Arts & Culture Literature

New Chris Bell (of Big Star) oral history book delves into cult band


There Was A Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell & the Rise of Big Star”—the captivating new oral history by Michigan-based author Rich Tupica, hits stores and on Sept. 18, 2018. The alt-rock tome uncovers the mystery surrounding the late Chris Bell, the influential Memphis songwriter who known for inspiring the likes of Beck, Wilco, the Flaming Lips and The Replacements, to only name a few.

If you’d like an advance copy, or to set up an interview with the author, contact us today–there are a lot of potential entertainment stories here.

The 400-page book, released via HoZac Books, not only covers the short life of Chris Bell, it also vividly tells the tale of his band Big Star, a group described by Rolling Stone magazine as “one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll.”

With the enigmatic Chris Bell at the center of the story, There Was A Light contains both new and archival interviews with all members of Big Star, including Bell and the band’s iconic co-founder, Alex Chilton. From there, the book also mines stories from dozens of people closest to the band: from friends and exes to roadies and co-workers.

Today, 40-years after Chris Bell’s puzzling death on a Memphis street, this book digs deeper than ever before into the “27 Club” member’s tumultuous life and details how he posthumously became a vital alt-rock influence, inspiring the likes of Beck, the Replacements, Wilco and R.E.M., to only name a few. It chronologically lays out Bell’s journey from a Beatles-loving fast-food employee to his status as an architect of indie rock.

From his beginnings in the Memphis ’60s teen garage-band scene to his sonically brilliant work on Big Star’s #1 Record, this oral history also details the production of his posthumously released solo masterpiece, I Am the Cosmos—which spanned from his home base of Ardent Studios in Memphis to George Martin’s AIR Studios in London.

This tragic, yet inspiring tale recounts not only Chris Bell’s struggle to “make it” as a rock star, but also his lingering battle with personal demons and clinical depression.

There Was A Light details the pop-culture phenomenon that made Big Star legends and reminisces how its staunch fanbase saved the band from obscurity.

If you’re interested in reviewing this book, and would like more information, feel free to email or call HoZac Books. We can also set up an interview with the author, Rich Tupica, at your convenience.

Photos and book excerpts are also available upon request.

“There Was A Light” (HZB-007) Details:
Cover: Paperback
Pages: 410
Format: Oral History
ISBN: 978-0-9963319-6-8
Genre: Music, rock ‘n’ roll bio
Pricing $37.99
Release Date: Sept. 18, 2018

Follow There Was A Light at:

ABOUT HoZac Books:

HoZac Books is a Chicago-based publisher specializing in speculative books on rock ‘n’ roll. Past titles include: Four Strings, Phony Proof, and 300 45s by Sal Maida and Jaguar Ride: Memoir of an Electric Eel by Brian McMahon. Visit for all the details.

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