27.5 Big Star - 3rd (Third/Sister Lovers)
Before I dig too deep into this record, I’ve been struggling with how to work this blog. Pretty much right after I wrote about all my Big Star albums, I got this one in the mail. It then turns into “how do I go about looking backwards into my blog and writing about something I just got? How do I number it? When do you write about it?” These are all really dumb questions because this is just a simple tumblr blog, that I lately have been too busy to pay attention to (sorry). Eventually these questions answered themselves as, “You’ll know when it feels right.” Right now, it feels very appropriate to write about this album.
I’ve had a really huge Big Star week. On Sunday I went to Central Park to see this huge tribute show that’s happened a few times where this album is performed in its entirety. Last night I re-watched the Big Star documentary, this time with my entire band/roommates, in an effort to turn them into Big Star fans. Anyway, to the concert. As I walked to Central Park a tad early, I saw a very small line to get in, as well as the band still sound-checking, doing “Don’t Lie To Me” off #1 Record. I had a feeling I had a hell of a night in store. I was able to get dead center right in the front for the show. I met a guy who had only $12 in his pocket, and had taken a Megabus from Baltimore simply to see this show, and was somehow going to get back that night. We chatted about Badfinger, and Todd Rundgren for a good bit. There were these two other friends, one of which was in a band that recently had their record mastered at Ardent Studios, simply because they wanted to have it go through that lens that Big Star had. Soon after that I pointed out that Big Star drummer Jody Stephens was just walking around in the crowd just talking to some people that it appeared he knew. The dude from the band who had his record mixed at Ardent immediately shot up and went to go talk to him. I immediately got flashbacks to a few months prior when he was at the NYC screening of the documentary, and about how they were all going to the bar next door if you wanted to chat. I sat there pondering if I wanted to talk to him. Looking back on it, I should have. I really should have. I would’ve told him how much their music meant to me, and how I have learned so much about rock drumming from him. Seriously. I have learned more about drumming to rock music from Jody Stephens than any other drummer on this earth. I have stolen every single one of his drum fills on #1 Record and Radio City. The fill from “The Ballad of El Goodo” is my go to fill for everything. I’ve sped it up, slowed it down, everything. For that alone I should have gone up to talk to him. I should have said that to him in November. But I didn’t. I really hope one day I can, and not miss that chance.
Anyway, the show was pretty spectacular. They came out and did a bunch of non-Third songs, the highlight being Chris Stamey of the dB’s simply announcing “I’m sure you all remember the first time you heard this song,” then sitting down on a monitor, and watching one of the band members singing and playing the heart-string puller of “Thirteen.” Soon the band kicked into Third with a chamber orchestra and horn section in tow. They took liberties on the track order, which is totally par for the course since the album never has had a strict order. The songs felt so powerful being playing with a huge band, and watching Jody play drums for over two hours was such a treat. During “Kangaroo” my eyelids started to get a bit heavy; I nearly teared up.
They talking about how this is a “get the knives out” kind of record; and while I see that as a fact, I haven’t had that sort of relationship with this album that others had. I discovered it after Chilton’s unfortunate death when people were sending around songs on Facebook from this album. To be honest, it wasn’t until last year when I really felt like I fully absorbed this record. I still am digesting it. It’s a slow burner, and like great albums do, reveals itself more and more as you age with it.