like he sits around waiting to have an opportunity to talk about how badass the tgi fridays scene was back then

Karl Malone, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:47 (9 months ago) Permalink

Andy Hummel died three years ago.

pplains, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:48 (9 months ago) Permalink

Before that, he worked in Texas at an airplane factory.

pplains, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:49 (9 months ago) Permalink

Andy died just a few months after Alex did. Jody is the only one left, and still does occasional "Big Star" shows with Stringfellow and Auer I think, though they probably don't use the name anymore.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:50 (9 months ago) Permalink

all appetizers always half off at that TGI Friday's in the sky

Sufjan Grafton, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:51 (9 months ago) Permalink

Stephens manages Ardent Studios, I believe.

tylerw, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:54 (9 months ago) Permalink

I seem to recall a quote from Chilton in an interview about how the hardest drugs his circle had access to in the Big Star days were pills, and how they wouldn't have known what to do with coke or heroin even if they had access.

...out of that weakness, out of that envy, out of that fear.. (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:56 (9 months ago) Permalink

yeah i think 3rd is basically an album under the influence of valium

tylerw, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:58 (9 months ago) Permalink

2. What was it like being a white musician making British-influenced music in a predominantly black city known for its own forms and styles

I wondered about this too. I can't remember if it was in the doc or not, but I remember someone saying that Bell hated Memphis and wished he'd lived in Britain. I found that baffling; I mean, he was into what he was into, and that apparently didn't include the Stax scene, but I just can't for the life of me imagine growing up in Memphis in the 60s and hearing "Green Onions" and thinking, "Meh."

3. Couldn't the doc have actually tried a little harder to figure who was ultimately responsible for fucking up the promotion and distribution of Big Star records?

I don't think there was a single person or event that fucked this up. Stax was in a bad way, and was being attacked from all angles (fairly well covered in the Stax doc Respect Yourself). I would be surprised if there weren't other records that suffered the exact same fate as Big Star's.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:04 (9 months ago) Permalink

imagine growing up in Memphis in the 60s and hearing "Green Onions" and thinking, "Meh."

But imagine hearing it day after day after day while you're being told you ought to sound more like Carl Perkins or the Bar-Kays.

pplains, Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:13 (9 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I suppose...I can see that.

I guess I feel like, Chilton didn't seem to have any problem incorporating his favorite Memphis and British influences into his songs, so it's a little difficult for me to grok Bell's perspective.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:28 (9 months ago) Permalink

Bell seemed to have a tortured artist persona from day one, though, so the way he viewed the world was probably a little different.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:31 (9 months ago) Permalink

Couldn't the doc have actually tried a little harder to figure who was ultimately responsible for fucking up the promotion and distribution of Big Star records?

this would involve pretty direct finger-pointing and cause friction for all parties being interviewed - people who deserve the blame aren't going to accept it on camera, and people directing the blame at them would just be stirring up shit and opening old wounds. so of course no one's going to go into detail about this.

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:34 (9 months ago) Permalink

and how they wouldn't have known what to do with coke or heroin even if they had access.

there's quotes about Chilton injecting things into his neck (throat?) in the Jovanovic book. so they had access to something.

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:35 (9 months ago) Permalink

Jody Stephens on LinkedIn
www.linkedin.com/pub/jody-stephens/8/6b4/78a

xp

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:40 (9 months ago) Permalink

occasionally I go thru bursts of stalking old skool indie types on LinkedIn

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:41 (9 months ago) Permalink

jody stephens is a killer drummer

tylerw, Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:42 (9 months ago) Permalink

and how they wouldn't have known what to do with coke or heroin even if they had access.

there's quotes about Chilton injecting things into his neck (throat?) in the Jovanovic book. so they had access to something.

― Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:35 PM (12 minutes ago)

As noted many times upthread, Bell had a smack habit...

I always heard the Daisy Glaze lyric "And I'm thinking Christ/Nullify my life" as a heroin cop... hmm.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:52 (9 months ago) Permalink

well it's definitely a ref to the song "heroin"

tylerw, Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:53 (9 months ago) Permalink

xpost to the point about making white music in a town known for black music. I asked Robert Gordon something along those lines when I was writing about Third. He said: "I don’t think Stax and soul was ever the dominant sound on the street in Memphis, certainly not on the mainstream street. The people at Stax complained about not getting local radio play. The two dominant radio stations were playing southern rock."

Unsettled defender (ithappens), Friday, 17 January 2014 08:28 (9 months ago) Permalink

Was that the case in the early/mid-60s though (when Bell and Chilton's Beatles/British Invasion obsessions presumably began) ?

After a switch to all-black programming, WDIA was the city's top station.[2] In June 1954 WDIA was licensed to increase its power to 50,000 watts. Its powerful signal reached down into the Mississippi Delta’s dense African-American population and was heard from the Missouri bootheel to the Gulf coast. As a result WDIA was able to reach 10% of the African-American population in United States.[1][3]

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 17 January 2014 15:04 (9 months ago) Permalink

2. What was it like being a white musician making British-influenced music in a predominantly black city known for its own forms and styles

I thought there were quite a lot of younger musicians and bands in Memphis who were more influenced by the Beatles than Stax, in the early 70s I mean

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:38 (9 months ago) Permalink

I mean, even Stax was influenced by the Beatles!

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:38 (9 months ago) Permalink

heeey

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:41 (9 months ago) Permalink

xpost But that doesn't mean Bell and Chilton were listening to WDIA – they may have been listening to the mainstream rock stations. Certainly, Gordon was pretty clear it was an outsider's view of Memphis to assume everyone cared about Stax/Volt. Just like plenty of people who live in Hackney couldn't give a toss about grime.

Unsettled defender (ithappens), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:38 (9 months ago) Permalink

John Fry had a oft-repeated quote that the Ardent gang were Anglophiles, and the only other music they felt was worth listening to was R & B, and most of the best of those records came from Memphis.

...out of that weakness, out of that envy, out of that fear.. (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 17 January 2014 20:07 (9 months ago) Permalink

What was it like being a privileged white person in that area in the early 70s?

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 17 January 2014 20:18 (9 months ago) Permalink

lol

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 17 January 2014 20:21 (9 months ago) Permalink

I used to pry my dad for details – he and Alex Chilton were about the same age, both grew up in Memphis. Both into the Beatles, though I think Dad was just into anything on Top 40 radio.

So a long time ago I had the chance for a sit-down interview with Chilton and asked Dad for some insider questions to ask him. Dad said he didn't know anything about the guy, didn't ever hang out with any of those White Station boys.

So I reversed it and when I finally sat down with the man, I asked him something lame along the lines of how it felt for some White Station kid to make it to the top of the charts at 16. Chilton just looked at me and sneered, "White Station? Fuck those guys, I came from Central."

My point maybe to all of this is that Memphis is a larger city than you might think.

pplains, Friday, 17 January 2014 21:26 (9 months ago) Permalink

This was the piece I wrote about Third (with contribs from Jody Stephens, John Fry, Carl Marsh, Leza Aldridge, Chris Stamey, Mitch Easter, Pat Ranier).

