She started talking about I Figured You Out. She said that she watched Elliott as he wrote the song–I guess it was during one of the times when they were touring together–and then he played it. And he said “It sounds like the Eagles! I can’t wait for [she said a name, I forget who, I don’t know anything about the Eagles] to get off the highway and take a dump!”And then he crumpled up the paper and threw it in the trash. Later on she got into the trashcan and took the bit of paper with the song written on it out. Then a bit later, I guess when Elliott was in a better mood, she said something like “As a singer-songwriter who doesn’t write many songs, would you mind if I kept this?” Elliott said it was okay, and I guess then later on he was the engineer for her recording of the song on the Martian Saints EP. Continue reading
Mary Lou Lord described you as sensitive, vulnerable and said you aroused maternal feelings in her.
Mary is nice. 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 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
“I’m pretty sure he had issues of trust. Trusting people. Because he could see right through you if you weren’t completely honest. There were a few hard feelings between us at the end because I was part of a little campaign of people that tried to get him help. It was what I thought was best.I thought, I can’t live with seeing him like this. Kevin and I knew that if he didn’t completely get well, that one day we would get a phone call. And we did.”
Mary Lou Lord
“I think he’s going to be a major, major figure in social songwriting and timeless writing. I’ve worn out my Joni Mitchell records, I’ve worn out the Neil Youngs and the Bob Dylans and to an extent, the Beatles. I needed something new and he’s got that same consistency. It’s really refreshing. I don’t know what happens to people. I mean, Neil Young has been pretty on top of things in recent years. But it seems like those people, after a while, just lose something. You get burnt out and you wait for somebody new and then it’s like “Yay! I need to feel like a teenage girl again!” Elliott brings that out in me. It makes me think, “Thank God, I still am a fan of music!”
Mary Lou Lord
“My favorite songs right now are written and sung by a guy named Elliott Smith. He’s in a band called “Heatmiser”. I like the band ok, but his solo acoustic stuff is incredible. I had the good fortune to tour with him in March. I would listen to him night after night and continually be blown-away emotionally. I would describe him as a cross between Dylan, Nick Drake, and (dare I say) Joni Mitchell a la “Cold Blue Steel Blue” phase. Wynton Marsalis says that the “blues”are like a vaccine: you gotta get a little to take it away. That’s how it is listening to Elliott. It’s so sad and heartfelt that it takes those feelings away. I can’t describe or explain how much his music means to me. I would suggest you get his record and see for yourself. I doubt it will be too long that the rest of the world start to notice this wonderful song-writer, ELLIOTT SMITH.”
Mary Lou Lord, 23 août 1995
“I said, ’What’s in the bag, Elliott?’ And he said, ‘I’m writing some music.’ And then he pulled out this orchestrated piece that he was putting together with notes and everything, and I was like, ‘Holy shit, Elliott!’ That’s when I first knew he was onto something. It was a lot more than what even I had anticipated. .. When he started working with very big musical people, it really opened his curiosity, and he felt like he had the chance to make the record that maybe only a studio can provide. He uses the resources that are around him very naturally. He had the resources to make a record that shows a side of him that not a lot of people knew existed. It’s just the beginning. This was just his first time with a budget. It’s going to get very, very interesting in the future. This record is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Mary Lou Lord
“I had the amazingly good fortune to meet another incredibly talented songwriter named Elliott Smith. He set a new bar for music and I truly believe him to be one of the great voices of our generation. In 1995 I took Elliott out on his first tour as my opening act. I adored his songs and our friendship ran deep. Although our relationship was strictly platonic, it was Elliott who helped me fill the void after the loss of Kurt. On both of the tours that Elliott and I subsequently did together, it was the Martin that we would end up playing into the wee hours of the morning in our hotel room…I believe that “Grandpa” is the ONLY instrument in the world that was played, adored and loved by both Kurt Cobain AND Elliott Smith. It was also played on occasion by Shawn Colvin and of course, me.
In 2003, Elliott died and this completely broke my heart…It was around this time that I began to release myself from the whole world of music as I knew it and dedicate myself to my young daughter Annabelle. The Martin was getting little attention, and by this point it held memories that I wanted to let go of. It had served me well and I wanted to give it a new lease on life. It needed to be played, so in 2004 I sold it to a guitar dealer and that was that.
A few years later I got a letter from someone who was about to purchase the guitar and wanted to know if everything was on the “up and up.” I am happy to say that the guitar Kurt Cobain called “Grandpa” and Elliott Smith called “Gramps” now resides in the permanent collection of Make’n Music in Chicago, IL. I am told it is played regularly and adored by many a visitor who wants to hear the “stories.” On special occasions it is even made available to other musicians for purposes of inspiration and to use on recordings.
I am glad to have known it, served it well, and to have shared in the memories this wonderful guitar possesses.
There you go…the story of “Grandpa.”
Mary Lou Lord
“Martian Saints was really fun because I got to do some in studio recording with Nic Saloman. There are a couple of songs on that that are mine-which is good. Then of course there’s the stuff that Elliott Smith wrote but he never recorded. But on the CD he’s playing everything. The memories of being in the studio with him and watching how he went about with things. He produced and played everything on it-drums, bass and guitar. This was like his “baby” that he gave me. Also we had done a little bit of writing together at that time-he helped me finish the songs. It was a very enjoyable time for me to hang out in Portland and hang out with Elliott. It was very different than being on tour.”
Mary Lou Lord