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JODY STEPHENS is the sole surviving member of iconic early ’70s power pop legends Big Star, and the only man other than Alex Chilton to play on all three of their peerless original albums. He was also a member of pioneering alt-country supergroup Golden Smog, alongside members of Wilco and the Jayhawks.

LUTHER RUSSELL is an acclaimed singer/songwriter and producer (Richmond Fontaine amongst others) who formed his first band as a teenager with Jacob Dylan (before the son of Bob formed The Wallflowers).  Luther has made a handful of solo records, having first come to attention as a member of The Freewheelers in the ’90s, during which time his songs were described as having “the appeal and personality of those by Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson”.

TOGETHER, Jody Stephens and Luther Russell are THOSE PRETTY WRONGS, who combine the lyrical and soulful harmony and jangle of both Big Star and classic ’90s alt-country with the sort of folky, summery feeling that will warm anyone who has ever copped an earful of ‘Thirteen’ or ‘Way Out West’.

Touring Australia this August on the back of their new album Holiday Camp, Those Pretty Wrongs will be joined by some special friends and perform their own gorgeous material as well as some classic Big Star.

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips sat down with Those Pretty Wrongs’ Jody Stephens over zoom call to chat about the band, the creation of their album Holiday Camp, Big Star, and the upcoming Australian tour

Having been a founding member of one of the most revered power pop bands of all time – and a cult rock band that some reckon is second only to the Velvet Underground in its surreptitious influence on alternative rock over the last four or so decades – tends to be a footnote that follows you around. Yet Jody Stephens’ contribution to the pop canon goes well beyond his beginnings in Big Star, helping to refine alt-country with Golden Smog and shaping the Ardent Records legacy well into the current era.

Big Star were of course a musical enigma. Working with classic British and West Coast ‘60s influences in the South in the early ‘70s, they were a band out of place and time. Critically revered, they only ever played a handful of shows and failed to sell a record back in the day, but their name and music never died. Indeed, since the late ‘70s their influence has grown uninterrupted. Their sound echoes in the music of R.E.M, Robyn Hitchcock, The Replacements, The Bangles, Teenage Fan Club, Wilco, You Am I and countless other indie rock and power pop artists, including current artists ranging from Grace Cummings (who namechecked Big Star co-founder Chris Bell in a track on her first album) to The Lemon Twigs.

Jody Stephens stepped back into the fray following the outpouring of love around the documentary, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. At the point he reached out to his longtime friend, producer and songwriter Luther Russell (a former teenaged bandmate of Jacob Dylan) to join him for some promotional appearances.  A comfortability on stage became a kinship in the studio and eventually led to Those Pretty Wrongs.

Those Pretty Wrongs will be heading to Australia on the back of their third album, Holiday Camp. The album features contributions from Wilco’s Pat Sansone and first-generation Big Star acolytes Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter.  The album’s title is a nod to both wistful summers at bygone British institutions, the favored gig fodder for their ‘60s heroes, and the more sinister implications of Tommy’s Holiday Camp. The music is Cosmic Americana-cum-home-grown Memphis power pop, with nods to Apple Records alums and an appeal that will reach fans of open-hearted pop from Emitt Rhodes to The Go-Betweens to The Elephant 6 to Girlatones.

THOSE PRETTY WRONGS (Jody Stephens & Luther Russell)
+ A Celebration of the Music of BIG STAR


Sun. 6-Aug    THE GREAT CLUB, SYDNEY – Tix


Thur. 10-Aug    STRANDED, BRISBANE – Tix

Sat. 12-Aug    BRUNSWICK BALLROOM (Matinee) – Tix

Sun. 13-Aug    MEMO MUSIC HALL – Tix

Tickets :

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