There's nothing cool about the passing of Alex Chilton and many fans are continuing to make sense of a legendary performer taken from us too soon.
If there can be one moment that provides some levity in Chilton's passing, it's that the U.S. House Representative from his former district took to the podium in Washington and announced Alex's accomplishments into the public record.
Just a brief acknowledgement to one of Rock & Roll's most acclaimed performers.
I must confess to knowing very little about Congressman Steve Cohen before his eulogy on Chilton, but now that I do, I'm ready to declare him the hippest Congressman in the house.
The Democratic Congressman from Tennessee's 9th District did a quick interview with Craig Marks over at Billboard to discuss his ties with Chilton and demonstrate that his hipness didn't end there.
How did you meet Alex?
I met Alex the first time at his father’s funeral. Sidney Chilton was an early supporter of mine. He was a jazz musician himself, but his business was the lighting business. His crew of people helped shepherd me into the political scene years back. The last time I saw Alex, ironically enough, was at Thomas Boggs’ funeral. Thomas was the drummer for the Box Tops and one of my dear friends. He was beloved in Memphis.
You seem to have some real musical chops.
Well, I’m from Memphis. We know music. You know, Warren Zevon and I were best friends.
Yes. In fact, I gave one of the eulogies at Warren’s funeral in L.A. I bring this up because one time Warren and I were driving up to Memphis from New Orleans, doing the Highway 61 trip, and we listened to Alex ‘cause he was one of my favorites. It was interesting because they were so much alike: Iconoclastic, rebellious, more loved among the aficionados and musicians. I didn’t put together until recently how R.E.M. really loved both Warren and Alex.
Do you have a favorite Alex song?
I guess my favorite is “Free Again.” Because, unfortunately, it relates to my social life. I've been single all my life. I can just relate to “Free Again.”
Interview originally appeared in Billboard.biz