HOLY SHIT: Mike Doughty Shares Unreleased Collabs with Elliott Smith

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(Elliott Smith outside of Coffee People in Portland circa 1993. Photo by JJ Gonson.)


He was in L.A. for some reason. He said, “Oh, I’m doing this thing for this movie.” That’s what he said and it was Good Will Hunting… He downplayed it. He was kind of like, “Ehh, I can’t believe I’m doing this thing.” But I think he was just cool kids-ing it. You know, because he thought I’d be like, “Oh, that’s so lame, dude. It’s a fucking movie.” But I wouldn’t have said anything like that ever.

But anyway, so I just wanted to do something with him. I didn’t wanna do something– you know, a rock collaboration would always end up just somebody doing a backing vocal and you’d be like, “Yeah, well, if you listen really closely, you can hear J Mascis.” Whereas in hip-hop music– first of all, I have to say, we don’t claim that we were running in hip-hop circles; it was just my obsession– someone would come in and do a verse. They would have their own part of the song.

So I was trying to figure out how to do this and what we ended up doing was he just came down to the studio and sat in front of a binaural head. A binaural head– I don’t know if they look different now, but in the late 90s they were grey foam sculptures of a human head with a bone structure and a brow and a nose on it for facial features, with two specialized microphones in each earhole, and when you would listen back to it, it would just be an incredibly realistic stereo effect. really like if you record a street scene and if you close your eyes and have headphones on, you would seem submerged in the street scene. So we sat in down in front of this ludicrous device and he sang two songs, and the idea was I was gonna figure something to do over it and I didn’t have anything good, but I have these a cappella versions. I wish I knew where I put them …

CHECK IT OUT HERE. And when you’re finished read Jayson Greene’s super duper incredible and in-depth meditation on Smith here.

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Heatmiser circa 1993, from left: Brandt Peterson, Elliott Smith, Tony Lash, Neil Gust. Photo by JJ Gonson.

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Heatmiser at Portland’s X-Ray Cafe in May 1992. From left: Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith. Photo by JJ Gonson.

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Photos by Autumn de Wilde

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“Son of Sam” lyric sheet. Photo by Autumn de Wilde.

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Photo by Autumn de Wilde

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Photo by Autumn de Wilde

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