Sunday, March 21, 2010

Paul Westerberg Speaks

Wow. On the Op-Ed page of the NY Times, no less.

Those of us not lucky enough to get to Big Star the first time around--and those who did were a pretty small cadre--generally got there through a group we liked. For me, it was Shoes, of course, who always cited Big Star and Grin as their main influences. For others, it was The Replacements. But most of us got there indirectly.

The outpouring of grief and respect Chilton's death has caused owes more than a little to Paul Westerberg. Mr. Westerberg, we salute you for it.

(h/t Otto Part)

11 comments:

billy b said...

That was excellent, Molls. Thanks for posting that.

I actually used to work at one of the grocery stores that Chilton named his band after.

steve simels said...

Lovely.

And I didn't know that Shoes were Grin fans as well. Those boys have good taste...

Kid Charlemagne said...

I learned about Shoes through an interview in Trouser Press where they namechecked them. First time I ever heard of them.

I'm sorry but Grin is pretty much unlistenable to these ears, though I like Lofgren's solo stuff.

tbrough said...

Wow. thanks for posting this. Nice to see Paul take the time to share his thoughts.

Also a big Shoes fan here, I even was a 'fan club' member.

NYMary said...

tbrough,
I'm currently completing the definitive (?) band bio of Shoes. Should be out soon.

John Fowler said...

thanks for the link, who'd have predicted in the mid-80's that Westerberg would end up writing about Alex Chilton in the NYT?

and MYMary certainly nails my journey to Big Star - it came after interview comments from R.E.M. and the fabulous 'Mats song. But, I must also mention another influence that showed me the way - the unnamed progenitors (in a way) to this blog, the music-loving, budding journalists that also hailed Big Star and Chilton in various publications I read back in those days - the local alternative weekly and the college daily in Athens. Folks like them (and like the proprietors of this blog) do a great service to folks like me that just don't have time to explore all music.

So, thank you NYMary, steve and Kid, for providing a wonderful blog, for reading and posting and listening. This blog was the way I learned the sad news, and also has been a good place to come to contemplate it's meaning.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who's been listening to the Big Star albums since Thursday. Over and over and over, and they are just remarkably wonderful. My life is just better for hearing them. So, huge thanks to Alex Chilton and cohorts for making the music in the first place, and thanks also to those multiple folks who helped me be able to experience the music. Although it's a sad way for it to happen, let's hope that even more of the world has a chance to love this music due to the accolades and tributes that are showing up all over.

Marsupial said...

I can't say that I would have never heard of Chilton if it weren't for the 'Mats, but they certainly pushed me in his direction. I had heard Big Star, and some Chilton, by the mid-80s, but I'd also heard (and still hear) COUNTLESS other bands that I want to hear more of, or hear about, and never do. (My own fault.)

As a teen, I used to keep a list of these bands. I grew up in an L.A. suburb, so if KROQ, or KSPC, or (pre-metal) KNAC, played something unfamiliar that really caught my attention I would wait for the back-announce and then scribble down what I could. I know that "Tee Ni Nee Ni Noo" was on that list (must have been from KSPaCe), and when the Replacements song came out, something clicked in my head to send me back to the list, and on from there.

Thank you Paul. Jesus, I miss those guys...

Marsupial said...

... and yes, I know he didn't write it. It was a jumping-off point.

TMink said...

Alex Chilton's covers often sounded as if he wrote them. Even the weird ones like "What's Your Sign?'

Trey

Billy said...

he's a better songwriter than writer. Now Westerberg's wife.... she's a writer. Her book "Petal Pusher" (about being in the all-girl band Zuzu's Petals) if flippin' phenomenal. Laurie Lindeen is her name (I think).

Mike J said...

I grew up in Memphis, more specifically in the Antenna Club. From the time I was old enough to get there on my own (sneaking in underage was never really a problem, even for a 15 year old) Alex played there every few months solo. Most of the Panther Burns shows I saw there were later incarnations, but I did see him with them at least once.

In college I dj'ed at the student radio station at Mizzou, KCOU, and damn near played the grooves off No Sex. Several years later when I heard of the reunion, I flew back to Memphis from DC and drove to Columbia for the show.

I could go on and on and on about all the shows, all the cool covers, how he was friendly every time I ever spoke to him, sadly never more than a minute or two, always about other bands or a particular song.

I don't really know what he was like as a person, and not really sure I care that much. He was a great artist who really loved making music, and even when he was down his love of performing shone out of him. The world is a shittier place without him in it.