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Drop in for a browse, be amazed by our quirky rooms and staircases, and wonder at the surviving medieval hall roof of the Colchester home of William Gilberd , physician to Elizabeth I and one of the world's greatest early scientists. I think he ended up doing more of that later, pulling out really old ideas and reworking them. They brought [string arrangers] Shelly Berg and Tom Halm in to flush out the ideas that Elliott had played out on a keyboard the week before.
He gave them the MIDI files and talked to them about what he wanted, and they went and arranged it and played us these synthetic strings, as a mockup. Elliott was silent the whole time. I was blown away that he would even half-think that way. He could be really stern with me, and he would be stubborn, within Heatmiser, about what he wanted. Soon after XO sessions are underway, they are interrupted by the news that the track has been nominated for an Oscar. But I didn't really know too much about their music.
Mostly I had these these two CDs from my friend Steve Birch, who worked for a lot of bands because he was an artist and designed covers. As I do with most films, I try and find some music that you could use throughout, not just a sampling of lots of different artists. And I thought it might be interesting to try that with Elliott. I told the editor, Pietro Scalia, who's now one of the most expensive editors in Hollywood, to try his music and it just worked.
As soon as we decided we really did want it for sure, the next step was to ask Elliott whether that was OK. My boyfriend worked with Joanna in a bar, so he got me the number and I just called him up. I knew Gus was in town, I think. He started dating Joanna and just as I was his world, she was now his world. I certainly didn't hang out with him. We were not friends at that point. He grabs that one reel, jumps in the car, and goes back to the airport to fly back to L.
What a joke. Rob Schnapf and Tom [Rothrock] remixed the song down there, and then they basically had to pretend that it had been written for the movie in order to get an Oscar nomination. But I had put out a lot of expensive records all in one year, and had kind of overdone it, and we were a small operation. It was just three of us in an apartment, and I didn't have any line of credit or anything. I had gotten myself in a situation where I owed the manufacturer of the records a tremendous amount of money, and it was going to be four months before I started to see money trickling in from all of it.
I had really screwed up. So I was in my bedroom at the Las Vegas Hilton, of all places, at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers convention—I wasn't there just gambling away the money that I didn't have [ laughs ]—when Elliott's publisher called me and said he'd been nominated for an Oscar. That saved our business. And before that, he would have interviews from like 9 a.
And they don't care who you are. They just want to talk about this one song. Elliott played in a little club in TriBeCa near the Weinstein Company, which was partly organized by the movie promotion. It was just a simple thing, but it wasn't his own thing, so he was all nervous. He didn't really know what to wear, so he just put on some slacks. With his schedule, he didn't have a place to change, so he changed on the subway platform and got reprimanded by a cop. They were impressed with his knowledge working with an orchestra and writing out his piece.
We had a trailer, which was a trip to him. We saw the stage and what the audience was going to look like; there were all the signs on the chairs saying who was going to sit where. They were trying to figure out how he would come out, how to make him perform. They wanted him to sit on the set of stairs that everyone would walk up to get to the podium, and we tried that. They really wanted him to be the guy who comes out and sits on the stairs. Nobody knew who he was. As soon as the curtains parted, I saw that the entire stage was decorated as the Titanic.
I thought, "Oh, I see. So Celine Dion had a full orchestra. Elliott had a little bit of an orchestra, too, but it was all very tiny in comparison. They used a lot of fog for the show, presumably because it was the Titanic, and it made me very sick—three hours of that stuff blowing on you and you just get a severe hangover. Minnie started hanging out with him after that—I think they may have had a little thing for a while. Then there was the Governors Ball dinner that everybody goes to right after the whole event ends, which was pretty hilarious.
But the highlight of that event for Elliott was that Celine Dion made him feel comfortable, from backstage to onstage. It really was amazing. She made him really feel at home, like he was one of them. But through all the sort of showbiz-y stuff associated with the Oscars, he was happy that it was the one thing that his mother could tell her friends her son had done. He was a singer, yes, but now he'd been nominated for an Academy Award. He was really happy. We mostly went our separate ways after that. I went to a show at the El Rey and, I think because I was a movie guy, I was always looked at like, "What's this guy doing here?
