Just got off the phone with Ardent Studios founder John Fry, who confirmed that former Big Star bassist Andy Hummel has died after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 59. Services are scheduled for Wednesday.
(The news was initially broken by current Big Star bassist Ken Stringfellow, who Tweeted: "Another sad loss for Big Star fans as Andy Hummel passes away after long illness.")
Hummel, a Memphis native who in recent years made his home near Weatherford, was part of seminal rock band Big Star, which formed in 1971. Along with singer-songwriter Alex Chilton, guitarist Chris Bell and drummer Jody Stephens (now the only living original member), Hummel helped create an ahead-of-its-time body of power-pop tunes that would influence such acts as R.E.M. and the Replacements.
Hummel's death comes just four months -- almost to the day -- after Chilton's sudden passing on March 17, as this year's South by Southwest music festival got going. An impromptu tribute to Big Star was pulled together and Hummel traveled to Austin to perform during the event. Fry said Hummel was also slated to play a Big Star reunion gig in May, but was too ill to make the trip.
I'll have more on this story as it develops.