New music from Eminem? Yes, please. While the summer heats up with music from…
- Posted on Mar 17th 2011 1:00PM by David Chiu
"Alex was an interesting guy," Stephens tells Spinner. "He would be very complimentary of me to other people. It's an interesting relationship we had from 1970 to 2010. We never really talked much aside from being in the band and things related to that. But we did communicate on stage and in the studio really well. And there's nothing like that kind of bond. It made Alex's passing much more devastating than I thought it would be. He lived in New Orleans and we didn't see each other that often. I miss him a lot."
Stephens lost another colleague from the band last year -- bassist Andy Hummel, who died on July 19. It was Hummel who knew Stephens prior to Big Star's formation. As described by Robert Gordon in his liner notes for the Big Star boxed set, 'Keep an Eye on the Sky,' Hummel saw Stephens in the performance band during a college production of "Hair." Both he and Stephens later rehearsed with Big Star's other co-founder, the late Chris Bell. Stephen says Hummel's passing really hit him hard.
"He had such a profound impact on my life," he says of Hummel. "His dad was a doctor, but he was always fiddling with something -- cars or converting old gas lamps into electric chandeliers. He never seemed to sit still. He was always doing something productive, as was Andy's mom. And there's Andy, who was a really creative and talented guy and focused on what is necessary and what's not in life. Andy's the guy who steered me in the direction of Chris. If Andy hadn't come up on stage after the performance of 'Hair,' my life would have been incredibly different.
Stephens will also participate in the upcoming show celebrating Big Star's 'Third' album in New York. He remembers what Chilton brought to the record during that period in the '70s. "There was this brilliance going on. Alex always had a voice that connected and his melodies were always pretty incredible. He had a mind for doing things a little differently. Even his deconstructing some things in a musical way worked and were improvements in terms of getting his particular point across. It was an interesting period of time."
Regarding the atmosphere surrounding the Big Star's 'Third' event last December in North Carolina, Stephens says: "It was just a celebration, I think, of Alex and some really wonderful music."
"It's a pretty amazing album, an audio snapshot of where [Alex] was in his life. There are some amazingly sweet and beautiful songs there. So it was a joy to do it. It was a dark and melancholy album. You wouldn't think of it as the center point of a celebration, but it was."