Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Apr 12th 2010 4:00PM by David Chiu
"Alex was a person who I really related to as an American songwriter," Sweet tells Spinner. "I really got into him through discovering the dB's and Mitch Easter from Let's Active when I was in high school. I had [Big Star's] crazy weird 'Third' record and I knew it as well as 'Radio City,' because I probably had it first. I had to order these records because they weren't around."
Sweet recorded Big Star's 'The Ballad of El Goodo' for a 2006 tribute album called 'Big Star, Small World.' He says he never really knew Chilton personally, although he has worked with Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, who appeared on Sweet's 1993 record 'Altered Beast.'
"I met [Alex as] a teenager when I first went to Athens, Ga.," he recalls, "where there was a jam session with [the band] Panther Burns. He played guitar with them and he was just amazing. I sort of chatted with him for two seconds."
In the early '90s, both Big Star, who reunited at the time, and Sweet were on the same record label Zoo. "I've always felt a close connection to Big Star," Sweet says. "I really had feelings for Alex's music. I know he was a complicated dude, but aren't they often genius people like that?"
As for himself, Sweet is looking to have a busy year. First the music from his 'Girlfriend' album will be featured in the upcoming Berkeley Repertory Theater's musical of the same name. He is currently working on the follow-up to his 2008 album, 'Sunshine Lies,' and hopes to have that done by the summer. Simultaneously, Sweet is also doing production work for the new Bangles record and hints at possibly doing another 'Under the Covers' album with singer Susanna Hoffs, this time focusing on the '80s (their previous two records covered songs from the '60s and '70s).
"It's been a lot of studio work, which I love," he says. "It's a happy time, although how we survive and make money is always looming there. But I'm a happier person being kind of free the way we are, so that's worth it."