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SXSW: Remembering Alex Chilton

Alex ChiltonAlex Chilton, shown at South by Southwest in 2004, is remembered by dozens of bands playing the festival this week. (Photo: AP/Jack Plunkett)

By Chris Richards

Where were you when you heard Alex Chilton died? For throngs of music fans gathered in Austin for Wednesday night's kick-off of the 24th annual South By Southwest music festival, they were probably watching a band that had been somehow influenced by the American power-pop architect.

Year after year, SXSW remains a place where indie cult heroes are born. This year, festival goers lost the indie cult hero par excellence. Chilton was scheduled to play here on Saturday with his pioneering group Big Star -- a line-up that would include drummer Jody Stephens and bassist Andy Hummel. Rumors are currently circulating that a tribute concert will now take place instead -- details are still forthcoming.

Meantime, there was much talk of Chilton's passing in Austin's crowded streets on Wednesday night, but not much from the stage. Spoon, the beloved Austin rock troupe whose kicky, clarion guitar melodies can be traced back to Chilton's work with Big Star, performed a righteous set at Stubb's Bar-B-Q. They even did a cover, but not a Big Star song. (It was the Damned’s “Love Song.”)

For Chilton, an occasionally cantankerous figure who often refused to play his best loved tunes, this omission may have been seen as the ultimate nod of respect.

By Chris Richards  |  March 18, 2010; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  SXSW  | Tags: Alex Chilton, Spoon  
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Next: SXSW: Spoon plays it cool; Best Coast creates buzz


I cry like a baby...

Posted by: MarkT3 | March 18, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

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