Inspired by reading Oliver Sacks' New Yorker piece on the last days of the great Spalding Gray.
  1. Roy Orbison
    I saw Roy Orbison when I was in kindergarten, or thereabouts. It was some sort of school fundraiser at the Wadsworth Theatre in West LA. At the time I was really into "Pretty Woman," but, embarrassingly, that's probably the only song of his I knew at that age. I'm sure he played "In Dreams," but I don't have vivid memories of this event. I do remember this: he seemed old, but his voice sounded ageless, pristine. Died December 1988.
  2. Spalding Gray
    I was a freshman when Gray came to perform his final completed monologue, "Morning, Noon and Night" in the largest theater at Wesleyan. This was some months after the car accident in Ireland that would prove to be a turning point in his life. And it was shortly after 9/11, another day of note in his mental history. He walked onto the stage with crutches. In his piece he conveyed a hopefulness about his depression. To know now what he must have felt at that time... Died January 2004.
  3. Elliott Smith
    In January 2003, Elliott opened for Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Bowery Ballroom. Some friends and I trekked down from school to see the show. He was in bad shape. False starts, dropped lyrics, complaints of hand cramps... I had seen him play twice before (and guest w/ Grandaddy a few times). He was always vulnerable, but this was different. During JSBX's encore, he joined them on bass for a cover of the Beatles' "Yer Blues" and a few other numbers. He seemed happier. Died October 2003.