I don’t think that I’d be doing what I’m doing


“I don’t think that I’d be doing what I’m doing without Elliott Smith. In college, I got sick of guitar rock, and sort of felt spent on angst and contortion and the testosterone bullshit of rock. I went into listening to all electronica music like Portishead and Björk and stuff. Then Elliott Smith came along with the song “Needle In The Hay” and I don’t remember where I first heard it, but I immediately went and got the record. It’s sort of like reliving the Beatles. His melodic and harmonic senses were so incredibly Beatles weighted, but he updated it in this way that made it speak directly to me as a 19-year-old. I can’t think of a single song of his that I don’t like. He was just a genius.”

Damian Kulash

The Empty Bottle was everybody’s home away from home

©Damian Kulash

“The Empty Bottle was everybody’s home away from home in the late ’90s. We all hung out there at least five nights a week, either watching each other’s bands or watching some band called the White Stripes from Detroit. I basically lived at the Empty Bottle. We were huge fans of Elliott Smith at the time. Figure 8 hadn’t come out yet, but he was doing an advance tour of acoustic shows around the country and we begged Bruce to let us open. We did a cover of Smith’s “Clementine,” hoping that he wouldn’t be pissed off. We did a big shoegaze-y, wall-of-sound version. But it was really cool for us because the Bottle isn’t very big. There’s only one basement dressing room, and we shared it with Elliott, our hero, which meant that we got to hang with him for a bit, and he was really wonderful and very sweet. That was huge for us.”

Tim Nordwind