Unsettled defender (ithappens), Monday, 20 January 2014 11:36 (9 months ago) Permalink

That's an excellent piece, ithappens.

one way street, Monday, 20 January 2014 14:55 (9 months ago) Permalink

this was a wonderful movie

the very last scene when it's John Fry and his assistant and they have the master tapes to Radio City up and they are playing around with it on the board, the very last moment Fry is struck by how good it all still sounds, how perfect it is, and he looks up and is just beaming with pride, i thought that was the best little moment i think i ever saw in a music movie

Ronnie James 乒乓 (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 21 January 2014 15:26 (9 months ago) Permalink

thanks for the link ithappens excited to read that

Ronnie James 乒乓 (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 21 January 2014 15:29 (9 months ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

Watching the doc on vacation right now and I'm wondering if part of the reason Chilton's solo career was so disappointing is that everyone thought he was the genius behind Big Star when it was really Bell.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:22 (2 months ago) Permalink

eh i dunno, they were both great i think, very lennon and mccartney

ruffalo soldier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 18 August 2014 21:25 (2 months ago) Permalink

well no because Chilton made two brilliant Big Star albums largely without Bell's input

Number None, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:27 (2 months ago) Permalink

I mean I love Chris and all but I Am The Cosmos doesn't even get close to Third/Sister Lovers

Number None, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:30 (2 months ago) Permalink

yeah radio city might be my fav now, i dunno sisters lovers rules too

ruffalo soldier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 18 August 2014 21:34 (2 months ago) Permalink

i like i am the cosmos more than sister lovers, challop i kno. radio city is my favorite of everything though. for some reason i thought it was speculated that chris bell was involved with those two albums more than had previously been supposed, no idea if that is accurate at all.

mattresslessness, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:41 (2 months ago) Permalink

that's not the impression i've gotten from anything i read or the doc

ruffalo soldier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 18 August 2014 21:42 (2 months ago) Permalink

Chilton's solo career is only disappointing if you don't actually understand Alex Chilton

Οὖτις, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:44 (2 months ago) Permalink

bell wasn't at all involved with sister lovers afaik -- he had a hand in writing "back of a car" (and i don't think he was credited originally), but i think that's all he really contributed.

tylerw, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:45 (2 months ago) Permalink

The 33 1/3 back has Bell co-writing 'O My Soul' and 'Back of a Car' before splitting.

campreverb, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:47 (2 months ago) Permalink

Supposedly Bell started some of the other slow songs on RC for Chilton to finish. There's an old Fry quote about how Bell had some material he "devested his interest" that landed on the album.

Randall "Humble" Pie (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 18 August 2014 21:49 (2 months ago) Permalink

those credits are what i must have run across re "been more involved with" and then mentally exaggerated, thank you guys for clarity. xp

mattresslessness, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:51 (2 months ago) Permalink

Chilton and Bell (and the other members) prob benefitted from a precarious balance of opposing forces--competition as well as co-operation, creative friction, all that good stuff.

dow, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:51 (2 months ago) Permalink

have always had a hard time imagining what that relationship was really like based on what's out there, always seemed to me like chris bell was a self-defeating homo which doesn't do the official record any favors. idk xp

mattresslessness, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:56 (2 months ago) Permalink

33 1/3 book on Radio City has a bit of info
http://books.google.ie/books?id=7U9xj4EE8RgC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA86#v=onepage&q&f=false

Number None, Monday, 18 August 2014 21:57 (2 months ago) Permalink

But Lennon and McCartney lasted a lot longer, in terms of creative output; think their relationship went back further, maybe deeper (equally focused, creatively and career-wise).

dow, Monday, 18 August 2014 22:07 (2 months ago) Permalink

Chilton's solo career is only disappointing if you don't actually understand Alex Chilton

― Οὖτις, Monday, August 18, 2014 6:44 PM (35 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

^^^^
& also i mean i love bryan maclean as much as the next guy but seriously chris bell wave big star fandom is p ridic

ps go buy some lx chitlin records u bozo

schlump, Monday, 18 August 2014 22:21 (2 months ago) Permalink

Bryan MacLean!

I was trying to think of some other examples of that type of revisionism. Kim Deal and the Pixies to an extent I guess

Number None, Monday, 18 August 2014 22:25 (2 months ago) Permalink

revisions of albums by bands

mattresslessness, Monday, 18 August 2014 22:28 (2 months ago) Permalink

george lucas' mix of the white album

schlump, Monday, 18 August 2014 22:33 (2 months ago) Permalink

William Friedkin's Exile On Main St.: The Version You've Never Heard

Randall "Humble" Pie (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 18 August 2014 22:35 (2 months ago) Permalink

Let It Be Naked

dow, Monday, 18 August 2014 23:58 (2 months ago) Permalink

Tbf Jim Dickenson may have had as much to do with the greatness of Third as Bell did with #1. Though of course Radio City is more than enough to ratify Chilton's reputation.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 18 August 2014 23:59 (2 months ago) Permalink

Per revisionism, Bill Berry gets more credit for REM now than he ever did in the band.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 19 August 2014 00:00 (2 months ago) Permalink

"The drummer's more than half of it."---Norman Mailer on the Stones.

dow, Tuesday, 19 August 2014 00:31 (2 months ago) Permalink

(I'm starting to think that's true of every band I care about, in any genre.)

dow, Tuesday, 19 August 2014 00:34 (2 months ago) Permalink

My point wasn't that Chilton wasn't a talent – just a different kind of talent than Big Star maybe suggested he was.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 19 August 2014 01:11 (2 months ago) Permalink

Supposedly Bell started some of the other slow songs on RC for Chilton to finish. There's an old Fry quote about how Bell had some material he "devested his interest" that landed on the album.

Yeah, this is the impression I got from the documentary.

I Am the COSMOGRAIL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 19 August 2014 01:12 (2 months ago) Permalink

Tend to agree with NTI. There are certain big, grandiose pop music moves that one associates with Big Star which Alex eschewed later in his career for which it is easy enough to draw the conclusion that in fact he didn't come with them in the first place.

I Am the COSMOGRAIL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 19 August 2014 01:19 (2 months ago) Permalink

Got the impression frm interviews he thought that ws all kinda juvenile stuff actually. RC/3rd're two of my fav records, never rly listen to #1, listen to solo Chilton a lot more than either, the single aside Cosmos is stodgy

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Tuesday, 19 August 2014 01:37 (2 months ago) Permalink

didn't come UP with them

I Am the COSMOGRAIL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 19 August 2014 01:40 (2 months ago) Permalink

this all just sounds a little too much like What Music Documentaries Can Teach Us, to me, & i'm pretty sure where this leads is it seeming like the dandy warhols are actually a pretty cool band, all of us eventually becoming the guy at the party gesticulating about some guy's private press song suite of new england devotional songs. i don't think that untangling big star's sweet recipe is really reducible to an eyes-closed/spoon-to-mouth interrogation of their ingredients.

think we need to spend as much time with rad shitty alex chilton records as we do listening to moby describe the intensity of his teenage moments trembling to joy division

schlump, Tuesday, 19 August 2014 04:05 (2 months ago) Permalink

(PS I/Alex (iirc) meant "juvenile" as in young/youthfully dramatic, not in a necessarily disparaging way)

xpost never heard that before, it's fantastic

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Tuesday, 19 August 2014 04:30 (2 months ago) Permalink

My pal Josh played "Thank You Friends" last night on the Fenway organ:
https://twitter.com/jtkantor/status/501781916862148609

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 19 August 2014 17:56 (2 months ago) Permalink

this all just sounds a little too much like What Music Documentaries Can Teach Us, to me, & i'm pretty sure where this leads is it seeming like the dandy warhols are actually a pretty cool band, all of us eventually becoming the guy at the party gesticulating about some guy's private press song suite of new england devotional songs. i don't think that untangling big star's sweet recipe is really reducible to an eyes-closed/spoon-to-mouth interrogation of their ingredients.

think we need to spend as much time with rad shitty alex chilton records as we do listening to moby describe the intensity of his teenage moments trembling to joy division

This is an excellent post which perfectly sums up the turn towards thought-provoking this thread has taken recently. To be honest though I still have a lot of questions about Chilton that neither books nor documentaries have been able to answer, how someone could go from making "September Gurls" (I think about this song a lot) to making "shitty" records in such a short span of time. Why did he come unravelled so quickly and spectacularly?

I have this working hypothesis, very artsy and flaky, that "Daisy Glaze" is the first glimpse of "apocalyptic Chilton" and that he had actually seen something prior to its writing—I don't know what—that caused him to go quite mad. He kept his shit superficially together and over time admitted to the lesser crime of being an incompetent, zany alcoholic weirdo to conceal the more painful truth of having stared into the abyss and come back alive to tell the tale.

