28 December 2009

Motorboating through our lives, only gradually gaining rudimentary navigational skills

Untitled, Pulaski, Virginia

RIP VIC Chesnutt

Chesnutt on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts

Singer Kristin Hersch, a close friend of Vic's, set up this page to remember him and collect money for his family to cover the cost of medical bills, funeral, etc.

Some of Vic's friends (from the Constellation Records website):

"The most important story to report now is not Vic’s death but a life and work overflowing with insight, humor, and yes, resilience. This, after all, was the man who wrote:'I thought I had a calling, anyway, I just kept dialing.' Sixteen extraordinary albums, five in the last couple of years; countless live shows so powerful and sublime they deeply altered the lives of those on the stage with Vic and those looking up, yes up, at him...Vic’s death, just so you all know, did not come at the end of some cliché downward spiral. He was battling deep depression but also at the peak of his powers, and with the help of friends and family he was in the middle of a desperate search for help. The system failed to provide it. I miss him terribly."

Jem Cohen-filmmaker/photographer/North Star Deserter producer

“We have lost one of our great ones. His songs and his story remain.”

Michael Stipe

"'I flew around a little room once.' A line from Supernatural.
He was just that. He possessed an unearthly energy and
yet was humanistic with the common man in mind. He was
entirely present and entirely somewhere else. A mystical
somewhere else. A child and an old guy as he called himself.
Before he made an album he said he was a bum. Now he
is in flight bumming round beyond the little room. With his
angel voice."

Patti Smith

"in 1991 i moved to athens georgia in search of god, but what I discovered instead was vic chesnutt. hearing his music completely transformed the way i thought about writing songs, and i will forever be in his debt."

Jeff Mangum
Neutral Milk Hotel

"Years ago upon discovery, West of Rome consoled me when I was going under. A life saver with the straight story. I followed since then from a distance. Vic was a unique being, mind, voice. No one spoke or made music like that, with that particular timbre, vocabulary and perception. Fierce and direct or levitated, whimsical and ornamental, he always cut to the bone. And past that, to the soul. Its a shame. A national tragedy, when you look at the issues being faced."

Mark McElhattan
Film curator, New York Film Festival

~3 Chesnutt songs


the souvenirs
on my dusty shelf
I get out the Tarn-X,
and I polish them myself
yes, posters are falling,
but who needs them at my age?
I've learned to smile,
when all I feel is rage

so I think I will go to Bakersfield
with Gabriel and Paul
and I will hide behind the garbage cans
while the holy platitudes fall
and blow the gates,
I am coming through
with my albatrosses and all

and it's strategy not protocol
yes, it's strategy, not protocol,
that brings me here.

Lucinda Williams

imports and altercations
my faculties on a shoe-string vacation
I settle down on a hurt as big as Robert Mitchum
and listen to Lucinda Williams

oh, convenient lies, rubber knives
I'm a dastardly villain, doing belly dives
I before E except after me
I'm dowsing my vitals at break-neck speed

you and your little entourage
playing amazing little parlor games in the garage
like a jury of my peers triangulating
my pretty point of exasperation
yes we gather for some of that Catholic juice
and hide behind the shower curtain, i watch the virgin spruce
I'm soaking wet and feeling funny
the mirror's a mirage, no wonder I always look so crummy

my heroes are all off in the great beyond
England is old but Atlantis is gone
feathers are floating down, and I can't dodge them
the tar is oozing from my little noggin
it's ugly ancient residue
there ain't no mistaking what's been abused

feathers are floating down and I can't dodge them
the tar is oozing from my little noggin
it's ugly ancient residue
there ain't no mistaking who's been accused


cross my heart and cross my eyes
stick a needle in my thigh
drop kick my unscrewed lid
and fiddle fiddle fiddle fiddle fiddle with what's inside

a rusty mass of mechinations
still i'm vying for the right vaccination

I make a masterful selection like louis pasteur
certain i've found at least a temporary cure
if there's one thing i've learned in this chemical world
it's very very very very very little is pure

my gluefoot sticks, i wrestle with it
I try to skedaddle but my gluefoot is fixed

if they'd give me a shovel in this communication age
maybe i'd have kept my mouth shut and done something today
I want to blame democracy and it's inherent lies
I want to blame my heritage for my leisurely demise

everybody wants to wear the cleats
everbody wants to be Dominique
I want to be someone separate from me
I want to have a sustained feeling

my gluefoot sticks, i wrestle with it
I try to skidaddle but my gluefoot is fixed

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