Don't mess with memorials, especially ones dedicated to musicians tragically gone far too soon.
Last spring, former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters incited a minor riot (ok, in the comments section of this blog post, but still) when the viral street campaign for his The Wall Live tour defaced the humble, rootsy “Elliott Smith Memorial Wall” on Sunset next to the Malo restaurant. That's the site where the cover for the singer's last album completed before his death, Figure 8, was shot.
The campaign commissioned street artists in L.A. and NYC to plaster a pacifist quote by Dwight Eisenhower in some of the cities' “coolest” neighborhoods. Waters apologized and removed the error that got him excoriated, but last week, the tribute wall got entirely freshened-up.
Music/art collective and group bike ride organizers FMLY took to the wall in honor of Smith's birthday on August 6, giving it a face lift. We know the wall wasn't just defaced by Waters–taggers have hit it repeatedly, and messages often had nothing to do with Smith at all–and now it's ready for all-new memories and declarations of love. But how long till Smith gets a tribute that doesn't have to be repainted every few years? Or is it better, realer, grittier this way–like Smith would've probably preferred it?
The wall in 2006, before its 2008 cleanup:
The wall as of last week: