"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)
With all the hubbub surrounding Charlie Sheen and his ridiculous antics, it’s hard to remember there are young lives at stake here. No, not Charlie’s hooker/porn star “goddesses,” but his five children. Especially the 2-year-old twins he has with ex-wife Brooke Mueller, Max and Bob. It was disturbing to see Sheen’s sons living with him and his “new family” during that “20/20″ interview: You had to wonder why Brooke hadn’t swooped down during his drug arrest and demanded her kids be kept away from their publicly intoxicated father. Who was allowing them to be televised during this freak show?
We may have a clearer understanding of that after today’s custody trial. Brooke Mueller retained full custody of Max and Bob, despite the allegation that, four days ago, she was calling friends in a desperate attempt to find drug-free urine. Yes, Mueller has publicly relapsed from crack cocaine, but she got to keep her children, despite “looking unsteady on her feet” and “glassy-eyed” after the hearing.
Two days ago, the website GossipCop.com reported that Mueller was already back in rehab after failing the drug test for the custody agreement. Obviously, she was not in rehab today, so this may be a lot of Internet conjecture. What’s not gossip, however, is the fact that both of Bob and Max’s parents have spent their recent years in and out of rehabs for crack and cocaine problems. Their parents are both obsessed with reality TV (Brooke had a pilot with Paris Hilton fail, which apparently set off her recent spiraling) and aren’t above using their kids as leverage, as we’ve already seen from the Sheen interviews. It’s hard not to wonder if the children wouldn’t be better off in foster care.
Even sadder is how often cases like these go through the court system. It’s only when celebrities are involved that we sit up and take notice.
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)