The news of Alex Chilton's death has hit us hard. It was 9 years ago, on a cold January morning in 2001, when I first got a call to play a string of dates in Canada with The Box Tops. I met Alex that morning at the airport in Minneapolis, where we all met for the connecting flight to Winnipeg. I learned the Box Tops songs that day on the airplanes, writing out charts while listening to a Walkman. Through the last nine years, I came to expect the unexpected whenever I was around Alex. One day he would bring up Graham Greene, another day it might be politics or food or classical music. Erudite and very liberal with a quick mind, he carried himself through this world floating on his own cynical nonchalance. He was never one to shy away from an opinion. And I always valued his opinions.The son of a Memphis judge who also played jazz piano, Alex was a self-educated man his whole life after quitting school to go on the road with The Box Tops at age 16. I once caught him playing Bach on my piano while we were screwing around during a soundcheck. He had memorized some pieces and was slowly working them out. A few months later I heard him playing a different Bach piece on a guitar in a dressing room. I started looking at Bach with a new appreciation. Nine years later, I credit Alex for, among many other things, leading me back to J.S.Bach. Here's one of my favorite pictures of Alex. He's in mid-flight, onstage in Cleveland, Ohio at the Beechland Ballroom in March, 2007. The picture was shot by my then 20 year old son Brennan. RIP and godspeed, Alex. You were one of the good guys.
Aug 11Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch, Pomeroy,
Aug 12Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch, Pomeroy,
Aug 13Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch, Pomeroy
Aug 14Fur Peace Ranch, Pomeroy