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 18:05 (2 months ago) Permalink

seemed to me like chris bell was a self-defeating homo

use other words, mattresslessness

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 20 August 2014 18:09 (2 months ago) Permalink

I think the only relevant piece of biographical info you need is that Chilton's musical interests were broad enough to span the Byrds, Bach and Jimmy Newman and that all of the music he produced stems from that

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 18:10 (2 months ago) Permalink

Which Chilton records are we deeming "shitty"? Flies on Sherbert and Bachs Bottom are indeed a mixed bag, but Live in London, High Priest, the Black EP, Man Called Destruction, a few other EPs and singles and Cliches are all great.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 23:13 (2 months ago) Permalink

personally I totally sympathize with Chilton being frustrated by fans who wanted him to keep making the same kind of music he did for a fairly brief period in his youth, it must be annoying to have people tell you that you're supposed to stay eternally 23 and miserable (see also David Byrne comparing requests to reunite your old band with requests from random strangers for you to remarry your ex-wife). His interests were always broad - gutbucket R&B, country, British pop, garage rock - his catalog reflects this. And the simple fact is some of those genres don't call for the meticulous studio craft of early Big Star, they aren't well served by it. The Cramps would sound terrible with a bunch of chiming guitar overdubs and vocal harmonies.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 23:22 (2 months ago) Permalink

songs the grizzly bear taught us

schlump, Thursday, 21 August 2014 01:14 (2 months ago) Permalink

Fwiw, I think a record way too many people slept on by Chilton was A Man Called Destruction. Great, funereal brass arrangements, inspired track choice. "What's Your Sign Girl" is an awesome kind of summary of everything he was up until that point.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 21 August 2014 02:58 (2 months ago) Permalink

Around Third I guess he became a p fullblown alcoholic, that might explain a lot

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Thursday, 21 August 2014 03:25 (2 months ago) Permalink

Οὖτις otm, also

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Thursday, 21 August 2014 03:26 (2 months ago) Permalink

. To be honest though I still have a lot of questions about Chilton that neither books nor documentaries have been able to answer, how someone could go from making "September Gurls" (I think about this song a lot) to making "shitty" records in such a short span of time. Why did he come unravelled so quickly and spectacularly?

The impression I got from reading Rob Jovanovic's bio (which IMHO is not too good to be honest) is that A) Big Star was never really a fully formed, ongoing "band" but more of a one-off project which resulted in #1 Record. With that album not being successful, they sort of disbanded, but when they found out it had been very well received by the critics, they came together again for "Radio City". So, for all the greatness that's in those 2 albums, I'm not sure they're really representative of Chilton's sensibilities; to him it was probably just another attempt to see if he could achieve success in his own terms. I mean, it is probably representative of his sensibilities, but just a part of them, and there's much more to him than that.

And B) Big Star was pretty much done with commercial success in mind. They wanted to make it in their own terms, but they really wanted to make it. I think Bell was totally disheartened #1 Record went nowhere in the charts. And Chilton, he has that tension between wanting to make it, being rejected by the audience and then answering by sabotaging his own career. Which is more or less the same tension that feeds Paul Westerberg and the Replacements. So those are, to me, two reasons for him going totally bonkers.

cpl593H, Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:01 (2 months ago) Permalink

Speaking of I'll take Chilton's erratic solo career over Westerberg's mediocrity

ruffalo soldier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:08 (2 months ago) Permalink

being rejected by the audience

My impression was that there wasn't an audience to reject them: distribution was so poor, and promotion non-existent, that the few who were even aware of them couldn't buy Big Star records if they'd wanted to. Didn't most (all?) copies of Radio City languish in a warehouse during the Stax/CBS bustup?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:40 (2 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's possibly true. In any way, they didn't achieve the success they expected.

cpl593H, Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:42 (2 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I have somewhat mixed feelings about the documentary, but one thing I got from it was that everyone involved thought #1 Record was going to be a hit before it came out.

Man, when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot, I mean she was (intheblanks), Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:51 (2 months ago) Permalink

Note to self: Don't name your album "No.1 Record" even if it is your first release.

pplains, Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:01 (2 months ago) Permalink

Ha, yeah, but on the surface, it didn't seem that outlandish at the time: Ardent was part of an established company, industry rags were hyping it, and Badfinger and the Raspberries were having hits (i.e., Big Star's music wasn't as anachronistic for the time as it's made out to be in retrospective accounts).

The fact that they didn't tour at all was a pretty obvious, and avoidable, misstep, though.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:22 (2 months ago) Permalink

I think they had great expectations for #1 records because Bell had a clear, focused vision of what his music and his band should be, which was only reinforced when he found an akin teammate in Chilton, who also had some considerable commercial pedigree. Which didn't allow him to see that they had many things going on against them; not being a proper band was one of them, being in Ardent/Stax and coming out from Memphis another one; it must have been like, I don't know, having a technopop outfit in the early nineties Seattle. Their personalities were probably the main setback for them, though. None of those four guys was a trooper.

cpl593H, Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:42 (2 months ago) Permalink

(i.e., Big Star's music wasn't as anachronistic for the time as it's made out to be in retrospective accounts).

This is otm. I read about them for years as a teenager and pictured them as this incredibly contemporary-sounding group that was misunderstood for being ahead of its time. When I heard #1 Record and Radio City for the first time, they didn't sound as revolutionary as I expected.

Obviously they're incredible and I love each of their records deeply, but I've never bought the band-out-of-their-time components of their critical narrative. Like in the documentary, Mike Mills or someone says that their records were just released 10 years too early, and they didn't make sense until the 80s. I don't really hear that when I listen to them.

Man, when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot, I mean she was (intheblanks), Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:48 (2 months ago) Permalink

Anyone seen the Third tour? The whole idea sounds a bit horrible on first glance and this video doesn't change my mind: http://www.chunkyglasses.com/content/brett-harris-solo-artist-big-stars-third-player

skip, Thursday, 21 August 2014 16:45 (2 months ago) Permalink

To be honest though I still have a lot of questions about Chilton that neither books nor documentaries have been able to answer, how someone could go from making "September Gurls" (I think about this song a lot) to making "shitty" records in such a short span of time. Why did he come unravelled so quickly and spectacularly?

One thing that came across clearly in the Holly George-Warren book was how big the Box Tops were; I guess I'd always kind of thought of them as a one-hit wonder.
He was 17 when the Letter went to #1, but they ended up with 3 top 20 singles (or one less than the Stones in the same era).

And while Chilton was obviously a music industry veteran when he hooked up with Ice Water, Bell and Chilton would have been 21 and 22, respectively, when #1 Record came out.

campreverb, Thursday, 21 August 2014 17:18 (2 months ago) Permalink

Well, here's what xgau said about 'em in the 70s; pretty much the consensus, although I was among those more enthusiastic about the debut than he was. Radio City sounds more audacious, more exuberant, also, as xgau said about punk, "bored enough to fuck with it"--"it] being poptones, incl. mastery of, as musician and listener Third is obv. audacious in another way, the mid-70s late night collegetown FM downer classic, Berlin, Tonight's The Night etc. way):
#1 Record [Ardent, 1972]
Alex Chilton's voice is changing. When he was a teenage Box Top, his deep, soulful, bullfrog whopper was the biggest freak of nature since Stevie Winwood sang "I'm a Man," but now that he's formed his own group he gets to be an adolescent, complete with adenoidal quaver. Appropriately, the music tends toward the teen as well, but that provides brand new thrills. Special attraction: a fantasy about India with gin-and-tonic in it. B+

Radio City [Ardent, 1974]
Brilliant, addictive, definitively semipopular, and all Alex Chilton--Chris Bell, his folkie counterpart, just couldn't take it any more. Boosters claim this is just what the AM has been waiting for, but the only pop coup I hear is a reminder of how spare, skew, and sprung the Beatles '65 were, which is a coup because they weren't. The harmonies sound like the lead sheets are upside down and backwards, the guitar solos sound like screwball readymade pastiches, and the lyrics sound like love is strange, though maybe that's just the context. Can an album be catchy and twisted at the same time? A

Third [PVC, 1978]
In late 1974, Alex Chilton--already the inventor of self-conscious power pop--transmogrified himself into some hybrid of Lou Reed (circa The Velvet Underground and/or Berlin) and Michael Brown (circa "Walk Away, Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina"). This is the album that resulted--fourteen songs in all, only two or three of which wander off into the psycho ward. Halting, depressive, eccentrically shaped, it will seem completely beyond the pale to those who already find his regular stuff weird. I think it's prophetically idiosyncratic and breathtakingly lyrical. A-

dow, Thursday, 21 August 2014 17:54 (2 months ago) Permalink

Radio City not only sounds more audacious than #1, it sounds more audacious with each remastering (I'm tempted to spring for the audio Blu-Ray, which will no doubt be available in due time, if it isn't already.) His "semipopular" is about messing with familiar, popular elements; the results may themselves be popular (Van Morrison, The Band) or not so much, at least initially (Stooges,Flying Burritos). Those were his examples in 1970, and he was among those ready for Big Star (a bit frustrated by solo Chilton, but always more inclined to cherry-pick than nit-pick).(So Chilton brought out the Dean's better nature!)

dow, Thursday, 21 August 2014 18:06 (2 months ago) Permalink

I also prefer Radio City. To me, those two albums point in two somewhat different directions; #1 record is the album that provides the blueprint for all power pop groups, while Radio City tilts towards a bittersweet slacker abandonment which can be seen later on in the Replacements/Pavement lineage.

cpl593H, Thursday, 21 August 2014 19:35 (2 months ago) Permalink

transmogrified himself into some hybrid of Lou Reed (circa The Velvet Underground and/or Berlin) and Michael Brown (circa "Walk Away, Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina")

This is pretty good. One fun thing about being an Alex or a Lou fan is the hours of fun to be had discussing and debating which albums were pranks or cynical moves and which were actually disguised subversive masterpieces-no two people will agree all through the catalog. Plus the generally frustrating but ultimately lovable orneriness of the two guys in question means this definitely comes down to trusting the work instead of the unreliable narrator. Or does it?

