Quotes About Jeff
"[talking about artists who defined their time, or represented a turning point]
Some records that have sold ten million copies will be sort of a blip on the radar screen. Others may be a blip now, like
Ben Harper, but we don't know yet. Or Jeff Buckley: Even though he died and had such a young life, he might be no different
from some of the poets who came and went and we'd go 'Wow, this is a real jumping-off point.'"
MATTHEW BELLAMY (Muse)
"[commenting on comparisons to Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Jeff Buckley] That's partly because we've got the same producer [John Leckie - Radiohead]. There's elements in the way we've gone about making this record that are similar to how [Radiohead] made The Bends. I think the other similarity is that Thom Yorke is the singer and I know for a fact that he's influenced by Jeff Buckley, and that's similar to me. He's one of my main vocal influences, more so than Thom Yorke is."
(taken from All Star Daily News)
"Jeff Buckley was a pure drop in an ocean of noise."
(taken from the August 1997 issue of MOJO)
"[talking about Grace] Apart from being my favourite word or name in the English
language Grace overpowers karma. Grace does not make sense. It rewards where
rewards are not justified. It covers where no cover is expected. It is the
highest human state. Jeff Buckley´s voice reminds me of the first line of the old
Salvation Armee hymn "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound". Grace as a signature.
Grace personified in one man´s vibrato - a delicate tremulous voice which
rightfully betrays its middle eastern tutelage.
Jeff was trained in Sufi singing. His ululating voice reminds me how few singers
there are in Rock and Roll."
(taken from the December 1999 issue of Propaganda)
"I hope that people who liked him resist the temptation to turn his life and death into some dumb romantic fantasy--he was so much better than that. Not everyone can get up and sing something they take a liking to and make it their own, sing true to their heart and be curious about all different strains of music. Corpus Christi Carol was a completely conceived interpretation. I'd never heard the piece before and when I heard the original I realised what Jeff had done was even more amazing. He'd taken it into his own world. That's something my favorite classical musicians can do, be themselves but use all that expertise to make the music more beautiful. Jeff did that naturally. Only a handful of people are capable of that. I was amazed when he did meltdown. I asked him what he wanted to sing and he said he'd like to do one of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder in the original German! Absolutely fucking fearless. He was convinced he could sing it without rehearsal, just because he liked it. In the end he did a Purcell song, Dido's Lament, which is in danger of sounding incredibly poignant in retrospect: 'Remember me but forget my fate'. But he also sand Boy With the Thorn In His Side because he liked it, and Grace to show something of himself. When he started singing Dido's Lament at the rehearsal, there were all these classical musicians who could not believe it. Here's a guy shuffling up on-stage and singing a piece of music normally thought to be the property of certain types of specifically developed voice, and he's just singing, not doing it like a party piece, but doing something with it. My last memory of him was at the little party in the green room afterwards. There were all these people sitting round Jeff who'd never met before - Fretwork, the viol group, a classical pianist and some jazz player --all talking and laughing about music. He'd charmed everybody. I'd much rather remember that than anything."
BERNARD BUTLER (Suede)
"I got dragged down to the Garage without knowing anything about him and I was totally blown away. It was amazing for a London show, silent in the quiet bits and everyone open-mouthed.
Yes, he had a fantastic voice and he was very sexy, but he was a fantastic guitar player as well, which no-one ever mentions. He used a lot of open tuning and jazz and blues, things people still don't bother exploring. He wasn't concerned about 4/4 rock/pop geared at the charts. After an hour and a half I was totally in love with him.
[The encore] Kanga-Roo went on for ever and I thought it was great; I was willing him on, hoping that it would go on all night. It inspired me because he was brave. He wasn't doing what he was supposed to do. It was just after I'd left Suede and he encapsulated a lot of things that I'd been longing for, achieving a kind of spirituality in music without it being frowned upon. He stripped away a lot of myths for me about what you should be.
When he played at the Rough Trade Shop in Covent Garden, I made sure I got in. I stood on the stairs, six feet away from him at eye-level. He did Boy With The Thorn In His Side and he smiled all the way through. Afterwards we talked about the Smiths and the Pretenders. I've met so many tossers in music, the most talented person I've ever met but also the nicest.
He was the one person I was looking forward to hearing new music from. My wife and I talk about music a lot, and we've always said to ourselves, whenever we felt cynical about music, at least Jeff Buckley will always be making great records.
I used to play Last Goodbye every day for about a year, plug in the guitar and play along at top volume. No-one else has come along who made me feel that natural and unafraid of being myself. . . He made me smile."
(taken from the August 1997 issue of MOJO)
CHRIS CORNELL (Soundgarden)
"Jeff was somebody who would have been one of those people that influenced other singers. He was an amazing singer. I
had an idea of what his music meant to people, because he did this amazing thing in such a short period of time. He's going
to be the most important artist to so many people throughout their lives."
