Neighbor’s Testimony

These long posts were written by Caroline, the owner of the recording studio which shared the same building with Elliott’s New Monkey studio. She wrote all this a few days after Elliott’s death


 

11-05-2003 at 05:33 am

The Elliott that I knew in the last year. Part1

I waited a few weeks to post. Mostly because I was devastated and unable to write.

Dear Charlie, I am sure you are someone special, please don’t delete this post because things I say might illicit questions or concerns. I only write what I know, from my own perception, to the fans who have loved Elliott and have spent time believing in him and deserve to know any truths that are out there, for better or worse.

I was separated by a thin wall from the Elliott that I knew, I could hear the drum beats start each night around 11:00 pm, as my day was ending and his was beginning. No-one would even know he was there, except for those drum beats.

The Elliott that I knew had no address on the front of his studio, just bars facing the street, his little section covered with every leaf and stray paper or cigarette butt that flew in it’s direction. One step away was the clean sidewalk were I picked up and swept every stray leaf that came my way. 5926 was written very small on the back of the alley above the entrance to his studio, secured only by a simple padlock. A big lit sign announced our studio 5928, the front door always open. We shared one parking space each in the alley, and a big green garbage receptacle. We were physically separated by very little and emotionally separated by so much.

When we, we being myself, and Siavash, an artist who I manage, who has been a close personal friend for 20 years, first bought the rehearsal and recording studio in February of this year, we were told about our neighbor Elliott, we were part of one building with one landlord. I was told by the previous owner that he was a gifted musician and quite eccentric and working on a new, very important album and to not be alarmed if he looked “a little different”. I was also given his studio number, but told I would never be able to reach him on it. And that was true, no answering machine, no answer ever. I was also told to check with him regarding his recording schedule because one of our rooms shared a wall, a very thin wall as I said, so as not to bother him or have our schedule interfere with his. This seemed to never be a problem because Elliott would rarely appear before 10 or 11pm and we would be out of there by 12am. And thank god since he never answered the phone anyway

Immediately, before I ever met him, I felt protective of him, I wanted never to bother him and to respect his privacy and although I had know idea who he was, (Ignorant as I may be), I was even a bit in awe of him and certainly nervous to meet him. I met, The Elliott that I knew, almost immediately. He came to our door to ask if he could use the phone because his wasn’t working and I was happy to let him in. My first response, was a gut response, which, I am ashamed to say was based on nothing more than the way he looked, which is sad on my part. I think I was initially afraid of him because he was ravaged, physically ravaged, his face etched and worn. He looked like someone who used drugs, not that I knew what that look was. He came inside with a friend, a dark haired handsome friend, about the same size as Elliott, with big eyes and tattoos across his body, with the same ravaged look. Elliott was polite and shy and I don’t think he looked at me once in the eyes. Now that I look back on it, I think he probably had a gut response to me this six feet tall, Mary Poppins in heels, with the tiniest voice. He must have thought I was rather odd too. When he left I guess I was a bit afraid, afraid only based on a look and some quirky behavior, afraid he was using some dark, dangerous drug like heroin, but I would find out soon, that he probably wasn’t.

I think he came by one more time with his friend to use the phone. Maybe he didn’t need to use the phone at all, it was just his way of saying hello, which was nice.

Cont

Last edited by wmrcrds on 11-05-2003 at 05:33 am

 

The Elliott I knew Part 2

The first time I got a sense of Elliott was at the garbage can. Yes, the huge, green, garbage container that stands in the middle of our two parking spaces, pushed against the wall. Now again, picture a 6 feet tall women in heels, dressed ridiculously nice for a rehearsal studio, carrying loads of garbage. It was about 11 at night and there he appeared, small and kind, stammering gently about containers of foam that were on the side of his fence, he wanted me to know that he wasn’t like that, leaving foam around, that he was neat and he didn’t know how all the foam had gotten there. Then he immediately asked to help me and I felt like a huge, monster next to him, he was so gentle and kind. The moment I lifted up the huge top of the garbage container the lid slipped and fell smack on the front of my fore head. I was more traumatized and embarrassed, that I probably shocked this sweet, gentle man, than the pain that was coming from the enormous welt that immediately formed on my forehead. He was so worried, asking me if I was okay and helping me put all of the garbage in and I was stammering really, so embarrassed that this huge lid just fell on my head. I thanked him ten times and ran inside to put a can of cold coke on my forehead, hoping the swelling would go down. And there I laid with my long legs spread out, feeling like a nerd, with a can of cold coke on my forehead, when he checked in to make sure I was okay. How kind he was in that gentle, hunched over, sweet voice way. Elliott was cool.

