RIP David Berman (Silver Jews)

goldrushgoldrush everybody knows this is nowherePosts: 4,622


“Do not postpone happiness”
(Jeff Tweedy, Sydney 2007)

“Put yer good money on the sunrise”
(Tim Rogers)

Comments

  • goldrushgoldrush everybody knows this is nowherePosts: 4,622
    edited August 8





    Post edited by goldrush on
    “Do not postpone happiness”
    (Jeff Tweedy, Sydney 2007)

    “Put yer good money on the sunrise”
    (Tim Rogers)
  • Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 13,589
    I've never heard of him or his band. 
    Nonetheless, sad to hear he took his life.
    I've been struggling with feelings of emptiness lately and this scares me.
    Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014
  • buck502000buck502000 Birthplace of GIBSON guitarPosts: 8,638
    On the last of your life, don’t forget to die.... RIP a true poet....
    Chicago 1&2-18 Cork-EV-17 Chicago 1&2-16 Miami-16 Ft. Lauderdale-16 New York City(Colbert,Sound Check,Show)-15 Moline-14 Detroit-14 Amsterdam 1&2-14 Chicago-13 Noblesville-10 Grand Rapids-06 Grand Rapids-04 Auburn Hills-00 Auburn Hills-98 Toledo-96

    Life is hard, that's why no one survives

  • pearljammr78pearljammr78 Posts: 536
    I've never heard of him or his band. 
    Nonetheless, sad to hear he took his life.
    I've been struggling with feelings of emptiness lately and this scares me.
    Stay strong. I get those feelings bad all the time. Nothing is worth taking your own life over. Keep your head up. 
    Peace,Love and Pearl Jam.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,098
    I've never heard of him or his band. 
    Nonetheless, sad to hear he took his life.
    I've been struggling with feelings of emptiness lately and this scares me.

    I've never heard of him or his band. 
    Nonetheless, sad to hear he took his life.
    I've been struggling with feelings of emptiness lately and this scares me.
    Stay strong. I get those feelings bad all the time. Nothing is worth taking your own life over. Keep your head up. 


    I hadn't heard of David Berman either but after talking to a co-worker at the store who is very familiar with his music, I will definitely check out his work.

    Thoughts, I'll echo pearljammer78's good words.  Stay strong.

    What most people who commit suicide (or nearly do like I did in '96), what they almost always really want is not for life to end, but for the ennui or pain to end.  I wish everyone who has or will kill themselves were as lucky as me and had a second chance.  When you survive, you see things differently, including the pain.  Mental and physical pain becomes a positive challenge to develop and practice your inner strength. You learn that hacking is better than packing and you feel good about conquering pain and dullness rather than being conquered.  I know-- easy to say words.  All I can do is hope you can find that inner strength, feed it, be with it, use it.  Hang in there, friend!
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 13,589
    Thank you Brian and Pearljammr78. 
    I get my periods during the day then I rise above it then back into the hollowness and back out. Mood changes.
    I think it's just being 35 and not knowing what to do with myself careerwise and being alone that's affecting me.
    Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014
  • goldrushgoldrush everybody knows this is nowherePosts: 4,622
    I’m not in any kind of place to comment on depression/suicide as a bigger picture right now. We lost a family member (also called David and in his 50s, strangely enough) to suicide just two weeks ago so it’s still very raw and painful. All I can say is be strong @Thoughts_Arrive

    David Berman was a genius lyricist, and Silver Jews were always one of the best kept secrets of the 90s indie scene. I would recommend the ‘American Water’ album as a good place to start if anyone is interested in checking them out. Stephen Malkmus of Pavement was in the band too, so that should give you an idea of their sound.

    The full album is on Youtube



    'Smith & Jones Forever' has been a favourite of mine for a long time



    Berman also released a book of poetry called 'Actual Air' which has some great work in it. I am by no means an expert on poetry (or even that much of a fan of poetry books really) but I always loved his lyrics so I checked it out.
      