Who the fuck does he think he is? I just loved that he was hanging out with Celine Dion. He was like, "Hey guys, you get so many weird gifts when you go the Oscars. There's a part of being good friends where you try to keep things normalized.
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We just said, "You looked hilarious up on stage. You did a good job, it was excellent. Ultimately, I think that was the hardest and most confusing thing for him. He couldn't understand what the big deal was, I guess. Can we just take it a step at a time? He eventually did everything he was supposed to do.
Lenny and Luke never really complained. LUKE WOOD: He was extremely reluctant about promotion in general, but it wasn't because he thought he was too good for it, or because he thought it was selling out. It was really because he felt like the music should speak for itself, and everything else was redundant and irrelevant and silly. Listen to the song! I think what Elliott wanted out of his situation was the capital afforded from a major label, because there were things he wanted to do creatively.
He tried to find the place that had the most patience and would fuck with him the least; he never wanted to feel like he was singing for his supper. I will say, I felt like he did enjoy the shows. He was reluctant occasionally, when the monitors weren't great or something else was off, because he was a perfectionist and that stuff would drive him crazy.
But he'd often come back after a show with a smile on his face and say, "That was fun tonight, I really enjoyed it. I was in pretty bad shape at that point, but we just really hit it off, and next thing I knew we were getting drunk and playing acoustic guitars on his tour bus, driving through Sweden.
As miserable as I was on tour at that time—I was really strung out and I couldn't get anything in Scandinavia, and I was going two or three days without really sleeping—he and I would drink whiskey and play Elton John and Big Star songs at four o'clock in the morning on the tour bus. It was incredible. His favorite was actually "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", so we played that one a lot. My favorite Elton John song is "Daniel"; my son is named Daniel and he's partly named after my wife's father, but also partly named after that song.
So we get to that song and Elliott stops it, and I'm like, "Hey, what are you doing? Who is this fuckin' Daniel guy, anyway. He wasn't having any of it. Fuck 'Daniel', we're skipping 'Daniel. In , as touring for XO winds down, Smith begins working on what would eventually become its ambitious follow-up, Figure 8. Later, we met on the street in New York and hung out that whole night.
I was in no way pursuing work. Then, at the back of that book was a photo of him, and he realized whose portfolio he was looking at. There's never any color or light, but I love color so much. He was a cinephile and he had a great taste in movies. It's the kind of suit that is worn in the rain and shrinks on the body and becomes a second skin, which is different than someone who willfully dropped out.
Sarah Jane Smith
That was the beginning of me feeling very lucky to be working with him. I was warned by Margaret that he probably only wanted to do the photoshoot for a few hours, and that I should try to get as many photos as I could. But we shot for like 12 hours. He'd be there during the day while I was at work, and I would get to come home and hear these things as they came together, and literally look at his sketchpads of lyrics. It was such a joy watching the thought he would put into small things as he wrote: Should it be "to" or should it be "at?
Should this be plural or singular? Where should I put the modifier? He would write five different versions of a sentence, only changing the modifier. His music was unbelievably well-thought-out. So I went out to take some pictures of locations. I have childhood memories of girls getting beat up in the parking lot of the McDonald's next to it. I took photos of a lot of murals and weird signs from Echo Park to Silverlake and asked him, "What if this was our set? The whole week we were there there was this upright piano that sounded so familiar when you played it.
There were parts of it that were a little more ethereal. For this record, I wanted to see what he would do with the Boomerang looper, which is a simple thing to make loops. I showed him how to use it and then all of a sudden I had all these little interlude pieces. I was shocked and I think DreamWorks was pretty shocked, too.
To their credit, they rolled with it. I would never try to get rid of the sadness that was connected to his songs, but there is so much more in them—so much great poetry that represented abstract and direct ways of explaining how you feel to someone. Not everything was a diary. Some of it was role-playing, becoming other people and singing from their point of view. For Elliott and I, the best part of this video was how funny it was trying to get this balloon to behave. If it was windy we were fucked, you know? Luckily, we did a test day. Somewhere, there is a clip of Elliott slapping his arms in dismay and being overwhelmed by the balloon hitting him in the face for like the 70th time.
