Friday, March 26, 2010

Local Alex Chilton Memorial Set for Tuesday at Minglewood Hall

Posted By on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Alex Chilton, the Memphis-bred leader of classic bands the Box Tops and Big Star who died March 17th, was cremated yesterday in his adopted home of New Orleans. Chilton's life and music was celebrated in the days after his death at Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival, where Big Star had been scheduled to perform. But Memphians will get their chance to pay tribute Tuesday, March 30th, when a public memorial organized by family and friends will be held at Minglewood Hall.

The memorial, which is scheduled to run from 5 to 8 p.m., will be a low-key affair, according to Ron Easley, a Memphis musician who was a longtime friend and musical collaborator of Chilton's and who is helping organize the memorial along with Chilton's wife, Laura, and sister, Cecilia.

Easley says that he and Chilton's wife, a flute player, might play, but that there is otherwise no plan for a performance component to the event. Instead, Paul Williams, owner of Midtown's Audiomania store, will put together a set of music — Chilton's own and music he loved — for the event. There will also a couple of screens and a projector set up to show photos and other visuals related to the late musician.

"I had talked to Alex once about it and he said that his greatest fear was that [when he was gone] a bunch of people who mean well would start slobbering over a microphone," Easley says. "He didn't want that to happen."

Instead, Easley says the plan is for "a dignified gathering," for Memphians to come together to remember Chilton. Congressman Steve Cohen, who memorialized Chilton on the floor of the House of Representatives the morning after his death, is expected to attend and say a few words.

Easley says that "all comers are welcome" to the memorial, joking, "even if it's people I know he didn't particularly care for."

Chances are, it won't be the last chance for Memphians to come together to remember Chilton, as a previously scheduled May 16th Big Star concert at the Levitt Shell is expected to be transformed into a tribute concert.

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