By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
"It was absolutely an accident," Waters told the Times. "I didn't want to disrespect Elliott Smith's fans, and I've instructed [the team] to remove the wheat paste immediately. It was a random pasting in the normal course of this, and I want to make it public that we had no intent to offend or cover up something precious." Waters went on to point out (as we had guessed) that until that day he had no idea who Smith was, but after familiarizing himself with his work, he thought the singer's fans might enjoy the sentiment of the quote.
We received many, many comments about the matter. A few of them were even pro-Waters and others pointed out that what "his team" had done was no different from what the street artists we often celebrate at L.A. Weekly do.
I think there's a crucial difference between all these writings on the wall. One of our commenters definitely got to the core of it:
"Elliott Smith," she wrote, "did not 'strategize' a memorial to his songwriting. Elliott's fans chose this wall as a memorial the night he died, not his manager, not any of the record label — his fans. They just started showing up. Honestly, if Elliott was still alive, he would probably feel bad for the artist who painted the mural and the owner of Sound Solutions, apologize and offer to help repaint it. Honestly, I'd rather have Elliott back than a wall.
"But the wall is a nice memorial for a few reasons. I think that if Roger Waters himself had gone out there and done this I would respect him more. But sitting in an overpriced armchair while a 'street team' disrespects not just this memorial but real street artists that are actually risking something to go out into the night and plaster the city with their point of view pisses me off. I know that it's not just fans that write on this wall. Street artists are pasting over each other, gangs are at war and crossing out each other's tags, some kid doesn't even know who the fuck Elliott Smith is or why everyone writes on this wall, but he really wants to write FUCK YOU all over it because he's mad at his mom.
"Isn't this what Pink Floyd used to represent? I think this is what makes me sad. Maybe I am pissed off today because I think I'd rather hear that Roger Waters had woken up yesterday and decided that he was so sick of his fancy chair and his big house and his fancy car and all those fancy meetings where everyone comes up with fancy strategies that he decided he was going to drive to the east side of Los Angeles, walk right up to that weird wall on Sunset Boulevard where everyone gets to write whatever they are feeling that day and spray FUCK YOU in big red letters."
That insightful comment was written by none other than Autumn de Wilde.
"Maybe, just maybe," she added, "when I took that photograph of Elliott Smith in front of that wall I was kind of inspired by Pink Floyd's The Wall, Sid Barrett's The Mad Cap Laughs, the Beatles' The White Album and that amazing photo of Nick Drake standing in front of a wall, looking to one side as a girl runs by. Maybe Elliott and I were trying to sell his record, and pay homage to other artists. Maybe it was one of those really special times where I wasn't participating in a corporate strategy myself. It was a stereo repair shop called Sound Solutions. I had been staring at it since I was a kid. I loved it, it was kind of ugly, kind of beautiful and when I showed it to Elliott he loved it too. I was paying homage to a side of Los Angeles that I felt was often overlooked at that time. Random, strange and beautiful murals, street art."