The biggest bands that Kill Rock Stars ever put out

slimmoon
©Will Watts

“The biggest bands that Kill Rock Stars ever put out each got their momentum in a different way. Sleater-Kinney’s biggest momentum was from the press — second to Radiohead, they got more positive press than any other band in America in the 90s. With the Decemberists, it was the public: the indie rock record-buyers, the kids, went crazy for that band, but critics kind of shrugged at the time. When Elliott Smith came out, it was falling on deaf ears. But artists were reacting to it. So there was a Fugazi interview where they mentioned that they’d heard the record and liked it. And then John Doe took Elliott on tour, and Sebadoh took Elliott on tour, and in a Beastie Boys SPIN interview, they mentioned his record.”

Slim Moon

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I remember the first time I met him

silverlake
©Rhett Miller

“I remember the first time I met him, I was doing a songwriting circle with him and Fiona Apple at Largo, and the two of them were so nervous beforehand they were practically bawling. They were basket cases. And I was like, “What’s wrong with you two? If anyone should be a basket case, it’s me!” But he was just a sweet guy, and what he wrote about was really heartfelt and sincere. There was an awkward moment toward the end of his life when he was not doing well. Continue reading

Elliott’s passing is a terrible loss for myself and many of my friends

beckh

“Elliott’s passing is a terrible loss for myself and many of my friends, who knew, worked and hung out with him. Needless to say, he was one of the best songwriters of our day and a formidable musician. He was also soft-spoken, intelligent and extremely humble. He had an acute sense of justice. At one of my shows last year he tried to intervene with security who were harassing a kid, and was in turn beaten and handcuffed by them. We knew he’d had his struggles over the years, but I was heartened by word that he was on an upswing and preparing a new album. We had recently talked a few times about getting together and making some music. Nobody could have known what was going to happen, but I am grateful for the times we got to tour and hang out together. He will be missed, and the ramifications of his absence will long be felt.”

Beck

Happiness is my favorite song of all time

jfshowcase

Happiness is my favorite song of all time. Ever. I can probably recollect precisely, off the top of my head, at least fifty moments of experiencing this song. Tell you exactly what the air felt like. Name the folks I was with. Or without. Feel the intensity between my eyes and my nose letting me know I oughtta be ready to start crying soon. Every memory unique. And each just as hazy. To me, this vague, explosive feeling best encapsulates Elliott’s music. You could be nowhere or everywhere or anywhere. And it just doesn’t matter, because the song becomes your location and your destination. Most of his songs do this to me. This one most completely.”

Jim Fairchild

What I was doing for two or three years

patgraham (1)

“What I was doing for two or three years was taking a Polaroid every single day…and it just happened to be that day that he was playing. But there’s a better story: Modest Mouse was opening for Elliott Smith, and Isaac’s amp literally blew up on stage. At that time, all he had was one amp, and you know, we’re not making that much money. After the show Elliott Smith came up to us and he’s like, “Oh, man, you guys, that sucks,” and then he gave us a few hundred dollars to go buy another amp. And he wasn’t that popular then, either—it was like 1997 [1998]. He was a cool guy.”

Pat Graham

It is simply this: my name is Eric Dover

ericdover

“It is simply this: my name is Eric Dover. I perform under the moniker Sextus.
My brief history in a nutshell is joining Jellyfish in 93, singing for Slash’s snakepit in 95, and Imperial Drag Sony/Work in 96. It was at the end of the album touring that I began to have what might be called by some a rather nasty Saturn return’ depending on whether or not you are into such things.In any event, it was at a rehab in Arizona that I first met Elliott. Sierra Tuscon was the name of the facility just to authenticate.I had come off of two years straight of life on the road and I was quite distressed, my new marriage was unfamiliar to me, Roger Manning, my partner in Imperial Drag was anxious for us to get the second record out. Nobody could understand that I was suffering from extreme exhaustion and poor nutrition and that I needed time to establish my environment. Enter my meeting Elliott Smith. Continue reading

We’ve been lucky to play with a lot of great bands

dbar (1)

“We’ve been lucky to play with a lot of great bands. One of my favorite memories was when we were asked to open for Elliott Smith at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, CA. At the end of his set, he invited us on stage with him to play, “Can’t Make A Sound” which was a dream come true.
He had a big smile on his face when we were playing that I will always remember.”

the 88

He told me he didn’t need heroin anymore

andrewm

“He told me he didn’t need heroin anymore. I was there in the transition period between the well-documented problems that were going on and during his rehabilitation at the institute. Paranoia? For sure. But it wasn’t constant. Granted, I wasn’t with him 24-7, and I was in no position to interrogate him, but what I’ll say in general is things were really fucking bad prior to the rehabilitation institute, when he was moving out of the Snow White castle, or whatever you want to call it. Then – into the institute and then over to Jen’s – dramatic changes. Russ Pollard would be like, ‘I can’t believe it. I haven’t seen Elliott looking this good in so long.’ He was a new person, and he was groggy and irritable and, yeah, paranoid, but then he was funny and warm and vital… still frail from the treatment, which was very radical. It was a rebirth – it was all about reclaiming his greatness and his identity and everything. Yeah, obviously he was still suffering some problems but he was doing better and everyone was taking note.”

Andrew Morgan

Our tour manager was a really good friend of Elliott’s

davidtorres
©David Torres

“Our tour manager was a really good friend of Elliott’s and she brought him around to a few shows of ours when we were out in the Pacific Northwest and there was Elliott on the side of the stage grooving to our music, moving, bopping, pretty much dancing unabashedly throughout our set. The first of these shows he came to and danced on the side, he introduced himself to me and said he was a huge fan of our band and my drumming. He said on more than one occasion that I was one of his two favorite drummers, the other being Steven Drozd. Man, that was something else to hear from someone I admired so much. And he would follow that up with one of the reasons he loved our band was because it always made him wanna dance. It was both really touching and just funny coming from someone like Elliott. His honesty and brashness was something else.”

Russell Simins