    "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"


    “Do not postpone happiness”
    (Jeff Tweedy, Sydney 2007)

    “Put yer good money on the sunrise”
    (Tim Rogers)
  • Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 13,589
    edited August 9
    thanks dude. Sorry about your loss :(
    Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014
  • YefaYefa Posts: 999


    You see me empty, Sir, do not pause and inquire, simply assume and refill.
    - Al Swearengen

    http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com
  • YefaYefa Posts: 999
    You see me empty, Sir, do not pause and inquire, simply assume and refill.
    - Al Swearengen

    http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,098
    goldrush said:
    I’m not in any kind of place to comment on depression/suicide as a bigger picture right now. We lost a family member (also called David and in his 50s, strangely enough) to suicide just two weeks ago so it’s still very raw and painful. All I can say is be strong @Thoughts_Arrive

    David Berman was a genius lyricist, and Silver Jews were always one of the best kept secrets of the 90s indie scene. I would recommend the ‘American Water’ album as a good place to start if anyone is interested in checking them out. Stephen Malkmus of Pavement was in the band too, so that should give you an idea of their sound.

    The full album is on Youtube



    'Smith & Jones Forever' has been a favourite of mine for a long time



    Berman also released a book of poetry called 'Actual Air' which has some great work in it. I am by no means an expert on poetry (or even that much of a fan of poetry books really) but I always loved his lyrics so I checked it out.
      
    "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"


    I'm very sorry to hear about your loss, goldrush.  Best wishes to you and yours.
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • goldrushgoldrush everybody knows this is nowherePosts: 4,622
    edited August 9
    brianlux said:
    goldrush said:
    I’m not in any kind of place to comment on depression/suicide as a bigger picture right now. We lost a family member (also called David and in his 50s, strangely enough) to suicide just two weeks ago so it’s still very raw and painful. All I can say is be strong @Thoughts_Arrive

    David Berman was a genius lyricist, and Silver Jews were always one of the best kept secrets of the 90s indie scene. I would recommend the ‘American Water’ album as a good place to start if anyone is interested in checking them out. Stephen Malkmus of Pavement was in the band too, so that should give you an idea of their sound.

    The full album is on Youtube



    'Smith & Jones Forever' has been a favourite of mine for a long time



    Berman also released a book of poetry called 'Actual Air' which has some great work in it. I am by no means an expert on poetry (or even that much of a fan of poetry books really) but I always loved his lyrics so I checked it out.
      
    "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"


    I'm very sorry to hear about your loss, goldrush.  Best wishes to you and yours.
    Thanks Brian, I appreciate it.

    Let me know what you think if you do check out Silver Jews. All of their albums are on their Bandcamp page for streaming. Try out ‘American Water’ or ‘The Natural Bridge’. As someone who enjoys the written word, I think you’ll appreciate his lyrical style.
    Post edited by goldrush on
    “Do not postpone happiness”
    (Jeff Tweedy, Sydney 2007)

    “Put yer good money on the sunrise”
    (Tim Rogers)
  • goldrushgoldrush everybody knows this is nowherePosts: 4,622
    thanks dude. Sorry about your loss :(
    Thanks man, I appreciate it.
    Sorry you’re having a tough time. It may sound like a throwaway line, but things do get better.
    “Do not postpone happiness”
    (Jeff Tweedy, Sydney 2007)

    “Put yer good money on the sunrise”
    (Tim Rogers)
  • Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 13,589
    goldrush said:
    thanks dude. Sorry about your loss :(
    Thanks man, I appreciate it.
    Sorry you’re having a tough time. It may sound like a throwaway line, but things do get better.
    I live in hope for brighter days. But it's been a long long time feeling shit about myself and not knowing my purpose or direction in life. Being unemployed makes you feel ashamed about yourself.
    Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014
  • goldrushgoldrush everybody knows this is nowherePosts: 4,622

    This review was on Pitchfork last month, just a few weeks before Berman died.


    “In 2009, David Berman quit music because he’s not a careerist; because he feared that he might start sucking; because, as he posited in an essay called “My Father, My Attack Dog,” his work as a songwriter could never offset the damage done to the world by his notorious corporate lobbyist father, Richard Berman, known as “Dr. Evil.” When HBO approached him during the hiatus to participate in a docuseries about his father Berman backed out, fearing it would end up being a sympathetic Tony Soprano-style portrait. But of all the reasons David Berman has given for abandoning his recording project, Silver Jews, the most pressing one was also the simplest: He wanted more time to read.

