It’s so tragic


“It’s so tragic. He’s from Portland, Oregon and I met him a few times and he was a really friendly guy and really nice. Every time I’ve seen him I had nothing bad to say about him, but I don’t know him that well. It was more of a general greeting. It was almost sort of my friends that knew him very well and how it went really wrong down there in Los Angeles. So everybody’s really gutted about it up in Portland because some of his true good friends are from Heatmiser and stuff. I don’t know him that well, so it was just a general thing for me. That’s sad. We really didn’t see the full brunt of it because we were on tour. We didn’t see much in Europe because we didn’t read the papers or search the internet.”

Stephen Malkmus

She used to go out with him, I guess


“She used to go out with him, I guess, Elliott Smith fans would know her. I never mention the Elliott thing to her, because she’s sorta mad at him now because they broke up. She’s also a little extra in The Minders, this indie rock band from Portland, she’s actually blowing off touring with them to be in my band, which wasn’t good and I felt bad about it. She’s in trouble with them now!”

Stephen Malkmus (avril 2001)

The first time I heard the name Elliott Smith


“The first time I heard the name Elliott Smith was in America in 1996. I was on a whistle stop trip to Los Angeles with Laurence Bell and Jacqui Rice where we were attempting to convince Scott Kannberg and Stephen Malkmus that Pavement should sign to Domino. At that point neither Jacqui nor myself technically worked at the label. We were there in a more abstract capacity. Over the course of one evening talk inevitably turned to music and Malkmus asked us if we were familiar with the two albums by Elliott Smith. As he said his name Steve’s hands made the actions of finger picking. ‘Acoustic player’, he continued, ‘from Portland’. Our reply was a group effort at the universal caveat of anyone hoping to cover his or her tracks:
‘Heard the name….Yes….. think so…..What label?’
‘Kill Rock Stars’
‘Oh right, yeah…… sure…..Sure’
By then Elliott Smith had released both ‘Roman Candle’ and his eponymous second record. During 1996 he had concentrated on his band Heatmiser and the release of their major label debut ‘Mic City Songs’, a copy of which Laurence and I had each been serendipitously given at a meeting during our Los Angeles visit. A few months later I was in the offices of an indie distributor in Holland and looked over a newly arrived import copy of ‘Either/Or’. The cover photograph of Smith sitting in the back room of a club and flashing his tattoos seemed to fit with the post-Riot Grrrl definition of punk that might then have been associated with Kill Rock Stars and the Pacific Northwest. There is just a hint of confrontation in the face Smith presents to the camera, an expression that makes the music within all the more startling. Continue reading