Elliott was a shy person, and he took a little while to open up


“Elliott was a shy person, and he took a little while to open up. There’s a better word than “polite” or “courteous”, but he was the kind of person who certainly did not ever want to offend anybody. On the other hand, he did what he wanted. He was fragile in some ways, but he could always pull himself up by the bootstraps.

After his death, people said to me “You must not have been surprised. You must have seen this coming.” Well, no. Your parents get old and they’re going to die. Then when they do, you’re shocked. You hope against hope it won’t happen. I last saw Elliott in May or June. Through September, we’d been playing phone tag – he wanted me to come out and see his studio and hear From A Basement on the Hill. That was the week before he died. We were talking about the possibility of me helping him mix the record, but we didn’t get to hook up.

There’s no denying that there was a deep anguish that existed for a long time. But that’s not to say he was wearing it on his sleeve every day. Whatever he did to himself these last three years, no one would have been interested if they didn’t connect to the music. That’s why a public discussion of his private struggle shouldn’t occur. No one wants to glorify his hardship, but I respect my friends. When you listen to his records, there’s this emotional element – the dark side – but there also remains a silver lining, a “tomorrow’s another day, so maybe it’ll get better” kind of thing, in spite of the tragic end, there is hope. I know that’s what Elliott would want people to think.”

Rob Schnapf


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