American rockers THE Flaming Lips are struggling to come to terms with the death of close pal Elliott Smith last week (22OCT03).

The TURN IT ON band had known the introspective singer-songwriter - who died of a single knife wound to the chest - for many years, and drummer STEPHEN DRODZ had recently been in the studio with the MISS MISERY star.

He says, "When I first heard, I was devastated and crying. It was just that initial reaction; you're never prepared for that.

"I just really feel like if he could have got it together and been happy on some level, the potential for really great music was there.

"The first time I met him was in 1996. I was touring with THOSE BASTARD SOULS. We were opening up for Sebadoh and Elliott was on first. It was before he had any real notoriety or fame, we hit it off, but he was always in his own world.

"When we toured in 2000, I got to know him really well, I knew he was always struggling just to get through the day. For me, my fondest and most disturbing memory of him was when we did ecstasy together one night and we were listening to ELTON JOHN's Greatest Hits. That song GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD came on and he started bawling his eyes out.

"We did some recording together and we hung out a lot. I think Elliott had a thing about him. That obvious sadness and depression, it wasn't fake at all, and people will miss that a lot."

28/10/2003 17:28