Read our huge cover story on Elliott Smith, starting on page 49 of Issue 4 of Under the Radar, then scroll below for all the extra quotes and photos that didn’t make it into that article.

In total Under the Radar’s senior editor Mark Redfern, photographer Wendy Lynch, and I spent over ten hours with Elliott Smith. Due to the sheer length of the interviews the hardest part of writing the print version of the article was choosing what was going in and what had to be cut. The article had several different edits the first of which was so long that it would’ve been considered ludicrous to print it. There were many funny anecdotes that never made it on tape such as Elliott showing us his moonwalking skills on the deck of his house or when we got him to change into his “dragon pants” and photographed him next to a dead Christmas tree that had been sitting on his front lawn for months. All in all Elliott proved to be game for just about anything we threw his way. Below are a few quotes that never made it into the final edit for one reason or another. Many are just funny stories he went into of his accord while others are just elaborations on quotes already in the print version of the article. Interviewing Elliott Smith proved to be the highlight of all the interviews I conducted for issue #4 of Under the Radar and I hope you’ve enjoyed the piece and the bonus material located here as much I enjoyed writing it.
-Marcus Kagler
Contributing Writer
Under the Radar
Childhood and Family
Elliott Smith: “My dad bought me my first guitar when I was like 11 or 12. It was an acoustic. Like a little tiny one. I used to play it so I could learn it for about two years. I took lessons for a year when I was ten. My parents divorced when I was zero still. I lived with my mom’s second marriage. Her side of the family were all professional musicians but they had to do things like teach school. My grandfather installed signs.”

Marcus Kagler: “Is this in Texas?”

Elliott Smith: “Yeah. Dallas and suburban Dallas. I lived in like Duncanville and Desoto. I lived in a place called Cedar Hills. These were all south of Dallas.”

Marcus Kagler: “You mentioned that you left home in your first year of High School. What brought that on?”

Elliott Smith: “Oh, the domestic situation just wasn’t good. But it’s not something I want to dredge up because that’s been worked out between me and the person and they don’t need to feel bad about it forever.”

Marcus Kagler: “So what was your first band?”

Elliott Smith: “Well, I was only in one band before Heatmiser. Heatmiser was the first real band I was in that made records. But there was a band I was in before that but I don’t want to say what it was because I don’t want any one to dredge it up [laughs].”

Marcus Kagler: “Is there evidence of this band floating around?”

Elliott Smith: “No, no, no. Of course not. [laughs] Otherwise why would I be so secretive about it? No, never. There were maybe a couple hundred copies of it on cassette. I really promised myself a long time ago I would keep that from ever seeing the light of day [laughs]. They’re not songs so much as they are a lot of transitions because that was my favorite part of the song. You know, when it goes into the chorus and comes out into the verse. They weren’t very linear songs but they didn’t repeat much. I think that repetition in rock music or any music at all really kind of got to me when I first started to write. I wondered why every part of the song wasn’t the most exciting part of the song.”

Marcus Kagler: “How old were you at this time?”

Elliott Smith: “Oh, twelve, thirteen.”

Marcus Kagler: “So you were recording with a band at 12?”

Elliott Smith: “No I was recording by myself on four-track.”

Marcus Kagler: “So when did you move to Portland?”

Elliott Smith: “When I was fourteen.”

Marcus Kagler: “Why Portland?”

Elliott Smith: “Oh, my dad lived up there. I saw him every year for like a week or two. So I knew who he was. It wasn’t really like I moved out into nowhere but it was a difficult move. It took some getting used to. I didn’t sleep at all for about the first six months I lived there. At that time the situation at my mothers’ home was very fresh in my mind. I was very worried about my mother. But everything turned out O.K."

