Rest in peace, Elliott Smith

I was astonished to discover today that singer-songwriter Elliott Smith died in an apparent suicide late last year. I’m not sure how I missed out on the news before; I guess you miss these things when you’re traveling full-time.

I first saw Elliott Smith when he was fronting the punk-influenced band Heatmiser in Portland, Oregon in the early nineties. In fact, Heatmiser opened the first show I ever went to at Portland’s legendary X-Ray Cafe. My friends and I had gone to see the Sup Pop band Sprinkler, but were blown away by Heatmiser’s opening set. This was back when they had just formed; before they’d ever released an album. I went on to attend Heatmiser shows regularly when I was in college in Oregon, and I still listen to their Mic City Sons album all the time.

Some years later, I was living and working in Korea, and my friend Steve Fuller played me an album of haunting, whispery Nick Drake-style guitar-folk songs that sent chills up my spine: It was Elliott Smith’s eponymous solo album on the Kill Rock Stars label. That album and his later Either/Or kept me company on plenty an introspective Korean afternoon, and I’ve been a big fan ever since.

News of his death is saddening, and it is with bittersweet anticipation that I look forward to the posthumous release of his final album, From a Basement on a Hill. Rest in peace, Elliott Smith. You’ve made many people’s lonesome afternoons more bearable.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 19, 2004
Category: Travel News

One Response to “Rest in peace, Elliott Smith”

  1. Tori Nagle Says:

    I didn’t know you were and Elloit Smith fan. It was pretty crazy to hear he killed himself.