It was on one of those giant stairways in Echo Park that I think was in a Laurel and Hardy film, and he's at the top. He was just looking really pissed off, like he was gonna get in a fight with the balloon, and then laughing, and then angry again. The art director figured out you had to use fishing poles, and you can see it in one shot. At the end of the video, when the balloon dies, we all got really sad—and then we were laughing hysterically at how attached we had gotten to this badly behaved actor.
I could feel the emotional remove when I heard it, and I really didn't like that. He had someone on his crew that was a bad influence. Not someone in his band, but someone who was working for him, who was notorious for getting musicians drugs and doing them with them. I mean, I knew what a lot of that record was written about, and by that point everything felt so over the top and overwhelming that it was a little bit hard for me to just sit back and enjoy the music.
Elliott definitely channelled whatever was wrong in his life or upsetting to him into his music like tenfold.
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I learned croquet from Elliott. Anyway, I said something like, "I think I'm drinking too much. Where is it? I think it's something his dad had told him. I was like, "Man, I guess I'm really not that hardcore of a drinker—my liver isn't protruding from my chest. Did he drink? It was not in the open. He was definitely not sharing it.
But in retrospect, it explained some things. A big part of what tore us apart was talking about wanting to do drugs. I was like, "I just can't be around that. I'm a lucky one in the sense that our friendship managed to stretch across many different phases, whereas a lot of people sort of got cut off or just were not part of it anymore. I know the ones that are for real, who had healthy friendships with him. I'm always a little bit torn about speaking publicly about him—losing a friend like that is one of the most difficult things that's ever happened in my life. But if I don't do it, you know… the people who are eager and willing to talk are usually not the right people.
From the very beginning, we had a sibling relationship. I met him when I was 18, and you don't really understand a lot of things in the world when you're Emotionally, he was the most vulnerable person I'd ever met at that point. We took care of each other during not-so-fun times in our lives. I never cast judgment on him. I had to figure out a way to be concerned when there were moments to be concerned; there was a way to approach him about it, and a way not to.
I think he appreciated the fact I was never going to do it the way he didn't want to hear. He was very honest about what was going on. If there's one thing Elliott was not it's a liar. It was hard. I don't know which is worse: being deceived or having it just be all out in the open like that. It was very, very upsetting to know that somebody I cared about so much was doing something so stupid. My job had changed a little bit; I became a parent. I hired a friend who became my point person for Elliott. I would take the big-picture meetings with him, but as far as, like, "Can you deliver this list of interviews he doesn't want to do, please?
But somewhere in there, we lost him. I became blind to a lot of things. He was doing everything he was supposed to do, but it was a corporate sponsor, you know? All these corporate people at the shows. They were nice, but it was different: It wasn't a fan, it wasn't me, it wasn't Rob.
And then he did the European tour. I was supposed to go on a bunch of those dates, but I cancelled. He just was not pleasant, and I didn't want to be around it. I just wanted him to get through all of it. In hindsight, I see what was happening. He came home a mess. Whatever was left of him did not want us around while he was totally down there. So that meant you were either there to condone it or you were not there to condone it.
And I was not there to condone it. I met with Anti- [Records] at the time, because I had a good friend there and felt that he could earn money from other outside activities: Remember when the Gap was doing those commercials using musicians in the late 90s? There was interest in Elliott.
And this big movie producer, Brad Silberling, was asking him to score a film. I just thought, "There's a million other things you could be doing. You're gonna be fine. Oh my god.
He hated us. He never let me forget what I did to him. It totally reminds me of the child in him, or my own kids, how they hold onto one memory of mom and dad fighting at dinner. He never let me forget how betrayed he felt. He did agree to go. I think he felt the love and the concern, but you just don't do that to him. You could have dealt with it differently. I visited him at the rehab place in Pasadena, maybe a month after. He finished up the leg of the tour to New York and then went. It was just weird. It felt like there was a difference between he and I.
This would have been around I just wanted what was best for my husband and for Elliott. By then, he was a different person. He came over one day during the Super Bowl—he used to spend every Super Bowl with us—and he looked like Pocahontas. He had long hair, in braids. That was heartbreaking. That was the beginning of the end for me.
