“I went to church with him for about a year when I was a child. He was five years older than me so I didn’t really know him. In fact to me he was Steve Smith#2 (he changed his name to Elliott later) because there was another Steve Smith that went to our church that was about the same age as him but had attended the church longer. I was friends with his little brother Darren Welch. As a child I could never understand why Darren and his little sister Ashley had different last names than Steve(Elliott). They were the first half siblings I had ever met. Anyway I remember going to their house once and Darren telling me that his brother spent all his time in his room playing music and how strange that seemed to me. I was only eight so my opinion of acceptable activities was entirely composed of watching TV or playing outside. Darren mentioned Elliott had just gotten a tape recorder, I believe it was a multitrack recorder so this could have been when he was first developing his signature style. I believe that while I was there, Darren taught me a coin trick I still remember that I believe his brother had taught him and that I subsequently used in my fifth grade talent show.
I remember one Sunday in church it was announced that Elliott had won first place in the school district arts competition for music writing. I always entered a drawing or a story in the art competition but never won anything. But Elliott’s victory got me thinking that if I entered a song in the contest the next year I’d probably be the only person in that category in my age group and would win by default. So in next years competition I made a music staff on a piece of school paper, I doubt I put a clef on it, and just started putting random notes on the lines. I didn’t win. In fact a few months after the competition I found my “song” crumpled up in a cubbyhole in my fourth grade classroom with a note on it, probably from my teacher, wondering what they should do with it since it was the only submission in the song writing category. However, even though I didn’t win I do believe that it makes me the first person to ever be inspired by Elliott Smith to write a really bad song.”