BSR Interview
With Jody Stephens

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Big Star Reference had the opportunity to interview Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, after the band had finished their European shows in the Summer of 2001.

BSR: How was it decided to play in Europe?

JODY: We got an invitation to play a festival in Spain, outside of Velencia called Benicassim and we all agreed to do that. And we all agreed that we should play a couple of other dates while we were over there. So, we hooked up with a European agent. He booked Dublin and London. I'd never been to Dublin and I can't quite remember if that played a baring on it. I probably thought Dublin would be great and I'd love to play London again. So those two dates were added.

BSR: What musical preparations were done before hand, and was the Nashville show added as a rehearsal (for Europe)?

JODY: No. Nashville is pretty close to home. All of our dates are important to me. I feel like you get one shot to make a good impression. I really never know if were going to get back that way. Given all our schedules, jobs, solo projects, you never know if the last gig is going to be the last gig. We were invited to play Nashville, prior to our going to Europe.

BSR:  Nashville was a last minute gig.

JODY: Yeah. That was booked maybe three weeks out or so. I was already preparing for the European dates, fortunately. But, as for the preparations, I start rehearsing about 6 weeks prior to performing. I rent a little place to rehearse where I can play alone with the CDs. Which actually lets you work on more material and be more productive than sitting down with three other people. You know how bands are. I don't know how this one would be because we really haven't had that many rehearsals. You know, some people arrive late, guitar players trying to get into key or if Alex wants to figure out a part, the drummer just winds up sitting there.

BSR: Do you rehearse to the original CDs?

JODY: No, I rehearse to a bootleg CD. You know what, it's not a bootleg CD, it's from somebody that made a DAT of the performance and I happened to catch a ride with him to the hotel room after the gig and he told me they had taped it. That was 2 years ago.

BSR: How are the opening acts chosen for each show, and which one's particularily impressed you?

JODY: We rarely have anything to do with the opening acts. It's the promoter choice, whoever they think would compliment the band. 'Superdrag' and 'Swag' opened for us. I thought they were pretty cool. I don't normally watch opening acts. I'm too nervous. We don't play enough for me not to be nervous.

BSR: Did it get easier towards the last show?

JODY: Well, actually this time out was... wow, it's like we really didn't have that much time off. Our last date was New Orleans, prior to these dates. That was New Years Eve. But, wow, everybody just fell right into it.

BSR: What would you consider the highlight of the European trip?

JODY: I'd say Dublin. And the only reason I say that is I actually got to spend a day in Dublin and walk around.

BSR: When you were in Dublin, did you hang out together or did you go seperate ways?

JODY: I was the only one who went all the way to Dublin on Monday [2 days before the show]. Alex stayed in Spain. Jon and Ken went to London.

BSR: Were any new Big Star songs worked into the shows this time out? Any new covers?

JODY: I guess we did 'Hot Thing' for a while. We did the Beach Boys' 'Wouldn't It Be Nice'. It's a song I'd never played before and a long time since I'd heard it. Alex has such a brilliant voice. It's always fun to listen to him sing those kinda songs.

BSR: Has there been any talk about a reunion show with Andy Hummel involved in some way?

JODY: No, there hasn't. I'd love to do it. He's a wonderful guy. I like him a lot. I'm certainly open to that. I don't know how much playing he does or how much practicing with the band we would do. Jon and Ken, they play all the time. They also do pretty amazing vocal harmonies together. If we played with Andy it would be a much different show.

BSR: Would you have Jon and Ken play along if you did a show with Andy?

JODY: I think that would probably be a good idea, if just for the vocals.

BSR: Are there any plans to release an updated live or studio album?

JODY: There are no plans. I think at the London gig, Alex said something about us doing an album, a Big Star album.

BSR: Do you think he would write all new songs?

JODY: I don't know. We didn't really even talk about it after the gig.

BSR: A while ago, you had mentioned that a video might be coming out soon of one of the shows.

JODY: I'd forgotten all about that. We did a three camera shoot of Big Star at a '94 performance in Memphis. I think the video is the only thing that was any good, the audio was pretty bad.

BSR: Is there any chance of it still be released?

JODY: I don't know.

BSR: Are there any new developments regarding the still unreleased 'Small World' CD?

JODY: No, it belongs to a label called Ignition, which is now defunct. I'd be wonderful if it came out.

BSR: What is next on the Big Star agenda?

JODY: Nothing at the moment. I think Jon and Ken are busy with their solo careers. I've been so busy at Ardent that I haven't given it much thought.

BSR: Will we be seeing you in any musical ventures outside of Big Star in the near future?

JODY: Hopefully, with Golden Smog.