Matt North has done a little bit of everything. In the L.A. Comedy scene, he opened for the likes of Marc Maron, Louis CK and Chris Rock. As a screenwriter, he did Best Western, which won multiple awards, yet has never been produced. As an actor, he starred alongside Jason Alexander in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, yet was written out of the script after one episode after Alexander left. As a session drummer, both in Los Angeles and Nashville, he’s worked with Maria McKee, Jay Bennett, Peter Case and Mink Stole.
Over the last few years, North has taught himself guitar and piano and has just issued his first album, Above Ground Fools – ten songs all written by North. We touch on the twists and turns of his varied career, including what got him playing drums in the first place, and the inspiration behind songs like “Cronkite and Cosell” and “I Sold it All.”
Big Star’s first two LPs were full of chiming guitars, heavy drums and melodic hooks, yet somehow both albums failed to meet the high expectations. Those failures loomed large as Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens went to work on their next project.
Eventually called Third or Sister Lovers, the songs recorded for these sessions seemed at times to be the polar opposite of their first two records – alternating between haunting moments of despair, and fragile beauty. The album, never officially completed, has been issued over the years in many forms and track listings. But, Omnivore Recordings has assembled quite possibly the final word on the legendary project.
Complete Third is s three-disc set, bringing together virtually every note recorded for these sessions. Through acoustic demos, rough mixes, and about as final version of the album as we’ll ever hear, we get a peek behind the scenes of this fractured masterpiece.
We talk to Big Star drummer Jody Stephens about recording the album, what producer Jim Dickinson brought to the project, and how a song he wrote, “For You,” helped shape the rest of the record.