Sometimes it’s a good idea to shut up and let someone else do the talking. Today is one of those days–I’m so pleased and honored to have Jody Stephens, founding member of legendary band Big Star, grace my humble blog that I’m at a loss for words, which almost never happens. Ask anybody. Jody fills us in on everything he’s been up to lately, (including the newly released Big Star Live 7″ featuring Jon Davis of Superdrag ) before tackling the high school highlights, so I will gladly step aside and allow him to take the much-deserved reins.
Overton High School, Memphis, TN, Class of ’70
Currently: I work along side of John Fry managing Ardent Studios. I also help out with our little indie label Ardent Music. We have a roster of one: Star & Micey. We also have a new Big Star EP release out on 7” vinyl. The three songs on the EP include John Davis on guitar and lead vocals and were recorded live during Big Star’s tribute to Alex Chilton at the Levitt Shell here in Memphis, May 15, 2010.
Chris Stamey has produced a few Big Star’s Third Live shows that have been incredible to be a part of. We plan to do more of them.
Golden Smog comes calling every now and then. We just played a couple of nights at the Fine Line in Minneapolis. GS is like a traveling medicine show…it’s good for what ails you.
And, while we used the name Big Star for the last time at the Levitt Shell show last year, it’s kind of hard to give up playing those songs together. So… Jon, Ken and I joined up with JB Meijers in the Netherlands this past April to play a few dates featuring Big Star songs. We were billed under our own names and had a few wonderful Dutch artists join us.
Song that reminds you the most of high school: “Aquarius.” While I was a senior in high school my brother Jimmy (bass) and I (drums) got picked to be part of the University of Memphis production of the musical Hair. The song “Aquarius” opened the play. I was 17 years old at the time and my eyes were opened to paraphrase a lyric from the play. It was controversial for its time and definitely a life changing experience for me. It also was the catalyst for my reintroduction to Andy Hummel and, via Andy, my introduction to Chris Bell, John Fry and Ardent Studios.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: I didn’t hang on to much from high school but I do still have a program from Hair.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: I started thinking about this one and realized that, amongst the people I knew at Overton, I was pretty much a loner when it came to being into music. I would hitch hike in to mid-town and hang out with guys that had the same interest in music. We were all into The Beatles, Stones, Kinks and the music coming out of Stax.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: The first thing I thought of…The Zombies was potentially the best concert, but I don’t remember it. I was shy, but I did have a date for this. In pursuit of a solution for being shy, I somehow obtained a 1/2 pint of Old Charter (a confidence builder)…such a mistake. I had too much “confidence” and wound up “sleeping” through the concert. Lesson learned. I went to see Led Zeppelin a year later, no date, no alcohol and was completely blown away.
Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: I didn’t date much in high school. Paper route money didn’t go very far and what I had went to things like buying records, drum stuff and going to see bands. When I had a couple of girlfriends in college, music’s role was more important to the healing part of breaking up. David Pomeranz’s New Blues and Time To Fly were good albums for that.