Kicking People Out of Bands/Homosexuality/Texas Sports
Elliott Smith: “Sam [Coombs] came on sort of towards the end, initially out of the kindness of his heart because Heatmiser had a different bass player who was so confrontational that we eventually kicked him out. Boy, was that an unpleasant thing to do. I mean, kicking someone out of a band is like breaking up with somebody. At least in this band it was because everybody except for me was really into it. I, to a certain degree, was pretty invested in the band emotionally or whatever. I’d been living with the other songwriter and singer, Neil, for like years and years. Not as his boyfriend but as his roommate. Not that it matters. I don’t care. That kind of thing I don’t think is anybody’s business. It never really occurred to me whether or not Neil was gay until he told me one day. It was very upsetting to him because he hadn’t told anyone. But it wasn’t upsetting to me. I had just never really thought about it. By that point just about all my friends that were men were gay.”

Marcus Kagler: “Why do you think that was?”

Elliott Smith: “Oh, I was around 20 or 19 and a lot of straight guys know, just having kinds of conversation that I couldn’t really relate to. You know, just like very high school. You know, like not being able to relate to jocks in high school. Sort of like that.”

Marcus Kagler: “That was me in High School. I couldn’t relate to jocks at all.”

Elliott Smith: “Yeah, I couldn’t either. Even though I had to play sports in Junior High in Texas because everybody in Texas has to. I played football. I played defensive guard of all things. I was not any bigger and I was always very average. I was always a little on the small side in height and weight. First I was a wide receiver which is great in junior high when nobody can throw the football. So every play you’d run out ten yards and then bump up against the guy. You hit kind of hard for about the first ten plays then the rest of the game you’re just kind of running out there and bumping up against the guy. He doesn’t want to hit you very hard either. You’re both in kind of a bad situation because he’s a corner back and you’re a wide receiver in Junior High. Then nobody would pass to me. I was even on the starting team because I could catch with my hands instead of letting the ball bounce against my chest first. Or you can catch it by letting it bounce off your shoulder pads...or your face. Then they moved me into the defensive line because...I just became aggravated by people who were bigger than me and threatening me and saying some of the things that junior high kids say. You know, when you’re down there like inches away from somebody’s head and some guy is going, “I’m going to fuck you up!” So the play starts and I’d just sort of dart out and cut him off at the knees and that was that. They’d always put the big guys by me because I was the small guy on the defensive line but I got my guy every time because I was smaller and quicker and I guess angrier in general or something. Yeah, it’s not too hard to trip somebody up. I just can’t believe I played so much sports. I can tell you it doesn’t build character by itself. Except maybe building the character to not play sports because you were forced to.”
College and Meeting Neil Gust
Elliott Smith: “I met Neil at college. We went to Hampshire College in-between Amherst and North Hampton in Massachusetts. It was sort of an experimental college with no grades and no majors. It was accredited, but it’s sort of like Evergreen. Its written evaluations and you’ve got to get professors to sign off on things. I didn’t want to go to college, but my girlfriend applied early and got accepted to Hampshire College and then I got lucky on the test scores so I applied to the school she got into and I got accepted and they set up financial aid and work-study jobs. I worked at the dog kennel I worked at the farm. I worked with sheep. I worked with horses. Uh, Scandinavian attack dogs whom research was being done on. [everyone just explodes with laughter here] Some of them were sick...”

Marcus Kagler: “Was this for college work-study?”

Elliott Smith: “Yeah. Well, there was a dog kennel and that was different that was like a donut shape. Then there were these other dorm type places that you moved to after the dorms called MODS, but they’re still on campus. I briefly lived in a so-called MOD. Modular housing. It was all put up by the army in a day. That’s what the story was and I believe it after living there. But I moved off campus as soon as possible because the students were totally irritating. But I liked what I was studying which would have been philosophy or pre-law at another school. It was all legal theory and philosophy. When I enrolled I sort of wanted to get into it. I was good at memorizing things. For the past two years I’ve been on a kind of techie kick to get this place...even as disheveled as it is in here at least I now understand the skeleton of it. Math was a part of that. You know, advanced math really turns into philosophy anyway. It seems like anything if you go far enough into it turns into philosophy. How to think. Thinking about how you think and other people think. Neil was a student and I met him just because he was playing the guitar and he played it better than me. He was one of those people who could actually make his instrument sound really good. Whereas I’m sort of one of those people who can just play it but not necessarily make it sound good. I guess the corny term would be to ‘make it sing’. Neil was totally in tune to what was happening with his guitar. Tony [Lash] was a guy that I met in high school. Tony played flute in the high school band which is where I learned how to play the drums.”

