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For Immediate Release

March 23, 2011

Michael Stipe Joins Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers All-Star Collective, Artist/Song List Announced

Featuring Chris Stamey, Mitch Easter Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, Jody Stephens of Big Star, R.E.M’s Mike Mills , Matthew Sweet, Tift Merritt

Saturday, March 26 at Baruch College’s Mason Hall, Presented by Scenic Presents

“…a Rosetta stone for a whole generation” Peter Buck

Big Star’s third album, Third/Sister Lovers, has long been revered by artists and critics as one of the most influential albums ever produced. Written and recorded when the legendary 70s band was primarily a studio project consisting of Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, the third album was never been performed in public with the original string and wind orchestrations. That changed in December 2010, when an all-star band unearthed the original scores, assembled an orchestra and performed Big Star’s Third at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC. Performers that night included Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Chris Stamey (the dB’s) – the creative catharsis they experienced prompted plans for a historic concert in New York City.

Just announced is Michael Stipe of R.E.M. who’ll join a mind-boggling array of indie rock all-stars to recreate Big Star’s Third at Mason Hall at Baruch College on March 26th. Stipe will perform one of Chilton’s most iconic songs, “Kanga Roo”. The show’s line-up of songs/performers is unveiled today as well (see below).

Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo), Tift Merritt, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Will Rigby (the dB’s), Matthew Sweet, Chris Stamey (the dB’s), Jody Stephens (Big Star) and will be joined by The Lost in the Trees Orchestra with Jane Scarpantoni, Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony), Brett Harris, Sidney Dixon and Matt McMichaels to recreate the original scores and breathe life into a bittersweet album that has impacted generations of musicians. As the evening unfolds, Chilton and Stephen’s musical ideas that were far ahead of their time 35 years ago will resonate in the hands of a collective of sympathetic, top-notch musicians. “We have been trying to create a concert piece that can have a life in years to come, trying to keep the spirit of the music and make it come across with the right emotions live,” Stamey told Indy Week. “There’s something about this record that connects with my generation, and apparently many generations.”

The assemblage will perform Third/Sister Lovers in its entirety – fans can expect additional Big Star and Chris Bell songs as well. “It’s easier as time passes to revisit that album because it came out of such a dark period,” Big Star drummer Jody Stephens told the Raleigh News and Observer.  “There were brilliant moments in the studio, especially Carl Marsh’s string arrangements, which really take it to a whole other world. But it could be emotionally difficult to watch certain things happen. I was so close to it at the time that I could not see what it was.”

Preparing for the performances was a challenge.  “The original written scores for the record were long missing,” Chris Stamey says. “But John Fry at Ardent Records was able to supply us with elements of the original multitrack tapes. Composer Carl Marsh, who wrote the ground-breaking charts for the original record, used these tapes to precisely re-transcribe his arrangements. And I’ve orchestrated anew some other elements of the recordings for the players, in order to recreate live some of the aleatoric studio effects.”


1.  “Kizza Me”                     MATT MCMICHAELS (from Mayflies USA)
2.  “O Dana”                        IRA KAPLAN  (Yo La Tengo)
3.  “For You”                        JODY STEPHENS (Big Star)
4.  “Nighttime”                     NORMAN BLAKE (Teenage Fanclub)
5.  “Jesus Christ”                MIKE MILLS (R.E.M.)
6.  “Take Care”                    IRA KAPLAN    (Yo La Tengo)
7.  “Big Black Car”               MATTHEW SWEET
8.  “Stroke It, Noel”              NORMAN BLAKE  (Teenage Fanclub)
9.  “Blue Moon”                    JODY STEPHENS  (Big Star)
10. “Femme Fatale”            SINGER NOT CONFIRMED
11. “Downs”                        VARIOUS
12. “Dream Lover”              TIFT MERRITT
13. “Holocaust”                    DJANGO HASKINS (The Old Ceremony”
14. “You Can’t Have Me”     TIFT MERRITT
15. “Kanga Roo”                 MICHAEL STIPE  (R.E.M.)
16. “Thank You, Friends”    VARIOUS


Baruch Performing Arts Center (at Baruch College) Mason Hall
17 Lexington (enter on 23rd St bet Lexington & 3rd Ave.)
Box Office:  (646) 312-4085
Tickets go on sale at 11:00am Thursday, February 17th
Doors @ 6pm -Show @ 7pm

For more information on Big Star Third visit: www.bigstarthird.com

For an informative article on Big Star visit: http://www.magnetmagazine.com/2002/09/08/power-pop-big-star-all-the-way-from-memphis/

For press requests contact Heather West, Western Publicity, westernpublicity@gmail.com, 773/301-5767.

The concert will benefit three musician-oriented charities:

Two “El Sistema” children’s musical education projects: the Corona Youth Music Project, Queens, NY


and KidZNotes, the El Sistema program in Durham, NC http://www.kidznotes.org/

and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic http://www.neworleansmusiciansclinic.org/

More information about El Sistema is available here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/reports/2010/12/el-sistema-from-venezuela-to-the-united-states.html

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