The night I met Elliott Smith

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©Dani Fresh

The night I met Elliott Smith
It was cold but manageable 
Damp wet kinda cool
I saw him play, on a whim 
By chance 
By grace 
By sheer consequence 
I wasn’t overly familiar 
Just a songwriter 
newly crowned  Continue reading

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Something that people don’t know about Elliott

“Something that people don’t know about Elliott is he was loose all the time, always just cracking jokes. It’s the type of experience where you get to become really good friends with someone really quickly. We were playing at this place called Jabberjaw in Los Angeles, which was a small all-ages punk rock club, and the sound went out, and there was no light. And so they went out back to the backyard, which is this tiny little courtyard. Like 50 or 75 kids poured out into this courtyard. And Elliott just sat on a chair, and played an acoustic guitar completely unplugged with no amplification, and he was so gripping that all of those kids stayed dead silent for an hour listening to every song. This was well before he was famous. Most of the kids had come to see the other bands playing that day. Continue reading

On a sadder note…

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©Steve Mirarchi

“On a sadder note…We’re all still bummed out about Elliott’s passing…I did what I could to put my emotions to some sort of positive direction, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him…. I had been missing him when he was my friend, but I thought that there would come a day when we could hang out again and let bygones be bygones… The day will never come now, but there are always new friends to be made and maybe the friendships will be made through Elliott’s music itself… And there’s still a whole new generation now that needs to know who he was and hear his incredible music… I’ll always (as I did in the very beginning) continue to do my best to make sure he doesn’t go unknown…
Continue reading

I know there is no place de Gaulle in Paris

placeDG
thank you, Kenji 🙂

“I know there is no place de Gaulle in Paris! The work title I was actually using for the album was “Place Pigalle”, where I stayed for a while last year.  I do remember spelling it to the journalist on the phone, but he didn’t understand, or he didn’t want to understand. It makes me very unhappy that  I may have come across as a show off to  French people.”

Elliott Smith

It’s about a really heavy evening

 

‘Turn your words around’ is about a really heavy evening I had in New York at the CMJ festival, years ago –  2003. I noticed a woman just completely lose it in a bar, like hysterically upset. Me and my friends went to see if she was ok. After a while she told us that her dear friend had just been found dead, with a knife in his chest. The friend was Elliott Smith and the girl Mary Lou Lord. It had a very deep resonating effect on me, I didn’t know Elliott and wasn’t familiar with his music at the time but knowing what we did before the rest of the world felt wrong. People talk about the New York fear and I was skeptical but I got it bad that night.”

Jon-Lee Martin

I met people I liked in college

bunny 2013
©Daniel Cavazos

“I met people I liked in college, but no songs come from there. They come more from moving out of my mom’s family than anything else. There are three types of songs in my catalog. “Needle in the Hay” was the “Fuck you” me. It was more of a “fuck you song” than it was even a heroin song. Then there’s the “I’m going to insist that things can work out, and I’ll never stop insisting they can work out.” And then, there’s the part of me that tries to chronicle other people’s lives, especially my mom’s.”

Elliott Smith

Elliott was very different

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© Steve Hanford / Thee Slayer Hippie

“Elliott was very different. He was very tortured. I never got into why. But I spent many a night getting wasted with Elliott. At the same time, a lot of brilliance exists in this town. But Elliott was able to marshal his artistic talent in a way that many others were, dare I say, afraid to. He was very brave in his oblivion seeking. His brilliance and ability to write songs rivals that of Lennon and McCartney. Did his sound change when he moved from Portland? Well… he could focus more away from Portland and cultivate his art. Also focus on other things. You know… He was a nice guy, a very silly, crazy person. If you were his friend. Other  than that, he was very stand-offish. Which was how I was, at the time. He didn’t talk. Journalists, he hated that shit, too.”

Steve Hanford

 

The only interesting thing about drugs

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©Martin Benjamin

“The only interesting thing about drugs is why do people do them. In and of themselves, they’re very boring. As for drugs in books or in songs, usually they’re a vehicle to talk about dependency or possibility… But the less that I try and put songs in situations that they don’t belong in, the easier it is for me to make them up. To me the point, if there’s a point, is just to make a mood or a feeling or at the most specific to create a mental picture. I just kinda write stuff, and then I look at it and go, ‘Oh, I see what I’m going on about’ or, ‘I don’t know what I’m going on about, but I like how it feels.’ It’s not like there’s any shortage of material in any given person. All you have to do is live a day in order to make record after record after record.”

Elliott Smith

I’ll use a cut-up method or sewing box

grant with cat

“I’ll use a cut-up method or sewing box I have that’s full of words that will send me down a certain path. It does seem to unlock your unconscious, I kind of feel the song is buried back somewhere. I turned a few people on to one-minute songs. It’s like this little ritual that you pass to those who might be receptive. Elliott Smith was one of them. There’s a tape somewhere.”

Grant Lee Phillips