Thursday, April 2, 2009

First Review...

Here's the first review of the book. The capitals on THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME are actually in the review. As far as the book being a bit's actually one of the longest books in the series. But as I've noted before, there's a lot of material left out that will be posted here in weeks to come...

[Note: as you'll read in the book, John Fry was the engineer for Radio City.  The band actually produced the album.)

From UNDER THE RADAR magazine / Winter 2009

Bruce Eaton: 33 1/3 Presents Big Star's Radio City (Continuum)

The 33 1/3 series is always a fun read for record obsessives and Bruce Eaton's coverage of THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME here is no exception.

Eaton speaks to Alex Chilton, surviving bandmates, producer John Fry, Chris Bell's brother and other regulars in the Ardent / Big Star crew, doing a good job of presenting different viewpoints on the who/what/why. You get background on those involved, their convergence at Ardent Studios, and a rundown of track particulars. There's also some content for the geeks: amplifier details, drum mic setup etc.

Much has been made of the drama and tragedy surrounding Big Star–and you can't escape some of it–but the focus here is music. It's clear everyone involved loved being in the studio, and would have been there, perfecting their craft, regardless of the other factors, Any fan of the album will find this a quick, worthwhile read, if a bit short.

By J. Pace


Brian P. said...

Bruce - Congratulations on the book, looking forward to reading it. One question - how did you get Chilton to participate in new interviews? I'm guessing your personal connection helped, but he's famously hot/cold about Big Star and, in recent years, interviews in general.

Bruce Eaton said...

Hi Brian - When I wrote the proposal for the book I did so without any plan for interviewing Alex. It was only after I'd interviewed everyone else involved that I thought it was a possibility. I think that the participants – John Fry, Andy Hummel, Richard Rosebrough, Jody Stephens etc. – grew comfortable with the fact that I focused on the music – what was in the grooves and how it got there. John Fry talked to Alex about participating and Alex agreed to at least listen to what I was up to. We met in Philadelphia for a day – basically catching up and shooting the breeze. At the end of the day he agreed to be interviewed formally. I met up with him a few months later and we spent two afternoons with the tape recorder on. I think that there were two keys other than John Fry taking a real interest in the book. The first was that I had no interest in all the personal stuff. I mean, who really wants the exploits of their youth dredged up and put in print? What's the point? Why would you want to feed that? It's the record(s) that counts. The second is that I've always dealt with Alex straight up on the level and in the present. Even though I've played gigs with him and even shared a hotel room, I never asked him a question about Big Star until the book. We always talked about music we liked and whatever else. So I'd like to think that he was comfortable with the fact that I didn't have an underlying agenda beyond setting the record straight on what actually happened.

As a result of Alex participating, I dropped some of the material about my experiences to make room. I'll be posting some of the extra material in the weeks ahead so stay tuned.

Thanks! Bruce

mrkessler said...

Pretty sure this is gonna be awesome.