Our friend Rich used to write the obit column for The Herald Telephone in Indiana. It was about that time that I put it together that people actually died.
Friday’s obits really got us going. I didn’t realize I had been so manipulated back when I wanted to sleep with my Davy Crockett coonskin cap on. Turns out, with over 3000 Disney/Crockett toys on the market, most kids in America had the same desire. I don’t remember having any of the other products though.
On the same page, right below the Fess Parker obit was Alex Chilton’s. I loved the songs he sang in the Box Tops and bought those singles but never caught on to Big Star. We absolutely loved the Cramps first singles and I knew Alex Chilton’s name was on those as producer. In fact, Peggi drove down with some friends to Max’s Kansas City to see the Cramps during that time period. I was in the studio that night with New Math recording our first single with Howard Thompson behind the boards so I missed the show. And I knew our friend Pete LaBonne played with Alex and would regularly send him his own releases. He and Shelley visited Alex backstage at one of the recent Box Top reunion shows. I played a few gigs with “Pete’s Rock Band” with Bruce Eaton on bass. Buffalo Bruce is a big Big Star fan and wrote the 33 1/3 book on “Radio City”, Big Star’s second album. Bruce wrote the Chilton obit for Salon Magazine.
So now that he is gone, just what was he all about. We downloaded about ten songs from various blogs and put them them in our iTunes library. The songs were pop and grungy and country and bluesy and all over the map. “September Gurls” is stuck in my head. And then I remembered Pete had given us a solo Chilton lp called “Like Sherbert on Flies”. Since he doesn’t have either electricity or a record player he asked us to keep it for him. We played both sides of this particularly odd record. It sounds sort of like Pete’s “Antique Revolt” and I know how that recording went. Pete bought some big cans of malt liquor and instructed Arpad to roll the tape.
On the editorial page of today’s paper Paul Westerberg wrote a piece on his mentor called “Beyond the Box Tops. He talked about Big Star and how Alex went on to record more challenging and artistic records “Like Flies On Sherbert.”
We spotted this dead mole in the woods and and Steve Hoy called us on Friday to tell us his mom had died. I feel especially lucky to be alive.