Somehow, miraculously, Elliott would often appear when it was time for me to take out the garbage and ask me ever so quietly if he could help. He told me he would bring me some of his music and though he never did, I know he would have. He made you want to hug him, to know him and to be close to him, even for a minute, made you feel something. He was something special and I knew it. And for such a smaller person, his spirit was big, you could feel it through the walls, even though the music was never too loud, you could feel the intensity of it.

The minute I got to speak with him, to feel him, I never felt he was using drugs, he was always on top of it, always clear, coherent, always consistant. And the fact is, that although our looks were completely different, I am probably so much more like Elliott than he would ever have imagined. You see, Elliott got to wear his pain and his heart on his face, he wore it in the way he moved, in the way he didn’t quite look you in the eye, the way his body would turn, slightly, like a twisted tree and that is why I really believe he was more okay, than most, on the inside. I really believe that. I really believe what he said in interviews, that he wasn’t depressed, that he was just sad sometimes, that he was human, that he was just expressing in song what we all think about and feel at one time in our lives. That makes sense to me. That his outside matched his songs doesn’t mean that is all of who he was. I don’t believe he was all fucked up on the inside, and maybe that was hard for him, because people couldn’t see that part, the part that was okay, the part that didn’t take life too hard, that was funny, that was going to make it. And I can really relate, because I was abused as a child, seriously abused, have to wear my underwear over my head and sit in the driveway so the neighbors could see how bad I was because I wet my bed, kind of abused, but I got a different package, a clean cut, pretty face, long legged package that hides my ravaged soul and no one believes me either. No one believes that I could have been abused, that I have been on my own since I was 17. Most who know me, people who are supposed to be my friends, think I am lucky, that I have been handed everything. They can’t see my ravaged soul, they don’t know that I need them to see it and that it is part of me, they don’t even ask me because they don’t want to know, because that would ruin there perfect image of me, and my lucky life. And as I read about Elliott, I feel the same, no one is listening to his words, that he really was okay, that he was just writing about human experiences, they just see this ravaged face, writing these gut wrenching songs and they don’t even ask, no one is asking about the inside of Elliott and wondering why someone who was really okay inside would kill themselves. No one seems to think this is odd. Singing about what we all feel at some points, misery, abuse, pain, sometimes suicide, is just singing about it, it’s not writing a Eulogy.

Cont

Last edited by wmrcrds on 11-05-2003 at 05:41 am

 

The Elliott I knew Part 3

There was a dark force in Elliott’s life and it wasn’t him, drugs or depression, as far as I could tell. But this is only my perspective so I could be wrong. It even had a name, but I won’t say it and I won’t even give it a sex because that’s not the point. The point is the dark force did exist for whatever reason and it did have a huge part or hold on Elliott’s life.

The first time I met the Force, as I will call it, was around May or June I believe. A regular customer came in screaming at me that the force was calling him names and yelling at him to get out of the bleeping parking space. I was shocked and the customer was hysterical, he thought the force was related to me, and this confused me even more. I hesitantly went back to find that the force believed that our parking space also belonged to Elliott and the force wanted to park there and was very upset they couldn’t and started screaming at our customer. I calmly told the customer that they were parked in the right space and apologized completely to them. I always just parked on the sidewalk which was just an inch away, and left the alley parking for customers. When I finally did meet the force, I got not a gutteral response but an extreme emotional response of fear. I tried to explain in the most gentle way that I could that Elliot’s space was there and our space was right next to it and each of us had one space. The force smiled wanly and looked right through me. I was intimidated, I felt stupid, like I couldn’t stand up for myself, like I was in high school and I just apologized, explained and left. I have traveled around the world as a manager, I have managed concerts filled with thousands of people. I stood up to promoters who wouldn’t pay my client in a Colisseum in Germany, while 15,000 people screamed my clients name, I have told them to fuck off and that My client would go on stage and start a riot by telling everyone to get there money back and I got paid. But still a handful of people scare me, the site of Elliott scared me for a brief minute but I was never afraid of his person, or his soul. The force intimidated and gave me a bad feeling from the moment I met it. I prayed no one would ever park in Elliot’s parking space.

The force was around a lot more often after that and I would smile, but I always had that uncomfortable, little girl fear inside. The force had black hair and dark squinting eyes and the whitest of skin, beautiful in a haunting scary, kind of way. The force seemed arrogant and entitled and that made me uncomfortable.

