Thursday, March 18, 2010

so long, AC

I'm sad to learn that Alex Chilton has passed. His music changed my life. It was sad and very troubled, but there was also a lot of beauty and joy in it. If you have never heard it, start with the record Sister Lovers/3rd by his band, Big Star.

Chilton played the Continental Club in Austin, Texas, in 1985 or so. He played with Rene somebody and a drummer, and they did songs that were mostly from the albums High Priest and Feudalist Tarts. A lot of us in the audience wanted to hear some Big Star song, any Big Star song, or anything by Chilton's teen Top 40 band, the Box Tops, but we were too "respectful," too aware of that tradition where an artist shouldn't be badgered into playing their great old stuff. But one guy in the back of the club wasn't respectful: this was Dino Lee, the singer, emcee and perpetrator of the White Trash Revue, which was actually considered entertaining by some in Austin in 1985. Dino Lee was standing by the door, bellowing the names of various Box Tops songs. I was a little embarrassed that he was heckling the great Alex Chilton. But Chilton laffed, made a semi-snide remark, and then, to his great credit, played the Box Tops' biggest hit, "The Letter."

Most musicians are proud, but only the really great ones are understanding and forgiving too.

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