"We were really good friends, and as an individual he was different from any other friend I've had. I was looking
forward to a long friendship with him. As an artist he was one of the few people, that really inspired me. I was counting on
him, to be one of the persons, who would pressure me to move my limits, in many years to come. It's very important to have
this kind of challenge, someone who inspires you to grow with the challenge. That push, to get you to do new things, is very
healthy, and Jeff was one of those people, who inspired you to expand your way of thinking, about yourself and music."
"He could have literally been doing anything, musically, that he wanted to do. And I would think of it like I would think of it like Jimi Hendrix, where there's no real way to predict it, because he could have done anything. He had a way of playing the most beautiful songs you've ever heard and singing them, and still with the way that he sang, create a bit of an uncomfortable edge to it if he felt like it. And he did that mostly with his voice."
"I hope that people who liked him resist the temptation to turn his life and death into some dumb romantic fantasy--he was so much better than that. Not everyone can get up and sing something they take a liking to and make it their own, sing true to their heart and be curious about all different strains of music. Corpus Christi Carol was a completely conceived interpretation. I'd never heard the piece before and when I heard the original I realized what Jeff had done was even more amazing. He'd taken it into his own world. That's something my favorite classical musicians can do, be themselves but use all that expertise to make the music more beautiful. Jeff did that naturally. Only a handful of people are capable of that.
I was amazed when he did Meltdown. I asked him what he wanted to sing and he said he'd like to do one of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder in the original German! Absolutely fucking fearless. He was convinced he could sing it without rehearsal, just because he liked it. In the end he did a Purcell song, Dido's Lament, which is in danger of sounding incredibly poignant in retrospect: 'Remember me but forget my fate'. But he also sang Boy With the Thorn In His Side because he liked it, and Grace to show something of himself.
When he started singing Dido's Lament at the rehearsal, there were all these classical musicians who could not
believe it. Here's a guy shuffling up on-stage and singing a piece of music normally thought to be the property of certain
types of specifically developed voice, and he's just singing, not doing it like a party piece, but doing something with it.
(taken from the August 1997 issue of MOJO)
(note: Elvis Costello was the director of the 1995 edition of Meltdown Festival)
BEN FOLDS (Ben Folds Five)
"My singing used to be awful. I don't have Jeff Buckley's voice. I don't write songs as an excuse to hear myself sing.
It's the other way around: I sing so I can hear my songs. It can be kind of scary. You're on the radio next to -- well, on
the shelf next to Jeff Buckley. We're in the B's. People can flip through and pick up his record instead and hear a lot
better singer. He has that knack. I've had to really work at it. Of course, he probably doesn't play piano as well as me.
I'm not going to get all competitive with the guy because obviously he's not doing so well these days."
Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins/This Mortal Coil)
"He was just really spontaneous and it was just exciting. I was having a hard time in the band I was in and so to meet Jeffrey was just like being given a set of paints. Do you know what I mean? It was just like I had all this color in my life again. I mean he idolized me before he met me. It's kind of creepy and I, I was like that with him. This is embarrassing but it's the truth. I just couldn't help falling in love with him. He was adorable. I read his diaries, he read mine, you know we'd just swap, we'd literally just hand over this very personal stuff and I've never done that with anybody else. I don't know if he has. So in some ways it was very, there was a great deal of intimacy but then there'd be times when I'd just think "oh no, I'm just not penetrating this Jeff Buckley boy at all. I just felt like a groupie or something sometimes. It wasn't like being his partner at all. He just had something you wanted, it didn't matter who you were."(taken from the BBC Documentary "Everybody Here Wants You")
FRAN HEALY (Travis)
"[on sounding like radiohead at times] This has been pointed out to me but it's not where the similarities come from. I heard that Thom Yorke went to see Jeff Buckley at the Garage one night and he came back and recorded Fake plastic trees. Based on seeing Buckley perform he totally changed his vocal style and around the same time exactly the same thing happened to me.
I saw Buckley perform at the Glasgow School of Art - it was amazing, I thought his voice wasn't something of earth, it was fantastic. It was uplifting and I definitely tried to copy him so I didn't get it from Thom. It's just something you feel when you hear someone's voice."
"I knew him as a local guy on the Lower East Side, a great guy to hang with in a bar and talk about music, a very soulful human being. I recall talking about doo-wop and singing along the jukbox at the Lakeside Lounge - Shambalor by Sherriff And The Ravels and Uncle Sam by The Magnificent Four.
I met him through Tom Clark who sang at Sin-é; he came down to sing harmonies on Tom´s demos. He did these incredibly meticulous four-part harmonies, which really impressed me. When Patti Smith was working on Gone Again he came by the studio, because he was quite taken with her, and we thought he´d sound good as the boy on Beneath The Southern Cross. And he played on Fireflies... He was very emotional. I remember at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame when Frank Zappa was inducted, Jeff came up to me overcome with emotion, truly crying at his feelings for Frank.