As our business got progressively more busy, the un thinkable happened. Someone parked in Elliott’s space. This time the force called and informed my partner to get the person to move out of the space. My partner is oblivious to forces and things of that nature, he gets upset and rages if I use too much toilet paper but feels no danger from actual human beings, I worry about him. I was able to get the person to move but felt immediately guilty, how could this person have parked in Elliot’s space, well now it belonged to the force really, I don’t know were Elliott parked. I tried to call Elliott’s studio and apologize to him and the force, but of course no one answered, I had that nervous butterfly feeling you get in high school, when you did something wrong. I knew it wasn’t over. And the next morning I got the call, it was Elliott’s lawyer, hi, how are you, nice to meet you, and could you please not park in Elliott’s space anymore. First I felt ashamed and then I felt bad and then I got a bit irritated, that didn’t seem like Elliott, it was kind of passive aggressive, it seemed like he could of just come and yelled at me or told me gently to try and not let anybody park there before he had his lawyer call me. I felt kind of stupid getting a call from his lawyer, maybe it was the forces work.

Cont

Last edited by wmrcrds on 11-05-2003 at 06:37 am

 

The Elliott I knew Part 4

Now about this parking space that the force liked to park in. It did rightly belong to Elliott & by association, the force I guess, but if anyone parked in my space I wouldn’t have said a word, the sidewalk was maybe 3 feet from the door and there were lots of parking spaces on the street. Or if there was a problem I would have just talked to them. I did feel bad though, like I let Elliott down.

I watched the parking space as best I could, but it was in the alley after all. Eventually, someone parked there again.

Our landlord finally got involved and had the force put up a sign there that said no parking, tow away zone. I felt relieved because that seemed fair, if any of our customers parked there, they should have at least read the sign. Of course the third and last time someone parked there, the force called immediately to have it towed, never called us to have the person move the car, just called the towing company. Of course my partner, with his friendliness and his lack of fear when dealing with people, persuaded the tow driver not to tow. He was however getting a bit weary of the force. This was maybe four weeks before Elliott died.

I never got to see Elliott that much in the final months, I never got to hear his music, except through the wall, he never helped me with the garbage anymore. I did see the force every now and then.

The last two weeks before Elliott died, a few strange things happened. We had been very busy at our studio, crazy busy and my business partners father had been ill and so he had been taking care of him and I was working long hours and exhausted. This one night a security guard came to our door and said that we had called him, we hadn’t called anyone but I was a bit concerned thinking maybe there was a problem with one of our musicians. He called his office and we figured out that he had been called by 5926 or 24, I am not sure right now what their number is, but I realized it was Elliot’s place. So, I walk this poor shabby security guy back there and show him where it is and the force comes out, completely ignores me like I am gum on it’s shoe and tells the guy that the force told the company not to come to our address, that they didn’t want us to know and to get inside. Well, if there was a problem I wanted to know, being already self conscious about the parking space I wanted to make sure the force and Elliot were okay. So I asked if everything was okay and if they needed help and I was told by the force it was none of my business and then it turned it’s back on me and walked inside. Well I was so shocked that the force would talk to me this way and scared a bit because I was worried why would they need security, is Elliott okay, is something wrong. My face was hot from embarrassement but I just went back inside my studio. I see the force and Elliott leave and then I see this Security guy standing on the corner of my side of the building, I go up to him ask him if anything is wrong, if he wants coffee, no answer. Then, the guy starts walking up and down my sidewalk, nowhere near Elliot’s studio and I start to get angry, what is going on. I ask the guy why he is patrolling up and down my sidewalk in front of my studio and he says the force asked him to. My mind was reeling, why would they call a security guard to walk up and down my studio, we had an R&B band in one of the studios and there were a few African Americans outside, I began to imagine the force was prejudice or insane or god knows! I was really tired on top of that and it was just down right intimidating to have this guy marching up and down and to not know why.

Cont

11-05-2003 05:15 am wmrcrds

 

The Elliott I knew Part 5

A half hour later Elliott and the force came back and I was so flustered I asked the force, why is this guy here, why is he patrolling my studio and I was told by the force it was none of my business again. I did something I rarely ever do, I was on the verge of tears and I was exhausted and I called the force a bitch(Not meaning to give the sex away, but this is what I said). As soon as the ugly word came out of my mouth, I was devastated I had said it, it wasn’t how I, as an adult, handled things. I was just so worried that there was some kind of danger, that could be danger to our studio and they weren’t telling me what it was. This must have knocked some sense into the force because it started explaining that there was someone trying to get into Elliott’s studio, someone they knew, who they did not want to get in, who had a key, someone who had a key who was not supposed to, It all sounded shady and none of this made sense to me as the security was patrolling my studio not theirs and I just ran down my sidewalk into the office and closed the gate door, they followed behind me, trying to explain to me and I just locked the door and cried. I was so tired and frustrated and embarrassed. I felt so sad, I had called sweet Elliott’s force, a bitch. Even though this force scared the hell out of me, I shouldn’t have said that. I tried to call their phone to apologize, the phone that no one answers, no one answered. I went to the alley and Elliott and the force where gone again, the car was gone and there sat the security guy in a brown station wagon, watching their studio. I told him please tell the force how sorry I am, please apologize for me, Please explain that I was tired and I should have never said that word. The security said he would tell the force, I think he never did. The forces car wasn’t there for me to leave a note on. I left late that day around 2:30 in the morning and the security guy was still there, watching, waiting, for what I didn’t know. I would never see Elliott again after that night. It was two weeks before he died.

