"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)
Artist Hetain Patel’s first car was a 1988 Ford Fiesta. Now, together with his father, he’s souped up a different Fiesta into a Transformers-style robot sculpture. It does not move or fight villains, unfortunately. Here’s Patel’s description of the project:
Another significant influence for me and this work are Transformers, an American film and toy franchise since 1984, and a widely recognisable pop culture reference that reaches far back in Hetain’s memory. In this new sculpture, Transformers have been made manifest, physically, in a literal transformation of a Ford Fiesta car into a large-scale squatting human-like figure. For me, these ‘robots in disguise’ (as per the cartoon’s theme tune) stand as a metaphor for the other, in a fantasy world where they can transform out of a marginal position into one of empowerment.
In the video above you’ll see a timelapse of the process, and, after 10 minutes, will hear the 1986 song “You’ve Got The Touch.” This video has everything, is what I’m saying.
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)