Elliott had a good people radar

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“Elliott had a good people radar. Like he knew who he should have in his life. But then when… it’s almost as if, when he felt he couldn’t live up to his own expectations of what it took to maintain that relationship, he messed with it. You know. Sabotage.”

Margaret Mittleman

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Even though I knew Elliott Smith outside of the industry

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©Brian Maryansky

“Even though I knew Elliott Smith outside of the industry, I feel lucky to have recorded one of our conversations for a feature that ran in  Alternative Press and later appeared in my book. It’s a day that’s been etched into record, whose words I don’t need to paraphrase. There are pictures from that day for when my memory fails me, so I can actually tell you what Elliott was wearing: a black t-shirt, blue jeans, black socks, and a thick-soled brown shoe. (It was a humid day in Brooklyn, so no, he was not wearing a stocking cap.) There are even notes: he lived five flights up in a Park Slope tenement building, back when Fourth Avenue was where you went to change your tires, not change your life. It was considerably warm outside, so we sat in his living room — away from the windows — and drank from ice cold Coke cans. When the interview was over, we talked about Ry Cooder and Poison Idea and that time people started yelling for Elliott’s solo songs at a Heatmiser show I saw at the Mercury Lounge. He was mortified by that. Continue reading

Part of what I like about Figure 8

“Part of what I like about Figure 8, well, to the extent that I can like my own music, is that I like it better when it’s hard to name it, you know, or to really describe it. I think it’s more varied than the last record, there’s more different kinds of songs and the range of emotions on it are greater. Or maybe that’s just what I prefer to believe. The only thing I know is that it feels different than the other ones, and that’s all I really require. Sometimes I know what I was thinking when I wrote the songs, and sometimes I only have theories about what I was thinking, that change from time to time. And even if I knew what I was thinking, I wouldn’t necessarily want to talk about it. ”

Elliott Smith

It’s very different from the kind of songs that I seem to make up

 

“[The Marble Index] is very different from the kind of songs that I seem to make up, and it seems very static in a way. It doesn’t move a whole lot, but it’s still really great, and I’m intrigued by that. There’s something really cool about how static and immovable it is – very stream-of-consciousness-like and harmonically kind of droning. Even though I’ve been listening to it over and over again, I still can’t put my finger on what I like about it. But I really do like it.”

Elliott Smith (avril 2000)

The thing I really wanted to help do with this film is shift the mythology

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©Sarah McCown

“The thing I really wanted to help do with this film is shift the mythology of Elliott Smith, the sad-sack, depressed guy who made depressed music, the junkie, blah blah blah, when all the other stories I was getting from his friends were, he was this incredibly creative, generous, funny, great-to-be-around friend, brother, lover. He was so much more than how the media summed him up at the end of his life. It was, “Depressed singer-songwriter guy does himself in.” There was so much more to celebrate in Elliott’s career than, ‘yup, sad guy, possibly killed himself.’ There was all this music! And it’s all really amazing music. So why aren’t we remembering that part? Continue reading

One morning during the tour I wake up in St Louis

“One morning during the tour I wake up in St Louis to the sound of my hotel room phone ringing. I get the news that our friend Elliott Smith has died back in Echo Park. The first time I met Elliott, back in 1996, I walked out of the room and pulled one of our mutual friends aside and said, “I’m worried about this guy.” He was a super sweet and quiet guy who didn’t appear to have any armor to protect himself, and he was on the rise in the music business- not a good place for the armorless, it turns out. I felt really strong and safe in comparison, and that’s saying something. Continue reading

I think Either/Or is the best album I have ever heard

 

“I think Either/Or is the best album I have ever heard. And I also love his first two albums. The sound of early Elliott Smith is so honest, pure, cool and very, very, very mysterious. As I started to record songs, I wanted to be Elliott Smith. After a while, luckily, I could find my own style, but yes, he was my big inspiration.”

Saint Thomas (Thomas Hansen, 1976 – 2007)

Sebadoh, Quasi and Elliott Smith. Great bands, great night.

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“Sebadoh, Quasi and Elliott Smith. Great bands, great night. Elliott was a really sweet and beautiful guy. He came with us in the van to a few shows and hung out. He was my co-pilot as we would do a long-ass haul back to London after a show and we would talk for hours about music, India, studio gear, whatever. We stayed in touch and hung out whenever he played in Amsterdam. I think Arun was a few months old when he was exposed to Elliott’s music (during his soundcheck at the Melkweg). I’ll never forget being in Iceland with Sebadoh, when Lou got a call to tell of Elliott’s passing. We were so stunned. He is still missed by many.”

Ajay Saggar