He came over fucked up with my kids in the house, and I just shut down.
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I just wanted to protect my husband and my family and myself. There was no closure. We never got to argue. We never got to hash it out. The day after September 11th, I came back into the house to an answering message from him. He didn't sound like himself—I mean, everybody sounded weird after September 11th, but I knew that things were pretty dark for him at that point. That meant a lot to me. He was in a relationship that cut him off from a lot of people at the time. After that I got a call from him like, "Hey, would you be interested in being my manager?
In our first conversation, he was like, "I want off DreamWorks. When the Flaming Lips played a show in L. And he was like, "No, I remember putting it on my desk. What do you guys wanna do? Lenny came up with a pretty elegant solution. It solved the dilemma of that moment. It was just funny. They know that it was something bigger than an artist being mad at his record label. I do remember that Scott was gonna get involved, which I thought might be nice because I liked him. But I don't remember anything like that. I think he felt somewhat restricted at a major label: having to do interviews, go on tour, have a commercial record.
He didn't like that pressure. I deeply respected him as a musician and a friend. He spent a lot of time at my house. He knew my baby. It was a really difficult period. There's a reason I haven't talked about it for 10 years. In , Smith begins and ends a series of recording sessions with Jon Brion, which fall apart after Brion confronts him about his drug use and self-destructive behavior. By the fall of that year, he contacts producer David McConnell. Well, half of it was great. A band Goldenboy], was playing with him live, and he invited me out to a show at the Wiltern Theater.
I was blown away. So Shon introduced me to Elliott after the show briefly. I could tell he was really itching to get into the studio and work with a new producer, someone who was gonna do things a little more experimentally. I told him he was welcome to stay in the house, too, because we had a guest room. The studio was beautiful; my ex-girlfriend actually owned the property, and it was almost like a compound, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I had named it Satellite Park one day when I was walking around because it felt like I was on the moon or on an observatory somewhere.
When he showed up, it was around 2 a. I mean everything from his apartment. I was thinking he was gonna show up with a suitcase and a backpack and a couple of guitars, but it was like five guitars, a giant keyboard, amps, and then five suitcases of clothes. He had toys, books, you name it. And then he had medication, and various other things. So I put the reel on the machine and I started listening to the song, just by myself. And the first time I heard it, just pushing up the faders so I could hear the different instruments and his voice, I got the chills.
It sounded way more intricate, way more complex. It reminded me of Rachmaninoff, but with lyrics, with a story. It's a shame because that song never ended up on the album. He wanted it to be on the album, it was one of his favorites. We slowed down the reel, just slightly, so it would have a euphoric, heavy, psychedelic persona. He wanted "Shooting Star" to be the opening track then.
He had two drummers playing live at the same time on that, he told me, and he stood in the middle of the room pointing at each drummer to do the changes, like he was doing his own version of conducting. I contacted Elliott, and he said, "I know of this Suboxone doctor that's helped me greatly"—which is this drug you take to get off opiates—"and I'm doing some recording.
Could you come down and play some drums? So we just set up the two drum kits and played at the same time. God, and not man, has appointed and placed me in this position, and no man or set of men have power to remove me or appoint another in my stead, and those who undertake this, if they do not speedily repent, will burn their fingers and go to hell.
His persecutions were the topic of conversation. He repeated many false, inconsistent and contradictory statements made by apostates, frightened members of the Church and outsiders. He also told how most of the officials who would fain have taken his life, when he was arrested, turned in his favor on forming his acquaintance.
He laid the burden of the blame on false brethren. No doubt these men once thought as you do. Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them.
When you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant. Consider these ideas as you study the chapter or as you prepare to teach. Why do you think people can change from righteousness to apostasy in such a short time?
What are some influences that cause people to apostatize today? What can we do to guard against such influences? What are some dangers of losing confidence in our Church leaders and criticizing them? What can we do to maintain a feeling of respect and appreciation for our leaders? How can parents encourage their children to respect Church leaders?
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What does this statement mean to you? Why do you think that those who have apostatized from the Church often fight so strongly against it? How do you think we should respond to the words and actions of such people? This Page MP3. Show Hide.