About a week ago, caught up in the heartfelt obits and the various tributes throughout South by Southwest to Alex Chilton, I ordered Thirdonline. Part of the reason I bought it over the Web was because none of our local record stores had the CD. But a deeper reason was because I didn’t want to hear a record store clerk say “Would’ve been a lot cooler to have sold this when Chilton was alive.”
Sadly, Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Teddy Pendergrass, Vic Chesnutt and Chilton have enjoyed some of their biggest sales weeks for the saddest of reasons. It’s a habit that’s easy to predict. An artist dies, triggering an outpouring of obits from the press. Other artists express their condolences in interviews or on their Twitter accounts. For some, this is either a sincere form of tribute or an honest attempt to try to learn more about the artist. For others, it’s bandwagon jumping at its worst.