I Am the COSMOGRAIL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 21 August 2014 23:59 (2 months ago) Permalink

Wow yeah that Left Banke comparison... I think of "Daisy Glaze" as this weird middle ground between "Walk Away Renee," the Who's "A Quick One, While He's Away," and Television's "Marquee Moon." The thing about Chilton and Left Banke is that they were Americans who responded very appropriately to British music but ended up as outsiders exactly because of how they ended up sounding. Or possibly because of something else I don't know.

fields of salmon, Friday, 22 August 2014 00:27 (2 months ago) Permalink

Person it all filtered down to was Elliott Smith.

I Am the COSMOGRAIL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 August 2014 01:37 (2 months ago) Permalink

lol i was just about to post "just pretend elliott smith is alex chilton after time travelling"

brimstead, Saturday, 23 August 2014 01:59 (2 months ago) Permalink

So we should all stop theorizing until we've read the Chilton book. Holy shit.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 3 September 2014 22:40 (1 month ago) Permalink

so what do the new remasters sound like? are they any better than the old two-fer (which sounds pretty great to my ears)?

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 3 September 2014 23:04 (1 month ago) Permalink

on the box set? the box set sounds amazing.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 3 September 2014 23:06 (1 month ago) Permalink

and has loads of stuff not on the reissues

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 3 September 2014 23:06 (1 month ago) Permalink

Haven't got round to reading the book yet
/in_character

The Wu-Tang Declan (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 September 2014 23:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

From WSJ. This guy busts "Ms. George-Warren's anemic prose," but---though this is one of those reviews or "reviews" where I can't quite tell how much of the narrative is from the book vs. the reviewer or "reviewer" showing off---it's still a pretty compelling presentation, and def. makes me wanna read her bio:

A Man Called Destruction

By Holly George-Warren
Viking, 370 pages, $27.95

Perhaps only Memphis, home to schmaltz-era Elvis Presley, soul label Stax and bars with nicknames like Quaalude City could produce a musician like Chilton. Born in 1950, he came from deep-rooted Southern stock; forebears arrived from England in 1660 and Ireland in the 1700s, and relatives served in the War of Independence and for the Confederacy. Branches of the family settled in Virginia and Mississippi, some as owners of plantations and slaves.

His father, a capable jazz musician, made his living more innocuously, in the lighting business. His mother graduated from college, birthed four children and spent most days playing bridge and drinking cocktails with neighbors. But beyond their bourgeois trappings, they were great lovers of the arts, and after the accidental death of Alex's teenage brother Reid, the Chiltons surrendered to their bohemian instincts and aversion to active child care, moving from suburban Memphis to a large home in post-white-flight Midtown that became a haven for musicians, artists and dipsomaniacs. As one visitor put it, the Chiltons were "free spirits," that classic euphemism for the shamelessly irresponsible, nourishing their children with "cereal, strawberries, and maybe a sandwich," and leaving Alex "to fend for himself entirely, imposing no restrictions or demands of any kind." Their most notable habitué, future photography superstar William Eggleston, befriended their youngest child, eventually providing the 20-something Alex with pictures for his album covers.

Smitten by the Beatles and Ray Charles, Alex developed a singing style one musician called "black as hell." Recruited by local garage band the Devilles, he came to a 1967 recording session after spending the night sleeping with his girlfriend in a cemetery, and sang tired and hung over, with a sore throat that aggravated his already husky growl. The song was "The Letter," the band was renamed the Box Tops, and the 16-year-old Chilton, who had recently attempted suicide (another girlfriend dumping him for reputed mob enforcers seems to have been the breaking point), became a star. Incessant touring, substance abuse and promiscuity followed, as did encounters with role models like Dennis Wilson, who gave him a run-in with the Manson family while Chilton was Wilson's houseguest. There were more hits for the Box Tops, then a drop in popularity, and band members left to pursue higher education and draft evasion.

By age 19, Chilton had a wife and son, whom he'd soon abandon, and an embryonic bitterness, which he would not.

It was at Ardent, a local studio founded by John Fry, a sort of benevolent Fagin who provided free recording time to loitering oddballs, that Chilton began the partnership with Chris Bell that would become Big Star. Supercilious, petulant and clinically depressed, Bell was the tormented yin to Chilton's blasé yang, and along with bassist Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens, they spent months shaping an album according to Bell's perfectionist demands. Sessions were often volatile; Ardent's office manager remembers throwing first-aid supplies at band members to keep their blood off her paperwork, and one emblematic scenario found Bell and Hummel shattering glass, noses and each other's guitars as Chilton laughed it off.

The resulting album, "#1 Record" (1972) rife with love of the Beatles and the Byrds, hooks and harmonies, made the band a paragon of power pop, a label that both categorizes and cheapens their achievement. Songs like "The Ballad of El Goodo," "My Life is Right" and "Give Me Another Chance," are delicious examples of pop songcraft and studio finesse, alive with yearning and a sense of delight in their creation.

"#1 Record" received superlative reviews, inspired high expectations and died. Ardent's distributor was Stax; unsure how to promote a white rock group, they botched the release. It's unclear whether Chilton cared; all Ms. George-Warren offers is "Alex took it in stride" and Chilton's stated desire to stay at Ardent to learn more about production. Bell, however, claimed a conspiracy, quit the band and, according to one witness, carved "pig" into the hood of Mr. Fry's Mercedes. One night, after he was discovered erasing the "#1 Record" tapes, he attempted suicide and was committed.

Though Ms. George-Warren's prose is anemic, the Big Star chapters are heavy with anecdote and portent, and it requires only a small romantic leap to conclude that Chilton and Bell's common tragedy was to need a partnership that neither was suited to sustain. Aside from the freakish creative chemistry, they tempered each other's most self-hampering traits—Bell's anger, Chilton's lack of focus—and without each other, their lives took ruinous turns. Bell floundered, recorded erratically and died at age 27, after taking a Mandrax and bourbon cocktail and driving into a utility pole. Chilton shepherded the second Big Star album, 1974's "Radio City" (featuring the superb "September Gurls"; distribution was botched this time by CBS), but while recording "Third" the next year he was starting to collapse. According to producer Jim Dickinson, sessions began with Chilton "shoot[ing] Demerol down his throat with a syringe." On one occasion, Chilton's girlfriend Lesa showed up with black eyes, and on another, Mr. Fry told Dickinson, "We can't have blood on the console. Please speak to Alex about it." "Third" would eventually be regarded as a classic, but the consensus at the time, in the words of Memphis musician Tommy Hoehn, was that it was "crap." Hit with yet another failure, Chilton cut his wrists and ended up in the same hospital that Bell had been taken to four years earlier.

Somewhere in "A Man Called Destruction" is a story about the mysteries of creativity, collaboration and luck, the agonizing loss of wasted potential, the multitude of factors that must align for artistic success. But potential insights are obstructed by minutiae and redundancies, investigations supplanted by undeveloped allusions about Chilton's resentments. The missed opportunity is substantial; even the trifles portray early 1970s Memphis as a singular world of musically precocious, emotionally fragile man-children struggling to attain some state of grace. Ms. George-Warren gives a glimpse of that lost world, but it remains largely unexplored.

