Alex Chilton RIP 2010

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I like the Steve Wynn story. He's one of my favourite musicians (I interviewed). Awesome AWESOME guy.

"That's life" he replied.

I like this. It's not as dismissive at it sounds at first.

My dad has the best approach about life (and its end, death).

Anyway, I recommended my friend - who never EVER listens to music - some Big Star. She was on itunes for the first time and wanted to buy some music. She said she cldnt tell much from the 20 secs of Thirteen.
I told my husband that I still remember running home with #1/Radio City in my hands being so fucking excited.

Anyway, gotta shed another tear.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Thursday, 18 March 2010 21:38 (4 years ago) Permalink

For years, his rep as an ornery cuss preceded him, it seems.

As per, it's now we discover he was a nice guy, when not pushed where he didn't wat to be.

(The mic/teeth story for instance)

It seems churlish to say his music didn't resonate bigtime with me. I'll try again with that 'best of', so don't mind me.

Mark G, Thursday, 18 March 2010 21:51 (4 years ago) Permalink

Found out about this in the Newspaper an hour or so ago.

RIP you magnificent bastard.

Roomful of Moogs (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 18 March 2010 21:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

this is starting to sink in. fucking shit. dude didn't look remotely unhealthy just like six months ago. but you know, that's life. or death.

by another name (amateurist), Thursday, 18 March 2010 22:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

The NPR obit has been amended to say he was cutting his lawn when he dropped to the ground. What a comfortingly domestic way to go.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 18 March 2010 22:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, saw that a little while ago. I don't want to die mowing my lawn because I fucking hate lawns and having to mow them, but dying in my tracks while out working in my vegetable garden would be the best way to go, I think.

Religious Embolism (WmC), Thursday, 18 March 2010 22:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

The NPR obit has been amended to say he was cutting his lawn when he dropped to the ground.

by another name (amateurist), Thursday, 18 March 2010 22:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

http://idler.co.uk/conversations/conversations-alex-chilton/

pretty rad old interview that frequent mentions of astrology upthread reminded me of. seeing him with the box tops last year he just seemed so happy, bopping about, and iirc in the interview above he's talking about earning enough money to have the next six months worked out, then starting again. seemed to have a good life.

also i don't think we've brought up the time he socked charlie manson yet. lot of stories to get through.

we just have to get over it that's science (schlump), Thursday, 18 March 2010 22:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

"the time he socked charlie manson"

yeah?

zingzing, Thursday, 18 March 2010 23:00 (4 years ago) Permalink

schwantz, Thursday, 18 March 2010 23:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

Via the Commercial Appeal, Bob Mehr's story a year and a half back about Chris Bell. It seems an appropriate complement now.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 18 March 2010 23:16 (4 years ago) Permalink

e socked charlie manson"

yeah?

― zingzing, Thursday, March 18, 2010 11:00 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark

seem to recall some discussion in the big star thread; there isn't actually much more to the story, just a graf in the jovanovic book saying he did just that, not having placidly taken to the family's attempts to lure him in.

we just have to get over it that's science (schlump), Friday, 19 March 2010 00:37 (4 years ago) Permalink

Just listened to his demo for Big Black Car from the boxset- so so sad...I'm really at a loss for words.

RIP

ColinO, Friday, 19 March 2010 01:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

Been spinning his work all day long. I never got to see him perform, damnit. "High Priest" was my gateway in, still love that records and the associated EPs.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 19 March 2010 01:42 (4 years ago) Permalink

schlump, i can imagine he'd punch just about anyone, and manson was certainly someone worth hitting, i suppose... i guess he was visiting with dennis wilson? (dennis is someone i'd compare him to, in a lot of ways...)

i've been listening to this live album from berkeley in 1985. it's great. he's reconciled with his past to the point that he plays things straight, but he still whips it out on the guitar. i'm totally a lost-period chilton fan, but when he played it with reverence, he's just as compelling. i love this man.

it doesn't take his death to remind me that he's possibly the greatest rock star of all time, but it does reinforce it. sad, but happy.

zingzing, Friday, 19 March 2010 01:56 (4 years ago) Permalink

I have always been a Chris Bell guy but this is really sad. Spinning Third tonight.

skip, Friday, 19 March 2010 02:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

Damn.

