Guest blog – Hot Chip’s singer pays tribute to Big Star songwriter Alex Chilton, who died recently.
I was a massive Alex Chilton fan. Really, really obsessed with his music, particularly his solo stuff. Like a lot of people I started with Big Star, went backwards to the Box Tops, and then jumped forward to solo albums like ‘Like Flies On Sherbert’. His death is just really, really sad.
I saw him live a couple of times. Me and Joe [Goddard, Hot Chip keyboardist] flew to America when we were 16 or 17 and saw the reformed Box Tops on our first night in New York. I also saw Big Star at the London Astoria, at one of their reunion gigs.
Sadly, I only met him once. When I worked at Domino [Records] I was trying to get him to do a record with Domino, which could have been really interesting, but it never really happened in the end, perhaps because he was focusing on recording other people’s material at that point in his career.
It’s a strange coincidence. Just the day before he died, we were playing in France and there was a really beautiful Alex Chilton poster in the venue in our dressing room, hidden behind a sofa. It wasn’t really being looked at and it was getting battered by people always moving the sofa in front of it. At the end of the gig I asked the promoter if I could buy if off him and he said, ‘Yeah you can have it’.
What made it even weirder was that we’d been covering a Big Star song, ‘Thirteen’, at the beginning of ‘Boy From School’ in our set just three days before. So the whole tour, we’d been talking about Alex Chilton and singing his songs – and then we heard the news that he’d died.
I don’t know what you’re meant to say in this situation. But I just really admire him, and spent a long time listening to his music – so he’ll be missed a great deal.