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Stephen Malkmus, Mountain Goats, Kevin Morby, members of The National, Nada Surf, more pay tribute to David Berman

David Berman Purple Mountains

The terrible news that David Berman, the man behind Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, has died has has been a real shock, and there have been an outpouring of tributes from fellow artists. Among them, former Silver Jews member Stephen Malkmus who wrote, “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.” Bob Nastanovich, who was also in Silver Jews (and Pavement), told Pitchfork:

I was saddened to hear that David died. Stephen called me to tell me this afternoon.

For most of my life, I was amazed by David as a person, a humorist and a writer. It was enlightening to have such a talented friend at a young age and realize that the talent wasn’t always a blessing.

David battled mental illness for nearly all of his life. He had professional help and the unyielding support of hundreds of good friends. He had many loving and devoted fans.

Please try to cherish your memories of him and his words and music including his last album Purple Mountains.

I know I will and I’m grateful that the list of good memories and stories is long.

There have been many, many more tributes, including ones from The Mountain Goats, Kurt Vile, Superchunk, Stevie Jackson of Belle & Sebastian, Aaron Dessner of The National, Matthew Caws of Nada Surf,  Carl Newman of New Pornographers, Josh Ritter, Titus Andronicus, Japanese Breakfast, Marc Maron, Geoff Rickly, Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis, Lower Dens, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, Rob Taylor of Los Campesinos!, Dressy Bessy, Ryley Walker, Craig Finn, Ted Leo, The Avalanches, El-P, and more. Read those tributes below.

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So crushed. I grew up on David Berman and the Silver Jews catalogue in mostly real time… in such a way that his music and lyrics and vocals have touched me to this day and are still growing in significance (and of course a higher high of nostalgia on the side with each revisitation… and there has been so much revisiting these last few years I must say). I was so excited for these upcoming shows and how amazing the new Purple Mountains record is. I was so stoked and so proud of Jarvis and Jeremy and the @woodsist gang for knocking this album outta the park. David's music always hit on a basic human gut level just in the power of his lyrics and voice alone… in a way no other modern artist of my generation has been able to… We were friends but I was looking forward to hopefully becoming closer and was so excited to see him around with purple mountains and hopefully play on “trains across the sea” in philly. Speaking of that tune (and others)… I’ve been singing a few silver jews songs to my daughters at night before they go to bed… since they were little… (it was a no brainer in the dna of my upbringing…) they were always affected by Cassie’s beautiful voice in “Tennessee” and would wanna sing that part… to the extent the first song my oldest daughter Awilda sang from memory (and later we recorded a version of) was "trains across the sea" and she performed "new orleans" at her co-op talent show. When my family came thru Nashville David and Cassie took us in graciously and David bought the girls a Mr Games style trinket I guess you might call a diorama music box (?) either way it will be cherished always. Love forever to Cassie and David from Kurt, Suzanne, Awilda and Delphine. “Snow is falling in Manhattan…” “I loved being my mother’s son…” “when god was young… he made the wind and the sun. And since then it’s been a slow education. And you got that one idea again………” “oh… oh oh… I’m lightening. Oh… oh oh… I’m rain. Oh… oh oh… it’s frightening… I’m not the same. I’m not the same. I’m not the same.” ❤️ God bless @dragcityrecords for releasing so much (and all) of his material. R.I.P. David Berman. You will be missed.

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David Berman one-liners are like verbal baseball cards. When you find yourself in the company of other Silver Jews fans you all wanna show off your favorite one. “Got two tickets to a midnight execution”! or what about the one where he says “it’s been evening all day long”! oh and don’t forget “so you got no friends and you wander through the night, and now you watch the sunrise through a rifle site”. He’s been one of my secret handshakes over the past 16 years since discovering his work – I have made friends on the fact alone that we all are obsessed with the man, and worship in the Church Of Berman. And where his music set me up, it’s his poetry that really knocked me down. When I was 17 a friend lent me a copy of Actual Air, and it changed how I looked out at the world. It became my everything and I carried it with me everywhere as I saw America for the first time. The poems have never grown old, and in fact only grown more and more powerful over the years. I still read them regularly and think of certain lines almost daily – especially my favorite line from The Charm Of 5:30 – which is: “somewhere in the future I am remembering today”. So simple, and so perfect. I made a post recently speaking to how surreal it is that some of my best friends got to create his come back album with our mutual hero, and now we all see that it was not only his come back, but also his farewell. Rest In Peace David and I truly can’t thank you enough for sharing your gift with me and everyone else. You built your world, and invited us all in. . . “On the last day of your life, don’t forget to die.” – DCB . Xo km

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❤️

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