Crank it:

Cranking it.

probably a sock!! (╓abies), Friday, 19 March 2010 02:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

wish we had a joint so bad

RIP Alex Chilton

badg, Friday, 19 March 2010 03:02 (4 years ago) Permalink

Thoughts from Mr. Westerberg, plus Craig Finn and Patterson Hood:

http://music-mix.ew.com/2010/03/18/alex-chilton-paul-westerberg-patterson-hood-craig-finn/

Ned Raggett, Friday, 19 March 2010 03:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

oh man "Motel Blues", search that shit

totally cried today listening to "For You". the guy wrote like a good half dozen or more of the finest songs ever recorded in this sorry modern era.

sleeve, Friday, 19 March 2010 03:53 (4 years ago) Permalink

("For You" is by Jody Stephens)

Melvin van Osterlow, Jr. (res), Friday, 19 March 2010 04:02 (4 years ago) Permalink

goddamn, Mark Linkous and now Chilton, this is a rough month

― Whiney for No Apparent Reason (some dude), Thursday, March 18, 2010 1:46 AM (3 minutes ago)

this is exactly how i am feeling at the moment

― First and Last and Safeways ™ (jjjusten), Thursday, 18 March 2010 01:51 (Yesterday)

Thirded.

Freedom, Friday, 19 March 2010 04:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

haha sorry Jody (xp). Doesn't Chilton still sing it though?

sleeve, Friday, 19 March 2010 05:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

also "Motel Blues" is by Loudon Wainwright (although yeah Alex's version is great)

Stormy Davis, Friday, 19 March 2010 05:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

is "it came from memphis" worth getting? it seems that the copies from the ny public library aren't available for loan, which is kinda shitty. ("kinda" in that they're available for research and "performing arts," which i don't understand.. what that means...)

zingzing, Friday, 19 March 2010 05:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

by that, i mean will i learn anything significant about chilton or the memphis sound (particularly post-big star) with which he was associated?

zingzing, Friday, 19 March 2010 05:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

So many people have said the sorts of things that I would like to say about Alex. It really boils down to the intimacy. The one on one. I always felt like he was singing about what I was thinking and feeling.

I was 19 when I bought a Big Star compilation on Line Records. I think it was called Big Star's Greatest. Silver cover with a giant red star on it. This would have been around 1991. I wore that thing out. And then the Fantasy "#1 Record/Radio City" disc landed. Wow.

Big Star traced some connection between my intense love for the Beatles and the alternative rock I grew up on throughout the 80s. But more than that, Chilton, particularly from Radio City on, was singing about being the underdog. The awkward, uncomfortable young adult. All these girls come and go. I loved you, well nevermind. That stuff resonates when you're scared, insecure and looking for reasons why you feel that way.

But beyond that, there was that voice. So pure, so crystalline. It's like the best fucking voice in the world. And that guitar. That bell-tone out of phase Strat through a wound up Twin. Compressed - Byrdsian, Nowhere Man chime. It all conspired to create some Parsifalian ideal of the perfect pop frontman. At least in my mind.

Something about the way Alex combined his voice, lyrics and guitar really affected me in a way no other musician ever has. I really thank him for that. And that's why I'm really, truly gutted by his passing. It was said above, but I feel like I lost a friend. Someone I never met, but a friend none the less.

That's the true magic of music. That a song can reshape your entire outlook, a vocal can send shivers down your spine. A guitar figure can make you ecstatic. Alex Chilton managed to do that to me for nearly 20 years, and he'll do it for the rest of my life.