I took the next three days off, I was exhausted and physically and emotionally drained. My partner told me he got a note on his car, a letter actually, written by the force, with a small note from Elliott too. He read it but he’s Persian and doesn’t always translate English too well, he thought it was an apology. He gave me the note on the second day and I couldn’t read it, I don’t know why, I felt it would hurt me. On the third day he mentioned it again and so I read it and I cried, it makes me want to cry now.

It was an apology, but only the kind of apology a force could give, one that made you feel two inches tall and want to die. It started dear angry person (Caroline or whatever your name is)

and went on to apologize for anything that they did wrong, but not really. It was basically I’m sorry Caroline you’re such a jerk. I’m sorry Caroline but it is none of your business if Elliott is in danger or not, or whether there is a mad killer out to get us and could go by your address instead, I am sorry Caroline but the sidewalk is eminent domain (huh) and doesn’t belong to you. And this is the kicker, we are trying to create a creative nurturing environment and we don’t need your angry aura ruining it. Wow, I was kicked in the gut. I am one of the sweetest person you will ever meet, my heart would break to hurt anyone and to have this crazy, angry, controlling, arrogant force who scared the hell out of me calling me angry and telling me not to wreck it’s creative energy was an ironic kick to the stomach. The letter was typed and on the bottom written in Elliotts writing, curved to the left was a paragraph which started “Please don’t call the force a bitch” I don’t remember what the rest of it said, but even in his chastising me, he was nice. After a couple days I could laugh at the letter, about the irony of this angry, yelling, cursing, towing force, calling me angry and talking about ruining it’s creative force. But I could never get over hurting Elliott, never. My partner, my oblivious partner, said that a week later he saw Elliott and the force and waved hello and Elliott gave him the worst look ever. I still can’t believe it because this is not the Elliott that I knew. I was too hurt from the letter to ever let him know how sorry I was. I threw away the letter because it hurt me too much, I didn’t know I would never see him again. I wish I didn’t throw it away.

11-05-2003 05:19 am wmrcrds

 

The Elliott I knew Part 6

One week before Elliott died, I heard his music in the daytime and I was shocked, I thought he must be completing his album and this was good news. In the week before he died, UPS and fed-ex would come with packages for the force and I would kindly direct them to the alley, to the gate at 5926 or 24(My mind is tired from writing so much.) I was also getting nervous because now I knew my creative environment would be totally fucked up with the constant presence of the force, but I was more happy that Elliott must be completing his album than anything else.

On a Wednesday or Thursday morning I think, I came to the studio and as I usually do, go to drudgereport.com for my morning news of tragedy and world issues and there was his picture, Elliott’s picture. The story said he was dead by suicide. I just couldn’t believe it, it can’t be true, it’s a lie.

I don’t know why but the first thing I did was call Elliott’s lawyer and ask him if this was true, I just didn’t believe it. His lawyer said it was true. I was shocked but the first thing I thought was about the force and I wanted to protect Elliott’s things, I wanted to make sure the force didn’t come back and take all of his things. The lawyer asked me to go buy another lock and put it on the gate, he told me he didn’t have the authorization to do that, but I told him I didn’t either, he said he would call me back and he never did. The next thing I did was call the landlord, I felt just an urgent need to protect Elliott’s things from the force, I don’t know why, I knew Elliott had a family and those things belonged to them. Besides feeling immense grief it was the only practical things I could do for Elliott then. I called the landlord and told him about Elliott, he didn’t believe me, I told him we should put another lock on their so that no-one but Elliott’s family could get in. He didn’t seem to want to do this. Apparently, Elliott had a meeting with the landlord one week before this happened and informed him that he was no longer doing business with his lawyer and that the force was now his manager. I guess the landlord assumed this meant that the force could come and go as it pleased. But I told him this was different, Elliot’s things belonged to his family first. I begged him to call his family and he did, he called Elliott’s sister. The rest of the day I was in shock and depression, the last thing Elliott took of me, with him, was that I hurt him, I will have to remember that always. I didn’t believe Elliott killed himself, gentle men don’t stab themselves in the stomach or heart or wherever, they don’t do that, he said he wasn’t depressed, he was finishing the album, it was obvious those last two weeks.

