A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man

The first biography of the influential musician and forebear of the indie rock sceneAlex Chilton s story is rags to riches in reverse, beginning with teenage rock stardom and heading downward Following stints leading 60s sensation the Box Tops The Letter and pioneering 70s popsters Big Star the ultimate American pop band Time , Chilton became a dishwasher Yet he rThe first biography of the influential musician and forebear of the indie rock sceneAlex Chilton s story is rags to riches in reverse, beginning with teenage rock stardom and heading downward Following stints leading 60s sensation the Box Tops The Letter and pioneering 70s popsters Big Star the ultimate American pop band Time , Chilton became a dishwasher Yet he rose again in the 80s as a solo artist, producer, and trendsetter, coinventing the indie rock genre By the 90s, acolytes from R.E.M to Jeff Buckley embodied Chilton s legacy, ushering him back to the spotlight before his untimely death in 2010.In the career spanning and revelatory A Man Called Destruction, longtime Chilton acquaintance Holly George Warren has interviewed than 100 bandmates, friends, and family members to flesh out a man who presided over and influenced four decades of American musical history, rendered here with new perspective through the adventures of a true iconoclast.
A Man Called Destruction The Life and Music of Alex Chilton From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man The first biography of the influential musician and forebear of the indie rock sceneAlex Chilton s story is rags to riches in reverse beginning with teenage rock stardom and heading downward Followin

  • Title: A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man
  • Author: Holly George-Warren
  • ISBN: 9780670025633
  • Page: 406
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man”

    1. I have not previously met a person who didn't like something by Alex Chilton. He's a cult artist by definition, but he is without a doubt a major work who made priceless pieces of treasure throughout his long career in music making. Why he didn't play the Greek Theater or the Olympia or Albert Hall on a regular basis is not his fault, but it was the 'general' audience that was asleep at the wheel, or using their extra funds foolishly by buying 'that' other record. At this point and time, everyon [...]

    2. "I never trust a person who hasn't burned their life completely to the ground at least twice," says Jon Dee Graham. "Otherwise, I don't believe they're sincere."By this standard, Alex Chilton stands as one of the most sincere musicians in the history of rock and roll.And that is certainly the portrait emerging from Holly George-Warren's "A Man Called Destruction". Alex Chilton was many things. But above all else he was an artist committed to his own individual path. It's a path littered with suc [...]

    3. This book was interesting at first but then it became very depressing and I sure don't need to be reading that.

    4. This book poured through me in a couple of days. Over the years, I spoke with Alex a number of times. The first was on a teenage pilgrimage to meet him in Memphis in 1975 as part of a cross country relocation. I worked with him indirectly through an association with the early Panther Burns. We have mutual good friends in Memphis, one of my favorite cities because of these friendships. Although I recommend this book to any casual fan, I think that anyone that wants to know about the inner working [...]

    5. Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ‘round/They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song?/ I’m in love with that song.”—The Replacements, “Alex Chilton”Somewhere a long the line I figured out that if you only press up a hundred copies of a record, then eventually it will find it’s way to the hundred people in the world who want it most.—Alex Chilton in 1985 Though familiarity with the band Big Star remains the equivalent of rock and roll’s secret handsh [...]

    6. ENCYCLOPEDIC ain't the word! Great (not as in positive, but as in detailed and enlightening) stories re: my fave indie icon and yours, some I knew, most I did not. thank you for the goodread giveaway.

    7. An musician's biography to feast upon. The detailed and rigorous research never usurps the clear and compelling prose style. Big Star fans, Chiltonites and indy guitar music fans alike, this is the one.

    8. Alex Chilton and Big Star are huge names in indie rock. Seriously, god-like in the reverence some hold them. And since I've never spent time hunting up obscure recordings, I knew the names, but was unfamiliar with what they meant, in much the same way that I've encountered the names of Hindu gods without any stories to put them into context.Here's the context: Alex Chilton comes from an upper-class white family in Memphis, TN, an educated, artsy family, his father a pianist, his mother ran an ar [...]

    9. "Sometimes you have to respect a guy for not trying". Holly George-Warren has written a great biography of Alex Chilton. Her writing is a pleasure to read and her portrait of Chilton is symphatetic but still comes with warts and all. The Big Star years, that have been covered pretty well before by many publications, do not offer anything new but what is really interesting in this book is the account of Chilton's "lost decade" after he had finished Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers. My information o [...]

    10. Painstaking, enthralling, detailed, full of history. For me, who came to Alex through the 80s underground, but remember him being part of the NYC downtown scene too, it connected the dots for me in a way that was just fantastic. With the list of bands whom I love who adored AC, there's no wonder I fell in love with the first two records the instant I heard them. I felt like I was pretty solid on my Big Star and Alex Chilton history but it was good to patch up the holes.Chilton wasn't the most sy [...]

    11. A well-researched but unseemly book about one of the most underrated pop musicians of the 1960s—1990s era, George-Warren spent too much time on tangential people in Alex Chilton's life who could provide sordid details of his worst moments where she should have spent more pages detailing the music. Although the author does give Chilton his due as the putative godfather of indie rock and provides the musical trajectory of a spotty career encompassing the Box Tops, Big Star, and a DIY-ish one-man [...]

    12. I think this book would have been much better had it come from Alex instead of a biographer, which is disappointing since it sounds like that could have been a possibility. Overall, I was not drawn in, and I kept having to refrain from skimming ahead.Alex Chilton is an indie music idol who rose quickly to fame in 1967 at the age of 15 with "The Letter" by the Box Tops. He then achieved critical success (albeit not commercial) with his second band, Big Star. From the sounds of it, Chilton really [...]

