OK, I am not sure if the protagonist (antagonist?) in this video is a mutant ‘Deer Man’ creature or just a guy wearing a Deer head mask. It does make difference in the way that you look at the clip, but ultimately it makes no difference in the way things work out. Anyway, I dig the absurd yet menacing indie flick Bag Head vibe of this high-concept-meets-performance video by Destroy This Place, a pretty rockin’ band from Detroit that channel all of the best sonic aspects of The Flamin’ Groovies, The Posies and The Jam for their fun, anthemic song called “Graves.” Check it out!
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with musician Alex Chilton, but if you’ve heard The Replacements’ song by that same name, then you at least know that children by the millions sing for him and are in love with his songs. And that’s all you really need to know in order to enjoy the sublime new documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, a profoundly detailed love letter to the wildly influential, Memphis-based 1970’s power pop band that Chilton cofounded along with guitarist/songwriter Chris Bell, drummer Jody Stephens and bassist Andy Hummel. Directed by Drew DeNicola, Nothing Can Hurt Me is by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, as band members, journalists, photographers, label employees, family, fans and friends recount their own experiences with and memories of a band whose three albums (#1 Record, Radio City and Third) garnered volumes of critical praise, but whose record label lacked the distribution necessary for Big Star to break commercially. Despite its music being virtually unheard during the band’s existence, Big Star songs deeply influenced bands as diverse as Cheap Trick, The Bangles, REM and The Posies, making them possibly the first cult band, ever.
Like I said, you don’t need to know anything about Big Star or its music to be completely engrossed by the band’s story and be charmed as well as intrigued by its four very talented members, particularly the enigmatic Chilton and the insightful (and still devastatingly handsome) Jody Stephens. The band’s music, as well as Chris Bell’s post-Big Star efforts and Chilton’s many and varied solo projects, are featured prominently in the film, and I can guarantee that if you do not already own Big Star’s catalog you will be downloading it from iTunes directly after watching this film. Like another great music documentary film released this year, Jobriath AD, Nothing Can Hurt Me provides a bittersweet hindsight to what went wrong and what might have been done differently. Most importantly, it provides a showcase for music that is timeless, amazing and simply should not remain a well-kept secret.
Adding an additional note of melancholy to the film is the realization that any true Big Star reunion is now impossible, with Stephens being the sole surviving member of the group. Chris Bell joined the 27 Club – the victim of a single-vehicle car cash – in 1978, and both Chilton and Hummel passed away within months of each other in 2010. It’s very likely though that this film will reignite a following and lead to more musicians being influenced by a band that never got to enjoy the fame and fortune they deserved. To find out where you can see Nothing Can Hurt Me before it’s eventually released on DVD, please visit Big Star Story Dot Com.
The Worley Gig Gives Nothing Can Hurt Me Five out of Five Stars!
Watch the Trailer Below:
Back in 1995, The Posies – being for all intents and purposes the ridiculously talented core duo of Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow – contributed a cover of “Richie Dagger’s Crime” to the CD A Small Circle of Friends; a Germs tribute collection put out by the now-defunct Grass Records. The Posies chose to interpret one of The Germs’ most – by extremely loose-definition – “Pop” tunes by reworking it as a sort of hybrid of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” meets “You Won’t See Me” – right down to the “Ooh, la la la” harmonies. It was a genius move, and something only The Posies could have pulled off. You know Auer and Stringfellow were high-five-ing and slapping each other on the back for at least a couple of weeks over that idea.
While I’d bet a million dollars that only a handful of the most hardcore Germs or Posies fans, or rock critics that were lucky enough to get a review copy of A Small Circle of Friends, ever even heard this track, it’s nevertheless the song that comes to my mind first whenever anyone mentions The Posies. Because, gee whiz, these guys have huge balls and the talent to back up those balls. In the intervening years, The Posies have broken up and reunited a few times and generally avoided becoming the household name they deserve to be, but if you’ve ever heard any of their music, you know this is a band to pay attention to when Auer and Stringfellow decide to get their shit together and record a new album. That time has come again after a five-year wait, with the impending release of Blood/Candy ; a twelve-track collection of amazing songs that revives a classic Posies sound while taking their power pop vibe to the next level.
Blood/Candy is exciting not because it sounds modern at all – it emphatically does not – but because it sounds so sublimely retro; like the best of the 60s and 70s radio pop/rock that anyone over 40 grew up listening to and losing their minds over. Jesus, I could listen to “For The Ashes” over and over again and never get sick of it. Definitely one of the five best albums released so far this year, Blood/Candy belongs in your collection if you dig The Beatles, Jellyfish, The Hollies, America, Blur, Peter-Gabriel era Genesis or any band that reminds you of any of those bands. It’s that pure and yet that eclectic. I love this album.
Blood/Candy (Rykodisc) will be released on September 28, 2010. In early November The Poises embark on a US tour with co-headliner Brendan Benson. I’d say this is a tour not to be missed.