It’s pretty hard to reconstitute a timeline after 7 years, and we may never be sure exactly of the course of the events, but there still are some writings from witnesses that we can use.
The day after Elliott Smith died, the Solutions wall on Sunset Boulevard had become a memorial overnight, and pretty soon candles, flowers, photos and written notes were deposed by fans who also wrote lyrics and homage all over the mural. The wall, painted with a swirling blue, red and white figure, had been used for the cover of Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 album.
A day after Elliott died, Jennifer Chiba, accompanied by some other guys, went to that wall to meet with fans, late during the evening. I did not see her myself but someone I know saw her there that night, and she described what she witnessed on the Elliott Smith message board.
She said she was there around 11pm, and just before she had stopped at the Roost, a famous bar where Elliott used to hang out, to pick up a shot glass and bring it over. At the wall, she ran into Jennifer, Robin Peringer and a couple of their friends.
After she got Jennifer’s approval to write about her encounter on the Elliott Smith’s message board, she wrote that Jennifer was giving away EPs to fans, it may have been the one featuring ‘A distorted reality is a necessity to be free’, and another fan, who was also there, told me Jennifer even gave her a hug.
She also wrote that everyone seemed to feel the same exact way, in shock and confused about what happened. Robin Peringer, who was playing with Elliott just before his death, even said to her that they had been practicing every day for 7 hours, preparing for ATP show, which was supposed to happen on November 8th.
Robin has also said that night that Elliott was very happy, always laughing, very upbeat, cracking jokes all of the time, showing no sign what-so-ever of anything like this happening, even talking about growing a garden, making plans for his upcoming record.
A total opposite of what he said later on.
On October 22nd 2003, Jennifer Chiba was hugging fans and giving away free EPs, Robin Peringer was painting a picture perfect of Elliott’s last days. But what happened?
Originally published on Rock NYC (February 19 2011)