So does Chilton. By 25, he was barely more than impish grin, inclined more to nullity than destruction. He urinated off one stage, was fellated on another. He sat on curbs watching Catholic-school girls go by, prospecting for dates. He smoked pot and drifted through his days like a sixth-year undergrad who doesn't want to leave the dorms. He laughed his way through shambling performances, as if he couldn't believe his acolytes were taking him seriously. These post-Big Star years reek of disdain, not least toward the fans who laughed awkwardly along with him, as if to convince themselves there was actually a joke to witness, rather than the remnants of a great talent.

It's a petty, dismal litany, seemingly endless in Ms. George-Warren's lethargic telling. But in life, it was mercifully brief, and Chilton's life would end positively, if more in resignation than redemption. At 31, he quit drinking, moved to New Orleans and lived contentedly, working at jobs like tree trimmer and "human jukebox," playing requests in a tourist bar. Big Star reissues inspired an international cult ("influenced R.E.M." became the general Big Star legitimizer, and the Replacements' 1987 tribute "Alex Chilton" made him famous for being loved by the Replacements). There would be new records, like "Feudalist Tarts" from 1985, a gritty return to form with covers of songs by Isaac Hayes, Slim Harpo and Willie Tee, residuals and reunions and the comparative triumph of replacing self-mockery with nonchalance.

Chilton died in 2010 of a heart attack, aged 59. To the end, he claimed not to understand the fuss about Big Star. After "A Man Called Destruction," readers might not, either, about the music or the man who seemed to care about so little, except trying to live a childhood he never had, and spiting the people that kept him from doing it.

—Mr. Danziger is the managing editor of the journal Fiction, and a contributing editor at Open Letters Monthly

dow, Wednesday, 3 September 2014 23:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

on the box set? the box set sounds amazing.

― Οὖτις, Wednesday, September 3, 2014 6:06 PM (51 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

no, the box set didn't include all of the original albums.

the first two albums have been reissued on CD (separately), supposedly w/ new mastering.

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 3 September 2014 23:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

Aside from the freakish creative chemistry, they tempered each other's most self-hampering traits—Bell's anger, Chilton's lack of focus—and without each other, their lives took ruinous turns.

this is dumb. radio city is the best record either of them worked on. and chilton's solo career has a certain integrity and even grandeur of its own--esp. if you take into account the stuff that chilton midwifed/produced, like tav falco and the cramps.

in general there seems to be a certain confusion of correlation/causation that's common to biographies needing to sex things up.

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 00:03 (1 month ago) Permalink

also the chilton/bell acrimony can't really be blamed for bell's death, can it? not hardly.

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 00:05 (1 month ago) Permalink

Let's not blame the biography for the reviewer's comments, since, like I said, I can't tell from reading them how much is based on the actual book. Sure are a lot of reviews like that.

dow, Thursday, 4 September 2014 00:16 (1 month ago) Permalink

Especially since his description makes them seem like they clashed and egged each other on, more than "tempered."

dow, Thursday, 4 September 2014 00:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

Let's not blame the biography for the reviewer's comments, since, like I said, I can't tell from reading them how much is based on the actual book. Sure are a lot of reviews like that.

yeah. the new yorker reviews are often like that, basically synopses of the books under review that still manage to be frightfully condescending toward the books' authors.

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 00:22 (1 month ago) Permalink

Even if I'd never heard or heard of Chilton or Big Star, think Carl Wilson's thoughtful description (also gets around to the book, eventually), would make me want to check them out (including the bio):
http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/020_05/12773

dow, Thursday, 4 September 2014 00:27 (1 month ago) Permalink

Up to Bach's Bottom in the book and it's 10/10 so far. Amazing story.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 4 September 2014 01:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

Thanks! That Carl Wilson review is genius, really.

The Wu-Tang Declan (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 September 2014 03:05 (1 month ago) Permalink

I read a galley of the book in February. I have long known of but have never met nor ever corresponded with Ms G-W, although know a shit-ton of people who do and have. I have never thought she was particularly insightful vis-a-vis what she was writing about: she hacked that shit out. but it always been clear she was very well connected.

She sez in the book that she was around Alex a number of times in the last, oh I don't know, 30 years. and I will mention that my wife, who works at an outlet that received the galley provided to me, told me that Chilton's widow, who evidently only knew him for a relatively short time and is much much younger than he, wrote to my wife's outlet to say, well, fuck HGW, who the fuck does she think she is, I'm his widow, etc.

I only have the galley, with contains no reference, so I can't say how HGW cites all the shit she does. but she did a great fucking job, despite that the WSJ dude correctly points out that she is no wordsmith (for all I know, she has no aspiration as such). But yeah, there's no doubt that the book encompasses every single facet of the guy's life, background, artistry, radio interviews, attitude towards booze, drugs, his legacy, pussy…it would have been beneficial were I to know just how HGW knew all this shit, tho.

I had long suspected that the milieu in which he came up, upper crust Memphis which WSJ guy and HGW reference but which I have no first hand knowledge of, was similar to the one which I grew up in, Louisville KY, which isn't far away. Probly the two are largely consonant w/r/t to music culture, and how privileged people become artists because they can in both places, etc etc… Chilton's experience is one I recognize, probly just by proximity.

veronica moser, Thursday, 4 September 2014 04:31 (1 month ago) Permalink

. I read about them for years as a teenager and pictured them as this incredibly contemporary-sounding group that was misunderstood for being ahead of its time. When I heard #1 Record and Radio City for the first time, they didn't sound as revolutionary as I expected.

this is otm for me and plays into how they were processed by the bands they'd go on to influence and be name dropped by--even today, much as i enjoy #1 record particularly, i don't hear a lot of the 'mats (for example) in there.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:01 (1 month ago) Permalink

A band can have influences without trying to sound like those influences

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

good to know

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:14 (1 month ago) Permalink

just saying if you come to work with EXPECTATIONS and then those EXPECTATIONS are changed, altered, and you are surprised by the work, that might be a good thing for you cuddles

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:20 (1 month ago) Permalink

what i'm getting at with my question is that the musical influence isn't really apparent to me in say REM or most of the Mats &c, so i'm wondering what the influence *is* that i'm not seeing--sensibility? stance toward success, like someone pointed out upthread? curious what else we might be able to draw out by thinking about it.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:35 (1 month ago) Permalink

inspiration

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

they made great music which in turn inspired those other bands to try and make great music

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:59 (1 month ago) Permalink

they=BS

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 15:59 (1 month ago) Permalink

I know exactly what HOOS is getting it and will try to comment later if I can.

The Wu-Tang Declan (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 September 2014 16:41 (1 month ago) Permalink

don't bother i already answered the hell out of the question

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 16:51 (1 month ago) Permalink

ty famous instragram God

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Thursday, 4 September 2014 16:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

I totally hear Big Star in REM and the 'Mats (esp Westerberg's acoustic/ballads stuff. "Skyway" is total Chilton/Bell style)

Οὖτις, Thursday, 4 September 2014 17:04 (1 month ago) Permalink

What REM sounds like Big Star?

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 17:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

"Everybody Hurts"

I am not a big REM fan don't expect me to spend much time thinking about this, they bore me

Οὖτις, Thursday, 4 September 2014 17:11 (1 month ago) Permalink

I can't believe the publishing industry still adheres to this bizarre "release hardcover, wait one year, release paperback" model. I want to read A Man Called Destruction NOW. The extra money is never the issue, it's the cumbersome nature of hardcovers (no, I don't do ebooks).

fields of salmon, Thursday, 4 September 2014 17:13 (1 month ago) Permalink

^^ this is v true

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Thursday, 4 September 2014 17:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

This came up in the X thread, who I think were very influential (attention to lyricism for example). Perhaps this is stating the obvious, (I don't think anyone doubts the influence of VU, but who sounds like them?), but I don't think influence is as simple as sounds like.

campreverb, Thursday, 4 September 2014 17:30 (1 month ago) Permalink

I really liked "A Man Called Destruction" btw.

