I grew up listening to “oldies” music & always loved this song, especially when my dad explained that it was about prostitutes. Who can resist a song about prostitutes, especially ones that save men from boring sex?!
Ah, so here I sit, a year after the passing of Alex Chilton, wondering what I would be listening to if we had not gone to that Big Star show November 18, 2009. My Big Star love affair began quite slowly. In the beginning, I only knew the “Theme from ‘That 70’s Show'” & the song my boyfriend would play me that I knew was either Big Star or Elliott Smith that had the word “going” in it. Soon, the “going” song was fully realized as “The Ballad of El Goodo” & it became my favorite. Then, I learned that Jody Stephens is a very nice person when he was the only one to write back when I sent SXSW photos to him even though they were the worst photos I took all week. So, that was Big Star prior to November 18, 2009. I liked it but I didn’t “get” it.
I prepped for the show by listening to Big Star all day. I decided that “Watch The Sunrise” would be my second favorite song until the show started… Everything changed. I really felt as though there could never be music any more wonderful than what I was hearing. My mind was in overdrive trying to hold on to every second of what I was experiencing. I imagined this must have been the way people felt when they first saw the Beatles. It isn’t anything I can describe. All I know is that it was special & important & a moment that I hope lives forever. A friend of ours traded his ticket stub to someone after the show & I had an odd sense that it would be a mistake but I never expected it to be a mistake because that would be the last formal Big Star show….
Everything I have experienced as a result of loving Big Star has only led to more amazing experiences. I never understood when musicians said that if it weren’t for _____________ band, they would never have started a band. I get it now. It isn’t something I can describe, but I really get it. Big Star makes me want to play, certainly not because it is easy (it isn’t) but because of the way the music makes me feel. I believe Jody, Jon & Ken can keep Big Star alive for as long as they want. I also really hope they get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Please sign the petition ) I understand there is a lot of criticism surrounding the HoF. I have read where people have said “Alex wouldn’t have wanted it” & “the HoF is useless anyway.” Well, maybe a band like Kiss who will sell millions of albums with or without the nomination doesn’t need the HoF but for a band like Big Star, it would open up their music to new fans & secure a place for them in a history much larger than the current cult following. I am not very good at being selfish… I want the whole world to know & love their music.
So, as March 17 rapidly approaches, I will be spending my day listening to Big Star, The Box Tops & Alex Chilton, shedding tears for a man I never met, a man whose music & musical friends deserve nothing but the best. Big Star fans who may be reading this, I declare March 17 “Introduce a friend to Big Star” day 🙂
I didn’t realize just how far I had fallen behind in posting… These are from the Daniel Johnston show on October 14, 2009 at the Highline Ballroom in NYC. I have many, many more but these are the only ones I watermarked so I figure maybe by April I will post some more from this show. The Hymns were one of the opening bands and they’re pretty awesome too.
I love Daniel Johnston & I thank his brother so much for getting a photo pass for me. Even though this was a venue where sneaking a camera in was pretty easy, I feel special with a photo pass. I feel validated and important. If only I had a more public outlet for the results…
By the way, if you are unfamiliar with Daniel, it is time for my quarterly statement to encourage you to watch “The Devil & Daniel Johnston,” the best, most inspirational documentary I have ever seen. Then, buy yourself some Daniel Johnston records and fall in love.
“True love will find you in the end. You’ll find out just who was your friend. Don’t be sad. I know you will…” – Daniel Johnston
“We sing with our heroes 33 rounds per minute. We’re never going home until the sun says we’re finished.”
In catching up with posts, another amazing show I saw in 2009 was The Gaslight Anthem. I simply love this band. If you recall, I saw Brian Fallon about a year ago. I didn’t get to see the whole band until November when I saw them at Terminal Five in NYC. I only lasted about a minute in the second row before I got a boot in my head that narrowly missed the ultra fragile Canon 50mm. I had to have security rescue me so we won’t talk about that. This time, December 11 at The Wellmont in Montclair, I knew better than to get in the way of the moshing & crowd surfing so it was much more enjoyable. If I wasn’t so heck-bent on sneaking a camera in, I wouldn’t have been such a wimp about the crowd. I have to agree with them, when The Gaslight Anthem plays, you can’t stand still. Oh, The Wellmont show also rocked harder because they played so many songs, including a new one and some covers. These are not my best work but this was one of the best shows.
While the Canon is easier to sneak in when its wearing the 50mm, the 50mm is difficult to focus at 1.8 when you’re somewhat far from the stage.
These are from the Canon because it is easier to sneak in.
It has been a while since I have really written so I should let you know that I have moved on from my days of regularly waiting tables. I have a slightly more steady flow of income from a job that involves driving around A LOT and informing mortgagers that they need to call the bank. I get to take pictures of the houses but it is hardly a “photography” gig. However, I do get to travel the NJ roads least visited or remembered, but most memorable.
Last month, I found this scene near (or in?) Farmingdale & passed it twice in the same week for these alternate views…
I promised more Big Star &, almost two months later, here they are. This was, far & away, one of the best concerts I have ever seen. The way these men worked together to make the songs come to life was really something that every band should study.
My personal favorite…
I feel blessed to have witnessed this concert. I only edited 18 so far. 300+ to go. Here’s the best of that 18…
Alex Chilton – 11.18.09
That is Monster at Denny’s. He came with me to see Run Robot Saturday night. Run Robot is a kick ass rock band. This is Mike. He is the lead singer and is also the bass player for another of my favorite bands, Binky Bianca .
This is Chet. He plays guitar for Run Robot & Trick Bag (who I have yet to see live) & he is also one of my favorite photographers.
They’re both awesome people who I am grateful to count as friends. A wise, talented, successful musician* recently said to me, “Wow, you really support your friends.” I responded by telling him that I really love music and am afraid that live music is going to die. Also, I really believe that these friends of mine are incredibly talented. In most cases, I became their friends after I already was a fan of the music.
Here is Binky from Binky Bianca at Uncle Mike’s on Mischief Night. Her talents are too many to count.
This is Crow from The Vile All Stars performing at Don Hill’s on Halloween night.
This is Misha at the same show. While she performed solo on this night, she also has a band – Grace Beats Karma.
This is Greg from Snowball 37.
Regular readers may recognize this as Dave from Snowball 37.
These are my five favorite bands.
This is one of my favorite kitties, Bullety.
*Rivers Cuomo rocks. Let it be stated here that I cannot get enough of the “Words & dreams & a million screams…” part of “Across The Sea.” wow.