More sad news for [artist id="316"]Big Star[/artist] fans. Almost four months to the day since Alex Chilton’s sudden death comes the loss of original bassist Andy Hummel. According to Dallas website DFW.com, Hummel died Monday (July 19) after a two-year battle with cancer.
Current bassist Ken Stringfellow broke the news, tweeting: “Another sad loss for Big Star fans as Andy Hummel passes away after long illness.”
Jason Elzy, a representative with Big Star’s label, Rhino Records, confirmed the report to MTV News: “Sadly, I can confirm this is true. Andy has passed away.”
The Memphis-born Hummel, along with singer/songwriter Chilton, guitarist Chris Bell and drummer Jody Stephens (who is the only living original member), formed the rock band in 1971, and their uniquely layered power-pop/rock influenced a generation of bands, including R.E.M., Wilco, the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet, Primal Scream and the Posies, whose Jon Auer and Stringfellow helped re-form Big Star in 1993. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck famously said, “We’ve sort of flirted with greatness, but we’ve yet to make a record as good as Revolver or Highway 61 Revisited or Exile on Main Street or Big Star’s Third.”
Big Star influenced other areas of pop culture as well. “In the Street,” one of the songs from their 1972 debut album #1 Record was the theme song to “That ’70s Show,” re-recorded by fellow power-pop legends Cheap Trick. Plus, the title of Katy Perry’s hit “California Gurls” is a nod to Big Star’s “September Gurls.”
“My manager, Bradford, he’s from Mississippi, and he’s a huge Big Star fan,” Perry said. “And with the death of one of their members [Chilton], I had just written that song, and he’s like, ‘Katy, just for me, will you please title it ‘California Gurls,’ with a ‘u’? People won’t even know!’ ”
Hummel was 59. Services will reportedly be held near his home in Weatherford, Texas, on Wednesday.
Share your memories of Big Star and Hummel in the comments.