Earbending at SXSW 2010

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John Rosenfelder and Thurston Moore at Red 7 (photo: Jeremy Tepper)

Culminating an interesting SXSW hour where I saw former DGC Records artists John Doe and Jonathan Auer (from the Posies) at the Rolling Stone party, I went over to Red 7 to check in on “punk supergroup” Demolished Thoughts (Don Fleming, J Mascis, Awesome Allison, Thurston Moore), who were about to “rehearse” for their set later that night. Like an idiot I didn’t remember about Alex Chilton‘s demise when Auer brought him up to me. I said “Alex who?” and that must have been shocking to the guy who helped bring back the seminal Big Star, and would go on to play a poignant show in tribute the next night.

I was out of it, but I loved him too.  Aside from his vast influence on music, Alex even got me my first national tv exposure on Entertainment Tonight.

My biggest encounter with Alex Chilton was backstage at a Teenage Fanclub show in New Orleans, the night after JazzFest ended in 92. He recalled with a joyful tone two of my co-workers, Mark Kates and Ray Farrell, who had worked with him in the past in various modes. Off the top of my head, Ray’s was with the Panther Burns from Memphis, and Kates promoted him as a solo artist on Big Time, possibly in connection to the Hoodoo Gurus? As the old man used to say, “you can look it up.”

Thanks to Jeremy Tepper of Sirius XM Outlaw Country and Willie’s Place for snapping this great picture of me reminding Thurston of Mike Watt‘s creed that “actors rehearse and musicians practice.”  It’s a semantic difference — the kind that runs very deep in Watt, distilled from many hours of thought experiments. I take it to mean that an actor knows the script and a musician doesn’t really have one, despite playing songs being written in advance of performance. Watt is allowing for the unexpected in his shows, and wants his compatriots to be ready for it too.

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