Wendy Lynch: “That was your instrument in High School?”

Elliott Smith: “No, it was the clarinet. I got bumped down to clarinet because the instruments got handed out by alphabet and my name is Smith so its way down there. There were already too many drummers and too many saxophone players and all that was left and the only thing that could possibly fit in my backpack and keep me from getting my ass kicked because boys at my school in Texas were you’d be constantly fighting the same guy. It would always come from somebody telling him you said something offensive. Even if it wasn’t necessarily that offensive you were supposed to take offence at it or you would be a ‘pussy’ or something to that effect. That was the word in the day. Anyway, Neil played the guitar really well and he liked to listen to decent music and I did too. So we started playing acoustic guitar together which doesn’t make a lot of sense but I didn’t have an electric guitar. I had an acoustic guitar though by that point and then later Neil borrowed it and he still has it. My first two records on my own that weren’t Heatmiser records, Roman Candle and then the second one are actually recorded on my girlfriend’s guitar. On one of them the guitar was tuned really low and I had no idea because I never kept in pitch or anything. But with Roman Candle it was just done in standard tuning, but the second one was done with a guitar tuned to a different pitch. Me and Neil went to start a band in Portland with this guy Tony whom I had met in High School.”

Marcus Kagler: “Had you graduated from Hampshire College?”

Elliott Smith: “Yeah. We both graduated from there. Went straight through in four years. I guess I proved to myself I could do something I really didn’t want to for four years. Except I did like what I was studying. At the time it seemed like, ‘This is your one and only chance to go to college and you had just better do it because some day you might wish that you did.’ Plus the whole reason I had applied in the first place was because of my girlfriend and I had gotten accepted already even though we had broken up before the first day.”

Mark Redfern: “When you look back on it now are glad you went to college?”

Elliott Smith: “Yeah, I’m glad because there wasn’t a lot of stuff I was interested in, but I was interested in what I was studying even though it had no practical application in the world. I guess people like to talk about there lives like computer programs and they should have an application for there lives. Maybe that’s where that computer term came from. No, I got out of college and worked in a bakery with a bachelors degree in philosophy and legal theory.”

Mark Redfern: “This is back in Portland?”

Elliott Smith: “Yeah.”

Mark Redfern: “Did Neil go back with you there?”

Elliott Smith: “We were going to go to Chicago but Tony Lash said he’d play drums and at this point Neil had to convince me to be in a band because I had almost completely talked myself out of playing music. The last thing I wanted to do was be the straight white guy on the stage going on and on about my feelings. I just couldn’t handle that idea and when I started trying to figure out what would be a useful thing to do with myself the only thing that came up was: fireman. That was the only thing I could think of that was actually necessary for someone to do and it wasn’t a job to be coveted by someone else. But that was the last thing I wanted to do. At the time I just took everything to heart in just a big way. Like post-structural radical feminist legal theory. In a way almost kind of right wing....or some people think they’re kind of right wing. I was reading about procedural changes in the way that rape cases are tried and things like that. It got to a point where I couldn’t look at a girl objectively without thinking of all these questions. I took it very seriously and got myself sort of....Neil called it: bunched up. Neil was like, ‘You’re just talking yourself out of everything you want to do.’ He just kept insisting that we were going to start a band and I kept being like, ‘No.’ Finally college was over and I hadn’t gotten any closer to being a fireman so I went with him to Portland and hooked up with Tony and met the very confrontational guy who was older than the rest of us and was probably more punk whatever that means....and we started that band.”

Marcus Kagler: “How old were you?”

Elliott Smith: “I was 21.”

Mark Redfern: “Did you actually take steps to become a fireman?”

