Alex Chilton passes away days before playing a Big Star show at SXSW

Alex Chilton passes away days before playing a Big Star show at SXSW
Photo by Godlis

The mood turned somber last night as news of Alex Chilton's death spread throughout the SXSW festival. Chilton, 59, passed away yesterday afternoon after an apparent heart attack in New Orleans, just a few days before heading into Austin to play a Big Star showcase gig on Saturday night. As the news infiltrated Twitter, several members of the music scene back home chimed in with their own miniature eulogies of the influential power-pop pioneer.

"Without Chilton no Jayhawks/REM/Mats/Huskers/db's/Rain Parade/Game Theory/Posies/Teenage Fanclub," wrote Twin Cities musician and producer Ed Ackerson. "The mind reels... Not to mention no Cramps, Panther Burns, Let's Active. Chilton showed us how to write pop songs with teeth and anguish. Blurred beauty. Mangled melodicism. Proved guitar pop wasn't for pussies."

Meanwhile 'Mats bassist Tommy Stinson, who co-wrote the Replacements song "Alex Chilton" on Pleased to Meet Me in 1987, tweeted his own thoughts on the matter from abroad: "sad night in uraguay. vodka or whiskey? thirteen or nightime?"

For more on Chilton's life and legacy, see Jim DeRogatis's beautifully penned obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times.

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