The way I came to discover the music of Alex Chilton is not a cool story. Not at all. I was a junior in high school I believe, just really getting into music for the first time in my life. I mean, REALLY getting into it. Like, listening to a record on repeat for hours on end, obsessively researching the most mundane details of your new favorite band. That sort of thing. The obsession of the moment was the Counting Crows and their record 'August And Everything After.'
I would spend my weekends heading down to the cool records stores on the Ohio State campus, scouring the import sections for insanely overpriced live recordings of excruciatingly bad quality. Seriously, I bought multiple Counting Crows bootlegs that cost close to $50 and sounded like they were recorded from a cassette player in a guy's back pocket...500 yards from the stage. And these were my prized possessions for an 18 month period of my life. On one of these bootlegs, during the 17 minute long performance of the 3 minute song "Mr. Jones", Adam Duritz changed the lyric "I wanna be Bob Dylan" to "I wanna be Alex Chilton"...I remember using an internet search engine for one of the first times in my life to see who this Chilton dude was. To this day, one of the best uses of technology in the history of my life.
I listened to a ton of Big Star that summer and a lot of his previous band, The Box Tops. But it would take years for me to really consider myself a fan of his music. But now, almost 20yrs later, and having fallen in love with the music from so many other artist's who considered Alex Chilton a HUGE influence, I am a huge fan. When I had heard that he passed away yesterday, I was stunned, saddened, but most of all just grateful for the hundreds of hours I have been able to spend listening to his music.
Thank you Mr. Chilton.
* Big Star - 'The Ballad Of El Goodo' MP3
* Big Star - 'September Gurls' MP3
* Big Star - 'Thirteen' MP3
* The Replacements - 'Alex Chilton' MP3