Elliott Smith: “I checked the requirements and I don’t think I passed the height or the weight or something. There was some sort of physical impediment. No, I didn’t get to [be a fireman] because I had gotten totally demoralized by what I was reading which was half horrible stuff to read about yourself especially if you describe yourself as a straight white man. The other half was reading everything from Kampf on forward. I really liked philosophy and I wish more people would take an interest in it because it’s interesting to know how people think.” Heatmiser

Elliott Smith: “Sam came in after we had kicked Brant out which actually came down to me kicking Brant out even though everybody agreed to do it and we met up to do it but then Brant started asking everyone personally if they wanted him out. Then it came to me and I said I wanted him out. That guy was just such an asshole. That guy I don’t really care that much about. I mean, he was an O.K. guy and we were friends for awhile but he just kind of worked up everybody’s nerves. His sense of humor was such that he always had to be making fun of somebody. He was just not a good time.”

Marcus Kagler: “So I’m just going to name off some albums and can tell me what you think of them just because it would be nice to get some of your opinions. So the first record is Dead Air.”

Elliott Smith: “I didn’t listen to it for a long time because I thought it was just terrible. Since I’ve listened to it again I think my singing is terrible. That largely came about because I couldn’t hear myself when we were practicing. I was sitting right next to the crash symbol. If I imagine I’m not in it it’s O.K. I don’t dislike it any more, but I do dislike my singing. The only one that’s not like that is the last one, Mic City Sons. That’s when me and Neil kind of took over. Our drummer Tony had produced the previous ones so we brought in Rod Schnapf and Tom Rothrock to help co-produce what was supposed to be our debut record for Virgin but we broke up and tried to go on tour anyway. That lasted about two weeks. But that’s the one I like the best was Mic City Sons. But there are entire songs on it where I don’t play anything at all. A couple of Neil’s’ songs. Then there are one’s where almost nobody played anything but me.”

Marcus Kagler: “So that begs the question of....well, you were still in Heatmiser when you started recording and putting out your own material. What pushed to you start recording solo?”

Elliott Smith: “I’d just been doing that ever since I was in high school. In Portland I borrowed a four track from someone for about a year and then I borrowed another one after I gave that one back. I’ve been recording stuff on four track ever since I was 14. That had been going on throughout the whole time I was in Heatmiser. It’s just the the time they went through Heatmiser’s process of working out songs they would turn into these big loud things. I didn’t learn how to sing and I didn’t even have the small amount of control I have now over my voice. I sang everything from my stomach. So singing a high note just shredded up my vocal chords and I actually couldn’t sing falsetto for a couple of years because of that. [Wendy Lynch produces some Rollos candy] Is that a Rollo? Oh, roll one to the top. Thanks. The last song on Roman Candle was done a borrowed guitar because I could actually use the whammy bar. I called it ‘Kiwi Mad Dog’ because we drank a bit of cheap alcohol back then. Not that I drink expensive alcohol now.”

Marcus Kagler: “How did the guys in Heatmiser take the success of Roman Candle?

Elliott Smith: “I’m not sure because they didn’t say, but I don’t think they took it too well. Like I was saying, I was doing interviews trying to distance myself from that band because I felt kind of depressed by myself. I was depressing myself by trying to stay in the band because I thought I was doing it for Neil. Neil didn’t tell me to do that, it was just my own trip. It was kind of ridiculous to carry it up to a certain point and then drop the ball or the bomb. Sam saved the day because he was the only one who seemed like he really enjoyed being in that band. The rest of us were sort of conflicted about it. It started to get to be drag. The music was loud and kind of aggressive sounding compared to grunge. We were more into the DC bands that were going on then. Like the Discord bands. Basically we kind of wanted to be Fugazi, you know, but we didn’t sound anything like Fugazi.”

