The long-awaited Big Star documentary is set to have its debut next month at South by Southwest in Austin. According to the director, Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story is a feature-length documentary “of artistic and musical salvation”, chronicling the development, decline, and triumphant legacy of Memphis’ beloved underground heroes.
Headed by ex-Box Tops singer Alex Chilton through the early ‘70s, Big Star released three critically embraced albums in its short lifetime, but never was able to achieve broader success. However, like the Velvet Underground before them, it would be a small, but committed core of followers who would propel this Memphis band to cult status for years to come. A wide swath of artists including R.E.M., Cheap Trick, the dB’s, the Replacements, Jeff Buckley, the Flaming Lips, and Elliott Smith have all acknowledged the influence of Big Star and the importance of their music.
It’s fitting that the debut occur at South by Southwest, as tragedy struck the band there in 2010 when Alex Chilton died of a heart attack, just days before their planned set. The ensuing tribute show became an event of mourning and celebration by band members, high-profile guests, and fans alike (footage from the documentary trailer has included scenes from that performance). Later in the year, original bassist Andy Hummel died as well, leaving drummer Jody Stephens as the sole survivor and torchbearer of the band. The release next month marks years of work by the producers to bring the captivating story of Big Star to the big screen.
For more information, visit bigstarstory.com.
// Notes from the Road
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