Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Pictures of Alex Chilton from a Seven-Year Old Roll of Film

My sister-in-law found an old roll of film that belonged to me, and suggested I get it developed.  Here are the results.

We took these pictures on May 2, 2003.  I remember this time well, as this was one week before Renee and I got married; you might remember it as the day that we won the War in Iraq.  It was also the first night of Memphis and May.

Both Big Star and Wilco were playing downtown that night, and Renee and I were living just down the street from Tom Lee Park, but neither one of us had the courage to go down and deal with the throngs of people that turn Riverside Drive into a big muddy mess every year.  So we stayed home.  I'm not sure what we did, but it's a safe bet to say we probably played some Scrabble.  We were really into Scrabble at that time, and listening to Blood on the Tracks and The Best of Bread on vinyl.  So yeah, we were listening to Bread and playing Scrabble.  And I was winning.

Our best friend Justin, who you probably know as The Chubby Vegetarian, is made up of sterner stuff than we are, and he saw both bands play at Memphis in May that night.  He was leaving downtown when he heard that Alex Chilton would be playing an impromptu set at Earnestine and Hazels later that night, and he called us up and told us to meet him there.

So we did.  And in a few minutes, Alex Chilton and a backing band came up on stage and proceeded to start a long set of rock and roll standards.  We stood there and listened to him for what seemed like hours, playing a rocking set not on a huge Memphis in May stage but at our favorite corner bar, where Justin and I would be playing a set for my bachelor party in just a few days.

(A few years later, Justin and I were writing and recording songs as The Hometown Nobodies.  Justin wrote a song about this night, called, "Thank You, Alex," which you can hear below.  In it, he apologizes for slapping Alex Chilton on the back after the show at Earnestine and Hazel's.)

It's hard to believe that seven years have passed since then, and harder still to believe that I'll never get to see Alex play again.  I'm grateful that Justin called us in time for the show, grateful that Maryrose found my forgotten roll of film, and very grateful to have these memories.

Below are the pictures I just got back, taken from the second roll of film that I used that night.  (The first roll produced this picture.)  By this time in the evening, the show had turned into a jam session of sorts, and Chilton was bouncing from one instrument to another.


  1. These are great.

    Gives me hope for the six unused rolls of ten year old film I bought for a buck at a thrift store in Oakland last week.

    Long live analog!

  2. ......ahh. the only song ever written about Alex Chilton.

  3. Hey, great shots! I think that's my friend johnny mcclure playing with Alex.

  4. Analog, indeed! Surely, I was winning that Scrabble game.

    I will never forget each of us taking a turn standing in front of the stage so that we would officially be pictured with Alex Chilton.

    I will also never forget that slap on the back that Justin gave Alex. Priceless.

  5. What a fun story! Nostalgia at its finest!

  6. i love this! i also love bread. :)