    13. Firstly let me say, I am the biggest Big Star fan under 50, but this book was so boring. So boring that I couldn't even finish 100 pages of it. I tried, oh boy did I try, because of my love for the subject, Alex Chilton. It just read like a really detailed , instead of engaging me into a person I really already loved. So many sentences about Alex's teenage acne, why???!! Maybe one day I'll pick this up again and try a little harder, but probably not.

    14. I won this book through the FirstReads giveaway on ,& truly liked it. Honestly, being a bit of a musicologist,I'm surprised that I didn't know hardly anything about Alex Chilton & Big Star. He had quite a cult following as well as a large discography, spanning a number of years. It's a well written bio,& Ms.George-Warren, paints an intriguing portrait of a very underrated rock icon.

    15. Overall, a very interesting and insightful read.Very much, this book is a warts and all biography. However, some of the details are just not that interesting such as all the short-lived band line ups that Chilton leads after Big Star and never really achieves anythingWhat I appreciated the most was the stories behind the songs.

    16. A solid piece of music journalism on a guy who was part-genius, part-asshole, and more than anything else, an ordinary guy susceptible to life's unpredictable swerves. Some sections were tough to get through (physical abuse of his partners, lack of support for his son, burned bridges, drug and alcohol abuse, etc.), but George-Warren doesn't sugarcoat Chilton's life, and because of her honest view, his deliberate changes and ultimate indie-rock celebration at the end of his life seem like a posit [...]

    17. Sometimes I'm afraid of learning about people whose music I really love. I'll avoid reading biographies and even listening to later albums because I want to protect my own impression of that person's music. I tend to think this fear is irrational, but something like what I fear has happened to me before so it's not invalid. But valid or not, I prefer to try and push back against my tendency toward avoidance, in this way and generally in life. Anyway, this book was a relief for me. Alex Chilton i [...]

    18. The author, Holly George-Warren, not only was a huge Box Tops, Big Star and Chilton fan, but she actually met Chilton in the 80's and was able to deliver a very heartfelt and deeply loved biography on the man. The book is highly detailed especially in regard to Chilton's solo and punk phase post-Big Star and the way George-Warren was relating all these concerts, tours, and people made me feel like I was right there with Chilton and the various band of musicians that were around him. The book con [...]

    19. I came to Alex Chilton via the Replacements and a vague knowledge of his teenage stardom via "The Letter". That led to Big Star which led to this book. It is a fascinating story of an artist who just followed his muse and got his due way too late. As I finished the book, I found myself rethinking how I define success. Great book that even a casual fan like myself could and did enjoy.

    20. I really enjoyed this book, and thought it was well-researched and told Chilton's story in an objective way. Giving it five stars because it made me want to listen to his post Big Star work, and I feel like I could read it again and not be bored.

    21. I won this book in a First Reads contest.It just was not speaking to me when I started reading it but.I have a friend who is a fan of the band o passing it on to her.

    22. Alex Chilton’s discography is over 5 pages long; it starts in 1967 with the Box Tops and continues through the rest of his life to his sudden and unfortunate death in 2010. Most people have certainly heard him sing but were unaware of him. This book tries to remedy this injustice as we finally get an account of the life and music of Alex Chilton. The author does an admirable job of tracing the roots of Alex Chilton and following him through his childhood into rock & roll superstardom at ag [...]

    23. 2.5 stars instead of 2. On one hand, this biography is well-written and George-Warren is devoted to her subject. She faithfully follows the chronology of Chilton's life and has many anecdotes from friends and colleagues to illustrate. On the other hand, there is very little arc to the story (Chilton writes music, Chilton fucks up, Chilton chases girls, repeat) and the last 20 years of Chilton's life is compressed down to one chapter after having many previously painstakingly detailed chapters. A [...]

    24. I didn't begin following and listening to Alex Chilton because he was "cool" or because I would appear to be musically astute at cocktail parties with people who bore me. I jumped in during the punk movement as a teenager when he produced the Cramps and subsequently paid attention as Paul Westerberg and The Replacements paid homage in the mid 80s. I knew little of the Boxtops or Big Star prior. This book does a fantastic job of giving us Alex' influences as a child and of his very unusual upbrin [...]

    25. A former teen idol from Memphis who was actually a teen (16 years old when he fronted the Box Tops and had a hit with "The Letter"), an actual songwriting genius with a big "G" with his group Big Star, an idiosyncratic and distinctive guitarist, a would-be sideman and singer of standards who was too perverse to practice the necessary art of self-effacement, and, ultimately, the platonic conception of the guy who couldn't get out of his own fucking way, Alex Chilton nevertheless found peace and c [...]

    26. I found it mean-spirited. She insinuates he was a horrible father, pedophile, violent toward women, and overall malignant narcissist. The low point being when she recounts a conversation with Alex's producer about finding blood on the mixing console, which could have come from accidentally slicing a finger while splicing a tape with razor blade -- or -- or -- maybe it came from him beating the shit out of his girlfriend. Who can say? Since any time the vibes got heavy in the studio the producer [...]

    27. As far as I know, this is the first comprehensive biography of Alex Chilton. Holly George-Warren does a nice job of chronicling his childhood in Memphis, his time as the lead singer in the Box Tops, the Big Star years, and his solo career. The fact that she knew Alex allows her to provide some insight that another biographer might not have. I wish she would have provided a better sense of when things happened. Events passed by with no mention of what year it they took place in which makes it dif [...]

    28. So disappointing! A well-researched but dull biography that fails to address the key questions in Chilton's life - particularly the effect of the untimely death of his older brother whom he idolised and the origins of his difficult temperament (both possibly related).The author works very hard at what she does but fails to show any actual talent for it. She opens this book with a countdown of the Chilton family history - hardly enticing the reader - as though she took literally someone's advice [...]

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