Kill Rock Stars
Elliott Smith: “I put out Either/Or on Kill Rock Stars. That one and the one before that. Yeah, Kill Rock Stars. That was a weird situation because it was riot girl label for the most part. Bikini Kill was the main attraction and it was kind of unclear what I was doing on Kill Rock Stars for the most part. [laughs] If you happened to glance at the catalogue it wouldn’t really make much sense. Unless you think, ‘Hey, somebody is trying to expand their lyrical horizons.’ Which I think is cool. I really liked being on that label.”
Recording Alone
Elliott Smith: “Well, I’ve never had to deal with a band recording wise. There’s been a few songs with other people playing drums but not very many. Like Sam Coombs has played bass some songs too. For the most part, recording wise, it’s always been just me. It’s not that I feel I’m a better drummer than a real drummer because I don’t feel like a real drummer. I don’t play straight enough or raw enough. The only time I play the drums is when I’m recording so I don’t really get any better. But I do hear things over the course of time between records that other drummers don’t know. I don’t know, it’s fun to put on the hat. You know, thinking like a bass player would think. Again it’s like philosophy. It’s like getting to be a bunch of different people in a band except they all get along and they like the same type of music. They either agree or they agree to disagree.”
Good Will Hunting
Mark Redfern: “Were you surprised at how successful the movie and the songs became?”

Elliott Smith: “I wasn’t surprised about the movie because he [Gus Van Sant] invited me up to place one night to see the movie. I saw it and some of my songs had been put into it and I thought they were placed well. I never had a lot to say about that because, even though I was given lots of opportunities to be involved, like when I was on tour he would fly me back to Los Angeles between shows to be there while they were putting the sound into the movie, which was really cool and probably Gus’s doing. But they always seemed well put, and if I didn’t know it, I would have thought they were made for the movie. Then there was the one song...they were all released on other records except for one and that one somehow in a freakish accident got nominated for an Academy Award. I remember my manager calling me up at seven in the morning. I was staying in a hotel in West Hollywood for two months recording. Then my manager called me up at seven in the morning and said, ‘You’ve been nominated!’ And I said, ‘For what? It’s seven in the morning!’ Because they announce it at like 6 in the morning or something ridiculous like that.”
The Oscars
Elliott Smith: “I think I still have it [the white Prada tuxedo he wore to the Oscar ceremony], but I don’t wear it anymore. I never liked it very much. I have my own white suit that I like a lot better. I like it because it’s got a stain on it and I can put a pink carnation in the breast pocket and there will be a big stain underneath. It wasn’t a soft white it was like a white, white. This was the kind of white you can’t wear at certain times during the day. I used to wear baker’s whites a lot. I used to have five sets of baker’s whites, one for every day of the workweek. One summer I was working in the bakery at North Hampton because I was staying there for the summer and this one time a guy drove buy in a pick-up and yelled, ‘DIRT!’ He called me ‘dirt’ and I was wearing absolutely spotless white. I couldn’t have been more dirt free. It was the funniest thing.”

Mark Redfern: “What was the [Academy Award] ceremony like?”

Elliott Smith: “The first day of rehearsal, I didn’t wear the suit, the producer of the TV show came out and shook my hand and assured me, ‘Anything you need you just let me know.’ And I was like, ‘Uh, how about a chair?’ because I sit down when I’m playing. I don’t know why I did that...I think I do that because traditionally folk singers always stood hunched up like this and I just didn’t want to be....I like playing alone and not being in band partly because it felt less cliche and then it became it’s own cliche. So I had to get out of that box. I always have to get out of one box and into another box, then another box, then anther box. So I was like, ‘A chair would be great.’ And he couldn’t do that. He said he had to talk to somebody about it, which is like saying, ‘No, you can’t have a chair.’ They told me how many seconds it would have taken for someone to move a chair out and they said they didn’t have the time. Although someone could have walked faster than me with the chair while I was walking out...trying not to fall down in these brand new Prada purple loafers. God, I can’t stand loafers. These had like nothing skimmed up on the bottom. They were just like smooth leather, perfect for moonwalking, popping, and knocking and that’s it. Well, I was standing on the side of the stage, you know I had to play standing up, and I was trying to scuff my shoes up on the side of the stairs and Celine Dion is there [everybody laughs] because she was going to sing right after I was done. You know, I’ve got my guitar and the little wireless thing and she goes, “Are you nervous?” And I said I was nervous so she could say whatever she had to say but I didn’t feel nervous at all because it was just too weird for that. It was like playing a show that only had one part of a song because it wasn’t even the whole song.”

