Drew Hummel wasn't raised in a house that played much Big Star. That's understandable. His father, Andy Hummel, who passed away in 2010, was the bassist for the band on #1 Record and Radio City. Big Star will be inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, November 6th. John Fry, owner of Ardent Studios and engineer on Big Star's three albums, will also be inducted in the class of 2014. Other inductees include Lil Hardin Armstrong, Al Bell, Furry Lewis, Carl Perkins, Jesse Winchester, Ann Peebles, and Chips Moman.
Flyer: How old were you when you realized your father was in Big Star?
Drew Hummel: I was born in 1989. I'm 25 years old. Ever since I was little, I knew that he was in a band in the 1970s. That was the extent of my knowledge. He didn't really listen to Big Star much. That would have been a little weird. The first thing I remember is I was 9 years old in '99 when That '70s Show came out. My sister came downstairs and said, 'Hey, one of your songs is the theme song for that show.' Since then, I've had a little generational connection to it. I remember being in junior high, and my mom and dad having to go to Memphis for ceremonies and Big Star performances. But just occasionally. My dad wasn't too involved.
- Andrew Hummel
Did your dad play after Big Star?
My dad would always play guitar when I was little. There were always guitars around the house. As he got older, he started a work band and let me join. I played drums with him for a while. So growing up musically and listening to music everywhere got me into music. After he passed away, I inherited all of his instruments and his vinyl. So I got a few hundred vinyl [records] of bands I'd never heard of. It was great music: all of the Alex Chilton vinyl, the Chris Bell vinyl. I could just go through and listen to all of that, and it's just a blast into his past.
Are you in a band?
I really just play a lot. I have friends from high school and college that I'll jam with occasionally, but nothing too serious. I play a lot of guitar and like guitar the most. I've got a bass I play occasionally and a drum kit, but it's pretty worthless. Whenever he had his cover band, we'd play at work or family events and weddings. But nothing major.
What did your dad do after Big Star?
He came to Texas [and met my mother]. They were together for 25 or 26 years before he passed. Ever since I was born, he was an aerospace engineer and manager at Lockheed-Martin. So he was a very professional business and suit-and-tie kind of guy. As far as music he listened to, I remember him listening to the Beatles and Led Zeppelin a lot. He loved Joni Mitchell. He loved Allison Kraus a whole lot. There was a year or two when he just played Allison Kraus nonstop for hours and hours. It was beautiful, but, you know.
Did he have a band?
A couple of guys from work and a couple of neighborhood friends would do a couple of cover songs. We had one or two originals. There was a place outside of our hometown where you could rent the studio for a couple of hours. We went in there for a few hours and recorded a few songs. I'm not even sure why we did that. I wouldn't call it serious recording.
Did he keep up with the other members?
As far as Alex [Chilton] and Jody [Stephens]. We'd go to Memphis to see his mom every once and a while. We never saw Jody a whole lot. But after That '70s Show came out, everything started coming back. I started hearing names like John Fry and Alex. I really didn't know who those people were. They got bigger. He went to New Orleans at one time and hung out with Alex. That was right before Katrina happened. Alex was still living down in the 9th Ward. He said it was a pretty cool place. Jody kind of came back around. John Fry did the eulogy at his memorial.
Will you play at the ceremony?
I'm going to fly in to rehearse with Jody and the guys and hopefully play a Big Star song onstage that day for the ceremony. I'll play the guitar. I can't wait to hang out with those guys.