Tomorrow is my last day at Capitol

“I’ve been having quite a bad time for a while, cancelled the next week of recording due to my bad mood. Tomorrow is my last day at Capitol. I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks before finishing the record. I miss you.”

Elliott Smith (27 août 1999)

 

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I know there is no place de Gaulle in Paris

placeDG
thank you, Kenji 🙂

“I know there is no place de Gaulle in Paris! The work title I was actually using for the album was “Place Pigalle”, where I stayed for a while last year.  I do remember spelling it to the journalist on the phone, but he didn’t understand, or he didn’t want to understand. It makes me very unhappy that  I may have come across as a show off to  French people.”

Elliott Smith

Note: Speaking about popular misconceptions… the Abbey Road session in 1998 was NOT called “Place Pigalle” except as a blunder that came up later on (living on in the Alphabet Town catalogue for instance), the eponymous song was NOT recorded there and then but in the summer of 1999 (a mistake you’ll find in the french book “Can’t Make a Sound” – even though the author was duly corrected, some mistakes were never amended it seems.) Talking about people who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand… funny how self-appointed experts will pick on lesser details but will keep on feeding such gross approximations. See various Figure 8/Place Pigalle entries on those issues…

Of course it’s rewarding to see that so many people understand your work

 

whtw doodle
©BF

“Of course it’s rewarding to see that so many people understand your work and appreciate it but I don’t think it’s because I’m the same. I’m definitely not the same as I was some years ago but I reckon that I’m honest in everything I sing or do and maybe people can feel it… That’s true that I take a particular attention to lyrics without concentrating only on them as they just express what I truly feel about things. And as feelings are something that every human being can share, I can understand that some people feel close to what I express through my music. But I don’t think I give myself away, I still have my own secret garden…”

Elliott Smith

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

The record was supposed to be called “Place Pigalle”

paris

“The record was supposed to be called “Place Pigalle”. Actually, I had two songs called “Place Pigalle”, then I removed them, then I thought I should keep at least one if I was going to use that name for the record. Then… I also had that other song called “Figure 8″ that didn’t end up on the record, either. What I liked about that title was the evocation of a skating figure where you get as close as you can to the perfect 8. I loved that idea of an endless quest for perfection.”

Elliott Smith

I don’t know how that story developed

wlr77

“I don’t know how that story developed around Everything Means Nothing to Me. I mean, I don’t know why he told that story to David McConnell, and I’m not sure I’d like to know. He probably didn’t think it would spread and become some kind of post-mortem statement adding to the nauseating pile of hindsight wisdom meant to “explain” him and his alleged “suicide”. It really bothers me. That song was very important to him, but not in any negative or self indulgent way. When he discussed it with me in early 2000, there wasn’t any blood or drama involved, it was still a “new” song at the time, and he was proud and protective of it. Continue reading

Around the time Elliott was recording what would be his final album

benmckeown
©Ben McKeown

“So around the time Elliott was recording what would be his final album, I got to visit the actual basement on a hill. Satellite Park Studios. It’s a gorgeous house on the cliffs of Malibu owned by Josie Cotton with, you guessed it, a recording studio downstairs ‘basement’. I got to play Elliott’s guitar, the piano he used, and at the very least look at Tom Waits’ Chamberlin. The next best thing to meeting them I guess. Anyways, I was there with another band who was also recording there and one night, everyone but me had a lot to drink and the engineer opened up and I got to hear a story about Elliott. I was really eager to hear any Elliott stories but I wasn’t about to ask for any so I was glad when he started talking about him. Continue reading

Somebody That I Used To Know is a pretty straightforward “Fuck off’ kind of song

TR

Somebody That I Used To Know is a pretty straightforward “Fuck off’ kind of song – more straightforward than they usually are. Usually they don’t turn out that way, probably because I would feel really bored if I had to be in the exact same mood every time I sang the song to stay inside it and play it well. There has to be room for my imagination to kind of run around inside the lyrics, and hopefully inside people who bother to listen to it.”

Elliott Smith