Marcus Kagler: “Yeah, I remember that. I was really pissed about it.

Elliott Smith: “Yeah, it was kind of ridiculous. Doing the song was fine because I was inside the song. Generally, if it’s a bad show I might not be in the songs while I’m playing them. I might say ridiculous nonsense in-between songs and have no idea what I said after the show is over. But I won’t care if I don’t remember what happened while the song was going on because I was inside the song until it was over then I would wake up. Then I might think of something to say or maybe not. I didn’t make up a speech or anything because it was apparent who was going to win. But after the song was over I was walking kind of like, [he walks like he’s going across hot coals or is trying to step over mousetraps]. The whole situation was bizarre. When I was walking down the red carpet and everybody is snapping photographs I was right behind Madonna and I kept trying not to step on the train of her dress. I kept getting like crushed and I kept trying to get around it so as not to step on her dress. I finally had to squeeze past Madonna and in the way of some photographers to get past Madonna so I could not walk on the train of her dress. I was going into this like 5-6 hour long, sit down, can’t get up to make a sandwich, can’t get up and go to the can, but they have these guys who come and sit in your seat. So there is some guy sitting with your girlfriend who’s just like, [makes a sour face]. Then you come back from the bathroom during the next commercial break. I had my own trailer because all of the singers had trailers. We were the only ones that had trailers. That was the other thing. I got all this free corporate stuff, like some upgrades to first class from United [Airlines]. I got a watch from somewhere. I got a bunch of stuff I gave away to people who wanted it. There was a kind of big cornucopia thing full of airline tickets.”
Marcus Kagler: “So with the success of Good Will Hunting it kind of sent you into the lime light pretty fast and you were in the middle of recording XO at the time..”

Elliott Smith: “Yeah, that kind of slowed XO down quite a bit because that was going pretty fast until that whole situation [the Oscars] popped up. That’s also when I stopped reading my press for real. It was after I saw a People magazine that had a picture of me in it singing the song in that white suit and because Beck had been seen wearing a white suit while he was performing lately it said, ‘sedate Beck impersonator’ and then my name. That really bummed me out for some reason. You know, it People. So on one hand how hurt can you get by People? [laughs] That’s when it became really apparent to me. I had been thinking up to that point and time about not reading any press about me and maybe not any about rock n’roll. At least for awhile. That and twelve angry viewers all did my head in at the same time I was recording XO. It was just like, People magazine sees someone they don’t know and the only thing they can relate it to is the one other performer in world whose wearing a white suit right then. And since that person used to play acoustic, but wasn’t then, I must be a sedate impersonator because I was wearing a white suit even though John Lennon was wearing a white suit on the cover of Abby Road. There could be all kinds of reasons to wear a white suit to the Academy Awards when you don’t belong there and you know it and so does everybody else. The fact that I was nominated, even though I didn’t win and even though I was the only person who wrote my own song and technically the award goes to the person who wrote the song not Celine Dion. But the people voted for Celine Dion. So I’m done going to awards shows, even if I ever got nominated again, which is a ridiculous notion. That was enough.”

Playing Live
Mark Redfern: “When I saw you at the Needle Exchange Benefit I noticed a lot of fans yelling songs out for you to play. Does that annoy you?”

