Jody Stephens, Mike Mills Talk Big Star's Legacy in 'Memphis Masters' Series

Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and more discuss the power pop band’s legacy in The Memphis Masters video series.

The clip opens with Stephens next to his drumkit as the band’s “Thirteen” plays in the background. “I think part of the Memphis creed is that we’re all individuals,” he says in the clip. “We don’t really care to have people looking over our shoulders about what we do and how we do it.”

“And therein lies part of how Big Star evolved,” he continued. “[Producer] John Fry wasn’t standing over our shoulders saying, ‘Oh, don’t play it that way,’ or, ‘don’t do this’ or ‘don’t do that.’ He just set us free.”

The video also features Van Duren, the Hold Steady’s Steve Selvidge and singer-songwriter Chris Milam. “I discovered Big Star through Peter Buck’s record collection,” Mills said. “They had made two of the best records ever made by a band, as far as I’m concerned.”

Directed by Andrew Trent Fleming, The Memphis Masters is a limited video series by Craft Recordings, celebrating albums from the legendary Stax Records and its influence on Memphis. Previous episodes include the Staples Singers, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, the Bar-Kays and more.

In addition to the episodes, Craft Recordings reissued many of the albums on 180-gram vinyl, through all-analog mastering by Jeff Powell at Memphis’ Take Out Vinyl. Reissues of Big Star’s #1 Record and Radio City were released in January.

“It all just came together for this experience that left a good impression on a lot of people,” Stephens said of the band. “People just keep pushing it forward. It’s great.”

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