Immediate Follower (NA), Thursday, 4 September 2014 17:32 (1 month ago) Permalink

Hardbacks will persist so long as libraries persist

sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:00 (1 month ago) Permalink

i have the same thoughts re: difficulty of hearing their supposed influence, hoos

Karl Malone, Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:13 (1 month ago) Permalink

I totally hear Big Star in REM and the 'Mats (esp Westerberg's acoustic/ballads stuff. "Skyway" is total Chilton/Bell style)
― Οὖτις, Thursday, September 4, 2014 12:04 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this, absolutely. i can hear it loud and clear in e.g. "unsatisfied."

but surely a band can have influences that they don't closely resemble musically. the influence can be more broadly related to their ambitions, aspirations, sensibility, etc.

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:17 (1 month ago) Permalink

thats what i said if people would just listen to me wateface

famous instagram God (waterface), Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

also the mats may have seen in chilton's solo career an emblem of/justification for their shambolic, putatively anti-careerist approach (which of course went away right about the time they started writing tributes to alex chilton!).

xpost

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

i mean the beatles were liberating to a whole host of musicians but most of em probably don't sound like the beatles

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:19 (1 month ago) Permalink

but "influence" is an overused critical heuristic anyway, where's mark sinker when you need him?

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:19 (1 month ago) Permalink

the acoustic guitars at the opening of "unsatisfied" owe everything to big star IMO

wonderful song btw, worth listening to again :)

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:22 (1 month ago) Permalink

i hear the strong open major key jangle and vox of radio city in early-mid rem (xp). 'radio-free europe'. also 'thirteen' in lots of indie pop. elliott smith maybe exists in a parallel dimension, idk. sort of think it's more about the vibe and context than the music per se for many kewl bands and albums.

mattresslessness, Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:22 (1 month ago) Permalink

I think with REM just the basic concept of an artsy Southern band playing jangly pop owes something to Big Star. I mean, what other precedents are there really.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:32 (1 month ago) Permalink

From the time pre-Big Star was in high school (also dropping out, in Chilton's case),'til they first got together, the Beatles were saturating the market--would've been flooding it, if they were anybody else---but somehow it worked, because they also tried their best to keep up the quality, even raising or at least shifting the bar: you just never knew quite what the next single, much less LP might be like. And this despite increasing rumors of discord---so Chilton, already the jaded/jaundiced vet, might've been encouraged to try and get *something* remarkable done, no matter how much of a difficult kindred spirit Bell obviously was.

dow, Thursday, 4 September 2014 18:36 (1 month ago) Permalink

Is part of their influence keeping the mid-60s Beatles/Byrds/Kinks strain of rock 'alive' to the next generation? I've been thinking about this while listening to Big Star concurrently with the classic rock poll, that they really were an "alternative" to the Southern/boogie-rock, prog, and metal emerging at this time. And they seem aesthetically distinct from the Laurel Canyon/LA singer-songwriter scene in certain ways as well--less folky and slick, a little more angsty.

Man, when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot, I mean she was (intheblanks), Thursday, 4 September 2014 19:11 (1 month ago) Permalink

I mean, they're this band who writes songs that are jangly and catchy but also still have a certain level of aggressiveness (not as "smooth" as the LA scene), and that seems like a direct influence on, say, R.E.M. and a number of their contemporaries.

Man, when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot, I mean she was (intheblanks), Thursday, 4 September 2014 19:13 (1 month ago) Permalink

Yeah, Radio City really pushes beyond *relatively* mellow #1. And of course Third/Sister Lover pushes (incl. luck) even further.

dow, Thursday, 4 September 2014 19:23 (1 month ago) Permalink

Actually I'm pretty sure this is where Paul nicked Unsatisfied from-check out the :10 chord changes in particular.

campreverb, Thursday, 4 September 2014 19:40 (1 month ago) Permalink

@dow agree on Radio City. A shambling, angry/defeated song like "Life is White" seems pretty close to the Replacements in tone.

Man, when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot, I mean she was (intheblanks), Thursday, 4 September 2014 20:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

Actually I'm pretty sure this is where Paul nicked Unsatisfied from-check out the :10 chord changes in particular.

wait this sounds exactly like some Faces song

Οὖτις, Thursday, 4 September 2014 20:21 (1 month ago) Permalink

You Wear It Well... I think?

Οὖτις, Thursday, 4 September 2014 20:21 (1 month ago) Permalink

Yep, at :47 here: http://youtu.be/rsqKdZ3JZ2k

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 4 September 2014 20:25 (1 month ago) Permalink

obviously Westerberg was a fan of all three bands so whatever but I was momentarily shocked by the possibility that anyone in KISS ever had an actually creative musical idea

Οὖτις, Thursday, 4 September 2014 20:28 (1 month ago) Permalink

Actually I'm pretty sure this is where Paul nicked Unsatisfied from-check out the :10 chord changes in particular.

ha you might be right! nice call. i still think the whole musical approach of the replacements' song owes a lot to BS.

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 4 September 2014 21:07 (1 month ago) Permalink

listening to Radio City right now, still rocks

odd proggy geezer (Moodles), Thursday, 4 September 2014 21:09 (1 month ago) Permalink

box set seems to no longer be on Spotify though, kind of a bummer

odd proggy geezer (Moodles), Thursday, 4 September 2014 21:12 (1 month ago) Permalink

amateurist-certainly seems possible, and if so, for me that makes me love it even more.

campreverb, Thursday, 4 September 2014 21:14 (1 month ago) Permalink

When Borders went under, I was always saddened most when I'd be in a store on the last or next to last day before closing and find amongst the last CDs in stock the Big Star box sitting alone on a shelf.

I Don't Wanna Ice Bucket With You (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 4 September 2014 21:27 (1 month ago) Permalink

I read a galley of the book in February. I have long known of but have never met nor ever corresponded with Ms G-W, although know a shit-ton of people who do and have. I have never thought she was particularly insightful vis-a-vis what she was writing about: she hacked that shit out. but it always been clear she was very well connected.

She sez in the book that she was around Alex a number of times in the last, oh I don't know, 30 years. and I will mention that my wife, who works at an outlet that received the galley provided to me, told me that Chilton's widow, who evidently only knew him for a relatively short time and is much much younger than he, wrote to my wife's outlet to say, well, fuck HGW, who the fuck does she think she is, I'm his widow, etc.

I only have the galley, with contains no reference, so I can't say how HGW cites all the shit she does. but she did a great fucking job, despite that the WSJ dude correctly points out that she is no wordsmith (for all I know, she has no aspiration as such). But yeah, there's no doubt that the book encompasses every single facet of the guy's life, background, artistry, radio interviews, attitude towards booze, drugs, his legacy, pussy…it would have been beneficial were I to know just how HGW knew all this shit, tho.

I had long suspected that the milieu in which he came up, upper crust Memphis which WSJ guy and HGW reference but which I have no first hand knowledge of, was similar to the one which I grew up in, Louisville KY, which isn't far away. Probly the two are largely consonant w/r/t to music culture, and how privileged people become artists because they can in both places, etc etc… Chilton's experience is one I recognize, probly just by proximity.


This is an awesome post, BTW. Just wanted to note that.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 4 September 2014 22:53 (1 month ago) Permalink

I hear R&B in Chilton's vocals. One of the pluses of the otherwise diffuse and muddled 33 1/3 book about Dusty in Memphis is its explanation of how this Wexler-Mardin ethos drew towards itself the tight rhythm of Stax. When I hear "September Gurls" Chilton's vocals sound like he's invoking Dusty Springfield more than the Beatles.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 4 September 2014 22:59 (1 month ago) Permalink

in fact Dusty could have done a fantastic version of "September Gurls."

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 4 September 2014 23:00 (1 month ago) Permalink

i adore both chilton and dusty but there's a... diffidence and strain to Chilton's Big Star vocals that seems a world away from dusty.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 16:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

also key to his vocals (and their charm) is the combo of chilton's strange, effeminate mid-south drawl and his faux british accent.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 16:57 (1 month ago) Permalink

i have a bunch of radio shows that chilton did in the 70s and 80s and it's delightful to just listen to him speak, what a weirdo.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 16:57 (1 month ago) Permalink

he has the best voice

tylerw, Friday, 5 September 2014 17:02 (1 month ago) Permalink

more like big fart

ienjoyhotdogs, Friday, 5 September 2014 17:07 (1 month ago) Permalink

A chance to post this again, don't mind if I do!

