His personality definitely started to change

two guitars

“His personality definitely started to change. He got more and more weird, more and more kind of selfish. Everything was about Elliott. If you’re hanging out, you couldn’t talk about anything unless it really had to do with Elliott. His problems. What was going on in his life. And it got harder, and he would try, he’d be like: “I’m trying, I’m sorry, I’m trying to listen to what you have to say. It wasn’t like he was in control. He was out of it. Totally out of it, because he was popping all these kinds of different medications and he was carrying like a shoebox full of medications”

Sean Croghan

We were drinking and crying buddies

©Jeremy Balderson

“We were drinking and crying buddies and we had a reputation for getting really drunk and really sad. He turned me on to all the great Russian writers, and we turned into an English literature class where we would talk for hours about writers. Elliott was always seen as a man crying with a constant cloud over his head, but he was a hilarious guy, and he was like any of us – he had a full spectrum of emotion. I have no way to say how he died; nobody has actually ruled it as a suicide. I don’t think Elliott was thick-skinned enough. He cared too much about people, and he saw that people were waiting to take advantage of you and get rich off of other people’s talents. I don’t think I could ever be that guy. After Elliott died, I spent a lot of time just listening to his music that he would regularly give me over the years.  I still miss him. Some mornings I’ll wake up and think of a really amazing Japanese film, and I’ll want to go talk to him about it… I don’t try to romanticize the sad stuff anymore. Depression isn’t fun or cute, and it doesn’t make you more desirable. I don’t know if it killed him, but it didn’t make him happy when he was alive.”

Sean Croghan



He knew there were a lot of Portland people

©Janice Ordal

“He knew there were a lot of Portland people who wanted him to be here, and wanted to help him. The last time we hung out, there were four or five os us sitting there, begging him to move back. He had doctors in L.A. prescribing him handfuls of pills. He had a thousand little yes men down there – any young, aspiring rock star in L.A. would only be too happy to go out and acquire anything Elliott wanted to ingest and give it to him. He had people who wanted to help him, but he made a stupid decision, and a selfish decision. He wasn’t a sad, fragile little boy. He was a man.”

Sean Croghan

He became dependent on having people say


“He became dependent on having people say “you’re okay” and it was weird because it came to a point where I told him “I’m not gonna tell you you’re okay anymore because you’re not telling me you are okay: all you’re saying is “Am I okay, Sean?”[…]
I guess it’s not a happy part of Elliott, but it’s a real part of Elliott. There were such great parts of his personality that were overshadowed by his sad thing, but there were also really negative parts of his personality that were overshadowed by his sadness. He had a selfishness that developed due to his attitude of “I’m so dependent now on outside support. I can’t support myself because…well I don’t know why.” I don’t know why he couldn’t, either. It made him unable to support himself.”

Sean Croghan

There was talk for awhile about Elliott and I


“There was talk for awhile about Elliott and I forming a sixties type super-pop band. Kind of like what Apples In Stereo are like now. We’ve talked about it and stuff, but most of it is just drunken talk. We’ll be sitting around and BS’ing with each other, but Elliott is so busy, Pete is so busy, and I’m so busy it just doesn’t work out. Maybe someday though!”

Sean Croghan

A brief word on Elliott and depression


©Dawn Radtke

“A brief word on Elliott and depression: it is true, as I have witnessed, that Elliott could sink into despair but, keep in mind, remember that the people surrounding him were feeling not that much different than him… This was the Portland scene that Elliott was part of. To be honest a lot of the dark nature came from the city itself; a place where it rains just as often as not and economic depression was prevalent, and bars outnumber cultural centers 25 to 1, once again, Elliott was merely reflecting what was around him and he not only reflected its sadness but, also its beauty and joy. The guy could go from tears to running a joke into the ground (another talent of Elliott’s) in about two steps. That joker, prat falling goof was just as much Elliott as was the guy crying over song lyrics written on napkins with a shot of Jamesons at his elbow. He could be a jerk and selfish, and he could be very giving (he bought plane tickets for me to go to Mexico after I had a bad breakup, because he felt I needed some time away). Elliott was like all of us, a complete human being…. I feel both lucky and distraught that I knew him so well. Lucky that I was privileged to get that close to a genius, distraught that everyday I miss my friend and I can’t find him in the night no matter how hard I look.”

Sean Croghan