BY JOHN B. MOORE
Big Star, a longtime crush of just about every current music nerd (myself included), is almost the literal definition of underrated. From 1971 – ’74, the Memphis rockers were one of America’s best power pop bands going, always on the verge of making it big. But as chronicled in Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, a combination of bad timing, label problems and eventual group defections always kept them from achieving mainstream success.
Through archival interview footage with the deceased band members as well as current interviews with a slew of musicians influenced by the band (including Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, who became members of a semi-reunited version of Big Star), the documentary is a touching, often sad look at a talented group that were not exactly shy about their career ambitions (just consider their moniker and the name of their debut #1 Record).
Because the core band was only around for a few years, half of the film is devoted to the lives of the members post-Big Star, with front man Alex Chilton continuing the struggle to make it out of musical purgatory where he was adored by critics and fellow musicians, but ignored by just about everybody else.
Particularly emotional are the interviews with fellow musicians from SXSW in 2010, where Big Star was to play a show at the popular Austin music fest. Chilton died just three days before that show.
Go here to read the BLURT interview with director DeNicola and Big Star drummer Jody Stephens.