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David Berman
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Vocalist
    (January 4, 1967-August 7, 2019)
    Born in Williamsburg, Virginia
    Singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, and cartoonist
    Led the bands the Silver Jews (1989-2009) and Purple Mountains (2019)
    With the Silver Jews recorded the albums ‘Starlite Walker’ (1994), ‘The Natural Bridge’ (1996), ‘American Water’ (1999), ‘Bright Flight’ (2001), ‘Tanglewood Mountains’ (2005) and ‘Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea’ (2008)
    With Purple Mountains recorded an eponymous album (2019)
    Published the poetry collection ‘Actual Air’ (1999)
    Published the cartoon collection ‘The Portable February’ (2009)
    Committed suicide three days before the scheduled start of a Purple Mountains tour
    He described his approach to recording as, ‘Let’s just make this record that looks like a record, and has song titles and everything, but the songs would be the ones we make at home that sound terrible.’
    Because Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich were in the original lineup of the Silver Jews, the band was often thought of as a Pavement side project.
    For much of his career, he refused to tour or give interviews.
    He became so anxious during the recording sessions for one album that he had to be hospitalized with sleep deprivation.
    He attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on Xanax, crack cocaine, and alcohol (November 19, 2003).
    When his wife found him, he refused to go to a hospital, and instead insisted on being taken to the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel (where Al Gore had stayed during the 2000 election recount). While taking an elevator to the Al Gore Suite, he told a bellhop, ‘I want to die where the presidency died.’
    He also abused heroin and methamphetamine.
    He admitted to getting banned from several websites for trolling.
    He said about his decision to break up the Silver Jews and go on an extended hiatus from music, ‘If I continue to record I might accidentally write the answer song to Shiny Happy People.’
    He became interested in conceptual art while working as a security guard at the Whitney Museum.
    Pavement titled their album ‘Slanted and Enchanted’ after one of his cartoons.
    ’Actual Air’ drew praise from US Poet Laureate Billy Collins: ‘They are full of complex turns and tricks and conceptual hijinks, and yet there’s this surface clarity. You’re welcomed into the poem.’
    He quit using hard drugs after undergoing rehab at Hazelden (2004).
    He held the Silver Jews’ final concert inside Cumberland Caverns in Tennessee (January 22, 2009).
    The Guardian wrote that he ‘embodied American indie rock at its most literate.’
    The Washington Post wrote, 'If a human being was capable of feeling it, David could write it and render it profound.'

Credit: C. Fishel


    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 72 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
 
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