I knew the force would come before the family, I just knew it and the second night after Elliott’s death at about 12:00 am in the morning the force came, in a jeep with two guys. My partner saw them come and I had gone outside to say goodbye to him and he told me, as soon as I spoke to him, he said he had seen the force coming out of the gate but hearing my voice the force went back inside and didn’t come out for twenty minutes. I sat in the car with my partner, directly facing their car and finally the force came out and put many boxes into the car with the help of the guys. I felt like protecting Elliott, what if it’s his music or writings, what if it’s something that people need to see. We stared at them as they filled the back of the car. I wanted them to know that I was watching, I wanted to scream you did it, you killed him, I knew you were a dark force, and I wasn’t afraid of the force anymore, but I didn’t say anything because I really didn’t know what the truth was, as I don’t know today.

The next night around 8:00 pm, his family came, his father, his sister and his mother. My partner was emptying trash in the alley when they came, he said he was sorry, he hugged them, he said that he thinks things are suspicious, that they needed to investigate what happened. He came and told me they were back there and I went back to hug them too. They look so normal, like any family from Iowa or Ohio. They look fragile but very calm, smiling. I hug the dad first and then the sister, she is smiling and cute and she looks so much like an un-ravaged Elliott and then the mother, she was Elliott, the spirit was there, it was like looking into his eyes, when I held her I told her how gentle Elliott was and she said “He was gentle wasn’t he”. They didn’t seem sad just normal. That was a bit strange but who knows how people are supposed to act when two strangers run up and hug you in an alley.

Cont

Last edited by wmrcrds on 11-05-2003 at 06:47 am

11-05-2003 05:23 am wmrcrds

 

The Elliott I knew, Last Part, 7

The next day I received two stopped checks from Elliott’s management company. Both Elliott’s and our Studio ran off of one meter, so each month it was agreed Elliott would pay us 1/3 of the electricity which was usually around 170 dollars. He paid it every month, no problem, it was written in both of our leases this way and he never failed to pay. I thought, maybe because of his death they stopped the payments and then I looked at the stop date, which was maybe 5 days before he died. Why would he stop payments, or whoever, the force or who knows, stop a payment 5 days before he died. He had just signed a new lease on the property, he was going to be there, why had the payments been stopped, this is very strange, who did this, did he do this and why. It doesn’t make any sense.

The Elliott I knew was kind and just amazingly gifted as a human being and gentle. The Elliott I grew to know after he died, through his music and his interviews, matches the Elliott I knew to a point. I don’t believe he was on a path to destruction, he just didn’t act that way, he didn’t act irrational or impetous, he didn’t seem to make rash decisions. He didn’t seem to be on drugs He was always the same, same smile, same calm voice, same spirit, until the end. It just doesn’t make sense that a gentle spirit would do something so violent to himself and so selfish to those who loved him.

Nobody’s been to his studio, there are no flowers or cards or pictures, maybe that is the way it was meant to be. Whenever I see the garbage container I want to put a rose on it, just to let Elliott know I miss his presence and how sorry I am that he left without me saying goodbye.

My father died 4 years ago at the age of 63, they say he came home drunk and went inside his apartment, threw up blood everywhere, and then went to the top of the stairs and fell 4 flights down. They found him on the sidewalk in his underwear having a seizure. They investigated it has a suspicious death, I think that is just what they have to do no matter what, but then my stepmother shows up, tells the police they had been separated but had gotten back together and that he was sober for 15 years but must have been a closet alcoholic now. They open the door for my stepmother and she clears the place, they do an autopsy, they ask questions, talk to neighbors, they rule it as an accidental death. I hadn’t seen my father for years because my stepmother was cruel and abusive. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my father either. I month after they ruled it an accident we received a report that my father had divorced her before he died and was too ashamed to tell us, even though she told the police they were still married. I think she pushed him down the stairs. But I was too emotionally devastated and scared of her to even talk to the police. Maybe she didn’t push him down the stairs literally, that night, maybe it took her 20 years to get him down the stairs, but she had something to do with it.

Everything isn’t always what it seems and sometimes it just is and either way, you have to ask the questions and stand up for what you believe in, for the legacy of someone like Elliott, who you loved.

Love,

Caroline

Last edited by wmrcrds on 11-05-2003 at 05:35 am

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