Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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"On the last day of your life, don’t forget to die..."

made me take the record off the turntable. I'm not sure I can listen to these records for a while.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:43 (ten months ago) link

"...something's added to the air, forever"

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:44 (ten months ago) link

idk

the ringer interview linked above basically suggested that he was living in absolute hell

mookieproof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:45 (ten months ago) link

in an interview a few months ago he said about the album (paraphrasing here) "it's not a cry for help, but something more like my way of offering what help I can."

I understood.

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:50 (ten months ago) link

i just dug out my old CD of American Water, i couldn't make it through the album and had to turn it off.

Bee OK, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:52 (ten months ago) link

this is very sad. actual air is the only book of poetry i've ever given as a gift. Loved this man's words amd music.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:54 (ten months ago) link

it's hard for me to imagine how deeply people must experience depression

Dan S, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:56 (ten months ago) link

Reading that reddit thread and imagining the depth of pain that can’t be eased by such an outpouring of gratitude and affirmation and love.

Some darknesses for some people are just indelible, and exhausting.

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:56 (ten months ago) link

I didn’t know about my friend DCB when I wrote this must have been in the air .His death is fucking dark ..depression is crippling.. he was a one of a kinder the songs he wrote were his main passion esp at the end. Hope death equals peace cuz he could sure use it

— Stephen malkmus (@dronecoma) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:57 (ten months ago) link

fuuuck man it seemed so cool that he was getting out there again in such an auspicious fashion. going to miss the absolute hell out of this guy

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:02 (ten months ago) link

Many good and kind words here.

https://pitchfork.com/news/david-berman-remembered-by-silver-jews-collaborator-bob-nastanovich-deerhunter-more/

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:07 (ten months ago) link

Who knows, but I can only imagine the complete change of daily habits that go with dozens of profiles coming out about your life and your work, getting it right or not, plus everything that goes into starting a tour for the first time in forever. So much pressure and just being out in the world, even with stellar reviews and shows sold out (I had two tix for them in Chicago).

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:36 (ten months ago) link

Huh, and related to that, just saw this quoted (by Howe Gelb on Instagram) from a 2006 Pfork Berman interview:

He talked to Pitchfork about his stance on performing in 2005, “I believe that intermittent live performance has cut short the writing lives of touring musicians. If you are making an argument with history you don’t waste your energy and brain cells on sales, publicity, relentless travel, and other adjoining tasks. The less my body moves, the more energy my brain has to write.”

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:46 (ten months ago) link

*2005 interview

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:49 (ten months ago) link

I wonder if he reached out to, or reconciled with, his dad in some way before the end. I can’t help but think about his dad losing his son.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:34 (ten months ago) link

oh no, just seen this. that’s terrible. fuck. all those wonderful lyrics.

Fizzles, Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:50 (ten months ago) link

goddam it’s so sad.

Fizzles, Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:54 (ten months ago) link

This is a tough one. Sometimes as I get older I feel an impulse to accept people's suicides, like "Maybe it's ok if someone doesn't want to be alive anymore." But when someone who continued to write so beautifully until the end somehow "doesn't want to be alive anymore" it's especially hard to accept and leaves me at a loss. I guess he suffered a lot and the suffering wouldn't end for him, and nothing about writing beautifully changed that.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 04:13 (ten months ago) link

Heartbroken pic.twitter.com/DuEmHrd1l4

— 3 Songs Podcast (@3songspod) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 04:43 (ten months ago) link

i rewatched the Slow Century the other night, on a lark. it's all on YouTube.

Berman's in the background of all that old footage.

also, Bob is just the best.

Bob, DCB and SM forevah

alpine static, Thursday, 8 August 2019 05:04 (ten months ago) link

This is devastating

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 8 August 2019 05:49 (ten months ago) link

Beneath the bitching and the bickering
When I try to drown my thoughts in gin
I find my worst ideas know how to swim

RIP David Berman.

Karl Malone, Thursday, 8 August 2019 06:02 (ten months ago) link

this is bad :(

i felt like with this new Purple Mountains album he was on his way to become 'our' Leonard Cohen.

Ludo, Thursday, 8 August 2019 06:29 (ten months ago) link

It is a certain hill
the one I imagine when I hear the word "hill"
and if the apocalypse turns out
to be a world-wide nervous breakdown
if our five billion minds collapse at once
well I'd call that a surprise ending
and this hill would still be beautiful
a place I wouldn't mind dying
alone or with you.

man this is terrible :(

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:44 (ten months ago) link

Oh no. :(

RIP.

pomenitul, Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:45 (ten months ago) link

I've never really engaged with his work or been particularly motivated to do so, but I'm listening to the Purple Mountains album now and realising I was wrong in that. RIP.

Matt DC, Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:51 (ten months ago) link

RIP

I visited Philadelphia earlier this year and saw the American Water building across the Delaware, which immediately made me think of Berman and that fantastic album. Totally inconsequential but the kind of humdrum revelation that he seemed to be able to capture in his lyrics.

Captain ACAB (Neil S), Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:55 (ten months ago) link

Fuck. Fuck. This really, really hurts.

I feel so grateful for the art he created. His music touched a rarely accessible place in my soul; the way he combined humour, melancholy, truth....his storytelling...while having a distinct, original artistic voice. All of the things I most look for and value about art can be found consistently throughout his work. And his new album...just, one of those records that came along when I was starting to doubt whether music could have the kind of impact on me that it once did, and reminded me that the old feeling is still possible.

