Skip to main content

Everybody Goes As Far as They Can, Big Star memories

7/11/14 train to Mineola

I’ve been listening to a lot of Big Star lately.  This was the band that influenced REM, The Replacements and so many others.  They were a mythical band which were unheard while they were together.  My Big Star kick started out with the documentary “Nothing Can Hurt Me” which was released a couple of years back.  If you have not seen the movie and are at least curious what the story is behind this influential band; do yourself a favor and watch it.  The band was compared to The Beatles and heralded in Rolling Stone, Creem and other rock magazines back in the early seventies.  There is awareness on some songs to The Fab Four, but Big Star was original.  They created an Americanized mix, a little country twang, check their version of Velvet Underground Femme Fatale. The sound created a buzz within all corners of rock establishment and made their first album a must have classic.  If you have not heard it, the layers of instruments will grip you and give you a ride through various emotions.  The first song of the album, FEEL had Chris Bell singing the lead.  It starts off very slow, plucking power chords and then Bell screams the lyrics.  The choir, “I feel like I am dying!” with the rest of the band backing him up.  Sure it sounds like Beatles in some harmonious parts, but then we’re rocking with a sax and a true authentic jangly American guitar sound.  This sound made the band different from other established rock bands. It drove Chris Bell to perfect the quality of their recording while engineering at Ardent Studios in Memphis. This is where the band originated - but the story of their demise is layered like their sound.  It was a lack of record sales which is a story within itself.  There was a clash of ego, but from the movie’s perception, I don’t think there was the violent fall out, the big conflict, the fists; the rift was mental.  It was created in Chris’s head being jealous that Alex Chilton received most of the attention.  It was Chris’ early departure which could have devastated the band, but they did not go their separate ways.  The second album was a bold departure from the first.  They were a three piece.  Their musical style had changed to a more jazz/folk even a WHO influence.  Their singles September Gurls and Back of a Car are examples of what I am trying to disseminate.  The third album, Third/Sister Lovers was their final.  For some listeners they will hear the sound track of a band breaking up.  Some will say it was Alex Chilton who was breaking apart at the seams.  It was the first Big Star album I heard and I knew it very well by the time I saw Big Star perform their 2009 show in Brooklyn.  It was the last time Alex Chilton performed before his passing early in 2010.  That night in Brooklyn was memorable, there was the slightly intoxicated blur. There were too many Polish beers and not enough food.  The band was tight although I recall Alex kept going back to check on his heavy winter coat which he stored behind one of the amps.  Just a thought, but there was something in one of the pockets he did not want to lose.  Thank you Friends is the second song on Third.  I attended the Third performance at Baruch in New York back in 2011 which had Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, Matthew Sweet and a heck of a lot of others who sang the album in entirely as well as other Big Star covers…some of these songs as well as clips from that last show in Brooklyn are captured in the documentary. There is a brief second when you see me as I am walking out of the auditorium and about to shake Jody Stephen’s hand who stood in the lobby and shook many hands before calling it a night…Nothing can hurt me…Big Black car…to sum it up Big Star never had the opportunity to succeed.  From the movie, there was just a sense of bad luck with the band.  Chris Bell recorded a 45, I am the cosmos, and tragically died at 27.  The original bassist left after the second album.   And to capture the thought are the lines from their song Holocaust, “Everybody goes as far as they can.” (Big Star/Third)

Thank you for reading this.

  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Alabama Shakes brings down Carnegie Hall

March 25, 2017I apologize for the delay since I should have wrote this last weekend.  I’m trying to write a blog entry once a week.  Once a week.  That is all.  Yet, even the single entry can get tangled in other demands.  Writing is a discipline.  Either I have it or I get distracted or lost in other habits.  Anyway, here is my review of the Tibet House concert on March 16th…as always thank you for reading it.I was in Pennsylvania on business and yet I had tickets to see the show at Carnegie Hall.  When I bought the single seat – a few weeks back – I bought the most expensive - in the orchestra. I knew I had to write down the event my book since I would forget.  I had made plans with a client to visit the company and yet, even with the date marked down, I still forgot.  But, I was not going to miss this event.  The lineup was incredible, Iggy Pop, New Order, Alabama Shakes, Patty Smith, Laurie Anderson, and others and of course the esteemed composer Philip Glass.  It was a benefit co…

The American Pink Floyd Experience-Ameri-Floyd at 89 North Patchogue

07:54 2/15/15
I wanted to get in a review of The American Pink Floyd Experience (Ameri-Floyd) at 89 North a couple of weeks back.  I also wanted to write down some thoughts on the amount of Pink Floyd copy bands that play in the area.  This will be brief and I hope you can relate or share your thoughts.   If you are a Pink Floyd fan, the only feasible way to experience their music live - is through a cover band.  There are no plans for Pink Floyd to tour.  There is no reason for them to tour since there are many options to see these cover bands.  No matter where to live, you can rest your minds there is a Floyd cover band close by.  The band that played at 89 North was their first show, but they were solid and were close to perfect.  Ameri-Floyd are fused from two different Pink Floyd cover bands to form The American Pink Floyd Experience, not the be confused with the Brit or the Aussie Pink Floyd Experience and not to be further compared and contrasted with the The American Pink Floyd…

A short review of Henry Rollin's book Solipsist

This year my plan is to read most if not all of Henry Rollin's books.

I just finished Henry Rollins book Solipsist, 166 pages. I wanted to get in a few words – to share a brief review. Overall the book is solid. It is entertaining to a degree, but the sentences were boring. Almost all of the sentences began with I or me. Why not, take a look at the title, which means that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified. There were three segments I heard on some of his CD’s so they were not shocking and were different from the ego driven ejaculations on most the pages. Still, it’s a good book which drums up internal conflicts over and over again.