Even though Elliott was in pain

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“Even though Elliott was in pain, he was one of the nicest people ever. He loved to laugh at ridiculous things. He loved talking about rock ‘n’ roll…. He got so excited about it. He was into everything from the Velvet Underground to Blue Oyster Cult to George Jones. He was more than just a gifted songwriter, he was a great friend and champion to the underdog. He will be missed dearly.”

Steve Hanft

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I’m supposed to be a rebel rock’n’roller

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©Nick BK

“I’m supposed to be a rebel rock’n’roller who thinks about nothing but rock’n’roll and wants to die, but I like to read – Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, that Kierkegaard guy. Other people always say how heavy and depressing they are, then you usually find out that they’re just good. I mean, Raymond Carver – that’s not any more heavy and depressing than a Nirvana record.”

Elliott Smith

En avril 2000 paraissait Figure 8, le cinquième album d’Elliott Smith, le dernier publié de son vivant

 

“En avril 2000 paraissait Figure 8, le cinquième album d’Elliott Smith, le dernier publié de son vivant. Un album venimeux, exubérant, contradictoire et ambitieux, difficile d’accès selon certains, le plus accessible pour d’autres, un album dont la lumière ambiguë a pu déconcerter ceux – ils sont nombreux – qui préfèrent ne voir en Elliott que la noirceur cathartique et se sont sentis trahis par la palette de couleurs déployée ici. Album de l’ambivalence : là où certains percevaient un retrait émotionnel, quelques-uns entendaient à l’inverse une confession plus frontale encore qu’auparavant, portée au point d’incandescence, parée de cordes, ourlée de sophistication et constellée d’éclats bien moins domestiqués  que dans XO. Album au bord du vide, toujours sur la corde raide, Figure 8 est un vertige, celui du funambule qui hésite entre regarder en arrière ou tomber, entre distance et défi, celui du boxeur au bord du K.O., aussi. Un vertige et un malentendu… cet album-là a été mal compris, mal aimé, c’est presque toujours celui qui sera cité en dernier, certainement le plus difficile à cerner.

Cinquante deux minutes, seize titres, et puis quelques chansons fantômes, vingt-cinq pistes ayant été enregistrées à l’origine pour figurer sur le disque.

Avant d’être publié, Figure 8 a longtemps porté un autre nom : Place Pigalle. Deux titres pour deux chansons enregistrées pour l’album, mais n’y figurant finalement ni l’une ni l’autre. Deux absences, deux négatifs pour un titre, deux énigmes et deux indices pour comprendre que ce qui se joue dans Figure 8 n’est pas étranger à ce jeu sur  le visible et le caché.  Continue reading

Mary Lou Lord described you as sensitive, vulnerable and said you aroused maternal feelings in her

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Mary Lou Lord described you as sensitive, vulnerable and said you aroused maternal feelings in her. 
Mary is cool. Maybe she thinks I’m vulnerable. She knew Kurt Cobain, and we met right after his death. I think that ever since we got to know each other, she tried to transfer the feelings she had for him onto me. But “vulnerable”… that actually fits Cobain better than me. 

I often talk about Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith in the same timelines

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“I often talk about Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith in the same timelines and in the same paragraphs because I knew them both. And not a lot of people knew both of them; they either knew Kurt or Elliott but didn’t all know them both and I did, so I have a certain perspective. And when you’re talking about the loss, if Kurt had just fucking stayed alive for a couple of more months, if you look at the timeline and you look at where both of them were geographically, they were only like two hours away from each other. And if fucking Kurt had just stuck around for a few more months, which was when Elliott had started to record, I know for a fucking fact that he would have adored Elliott. He would have gone to one of the shows, or they would have met somehow. Continue reading

Were you at college with Elliott Smith? I was.

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“Were you at college with Elliott Smith? I was. I remember him very, very slightly. I remember some band that he was in, vaguely. I remember not liking it very much. I remember his friends seemed like jocks at Hampshire. His music is pretty earnest. Yeah, he was kind of on a different wavelength than Hampshire, than my cohorts. He wasn’t in one of the more important Hampshire bands of the day.”

Richard Rushfield

I didn’t like Hampshire College at all

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©Tony Lash

“I didn’t like Hampshire College at all, but I did like the professor I had that was the main guy. I graduated from there. It was a place with no grades and no majors. It was like make your own program, and it was pretty hippie in a good way. But the people going to school there were a real problem to me. I didn’t like it. I moved off campus as soon as I could, second year. So, I tried not to really get caught up in all the crap going on with people coming out of high school who are like, “I wasn’t cool in high school, so now I’m gonna be really cool.” Continue reading

He played the Palace two nights in a row

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“He played the Palace two nights in a row in Hollywood during the Figure 8 tour. I remember on the second night after the show I was with friends hanging in the parking lot after the show when we see him walk out the back door of the Palace. We walk over to him and say hello, nice show, blah blah blah. I didn’t say a word. He bummed a smoke and chit chatted for a minute with my friends. Then he says he has to go…and just starts walking down Vine St. to Hollywood Blvd. where he turned and just kept walking by himself, nothing in hand. After playing 2 sold out nights at a mid sized venue – he just walks out the back door and down the street. How fucking punk rock is that?”

Lavahead