He used to like staying at the Russell Hotel


“He used to like staying at the Russell Hotel in London, because the staff were so rubbish that they would never get his messages to him or put his calls through. I went to visit him in the studio and we had a little chat and he was like, “I’ve really got this idea, I’ve got to get it done” and you could see him burning – something he needed to put down and he went off and he was recording immediately. He had a terrible temper, I never really saw it in effect but he used to talk about it and you’d have conversations about him getting into fights.”

Russell Warby

Supposedly if you’re nominated


“Supposedly if you’re nominated, then people who make clothes sometimes want you to wear their clothes. So supposedly, someone’s going to send me a suit and I can see if I like it … then wear it and give it back the next day. I don’t know if they’d let me wear a dress.”

Elliott Smith

Kurt Cobain was essentially getting up on stage


“Kurt Cobain was essentially getting up on stage and people applauded the beautiful guy. And he did some brilliant work, but it wasn’t like a fundamental difference between him and somebody that – I don’t want to glibly say he was just like David Cassidy or something like that, but it was kind of like that. Certainly when he got famous, there were all kinds of people just going there because he was this beautiful compelling guy. And Elliott was not that guy. And people loved him for his music. Also, I don’t think he felt sorry for himself; I think Kurt Cobain felt really sorry for himself.”

Mike Doughty

Elliott Smith to me was the beginning


“I love Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt, and these people who hit these emotional places. But Elliott Smith to me was the beginning. I was writing a lot of that time, but he was the one. He was definitely a major influence on me.
I saw him at The Warfield in San Francisco, and I saw him at The Fillmore. I actually got to meet him after the Fillmore, which was pretty crazy. You know how you say you should never meet your heroes? He was quite frail. I ended up sharing some Jameson’s with him from a bottle. People were treating him like this delicate little flower they had to kind of dance around. And I wanted to grab him and say, ‘Dude you’re a fucking legend: a hero!’ Everyone was treating him like a child, which you imagine just added to his sadness and darkness.”

Jake Smith / The White Buffalo

They lied and said it was written for the movie

“Elliott Smith came in to help his friend build the studio and contributed a console that he had purchased. It was too large to fit in the building, so, the pair cannibalized what they could from it and traded away the rest.
Since there was a studio in Seattle called Laundry Room, Crane decided that the move would also lead to a change in monikers. Smith and Crane discussed possible names and, while sitting at breakfast, Smith reached into a Trivial Pursuit box and pulled out a card. “Jackpot” was listed as one of the answers and the two decided that would make a perfect name. Continue reading

I don’t think it has any chance in hell of winning

©Ron Gallela – Miramax party, Beverly Wilshire Hotel, 22 mars 1998

“I don’t think it has any chance in hell of winning. I mean, nobody knows me, and it’s not like that many people know the song. It’s not like, ‘Ah, yes, I’m finally where I worked so hard to be.’ The film thing was a happy accident all the way around. Gus Van Sant invited me over to his house one day to see some of his new movie. He’d put some of my songs in it, and he wanted to know what I thought. I guess I expected they would be way in the background, but actually they were really in the foreground. Continue reading

In the summer of 2002, I’d just returned to L.A. from Eastern Europe


“In the summer of 2002, I’d just returned to L.A. from Eastern Europe – Belgrade -where I could live cheaply and so work full-time on a novel. To my frustration, the novel still required extensive surgery, and one night, in lieu of taking an axe to my computer, I drove to Ralph’s Supermarket on Glendale Boulevard. It was three in the morning, but there was a longish line at the cash register, and the customer immediately behind me was Elliott Smith. The checker wandered off, and I wondered if I should say anything to Elliott. Continue reading

What a damn fine writer

©Claude Bell

“What a damn fine writer. His loss is the worst one, it really is, and I mean that in every way. I personally feel that he was our finest writer and his loss is incalculable, which makes everything all that much more heartbreaking. I have some very personal memories of sweetness. Before he took out his own mind, because he spent a few years without himself, he was a creature of immense sweetness. He was not without his grinding angers inside like the rest of us but his day-to-day interaction had a lot more shyness and sweetness in his heyday. The memories I have of him are so big to me that I’ll never be able to adequately communicate it. The nature of his music might suggest an endless dourness but he was really the opposite to that when he was in good shape.”

Jon Brion

As soon as someone calls you a songwriter

sam harris photo
©Sam Harris

“As soon as someone calls you a songwriter, you automatically get the melancholy tag. Also, ‘Why aren’t you playing dance music?’ and ‘Why are your songs so sad?’ They’re just clichés. If it wasn’t those, it would be different ones. You can’t always expect people to relate. There are all kinds of people, and some people understand each other and some people don’t. NSYNC sells nine million records, so there’s nine million people that can relate, and I’m not one of them. So even if you sell millions and millions of albums, there’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t get it. If you want to be creative and do what you do, it’s going to be kind of idiosyncratic.”

Elliott Smith