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.


“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 

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

My gripe about the whole Americana thing

yami ellis yasko

“My gripe about the whole Americana thing is that it started to become a parody of itself. There was this real swelling of irony. There’s no irony or gimmick with Elliott Smith. That guy is sincere. He’s a real soulful songwriter. It’s easy to find a band that makes good records – I like the way Spiritualized and Radiohead make records. But it’s hard to find a great songwriter, and I think he’s one of the best around.”

Joe Pernice

The biggest bands that Kill Rock Stars ever put out

©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

I remember the first time I met him

©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


“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.”


Happiness is my favorite song of all time


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