Westerberg writes about mentor Alex Chilton

Paul Westerberg writes about his mentor Alex Chilton, who died last week, in the New York Times.

“Rock guitar players are all dead men walking,” he writes. “It’s only a matter of time, I tell myself as I finger my calluses. Those who fail to click with the world and society at large find safe haven in music — to sing, write songs, create, perform. Each an active art in itself that offers no promise of success, let alone happiness.”

Westerberg introduced me (and many others) to Alex Chilton, naming a song after the Big Star leader. Chilton actually enjoyed a surge of renewed popularity after that song and it became more apparent that bands like Westerberg’s Replacements and R.E.M. owed a lot to Chilton’s music. Jeff Tweedy of Wilco also acknowledges Chilton’s profound influence.

Alex Chilton – The Replacements

Nighttime – Big Star

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