He had more knockout couplets and one-liners than any other lyricist I can think of. His lyrics are a constant part of my internal monologue. Like sometimes I'll think of a random Jews lyric and just smile. Thank you, David.

triggercut, Thursday, 8 August 2019 09:24 (ten months ago) link

Ah christ - that's some horrible news to wake to. The P in RIP never made so much sense.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Thursday, 8 August 2019 09:52 (ten months ago) link

Nastanovich’s quote in the pitchfork rememberances really hits home:

It was enlightening to have such a talented friend at a young age and realize that the talent wasn’t always a blessing.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 8 August 2019 10:00 (ten months ago) link

real mc recognize real mc

rest in peace to the great David Berman 😞

— el-p (@therealelp) August 8, 2019

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:38 (ten months ago) link

I have no words for this, really. I was going to see him play on Monday, and was looking forward to it, having never gotten a chance to catch the joos. I'd been listening to the new album a ton since it came out. I don't know if I can listen to it again for a while.

Auld Drink of Misery (zchyrs), Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:46 (ten months ago) link

The dead know what they are doing when they leave this world behind.

From Nights That Won't Happen

A little spooky, as if he had planned it in advance...

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:00 (ten months ago) link

Definitely. The whole song comes off as foreboding in hindsight:

And as much as we might like to seize the reel and hit rewind
Or quicken our pursuit of what we're guaranteed to find
When the dying's finally done and the suffering subsides
All the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind
All the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind

pomenitul, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:02 (ten months ago) link

Some of the heaviest lyrics on the album, for sure. I hadn't really fully finished processing a lot of parts of the record (and now it will probably be a very long time before I return to it, if ever), but up until yesterday I'd bean hearing those lyrics as an argument against suicide, an indictment of it from someone who'd been there and only in hindsight understands the magnitude & consequences. Now I feel like a dope for thinking that, like I was grafting an optimistic reading onto it to make myself feel good. I dunno. Today that verse just reads like a blunt statement of fact. Awful.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:13 (ten months ago) link

I went through the exact same process.

pomenitul, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:14 (ten months ago) link

Just miserable at this news. My favourite living songwriter, and now he isn't. Sound-magic & richness of all those lyrics. So many ways of being brilliant.

I'd been treating it as an out-the-other-side album, but it wasn't, obviously. Peace to you, DB.

woof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:30 (ten months ago) link

I listened to Purple Mountains for the first time this morning. I hadn't realized the whole thing was on Spotify yet. I had heard Margaritas at the Mall first and kinda waved it off. I wasn't really ready to hunker down with David Berman in the excitement of early summer. Oh my god, what a record.

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:44 (ten months ago) link

I never listened to his shit, as WORDS WORDS WORDS is not really my preference… but I hung out with him 2 or 3 times, and found him to be very engaging, not in the least sadsack… at the time, I very much hated my boss, and when I was introduced to him and I told him where I worked, he asked me why my boss is such a asshole, and launched into a diatribe about how unpleasant she was…he and got along great afterwards…

veronica moser, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:50 (ten months ago) link

I hadn't taken the time with the Purple Mountains record until now, sadly, and fuck, it's good. It has some of his best lyrics ever. It has cringey moments too, the way a suicidal person's self-pity often does, where you just want to scream "No! You don't have to see things that way!" but you know that something in their chemistry or their soul just makes it that they can't help it. But the best moments are so good.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 14:12 (ten months ago) link

And yeah, the suicide note aspects are all over it, sadly. He's pretty frank and straightforward about how he came to feel about his life and it's gut-wrenching.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 14:19 (ten months ago) link

why can't monsters
get along with other monsters?

jakey mo collier (voodoo chili), Thursday, 8 August 2019 14:28 (ten months ago) link

joining the chorus of people really devastated by this news last night. in a way that no artist/musician passing has hit me since i was 18 or 19.

one of the greatest nights of my life was out-of-nowhere getting guest-listed into the first silver jews tour at 40 watt in athens, while in town on tour for a single night...and just being awash in how great it was. thanks for that, dcb.

dronestreet, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:03 (ten months ago) link

God he was funny

From a David Berman interview I did in 2001. "I don’t expect to be insulted by being told Ryan Adams in the best songwriter in America. Maybe mid-period Steve Forbert B sides sound fresh to some ears. It's just self-pity in rock. These people have no compassion for anybody."

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:11 (ten months ago) link

watched the Israel doc which is on YouTube last night, been putting it off for The Right Time and obviously, well, cried and cried and cried

Clay, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:17 (ten months ago) link

I've never even heard of Steve Forbert before, but just looking at his album covers and song titles that sounds OTM

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:17 (ten months ago) link

he is also otm about ryan adams and seems like a very compassionate person in addition to being funny and clever and gifted with sight & the ability to translate the seeing into words for us to enjoy :(

i like when someone can be amusing without being mean and he never seemed mean to me. his father was so mean & cruel that i think it made him aggressively the opposite, afaict. selfish wrt self-destructive habits, but kind at heart? is this accurate?

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:18 (ten months ago) link

He strikes me as a guy who possessed a high level of empathy and sensitivity and I think when faced with a brazen and smug lack of empathy (let alone in one’s own family) it can be extremely painful. Everything I’ve read about his father suggests that’s the type of person he is.

omar little, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:24 (ten months ago) link

people that knew him seem to speak affectionately of him

Ryan Adams is so thoroughly phony and full of shit, I can imagine it rankled someone who seemed to try to look life in the eye

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:25 (ten months ago) link


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