Grace was a great beginning, staking out all the stylistic territory. i think he was getting ready to make his first real record, working out what he wanted to say without letting that wonderful voice distract people from his internal emotion. I´m sure he wanted to be more than just a pretty face and voice. He had a vast plain to work in and he never really got to work it."
ANDREW MONTGOMERY (Geneva)
" [talking about The Greatest Gig I Ever Saw, he chooses Artist Jeff Buckley, Venue Edinburgh La Belle Angele, Year 1994] It was August 16 1994, I remember it because its my brothers birthday. I saw American Music Club, who were great, but it was followed by Jeff Buckley, and that was just another thing entirely. It was like, who is this guy? I'd heard some of his stuff and read things in Melody Maker. There were maybe 100 or 150 people there and it was the first time he'd played in Scotland. It was astonishing, totally revelatory. I still think Grace is one of the albums of the nineties. He had an amazing presence and did a version of Kangaroo which lasted about 20 minutes. It was not just the way he sang but the intensity and the tone of his voice. We were all completely gobsmacked it was unbelievable. That gig had an influence on me because it was quite early in the life of our band. His voice was amazing that night. The whole band were great, but when you see someone with such talent you wonder where it comes from. It was a beautiful evening as well. It's just so sad what happened to him. He was a great talent and is very sorely missed."
(taken from Melody Maker, December 1999)
JIMMY PAGE (Led Zeppelin)
"The album that I've been listening to for the last 18 months is Grace by Jeff Buckley. He is a great, great singer. He has such an emotional range, doing songs by Benjamin Britten and Leonard Cohen as well as his own - such technique and command."
"When the Page/Plant tour hit Australia, we saw them and we were knocked out. It was very moving. Someone heckled him from the aduience - 'Stop playing that heavy stuff!' - but he made the perefect reply: 'Music should be like making love - sometimes you want it soft and tender, other times you want it hard and aggressive'. I felt he paid us a great compliment with his music in that style.""(taken from the January 1997 issue of MOJO)
"Technically he was the best singer that appeared, that had appeared, probably, I'm not being too liberal about this if I say in two decades. I started to play Grace constantly, constantly and the more, the more I listened to the album, the more, the more I heard -- the more I appreciated of Jeff and Jeff's talents and Jeff's total ability to which he was just a wizard and it was close to being my favorite album of the decade. We actually made a point of going to hear him play and seeing and it was absolutely scary. One of the things is a little frightening was that I was convinced that he probably did things in tunings and he didn't. He was doing things in standard tuning. I thought, oh gee he really is clever isn't he ? He quite clearly had his feet on the ground and he said his imagination was flying, flying way, way out there, beyond, beyond. Jeff Buckley was one of the greatest losses of all."
"[Talking about the song he dedicated to Jeff] He was the best male singer that I've ever heard. He didn't sell as many records as a lot of people, and he wasn't the most popular artist-though he should have been. But I felt I had to make some sort of statement to him to say 'Thank you for giving us this great, incredible music'."(taken from the 9/24/99 issue of Entertainment Weekly)
EDDIE VEDDER (Pearl Jam)
"[talking about Jeff, after having listened to What Will You Say] Man i had this guy with me once...and we were sittin' down and talkin' and jammin'...he played a version of Indifference for me...man i tell ya... I'll never forget the way he did it... I was just fucken speechless... one of the most memorable moments of my life... I just wish I had seen him more."
(from Monkeywrench Radio, a radio show with Eddie and Chris Cornell)
SEBASTIAN BACH (Skid Row)
Dr. Drew: What will you remember most about the '90's?>
Q:What are you listening to on your Walkman?
"I'm here because I adore his spirit, and I adore him and the place from which he creates."
"You ever heard of a guy named Jeff Buckley? He's one of the best singers I've ever heard."(taken from Skid Row's Forever Wild DVD)
We were in the studio working on a song called 'Undertow' when we heard the news of Jeff Buckley's drowning. I had played a couple of benefits with Jeff, talked with him a few times on the street or as he mingled with the crowd after one of his shows. He was always complementary and nice to me. There was a period when I couldn't get through the day without hearing him sing 'Hallelujah' 3 or 4 times. He had a one in a billion voice and an emotionally piercing guitar style and.....I know, everyone is saying this, but it hurts so much to lose an artist who was capable of so much before he'd had a chance to do his best work. I guess I should be thankful for what there is: the album "Grace", his first EP, the bootleg live cassettes floating around, and whatever SONY will inevitably scrape together for release. It's a fucking shame
The last few records that I bought that I really enjoyed... Jeff Buckley. It wailed me. I was, like, walking around in tears, just so grateful that I discovered this record.
FRED SCHNEIDER (The B-52s)
"I think he had one of the best voices I've ever heard."
JOHNNY LANG (Blues Guitarist)
His voice is an incredible instrument, angelic and powerful and mean at the same time. Tortured. He has been a huge inspiration and influence to me over the last two years. This tune is just unreal.