The Death of Rock

The Death of Rock

by Peter HolsapplePeter Holsapple


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Sometimes working with one of your heroes isn't all it's cracked up to be. In 1978, Peter Holsapple was a power pop fan obsessed with Big Star who had been in a band called the H-Bombs, who cut a single produced by Alex Chilton. Holsapple relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in hopes of ingratiating himself into the local music scene, and he began recording stuff at the Sam Phillips Recording Service. Through musician and engineer Richard Rosebrough, who was helping Chilton make his gloriously shambolic album Like Flies on Sherbert at the time, Holsapple was re-introduced to Chilton. Over beers one night, Chilton informed his acolyte, "I heard some of that stuff you're working on with Richard...and it really sucks." Despite his lack of enthusiasm, Chilton agreed to drop by the studio and observe, and the evening he showed up, he ended up jamming with Holsapple and his rhythm section as the tape rolled. Forty years after the fact, the recordings from that night have been unearthed and released under the title The Death of Rock, after one of Holsapple's songs. In his liner notes, Holsapple writes that "I caught Alex exiting a world of sweet pop that I was only just trying to enter, and the door hit me on the way in." Holsapple's take on these tapes is dead-on; while his compositions find him working out the rudiments of the smart pop style he would refine in the dB's (especially on "Bad Reputation" and "House Is Not a Home"), the numbers with Chilton at the helm are gritty and purposefully chaotic. Chilton runs wild on passionate but ramshackle covers of "Train Kept A Rollin'" and "Hey Mona" as well as an unrehearsed run through his harrowing portrait of Memphis life, "Marshall Law." With Holsapple up front, this combo sounds fairly solid as they help channel his Big Star influences. With Chilton in charge, it's exciting and sometimes funny (especially as they slog through "Tennis Bum"), but it threatens to fly off the rails at any moment. The Death of Rock is truly fascinating as a historical record of a meeting of two minds who unexpectedly fail to follow parallel paths.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/12/2018
Label: Omnivore Recordings
UPC: 0816651010424
catalogNumber: 101042
Rank: 168316

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Peter Holsapple   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Alex Chilton   Bass,Guitar,Vocals
Mitch Easter   Drums
Richard Rosebrough   Drums
Ken Woodley   Bass

Technical Credits

Tiny Bradshaw   Composer
Chris Bell   Composer
Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Alex Chilton   Composer
Ellie Greenwich   Composer
Phil Spector   Composer
Frank Loesser   Composer
Greg Allen   Art Direction
Jeff Barry   Composer
Mitch Easter   Engineer
Peter Holsapple   Composer,Liner Notes,Remixing
Ellas McDaniel   Composer
Cheryl Pawelski   Producer
Glenn Schwartz   Licensing
Howard Kay   Composer
Robert Gordon   Liner Notes
Louis Mann   Composer

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