"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Ever since Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’s homage to the Big Apple became more ubiquitous than counterfeit Guccis on Canal Street, parody-driven YouTubers have been eagerly creating their own anthems to hometown pride. From Minnesota to the Jersey Shore to Los Angeles to uh, Hagerstown, MD, represent!
But none of those anthems have what “Forest Hills State of Mind” has — “SNL” veteran and adorably weird Rachel Dratch, doing a big-haired, Spandex-pantsed Alicia Keys. Bonus lady cred points to the video’s star, comic Billy Eichner, for incorporating shoutouts to Murphy Brown, Fran Drescher and “lots of old Russian ladies that are shaped like a pear.” As we ex-bridge-and-tunnel types know — the Empire can be so close and yet so far.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)