Five years ago last Tuesday, Elliott Smith died of an apparent suicide. It always seemed pretty obvious that he was rather uneasy at times with life. I'm not going to offer some long writing on why he was important or why I think he wrote such great melodies. I obviously did not know him, and don't pretend I understood what made him so good. However, I will offer three things that come to mind immediately for me with Elliott Smith.
1)My cat. I have a cat named Adeline, who is named after his song "Sweet Adeline". Adeline is not sweet. She's mean, self-centered, and rude. I love her to death.
2)I saw him in concert for the first time when I was 18. The whole "Good Will Hunting" thing had just happened. He was opening for Ben Folds Five and Beck at Star Lake. He only did about 8 songs, but it was fantastic.
3)I then saw him again on Halloween about 3 years later at CMU. It was after his release "Figure 8" came out. The band and him were in Halloween costumes. Elliott was wearing a monk outfit, but with his thin frame, and long brown hair, someone mistook him for the lord almighty and shouted, "Jesus!!" in between the first and second song. He was obviously bummed out by this. In his soft voice he said, "Awww, no. It's just a monk outfit. It's not Jesus... I mean... I don't think I'm Jesus." The tenderness with which he said it made it rather funny to me.
He is still missed.