I’ve been a long time fan of his voice


“I’ve been a long time fan of his voice, songwriting skills and overall ear for what i would call beautiful music. It was with great grief that I learned that Mr Elliott Smith had passed away.. The reason that I write this journal is to tell you a nice story about me and Mr Smith. It took place on the 18th september 2001 in Los Angeles, USA.
Me and my boys were going to LA to start the recording of Frengers and had just arrived at our hotel.It was night, not late but still dark, and we were sharing a beer on the balcony, trying to cope with our jetlag. Our producer Rich Costey was supposed to come by and say hello and so he did. We talked a bit and after a while he said that he had to go to a studio somewhere in Hollywood to help out this guy record ‘Hey Jude’. I think I asked who it was and Rich told me he was called Elliott Smith. “ELLIOTT SMITH?! Hold on, the Elliott Smith??!! I’m coming with you!!” So here I was on my first night in fantastic LA, a little bit drunk and soooo jetlagged… On my way to meet Mr Smith, one of my few idols!!! Bloody God!!
We arrived at the studio (that turned out to be the place where Prince did Purple Rain) and found Elliott, a gloomy looking guy with long greasy hair, bad skin and a knitted beanie on his head. Along with him was his dad, his band and a bunch of hangarounds. Everybody seemed very down to say the least. Elliott just sat there and then said ‘Hello, I’m Elliott’. He spoke in the exact same soft, gentle voice that I knew and loved from his records. I must say that it hurt me to see him in such a depressed stage and without ever knowing him as a person, I could tell he was a very troubled soul. The session seemed to be stuck and nobody really knew what to do about it… So like the typical optimist I am, I tried to take charge of the session together with Rich (I’d like to add that I would probably haven’t done this had I not been slightly under the influence of the King of Beers) but nevertheless it almost worked. At least, we got Elliott motivated to recording the piano again, Rich fixed the drums and the spirit was higher all together at this point. Hours had passed and I was almost falling asleep on the couch. But then happened, what I would call the climax of my night… Elliott asked all of us, and I mean everybody in the studio, including Rich and me, to do the ‘Na na na na na na naaaa, na na na naaaaa Hey Jude’ outro vocal part together with him… It was pretty fucking weird standing there, even more drunk and sleepy, screaming Paul’s ode to John’s son in the middle of the night, in a room full of people I had never met before and I realized that I would probably remember this the rest of my life…
I think they eventually got the track finished without me and Rich, but I don’t think the track ever made it on to the soundtrack. My fascination of Elliott Smith’s talent grew even bigger after that wonderful, weird evening, in a time when the world was threatening to fall apart.
You will be missed, Mr Smith”

Johan Wohlert


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