From The Desk Of The Old Ceremony’s Django Haskins: Big Star’s “Third/Sister Lovers”

The Old Ceremony, the orchestral-pop quintet Django Haskins has led since 2004, just released its fifth album, Fairy Tales And Other Forms Of Suicide. The band’s first LP for Yep Roc is also its first to receive a vinyl pressing, as well as its first to be released in Europe. In other words, it’s the perfect time for a provocative album title. Like many of the reinvented and rejuvenated performers the band now calls label mates (such as Robyn Hitchcock, Nick Lowe, John Doe and Paul Weller), the Old Ceremony makes music unencumbered by the ever-shifting demands of new and now. Haskins will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Old Ceremony feature.

Haskins: The third and last record by Memphis’ Big Star has always occupied a special place in my psyche. I loved the way it just seems to disintegrate in front of you as if you’re looking at it through a broken stained-glass window. “Big Black Car” and “You Can’t Have Me” got me through a lot of dark times. But then a couple of years ago our friend (producer/dB’s co-founder) Chris Stamey put together a group to perform the seemingly unperformable album live, and my relationship with the record reached a new level. We’ve periodically performed these songs with Big Star’s regal drummer Jody Stephens, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills on bass, Mitch Easter on guitar and an encyclopedic revolving cast of Big Star fans (including folks from Wilco, the Kinks, Yo La Tengo, Teenage Fanclub, etc.) from North Carolina to London. The Old Ceremony’s bassist, Jeff Crawford, has also been holding down the upright on the shows, filling in on electric when Mills couldn’t make it. It has been quite a ride. Singing “Holocaust” gives me chills every single time; how Alex Chilton managed to pack so much pain and confusion into one four-minute piece is beyond me.

Video After the Jump.

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