Well, that was a long time ago


“Well, that was a long time ago, but I can tell you what I remember. My friend (now sister-in-law) Sara Harris, was a violinist and friend of Garrick  at Lincoln High School. She had played on some earlier Stranger Than Fiction thing, and she got us together. No, wait there’s another connection! Garrick and I were camp counselors together the previous summer (1987) so he may have just called me himself. Anyway, the session itself took place in a basement of a house up in Portland Heights, near Ainsworth School. A ‘basement on a hill’, as it were. It was probably Jason Hornick’s parents’ house. I remember meeting Steve  (not quite Elliott to the real world yet) and he was kind of quiet and intense with a dry and opaque sense of humor. He was serious about the music, though, even though he didn’t really have all the tools yet. And as you can hear from the tape, neither did I! I only played on one track, ‘Chinatown’. I listened to the mix they had, which was pretty much everything but the cello, a couple times and then went into the recording room, which was a little closet under the stairs. There were no charts, and I just had to figure out it was in C minor. I just improvised over the song 2 or 3 times, and they used what they wanted. I guess they didn’t have very good editing tools, because they didn’t do much to save me from embarrassing myself with wrong notes and aimless noodling, but I guess there are one or two good ideas in there. And that was that. One footnote: after graduating from college in 1991, I moved back to Portland for a year, and got a job selling bread and coffee at Le Panier in Old Town. Elliott was making sandwiches in back. I remembered him as Steve, and he told me he was Elliott now, and he really did seem to be much more comfortable with himself. We’d sometimes hang out on break, and he’d make humorous references that would blow right by me. It’s a real shame he’s gone now. Good for him for getting some good music together before he went.”

Collin Oldham


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