Children by the millions mourn for Alex Chilton, and I suppose you can count me among one of them. I never felt a connection to the Big Star frontman, rather his music - an enormous one at that. Ultimately, I'm not here to eulogize (though there are a couple of excellent onlinearticles to check out). There's no such thing as a convenient time to die, but what makes Chilton's March 17th passing all the more tragic and ironic is thatBig Star were not only going to perform at the presently underway SXSW festival in Austin, the band was to be the province of a discussion panel this Saturday dubbed "I Never Travel Far Without A Little Big Star." The panel, which still might proceed (albeit under far different circumstances than initially planned) wasn't to feature Chilton, but instead original bandmatesJody Stephens and Andy Hummel, along with recent Big Star alumni Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies.
Personally, I never would have seated Big Star under the "power pop" umbrella. As much as I treasure and revere#1 Record and Radio City (both required listening, just as much as Pet Sounds or Revolver), I was never able to rationalize the band as ambassadors of the "genre," given the sobering and reflective temperament of so much of their music. This may sound like a gross oversimplification, but to this pair of ears, Big Star were the finest classic rock/pop band that never made the migration to FM radio. The albums speak for themselves, and although I was dismayed with the unrepresentative reunion LP, 2005's In Space, they compensated for it in a major way with last years ultra-comprehensive four-disk, Keep an Eye on the Sky box set. BTW, two years ago I featured a collection of Big Star alternate takes and demos on Wilfully Obscure.
Tonight, I'm sharing a live show from Chicago 1994, featuring the revamped lineup of Chilton/Stephens/Stringfellow/Auer, that would perform many times over the next decade and a half. I'm pretty certain this is a soundboard recording, if not an excellent audience tape. Enjoy.
Alex Chilton, thank you friend.
01. In the Street 02. Don't Lie to Me 03. When My Baby's Beside Me 04. I am the Cosmos 05. Way Out West 06. 'Til the End of the Day 07. The Ballad of El Goodo 08. Back of a Car 09. Jesus Christ 10. Daisy Glaze 11. Thirteen 12. For You 13. Baby Strange 14. Feel 15. September Gurls 16. Big Black Car 17. Thank You Friends 18. Slut 19. Patty Girl 20. O' My Soul