Elliott Smith: “No, it’s just sometimes I get really, really tired of playing certain songs. If I’m really sick of them I won’t play them. I keep going into the same trap. I think I’m buying myself some time by asking the audience what they want to hear until I figure out what to play next. But I’m also hoping someone will yell something out I haven’t thought of and that often happens. In fact, that’s usually what happens because usually if I do that it doesn’t work to buy me any time to think of a song because I hear a lot of essentially noise so I can’t think. I usually end up playing the first or last one I heard. Maybe that sounds like a cop out, but if I just stopped the last song then I want to think of a song that I do want to play. I certainly don’t want it to seem like some sort of recital. Like I’m going to put on my fishing boots and wade through this shallow little river of songs without getting my feet wet.”
Elliott Smith: “The new record isn’t lo-fi and it isn’t hi-fi. I don’t know what it is. I remember when the so-called lo-fi movement came along and it seemed to me that people will use whatever technology is available to them and it just so happened that a group of people who were tired of whatever had been the last fad found a name for a new way or recording and I got sort of tied into that initially. I still get like, you know, ‘Mr. Misery’ and crap like that.”

Psychiatric Hospital Visit
Elliott Smith: “The song that I just played during the sound check I wrote when I was in a psychiatric hospital a long time ago. That’s a whole ridiculous story that’s not worth telling because I didn’t belong there. It was a miscommunication between some people that led to an intervention which wasn’t necessary. But I don’t want to offend them so I don’t want to talk about that.”

Elliott Smith: “It [The Neurotransmitter Restoration Treatment] ostensibly, and I think this is more or less true, returns your brain or yourself to a pre-drug problem state. So like at first drinking one beer slowly over the course of the night was about all I could handle, whereas before when I lived in New York I was really a bad alcoholic for a few years and couldn’t believe one beer would have any effect at all.”
The Foundation for Abused Children
Elliott Smith: “I started a foundation for abused children which you can pretty much do for like $400 and you don’t have to be a millionaire or anything and I wasn’t at all. It’s been dormant or almost dormant for like a year. There’s some confusion as to what label this record or double record is going to come out on since I really want to put money into the foundation. The way I made money to build the studio was by touring, which I like to do anyway. So I’m just going to tour this new record into the ground. Especially if it’s on an indie.”
Self Production
Elliott Smith: “I guess I’m the producer for this new one sort-of-speak. I don’t know if I’ll credit myself that way. I kind of don’t like it when people break up the credits into a million pieces. I like it better when it says, ‘Recorded by so-and-so.’”
More Songs
1) Brand New Game: “This is a cassette apparently of a cassette bootleg of a cassette bootleg because it’s way sped up from the speed I recorded it in at Abbey Road. This is the song I played with the Blues Explosion. I don’t know if somebody stole this from Abbey Road or what. One day my ex-girlfriend Valerie found out on the web that I have 30-something unreleased songs according to some web site. So the web master of that site made two CD’s of songs that I’d totally forgotten about and this is one of them. I’m going to keep this version and push it all onto one side and build it back up again from scratch playing the same thing and then create like a type of stereo sound with the guitar solo crossing from the right to left side but basically have it in like double mono. So it sounds like it was double tracked. One side will be this kind of automatic volume control which is like a cassette mix, a really crude compressor that makes it so it’s no louder at all when the band comes in. This mix has songs on it from the record in-between Figure 8 and this new one.”

2) Mr. Good Morning: “The beginning of this song starts with an annoying crowd loop. It’s not terribly annoying but it’s somewhat annoying and then the real audience comes in and it’s live. This was on the last tour for Figure 8 when this song was brand new and we were playing it. Then right before the singing starts it cuts to the studio version right here. Then at the end of this song it goes back to the live version once the singing is over and it’s back to the real crowd who are noticeably less enthusiastic because it’s a song they’d never heard before. This was the one I saying maybe I will put some bass on it tonight.”

Elliott Smith: “I’m trying to get used to mixing on the computer format because that’s the one I don’t know. I bring her [Jennifer Chiba] band’s stuff over and work on it to learn on the computer. [CD ends] So that was a kind of odd mix of songs off of “From A Basement on the Hill” recorded in Malibu and it’s from the record that will probably be called that. The thing is it was recorded in the basement of a mansion up there in Malibu. There are actually multi-levels to this house and more than one studio in it. But like the control room had a bed in it.”

Elliott Smith: “Well, thanks a lot. It’s been fun talking to you guys.” Visit the ultimate Elliott Smith fansite, and the closest thing Smith has to an official site, at: