As the last survivng member and co-founder of the '70s band Big Star, Jody Stephens has quite the rock & roll story. Big Star cut a record with producer and Ardent Studios founder John Fry, who also played the part of psuedo manager by default. Under Fry's direction, Big Star secured distribution and marketing with the legendary soul label, Stax. With rave reviews and backing by Ardent and Stax, Big Star was poised to be the biggest name in rock. However, Big Star's 1971 debut, #1 Record, failed to top the charts and was quickly dubbed a commercial flop. Many critics praised the band's work, but sources say Stax was unable to fully distribute and market the album for success. The band managed to release three albums between 1971 and 1974 before disbanding and falling into obscurity.
Fast forward three decades later, Big Star has amassed a cult following of fans and influenced many successful rock bands along the way. Groups like R.E.M and The Replacements have cited Big Star as major influences on their craft. Rolling Stone magazine listed all three Big Star albums as part of their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (published in 2003 & 2005). But the biggest push in the Big Star resurgence is due to the very well-produced documentary, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. The film chronicles the band's history in a story that (if not already) will pull you into the fandom of Big Star. Jody Stephens, being the only living member, was at the center of the film's publicity and screening events, literally making him a rock star for the first time! Stephens also tours as Big Star backed by many well-known musician friends. When not on tour, Stephens manages Ardent Studios in Memphis. Over the course of his tenure at Ardent, the studio has seen everyone from Three 6 Mafia to the White Stripes to Bob Dylan book studio time.