Brooker T Buckingham, Friday, 19 March 2010 05:50 (4 years ago) Permalink

amen

by another name (amateurist), Friday, 19 March 2010 06:05 (4 years ago) Permalink

'It Came from Memphis' is good: not a whole lot of it is about Alex, really, but also, it all is. Really insightful on figures such a Dickinson, on John Fry and Manning, on the Memphis bohemia that nurtured Big Star.

x-post

sonofstan, Friday, 19 March 2010 06:06 (4 years ago) Permalink

so that craig finn thing:

But there are so many songs that just give me so much joy. ‘Thank You Friends’ is one of my favorites. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about positivity in rock n’ roll, I think that’s about as positive a rock song as has ever been written.

lol what?

henri grenouille (Frogman Henry), Friday, 19 March 2010 08:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

sure bobby g is a berk but the fact is he and mcgee did as much as anybody in the uk to promote and enshrine chilton's reputation in the 1980s and beyond, dude has earned the right to blah abt him now

Oh yeah, what a surprise, two guys from Glasgow who liked Big Star and Alex Chilton, how novel of them. Give Bob his due though, at least he didn't claim to have been at the first Big Star rehearsals or to have played synth on the title track of "Like Flies On Sherbert". On the latter, had that blasting on the headphones as I walked (dawdled) to work this morning, walked into the building as the last notes of the title track (Bobby and all) died away...

The Oort Locker (Tom D.), Friday, 19 March 2010 10:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

i'm totally a lost-period chilton fan, but when he played it with reverence, he's just as compelling. i love this man.

yeah: there's something super satisfying, in terms of career arcs, in the teenage rock star turning into this guy who loved playing standards with pickup groups, putting out let's get lost and jamming on ah ti ta ti ta ta

we just have to get over it that's science (schlump), Friday, 19 March 2010 10:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I always thought Alex was being deeply sarcastic in Thank You Friends

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ColinO, Friday, 19 March 2010 15:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

you can hear it either way, but in the context of that record it sure sounds like the friends who made this total collapse all so "probable" are being blamed as much as they're being thanked

Brio, Friday, 19 March 2010 15:39 (4 years ago) Permalink

It's a great song, any way you slice it.

Trip Maker, Friday, 19 March 2010 15:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

But not surprising that Finn, who is neither stupid nor unaware of rock history, chooses to interpret it literally, given his interests in rock'n'roll as a source of positivity.

ithappens, Friday, 19 March 2010 15:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah - it's not like Finn doesn't write songs that are ambivalent and conflicted about the positive power of rock'n'roll himself

Brio, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:01 (4 years ago) Permalink

I think it can be taken both ways: sarcastic because he's thanking his "friends" for success that never materialized, but he is also genuinely thanking his friends for keeping him alive through the dark times.

Moodles, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

can't believe craig finn died

velko, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

Heaven needed another Springsteen fan.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

weird i guess i never ever thought about "thank you friends" as being sarcastic.

deeply moving song to me.

snorgfaced germans (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, 19 March 2010 16:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

he is also genuinely thanking his friends for keeping him alive through the dark times.

i think this interpretation is fine as long as you dont listen to the vocal.

henri grenouille (Frogman Henry), Friday, 19 March 2010 16:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

I never paid attention to it, so I never thought it was sarcastic. I had the same problem for about thirty years with the song "Reason To Believe."

Ole Rastaquouère (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 19 March 2010 16:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah, it always seemed kinda bitter to me

velko, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

huh weird. well i'm going to keep interpreting the song the way i need it to be.

snorgfaced germans (M@tt He1ges0n), Friday, 19 March 2010 16:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

I think he might be genuinely thanking his friends for keeping him super-wasted, and acknowledging that maybe more could have happened for him career-wise if that hadn't been the case.

Brio, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:14 (4 years ago) Permalink

i never heard it as sarcasm, either, but interpreting it that way is an interesting twist!

thanks again, ilm.

Daniel, Esq., Friday, 19 March 2010 16:14 (4 years ago) Permalink

i find it very moving too. mainly for the severe disconnect between the vocal and the lyric/arrangement/production. i mean this is why radio city songs are more powerful than
#1 record songs, cos you can hear the anger and bitterness and distaste. that's doubled on third.

henri grenouille (Frogman Henry), Friday, 19 March 2010 16:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

frogman otm

velko, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

It's too bad they never had a number one record. The greatest band ever. Why bother going on.

Earth Dye (u s steel), Friday, 19 March 2010 17:02 (4 years ago) Permalink


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