    And so, Berman spent his 40s at home in Nashville, surrounded by books—an experience that he recently described as being “kind of my childhood dream.” It’s an easy image to conjure for anybody acquainted with his body of work, an insular, quotable universe that spans six great-to-extraordinary studio albums, a collection of poetry, a book of cartoons, a documentary, a few EPs, and a compilation. Through it all, Berman maintained the role of the quiet outsider, someone proudly allergic to trends and devoted with scholarly intensity to things uncommon even in the individualist community of lo-fi indie rock: religion, country music, sobriety, an insistence on attributing deep significance to every word he sang and each interview he granted.

    On 2008’s ‘Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea’, the final Silver Jews album, Berman pared down his MFA-backed control of language for simple, allegorical writing. Throughout the record, his mood seemed light, as he sang words of love and perseverance, accompanied by his wife Cassie, the bassist and vocalist of his always-changing band (which has included, at various points, Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich, Will Oldham, and William Tyler).

    Having kicked a nearly fatal drug addiction and devoted himself to Judaism, Berman seemed to be in a good place back then. And while he’s always been one for fabrication—he has given several contradicting explanations for the “Silver Jews” band name through the years—he’s never been one for pure obfuscation. It was easy to believe him when he said he was done with music for good. There were a few appearances following his early retirement; you can find YouTube videos of him, clean-cut and suave, at a poetry reading and a Harmony Korine screening. But there was also a lot of quiet. You never really imagined a Silver Jews comeback, even after rumors started spilling about band practices and new songs with titles like “Wacky Package Eyes.” “No I don’t really want to die,” he sang a long time ago. “I only want to die in your eyes.” And so he did.

    The way Berman tells it, he picked up a guitar again after his mother’s death. “I think it was like meditation, but it was also like a massage,” he said of that familiar exercise, the wooden body vibrating against his chest. His strumming eventually spiraled into “I Loved Being My Mother’s Son,” a gentle highlight from his new comeback album under the name Purple Mountains. Lyrically bereaved but musically at peace, it sets the tone for the record as a whole. These are plainspoken songs of heartbreak, grief, and bitterness. One ballad, “Nights That Won’t Happen,” can be heard as a pros-and-cons list of just being alive. Backed by members of the Brooklyn psych-folk band Woods, however, Berman’s writing has never sounded so exacting or direct. These songs offer a solid introduction to all the beautiful contradictions that have always made his work so comforting and complex—a rare feat for a comeback album.

    As warm and immediate as the record sounds—heartland harmonica, cantina horns, and pedal steel all guide his words—Berman’s lyrics reveal all the reading that has inspired him. The singalong chorus of “Margaritas at the Mall” alludes to a philosophical text on the capitalist origins of purgatory; a line about treating the world as a “roadside inn” in “Nights That Won’t Happen” echoes a teaching by the second-century Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus. And the jaunty “Storyline Fever” continues his tradition of whimsical penultimate tracks by considering the span of life as a long narrative with an infinite number of possible outcomes—it reads a lot like an anxiety attack but sounds a little like the Kinks. That Berman has scrounged a college syllabus’ worth of texts for their most human uses is a testament to the enduring, tragic empathy of his writing. Few writers are so willing to submit to their lowest depths to make you feel less alone.

    While Purple Mountains is remarkable for affirming what we missed in Berman’s songwriting, it’s equally affecting for what it’s missing. He eludes to crises of faith in both “That’s Just the Way I Feel” and “Margaritas at the Mall,” a song that finds him at his wit’s end looking for answers from “such a subtle god.” His separation from Cassie after two decades of marriage casts a heavy shadow through nearly every song, a thematic and musical absence that gives the album an unsettling starkness. His voice has never been strong, but there’s a new helplessness to his delivery. “The end of all wanting is all I’ve been wanting,” he sings weakly in the opening track. “If no one’s fond of fuckin’ me, maybe no one’s fuckin’ fond of me,” he grumbles in the last. These are the kinds of characters he once observed with self-aware distance; nowadays, he just sounds spent.

    The subject matter of Purple Mountains is grim, but he’s still David Berman, and he can still dazzle with the sheer beauty of his writing or wink at the camera to lighten the mood when necessary. Back when he first gained prominence in the ’90s, he was called a slacker, suggesting his unpolished delivery was either an affect or an ethos. Over time, he insisted just the opposite—that it was the striving that was important; that even if you couldn’t hold a note, it was worth showing the effort; that a song was something you spend a lifetime learning to sing right.”

    “Do not postpone happiness”
    (Jeff Tweedy, Sydney 2007)

    “Put yer good money on the sunrise”
    (Tim Rogers)
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