Tuesday, October 19, 2004


One year ago today I called my boss in the morning and told him I had some stomach problems and wouldn’t be making it in to the office that day. In actuality I had heart issues.

Elliot Smith stabbed himself in the chest with a kitchen knife.

I read the headlines and I read the message boards professing their love for him. There were many people who claimed to be unsurprised by an obvious end to Elliot’s life. I never thought he was capable of it.

Of course I know the sadness and desperation of his lyrics and the melancholy in those giant melodies. I always thought that there was a sliver of hope in those songs; or maybe I just hoped. I thought that he wrote songs about wanting to find a place to hide so that he did not have to find a place to hide.

I stayed home all day and listened to records. I found some interviews and memorials online that I listened to. I drank some booze and felt miserable by myself.

I still don’t know why it moved me so much. I didn’t know him. I didn’t really even know that much about him. There are scores of fans out there that knew his music more intimately than I. Still though, it hit me like a family member had died.

Elliot was like that older cousin that had seen things and done things you wish you had the guts to do. You wondered how you had the same blood. You worshiped him and feared him at the same time. And then he is gone.



Thursday, October 14, 2004

like blood off the backs of ducks

Larry opened his eyes and saw drops of blood raining down on the dirt below. The drops beaded and then soaked into the earth. He was not sure how long he had had his eyes closed. His hearing came back and he listened for sounds; the scuffling feet and the whispering voices. He felt he was alone.

He lifted his head to look...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

People Have The Power

So you are 19-year old Conor Oberst sitting in your parents basement writing songs about your little brother drowning in bathtubs. Your audience consists of young indie kids dressed in black and in fact they look a lot like you. You are traveling around the midwest in vans playing small bars that you are not even allowed to drink in yet.

Jump ahead five years.

There are rumors about you and Winona Ryder having "relations." You are playing on Late Night talk shows. You are the buzz of the indie world and trying to shake the wunderkind title. Bruce Springsteen knows who you are. You are invited to play on the vote for change tour playing for mostly middle aged liberal boss fans. So here you are five years removed from singing about Nebraska cornfields and you are trading verses with Michael Stipe, John Fogerty, Bruce, and Neil Young in front of 18,000 fans on a Tuesday night in St. Paul, Minnesota.

You were dreaming in your dreaming.