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 5 September 2014 17:14 (1 month ago) Permalink

amateurist otm

Who Makes the Paparazzis? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 5 September 2014 17:16 (1 month ago) Permalink

what a weirdo
think this is pretty key, really -- he was an odd guy to begin with, and he went through some even odder experiences. thing that bummed me out about the bio was how genuinely unhappy he was. i sort of figured people projected that on to him because of a record like sister lovers (even though the depressing nature of that record I think is kind of overstated). but he obviously was extremely troubled (at least throughout the 70s).

tylerw, Friday, 5 September 2014 17:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

also key to his vocals (and their charm) is the combo of chilton's strange, effeminate mid-south drawl and his faux british accent.

Which is exactly why I was kind if stunned to hear what an unbelievable faux-baritone he employed with the Box Tops and very, very rarely thereafter. I mean, you actually have to strain a bit to hear the Big Star guy in many of those performances.

He was a fabulous soul singer – and it's almost like those two voices were some weird metaphor for the guy who played by the rules of the industry (confidence and bravado) and didn't (vulnerability and emotional).

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 5 September 2014 18:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

i adore both chilton and dusty but there's a... diffidence and strain to Chilton's Big Star vocals that seems a world away from dusty.

― I dunno. (amateurist), F

I hope I was clear when I made the Dusty comparison that I didn't mean they sounded like each other: I heard similarities in approaching particularly charged material.

I don't hear diffidence in "Kangaroo," "Big Black Car," or a few of the more fraught Third performances.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:31 (1 month ago) Permalink

i do wonder if Chilton's effeminate speaking voice was a kind of (internalized) attempt to wind-up people, since it is pretty much the polar opposite of the deep-voiced, macho southern dude accent. I listen to interviews with him in the 1970s and I imagine that for many his intonations, etc. would have coded as gay.

i mean even if this is barking up the wrong tree, i think there's no question that his eccentricities were as cultivated as they were real. i don't mean that as a criticism.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:42 (1 month ago) Permalink

when i do listen to those interviews there's something very modern about chilton's affectations: the drollness, the blank irony (is he being sarcastic or not?--it's often hard to tell), the almost Valley Girl-like elongation of end syllables (which again takes the southern drawl into places unknown). in general his hipster disaffection and contrarianism (even or especially to his fans/admirers) seems very modern. not to imply those things were unknown in the 1970s by any means, but to find them in this obscure Memphis boho cult power-pop rocker whose greatest passion was more obscure New Orleans 45s is pretty amazing. i think some of this frisson is captured in the tav falco TV appearance linked above.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:46 (1 month ago) Permalink

greatest passion was FOR obscure New Orleans 45s

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:46 (1 month ago) Permalink

there's much we don't know or went unsaid about the Bell-Chilton relationship so

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:46 (1 month ago) Permalink

what, you think they could have been lovers? i think i've seen some (wild) speculation about that.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:48 (1 month ago) Permalink

i think knowing a little about chilton's persona has helped me make sense of "like flies on sherbert" etc. the persona lends it a convinction and coherence. of course i don't know if it really was a product of half-assed, chaotic sessions or if it was put together to sound that way. or both. maybe the book has answers. i like that album a lot, though.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:50 (1 month ago) Permalink

No, but all the evidence suggests much sexual tension. Who knows what signals were exchanged between two young and relatively good looking men with their talents.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:51 (1 month ago) Permalink

yeah true dat

i feel like mid-period chilton (like flies on sherbert-->high priest) was groping for something really interesting that's barely tangible but still kind of elusive on the actual releases. like, a genuine breakthrough, a kind of self-consciously artless, lyrical primitivism that would actually be more fully realized by other folks. the closest analogue, other than tav falco/cramps, is i think moe tucker's solo stuff.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 18:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

George Warren's book mentions that Chilton had a fling with a guy in the early 70s. and someone who worked with Chilton in the mid 70s, who despised him with visceral intensity in the aftermath through to the 90s, told me that AC wanted to swing with him and his girlfriend at the time.

So…I always thought that maybe the sensitive, star crossed, worried about his sexuality Bell was in love with the more feckless, devil may care AC. Very tempting to speculate that AC maybe teased him, or did get physical and then withdrew…and that this could be key to tensions that made the band what it was…note that none of the songs on #1 HR contain gender specific descriptors…

veronica moser, Friday, 5 September 2014 19:15 (1 month ago) Permalink

Plus "You Can't Have Me"! Not the kind of song I expect a man to write to a woman.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 September 2014 19:25 (1 month ago) Permalink

<i>i do wonder if Chilton's effeminate speaking voice</i>

haha, are you from the South? Chilton talks like most of the people I know from the mid-South, myself included.

campreverb, Friday, 5 September 2014 20:22 (1 month ago) Permalink

the documentary was exceedingly (maybe excessively) careful in avoiding discussing these matters-- i think perhaps the participation of the bell family was contingent on them doing so

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 20:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

haha, are you from the South? Chilton talks like most of the people I know from the mid-South, myself included.

no, but my girlfriend is from tennessee and i've spent a lot of time there. chilton's voice is quite different, i think, from the usual. at least in a lot of the interviews i've heard.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 20:27 (1 month ago) Permalink

"these matters" = bell's gayness, basically

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 20:28 (1 month ago) Permalink

yeah the doc at those moments sounded 10 seconds away from a lawsuit

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 September 2014 20:36 (1 month ago) Permalink

The interview with Chilton I've listened to is the one on the Live record that came out from that 1974 radio show, and that just seems like a typical, languid drawl that I have heard everywhere from Mississippi to North Carolina.
put another way, it's not a Southern Sissy accent.

campreverb, Friday, 5 September 2014 20:43 (1 month ago) Permalink

i'll see if i can find one of the interviews I have online, but it'll have to wait until i get home.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 20:49 (1 month ago) Permalink

yeah the doc at those moments sounded 10 seconds away from a lawsuit

― guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, September 5, 2014 3:36 PM (12 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

it's sad that they couldn't bring this up since it goes a long way to explaining bell's depression (and maybe his death?) albeit in a way that makes it even more tragic if that were possible.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 5 September 2014 20:50 (1 month ago) Permalink

I could care less about Bell's gender preference.

calstars, Friday, 5 September 2014 23:04 (1 month ago) Permalink

"You Can't Have Me" isn't abt a woman, also drunk dudes do gay shit all the time

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Friday, 5 September 2014 23:06 (1 month ago) Permalink

re: AC's dialect…again, I cannot say for sure, as I have never been to Memphis…but I am from Louisville, a mid-south/midwest locale that likely has a lot in common with Memphis…and I have known people from the town…and I now remember that I spoke to AC on the phone for about two minutes on behalf of the record company I worked for in the mid 90s so that I could send him the masters of High Priest and No Sex to him…

so I'll say that indeed his speaking style is not necessarily "southern sissy" (which is a funny-as-fuck frase and one that manifests widely) but it's more louche, more fancy and upper class…

veronica moser, Friday, 5 September 2014 23:11 (1 month ago) Permalink

"You Can't Have Me" isn't abt a woman, also drunk dudes do gay shit all the time

― sonic thedgehod (albvivertine)

to me that's how this song codes

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 September 2014 23:45 (1 month ago) Permalink

I could care less about Bell's gender preference.

― calstars, Friday, September 5, 2014 6:04 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

is there anything else you don't care about that you would care to tell us about?

I dunno. (amateurist), Saturday, 6 September 2014 00:07 (1 month ago) Permalink

veronica, "louche" is precisely the right word

I dunno. (amateurist), Saturday, 6 September 2014 00:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

"preference"

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 6 September 2014 00:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

also i just noticed that almost all of chilton's albums are out of print! wanted to pick up a CD copy of high priest which i only have on tape. wtf.

