Alex Chilton - Live at Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (6-22-85) 1 & 2
Alex Chilton - Live at the VFW Hall, Baton Rouge, LA (9-27-85) 1
Alex Chilton - Live at The Heartbreak Hotel, Languedoc, France (5-7-86) 1 & 2
March 18, 2010 - I heard the news today. First story on NPR when the alarm went off, I think it was. First I noticed. My eyes shot open when the announcer said "Alex Chilton..." because I knew it couldn't be anything good that was going to follow. I was still shocked when she actually said it, though. My Smart Wife and I both gasped and said "Oh, no!" at the same time. I think I swore too.
Thanks for everything Alex. I'm actually tearing up typing this. You've brought a lot of joy into our home and our hearts. Thanks for everything.
The following was originally posted here on February 16, 2009.
Like so much of the music that hit me right between my eyes and somehow also pierced my heart in my Golden Youth, Alex Chilton's came to me via a tape made by Oldest Brother. He put Bach's Bottom and Like Flies on Sherbert on it with some Cramps to fill 'er out. I didn't know what in the hell I was hearing, but it struck me as being somewhere between madness and brilliance in the giddy, throw myself at the walls way it made me feel. It was a new language to me, alien in its raw blueness and its lowdown drunken heartbeats. I didn't know how to hear this stuff. (A few years later Oldest Brother and the 'monkey had too many beers and spent a night singing - nay, screaming - along to "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It" in the kitchen of the apartment we shared).
And then Chilton had his 80s renaissance and not only was he recording but touring - huzzah! High Priest became a party album and a point of commonality between me and my friends who came to music via a different path (non-punk, classic rock and blues). And Chilton live was an awesome thing. I've never stopped hearing his totally wacked and extended solo on "Volare" from one of his O'Cayz gigs. My Smart Wife and I still go all glassy-eyed when we talk about it. (And if you are out there, guy who was next to me at that show, guy who had microphones on his baseball cap and wires going down into his shirt- release your tape! If the tape self-destructed, unable to contain such beauty, you are forgiven. If you are dead, you are forgiven. Otherwise, I will find you and you will pay for keeping this from the world for so long!)
Saw Chilton in Middleton, Wisconsin in 2000 at The Hotel which I think is gone now, probably an apartment building or something. Sweet show. Got all fanboy and asked for his autograph. He was a gentleman for sure. This was just before or after the show at Schuba's that's passed around a lot in trading circles. I don't recommend that show; the sound sucks. These kind of tinny, raw tapes from the 80s are much better. They really capture Chilton live.
Enjoy! Buy shit!
Postscript: I just found this on the YouTube...and it reminds me of the Chilton I loved. A total wise-ass! This has to be the very worst lip-synching job in history. And check out what the keyboard player is doing! Alex does manage to look cool even when his mouth isn't open and he's still magically singing.