Kurt Cobain wasn’t ours

©Bill Wadman

“Kurt Cobain wasn’t ours, in Portland. As suburban middle-schoolers who mass-transited it into town every weekend to pick up our copies of The Rocket, we loved Nirvana, naturally. But after the suicide, my punk-rock songwriting pal and I felt a little bit angryleft behind. And so we were excited about the beginnings of Candy Ass Records, each of us devoting hard looks to each new CD from the label that showed up at Ozone on Burnside, across from Powell’s. We didn’t need it to become as big a deal as Sub Pop; we just wanted something we could get next to from the start. Continue reading


Elliott was very different

© Steve Hanford / Thee Slayer Hippie

“Elliott was very different. He was very tortured. I never got into why. But I spent many a night getting wasted with Elliott. At the same time, a lot of brilliance exists in this town. But Elliott was able to marshal his artistic talent in a way that many others were, dare I say, afraid to. He was very brave in his oblivion seeking. His brilliance and ability to write songs rivals that of Lennon and McCartney. Did his sound change when he moved from Portland? Well… he could focus more away from Portland and cultivate his art. Also focus on other things. You know… He was a nice guy, a very silly, crazy person. If you were his friend. Other  than that, he was very stand-offish. Which was how I was, at the time. He didn’t talk. Journalists, he hated that shit, too.”

Steve Hanford


This album was a lot harder to write than the other ones


“This album was a lot harder to write than the other ones. On the others, we were a working band, always writing songs and playing them on tour. For the new one we weren’t touring at all, rarely played together and didn’t write together. Obviously Heatmiser is not the zenith of everybody’s career in music; it’s not healthy and it hasn’t turned out to be the career that all of us set out to make it. I don’t know if we’ll make another record and I’m not sure if I want to. Continue reading

Tony was the original producer on Mic City Sons

©Andy Factor

“Tony was the original producer on Mic City Sons and the band’s drummer, and he could not keep the tension between Neil and Elliott out of the room. They were doing songs separately. It was like the last Beatles album or something, like they didn’t want to see each other. When they delivered the album, they pretty much delivered it with their resignation from Heatmiser. The tour was awful, nobody saw it, and that was the end.”

Andy Factor

I was working at this restaurant

©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

Saw Heatmiser too many times


“Saw Heatmiser too many times. Much preferred Hazel. Saw Elliott solo at Produce Row! Was less than impressed. Was introduced by JJ at LaLuna and his handshake was colder than the beer they were serving at the bar. Didn’t catch the bug until I heard ‘Cupid’s Trick’ trying on pants in the dressing room of the 23rd Ave Urban Outfitters. It was like the tumblers of a lock falling into place. A moment. Now a blessed memory. Now I fall asleep to one of his records almost every night (mostly the self-titled).”

Tim Casebeer

As a small-time concert promoter

©Richard Paradis

“As a small-time concert promoter I booked a lot of bands who went on to be huge rock stars when they were small. One of my favorites was Elliott Smith when he was still in Heatmiser from Portland. I booked him twice at SevenSouth (now The HiDive) in Denver. The first show sold only 39 tickets. A year later their agent called looking for a replay. I said no.

The next day Elliott called me. He really wanted the show. I told him about my loss after the first show. He offered to play solo for less money.

He then said, “Richard, I thought we were friends” – I am a softy and that did it. I booked his band at the same price-point as the first time. And guess what? The same thing happened. 39 paid. Looking back, that was the best money that I ever lost. I miss you Elliott. We are friends. RIP.”

Dick Dime/Richard Paradis