I dunno. (amateurist), Saturday, 6 September 2014 00:09 (1 month ago) Permalink

Spotify's got a fairly good supply of Chilton, Big Star, Box Tops. Just got this--should be good, considering that it's from the tour promoting the Columbus, MO live CD:

BIG STAR LIVE IN MEMPHIS,
THE INFLUENTIAL BAND’S
ONLY KNOWN COMPLETE PROFESSIONALLY FILMED CONCERT,
COMING ON OMNIVORE RECORDINGS ON NOVEMBER 4
Package available as 2-LP set, CD, digital and DVD,
with notes by Big Star’s Jody Stephens, Ardent’s John Fry,
and director Danny Graflund
Big Star live: photo by Danny Graflund
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The gig poster said “BIG STAR IN THEIR FAREWELL U.S. PERFORMANCE.” Luckily, this iconic Memphis band’s homecoming show was nothing of the kind. As Jody Stephens points out in his liner notes, “We played Los Angeles three days later and went on to play together for another 16 years. No one ever said anything about the poster.”
Omnivore Recordings is proud to present Big Star’s first appearance in Memphis since 1974, and only known professionally filmed show in its entirety. Live in Memphis chronicles that October 29, 1994 performance on CD, 2-LP (with download card), Digital, and DVD.
All audio formats contain the complete 20-song set, which includes Big Star classics like “Thank You Friends,” “September Gurls,” and “The Ballad of El Goodo,” Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos,” and covers of T.Rex, The Kinks, Todd Rundgren and more, performed by Big Star: Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies.
Also included are notes from filmmaker Danny Graflund, Ardent Studios’ John Fry, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, and Ken Stringfellow in both the CD and LP packaging, as well as in the DVD. Per Omnivore tradition, the first pressing of the LP will be limited to 1,000 colored vinyl, with black to follow.
According to Stephens, “This second life for Big Star begins on April 25, 1993, in Columbia, Missouri. The performance gets recorded and released. We now have a record to support and a reason to tour. A handful of dates far and wide followed, but then an offer came from the New Daisy to play Memphis. Pretty exciting! Walking into the New Daisy that night brought on a rush of ’70s friends I hadn’t seen in years. So much support there from well-wishers, which included John Fry and my parents. Stepping onstage that night in Memphis with Alex, Jon, and Ken was an incredibly good time and a bit of magic. It wasn’t so much that we were playing to the audience as we were sharing the music with them, and they were sharing themselves with us. We all cared.”
Stingfellow wrote: “It might seem intimidating, and at the same time look presumptuous, to step in and complete the lineup of Memphis’ most beloved cult band on their home turf. However, Jon and I were (and to this day remain) absolutely passionate about the music of Big Star, and that sense of devotion and belief propelled us forward and, hopefully, silenced any grumbles about what two kids from Seattle were doing there in that lineup. By the time we rolled into town to play this show, we’d gone from the initial, delightfully fragile, show in Columbia, Missouri, to engagements in London, San Francisco, and Tokyo. There would be more heft to the show, and we were getting to know Alex and Jody in even deeper ways, musically and personally. You might even say . . . we were a band.”
“Omnivore is thrilled to release what may be the only complete Big Star concert ever professionally filmed. The exuberant Memphis hometown crowd reception made this a night to remember, and even though the concert was not recorded with the intent to become an album, we know that fans will want to be in the front row for this show,” says the release’s co-producer, Omnivore’s Cheryl Pawelski.
Track Listing:

In the Street

Don’t Lie to Me

When My Baby’s Beside Me
I Am the Cosmos

Way Out West

Till the End of the Day

The Ballad Of El Goodo

Back of a Car

Fire*
Daisy Glaze
Jesus Christ
For You
Baby Strange
Feel
September Gurls
Big Black Car

Thank You Friends
The Girl From Ipanema
Patty Girl
Slut

*”Fire” does not appear on the DVD

dow, Friday, 12 September 2014 21:03 (1 month ago) Permalink

I think I was at this show! Depends on whether they played Memphis more than once between 1994 and 1998.

Malibu Stasi (WilliamC), Friday, 12 September 2014 21:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

I just caved and ordered hardcover of the book, like I knew I would.

fields of salmon, Saturday, 13 September 2014 01:01 (1 month ago) Permalink

did i ever post this here? i was just listening to the 45 tonight. love the Bell-tones on this song.

scott seward, Saturday, 13 September 2014 02:14 (1 month ago) Permalink

love this song too. would have been a perfect big star b-side:

scott seward, Saturday, 13 September 2014 02:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

Wow. Would have thought that "Love You (All Day Long)" was a Raspberries tune if it didn't say otherwise.

Colossal Propellerhead (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 13 September 2014 14:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

A Man Called Destruction just arrived.

Initial thoughts: it's a hardcover book, totally unnecessary for my needs as a Alex Chilton theorist. Why do publishing companies persist? It was 20 bucks, why couldn't they ship a trade paperback?

fields of salmon, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 23:21 (1 month ago) Permalink

because it hasn't been printed yet? do you know how publishing works?

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 23:27 (1 month ago) Permalink

I love a hardback tbh. My daily commute seems to pulverise paperbacks. By the time I finished Nixonland the first half of the book had already turned to mulch.

A college wearing a sweater that says “John Belushi” (stevie), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 08:07 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

because it hasn't been printed yet? do you know how publishing works?

Publish an expensive an unwieldy "collector's" edition that differs only in form factor, wait a year for no apparent reason, publish a paperback edition that contains the same content. Makes sense to me!

It's like if you wanted to buy an iPhone 6 and Apple made you pay for an iPhone 4S, wait a year, then finally gave you option to buy the iPhone 6 you originally wanted for less money. They both run iOS 8, but one of them is slimmer and nicer than the other.

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 08:51 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

I hear R&B in Chilton's vocals. One of the pluses of the otherwise diffuse and muddled 33 1/3 book about Dusty in Memphis is its explanation of how this Wexler-Mardin ethos drew towards itself the tight rhythm of Stax. When I hear "September Gurls" Chilton's vocals sound like he's invoking Dusty Springfield more than the Beatles.

This is so OTM. I can't really put my finger on it; every time I hear them I can't help hearing a feeling of displacement and isolation, which I think may be related to them doing music which did not belong in the place they were making it; in Dusty's case she was doing r&b and soul in the middle of the Swinging London, while Chilton was making English-influenced rock/pop music in the geographic heart of the r&b and soul "movement", so to speak.

Regarding Big Star and their influence in REM and the Mats, I think it's undeniably there. REM sounds like more of a #1 Record band, more aligned with the traditional power pop scene. To me, even though that's just an ingredient in their mix because they have a very unique, personal sound, I can hear it in stuff like Near Wild Heaven, for instance.

With The Replacements and Westerberg, I hear more Radio City in them, alternating the mindless "rockier" sound (Mod Lang) with the cynical approach (Life is white) and the total heartbreak (What's Going Ahn). I can also hear some Pavement in Big Star; the intro from Feel reminds me of the one in Silence Kid, and in my mind the Mats is the band that connects Big Star and Pavement into some kind of lineage, though I can't really pinpoint why, other than the fact that they share some sensibility traits, Westerberg being the Chilton fan everyone knows he is, and Malkmus often mentioning both Chilton and Westerberg as influences.

cpl593H, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:46 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

It's like if you wanted to buy an iPhone 6 and Apple made you pay for an iPhone 4S, wait a year, then finally gave you option to buy the iPhone 6 you originally wanted for less money.

so the answer is "no, I don't understand how publishing works" ok cool

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:14 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

So obviously I'm a consumer. Didn't realize knowledge of a series of arcane rituals called "publishing" was required to comment on why it seems strange I have to buy a hardcover or else wait a year to read a book I want to read in an age where the customer generally chooses the form factor in which they want to enjoy their content. So please, just explain it to me instead of being a dick about it.

fields of salmon, Thursday, 25 September 2014 00:49 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

Outic is shakey fyi

I was supposed to watch dishes (rip van wanko), Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:15 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

I have to buy a hardcover or else wait a year to read a book I want to read

You have heard of these things called "libraries" perhaps?

an age where the customer generally chooses the form factor in which they want to enjoy their content.

hahahahahaha

bippity bup at the hotel california (Phil D.), Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:21 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

the answer is money. any number of yahoo answers or google searches will explain the rest of the details

Οὖτις, Thursday, 25 September 2014 15:18 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

xp

Οὖτις, Thursday, 25 September 2014 15:18 (4 weeks ago) Permalink

not really going to go into why a book is not like a tech product, which is ridiculous on its face just due to stark differences in how the two are produced, used, sold, marketed etc.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 25 September 2014 15:19 (4 weeks ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.