I was working at this restaurant

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©Sluggo Cawley

“I was working at this restaurant and my friend Jason introduced me to this band Heatmiser and I was really interested in this band even though I had foresworn music. I was like “I’m not going to have anything to do with music because it’s evil.” And I was like “No, no, no, no, I don’t want to be part of the music scene ever again.”(…) Then all of a sudden I was back in this insane thing and I went back to America and I told Heatmiser that I would manage them. Continue reading

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Saw Elliott in 1996/7 in a small pinball bar in Kansas

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“Saw Elliott in 1996/7 in a small pinball bar in Kansas whilst touring his self titled debut album. Being English in Kansas stood out so i even got to chat to him after the gig. He was a quiet chap who took my enthusiasm well. We chatted about Dischord a lot for some reason and I mentioned Nick Drake as simple base English comparison to him. He had no idea who Nick Drake was, I felt silly.”

Rocket 75

I grew up in the Silver Lake area

“I grew up in the Silver Lake area and went to junior high down the street from the Sound Solutions wall. I came up with the idea of using the weird murals on Sunset that I’d been obsessing over since I was little. It was the ugliest mural I’d ever seen, and eventually the most beautiful because I looked at it almost everyday. So I took Polaroids of a bunch of murals up and down Sunset Boulevard, and I’d always loved that photo of Nick Drake leaning against a brick wall looking down the street while a blurred picture of a girl (sic) runs by. I said at a meeting with Elliott, “What if you’re unaware of the color around you, and you’re just walking through or leaning against the wall, and you don’t realize how electric it is?” And he was, like, “I love that idea.” He was really into it being like a journey through this part of L.A.”

Autumn de Wilde

 

A lot of my favorite things on that record

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©David Black

“A lot of my favorite things on that record were recorded years ago, finished years ago. I think the classic, ‘recently deceased artist’ myth is going to take over. People who are misty-eyed are going to go, ‘This is what he was doing before he departed us,’ but a lot of those songs have been around for years.”

Jon Brion

It is bittersweet that one of Elliott Smith’s finest albums would be one which was released posthumously

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“It is bittersweet that one of Elliott Smith’s finest albums would be one which was released posthumously. From a Basement on the Hill is a masterwork of dexterity and achievement, with Smith exploring his love of The Beatles’ recording techniques. Using an array of instruments, the album was largely made at Smith’s home studio. It was left unfinished when Smith tragically took his own life in 2003, his family and friends collaborated after he passed so that the album would see the light of day. It is the one grace to come from the terrible event, for From a Basement on the Hill is one of the strongest and most powerful records of the last twenty years. King’s Crossing is a song about Smith’s demons, as well as his disillusion with the Music scene at the time. ‘The method acting that pays my bills keeps a fat man feeding in Beverly Hills’ he sang, lamenting the exploitation of his emotions to generate record sales. This is my top Elliott Smith record, which I revisit very regularly. I love the visual portraits Smith creates within this song. It is so full of regret, hopelessness and contemplation; be it about his career, his addictions or his existence. Powerful stuff.”

Joe Dallesandro

Elliott’s passing is a terrible loss for myself and many of my friends

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“Elliott’s passing is a terrible loss for myself and many of my friends, who knew, worked and hung out with him. Needless to say, he was one of the best songwriters of our day and a formidable musician. He was also soft-spoken, intelligent and extremely humble. He had an acute sense of justice. At one of my shows last year he tried to intervene with security who were harassing a kid, and was in turn beaten and handcuffed by them. We knew he’d had his struggles over the years, but I was heartened by word that he was on an upswing and preparing a new album. We had recently talked a few times about getting together and making some music. Nobody could have known what was going to happen, but I am grateful for the times we got to tour and hang out together. He will be missed, and the ramifications of his absence will long be felt.”

Beck

Happiness is my favorite song of all time

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Happiness is my favorite song of all time. Ever. I can probably recollect precisely, off the top of my head, at least fifty moments of experiencing this song. Tell you exactly what the air felt like. Name the folks I was with. Or without. Feel the intensity between my eyes and my nose letting me know I oughtta be ready to start crying soon. Every memory unique. And each just as hazy. To me, this vague, explosive feeling best encapsulates Elliott’s music. You could be nowhere or everywhere or anywhere. And it just doesn’t matter, because the song becomes your location and your destination. Most of his songs do this to me. This one most completely.”

Jim Fairchild

What I was doing for two or three years

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“What I was doing for two or three years was taking a Polaroid every single day…and it just happened to be that day that he was playing. But there’s a better story: Modest Mouse was opening for Elliott Smith, and Isaac’s amp literally blew up on stage. At that time, all he had was one amp, and you know, we’re not making that much money. After the show Elliott Smith came up to us and he’s like, “Oh, man, you guys, that sucks,” and then he gave us a few hundred dollars to go buy another amp. And he wasn’t that popular then, either—it was like 1997 [1998]. He was a cool guy.”

Pat Graham

The mainstream keeps describing me as depressing

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“The mainstream keeps describing me as depressing and I don’t need that anymore. I mean, you can go see a sad movie and find beauty in it. You don’t walk away depressed. It can be inspiring. When people talk about how I’m all gloom, it makes me feel bad. Nobody wants to be described as depressing. Sometimes I’m depressed, and sometimes I’m not, just like everyone else.”

Elliott Smith