My inbox was flooded this morning from emails from the The Daily Swarm list serve, regarding Alex Chilton’s death. I am embarrassed to admit that I have actually never listened to Big Star. After reading several tributes including one by Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone, I realize I have missed out on someone who I would probably admire along with Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed.
Many of my favorite bands (most notably R.E.M.) cite Big Star and Alex Chilton as a major influence. It’s odd that I would never make the connection and check out Big Star. Usually the way I discover new music (for me anyway) is to figure out my favorite bands influences. Peter Buck is actually one of the reasons I decided to check out The Rolling Stone’s Exile on Main St. About 13 years ago, I remember reading an interview with The Edge from U2 and he cited The Clash’s London Calling as a major influence. When I had enough money, I went to the record store and bought a copy of London Calling. I felt like I belonged in the cool club because I had an album that inspired my idols.
I really wanted to go to South by Southwest this year, and I even though I’ve never listened to them, I’m willing to be I would have checked out the Big Star show if I had gone. I feel bad for those going this year who went specifically to see them. To many Alex Chilton is like like Elvis Costello is to me. I just wish I had known him sooner.