News of the sudden death of David Berman, of beloved indie rock band The Silver Jews and, more recently, Purple Mountains, hit the music community hard.
Berman started making music while living in Hoboken, N.J., with college friends Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich. Malkmus went on to form the indie rock group Pavement, but continued playing with Silver Jews, which had a number of different musicians over the years.
While the noted poet and songwriter was notoriously elusive, rarely performed live or gave interviews, Berman’s music — and especially his lyrics — resonated with fans who first discovered him via Silver Jews. The band went on to release six studio albums between 1994 and 2008. After taking a break from music for several years, Berman’s latest project Purple Mountains released an album on July 12.
Chicago label Drag City called him “a great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we’ve ever known.”
Among the admirers, fellow musicians and media personalities to express their grief in the hours after news of Berman’s death broke were J Mascis, Superchunk, Josh Ritter, El-P and Marc Maron. Also honoring Berman was Red Sox organist Josh Kantor, who tweeted that he played the Silver Jews’ “The Wild Kindness” at Boston’s Fenway during the 10th inning. Former bandmate Malkmus wrote, “He was a one of a kinder.”
Read their messages below:
If you are in distress, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a certified crisis center near you.
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