Like a lizard
on a windowpane....
Here’s how my mind works sometimes. Like a relay race. Alex Chilton dies and the synapses start yapping and snapping and something like this comes out. I had read and heard in different places, Paul Westerberg’s tribute in the online New York Times, a conversation I had with someone who knew him, that in the years after he moved from Memphis to New Orleans, Chilton was washing dishes for a living or as Westerberg mentioned, living in a tent in Tennessee. Whether these things were about choice or necessity, I don’t know. On the face of it, they are not activities one associates with legendary rock status, or lifestyle choices popular musicians normally make. But I don’t claim to have known Alex Chilton through anything but his music, and although his talent for melody seemed to flow without effort, there was nothing easy about the way Chilton treated it, as has been previously noted by Robert Hull on this site.
So what do I know? Washing dishes and living in a tent might have fulfilled some promise he made to himself. He would try to live like an ascetic. He would try the mendicant path. Maybe anything worth saying isn’t supposed to come easy.
But the synapses start yapping and snapping and the baton gets passed. I think, hey, what about That 70’s Show? Didn’t he make a pile from “In the Street?” Didn’t that show give the world Mila Kunis from Kiev? Didn’t Chilton agree to a Box Tops tour not so long ago? Hey, didn’t Big Star make their first studio record since 1973 in 2005 and weren’t they scheduled to play at South by Southwest when Chilton passed away. Wasn’t the world becoming A.C.’s oyster again?
A Manchester combo originally called the Jets, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders performed with a trebly guitar, shrill falsettos, and a breakneck purposelessness. In 1965, they released, as if by chance, one of the great party albums of the British Beat period: The Game of Love (Fontana MGF 27542).
TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS
Like everyone, I have been quite busy listening to both excellent new stereo and mono box-set reissues of the Beatles catalog, and it is truly revelatory.
But now it's time to redo the Monkees' catalog, I think, which would include FINALLY releasing for the first time their long-lost suppressed masterpiece: The Beatles Suck.
Rhino, are you listening?