Glasgow Film Festival 2013's closing gala party features a tribute to Big Star, with DJ sets from Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and the good folks at Monorail. We take a look at some of the ways Big Star and Glasgow have connected over the years...
Over 4000 miles of Dixie and ocean separate Memphis, Tennessee from
Glasgow, Scotland, but influence travels far without fatigue. As
tonight’s closing gala tribute will underscore, the music of Big Star
has had a pronounced impact on many of our city’s musicians, with the
mercurial Alex Chilton particularly cherished thanks to time spent here
and friendships made before his sad passing in 2010, aged just 59.
Through a handful of songs, we consider some of the ways in which
Glasgow has shown Big Star love over the years, and been shown it back.
Teenage Fanclub – Ret Liv Dead
The Fannies have never been shy about showing their indebtedness to Chilton and co, going as far as to name fourth album Thirteen after #1 Record’s wistful paean to adolescent romance. While Thirteen
occupies a relatively lowly position in the band’s radiant discography,
the fuzzy beauty of Ret Liv Dead pins down the influence: blissful
melodies, vibrant guitar lines and a frequent, almost tangible
V-Twin – Derailed
V-Twin’s Jason McPhail was a close friend of Chilton’s, putting him
up on his visits to Glasgow and spearheading the Mono tribute concert
held in mid-2010. This gently abrasive ballad combines a simple
vocal-plus-guitar melody with creaking strings and pockets of feedback –
a rough-with-the-smooth aesthetic suggestive of Big Star’s opus work Third/Sister Lovers.
Primal Scream – Star
According to Bobby Gillespie, Big Star influenced Primal Scream in
ways “too many to mention” (with Chilton’s early tutelage of The Cramps
also notably formative). We’ve singled out Vanishing Point’s
oasis of calm Star –not because its title constitutes 50% of the act in
question, but because its woozy lullaby reportedly found a fan in
1990s – Take Me Home and Make Me Like It
V-Twin’s other core member Michael McGaughrin went on to drum with
zesty rock and rollers 1990s, who have been known to perform this
ramshackle slice of honky-tonk sleaze-pop live. First appearing on
Chilton’s Bach’s Bottom LP, the track constitutes one of the
more accessible moments in a sprawling solo career known to split Big
Star devotees down the middle.
Teenage Fanclub & Alex Chilton – I’ve Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)
A second Teenage Fanclub appearance brings this mini mix-tape full
circle. The Belshill band collaborated with their idol-cum-cohort on
several occasions, with this soulful take on I’ve Never Found a Girl –
recorded for mid-nineties Scottish arts show Don’t Look Down –
particularly worth tracking down on your online video sharing site of