Vic Chesnutt – R.I.P.


Probabilmente il tentativo di un suicidio alla vigilia di Natale. Le prime informazioni le scrive su Twitter la sua grande amica Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses): “No calls in the night-well, only to talk about how much we love vic-and no news is good news…if we lose him i’ll have lost my equilibrium. Yeah, i can tell you what i know, but no one knows much: another suicide attempt, looks bad, coma–if he survives, there may be brain damage. This time, it’s real scary: *this* time, he left a note, *this* time, he asked them to call me”. La caduta nel coma (“Vic took an overdose of muscle relaxants”). Quindi la notizia della morte che si rincorre col fiato sospeso tra voci, smentite e (quasi) conferme. La giornata di Natale passata con gli occhi lucidi e la sua musica in sottofondo. Quindi nel tardo pomeriggio le dichiarazioni dell’amico-regista Jem Cohen (“Vic Chesnutt is not dead. I am with him at the hospital in Georgia, and while he is in serious coma, we do not know what the outcome will be. Vic has survived serious comas in the past. Please do not report misinformation. You owe that to his family and friends, as well as to journalistic ethics. Thank you. Jem Cohen”) che si sommano alle nuove che arrivano dalla Hersh via Twitter e leggibili anche sul suo sito ufficiale (“you people are so full of love-thank you for sending it vic and tina’s way-the situation is complex and sad, but there’s still a little hope. The biggest mistake anybody could make about Vic is to assume he’s weak…he’s the strongest person i know”.

Poi l’arrivo della notizia che non vorresti mai. Vic Chesnutt è morto. Alle 14:59 del giorno di Natale. Dalla Constellation (la sua etichetta): “Surrounded by family and friends, Vic Chesnutt died in Athens Georgia this afternoon, Friday 25 December at 14:59. In the few short years that we knew him personally, Vic transformed our sense of what true character, grace and determination are all about. Our grief is inexpressible and Vic’s absence unfathomable. We will make more information available according to the wishes of Vic’s family and friends. Don and Ian”.

Il New York Times: “Vic Chesnutt, a singer-songwriter whose music dealt with mortality and black humor, died on Friday in a hospital in Athens, Ga., a spokesman for his family said. He was 45 and lived in Athens. He had been in a coma after taking an overdose of muscle relaxants earlier this week, said the family spokesman, Jem Cohen. In a two-decade career, Mr. Chesnutt sang darkly comic and often disarmingly candid songs about death, vulnerability, and life’s simple joys. A car accident when he was 18 left him a quadriplegic, but he has said that the accident focused him as a musician and a poet”.

“I flew around a little room once.” A line from Supernatural. He was just that. He possessed an unearthly energy and  yet was humanistic with the common man in mind. He was entirely present and entirely somewhere else. A mystical somewhere else. A child and an old guy as he called himself. Before he made an album he said he was a bum. Now he is in flight bumming round beyond the little room. With his angel voice”. Patti Smith dec 25 2009

“In 1991 i moved to athens georgia in search of god, but what I discovered instead was vic chesnutt. hearing his music completely transformed the way i thought about writing songs, and i will forever be in his debt.” Jeff Mangum, neutral milk hotel

“Vic was our Keats, our Nina Simone. There will never be another like him”. Guy Picciotto, guitarist, Fugazi/ the Vic Chesnutt Band

“Years ago upon discovery, West of Rome consoled me when I was going under. A life saver with the straight story. I followed since then from a distance. Vic was a unique being, mind, voice. No one spoke or made music like that, with that particular timbre, vocabulary and perception. Fierce and direct or levitated, whimsical and ornamental, he always cut to the bone. And past that, to the soul. Its a shame. A national tragedy, when you look at the issues being faced”. Mark McElhattan / Film curator, New York Film Festival

“We have lost one of our great ones.” Michael Stipe

Vic Chesnutt @ Torino-Spazio 211 (19 Marzo 2009)

Vic Chesnutt @ Roma-Circolo degli Artisti (22 Marzo 2009)


  1. E’ ancora in coma in realtà, incrociamo le dita (anche se potrebbe uscirne ancora peggio di prima, quindi non saprei cosa sia peggio).
    “Buon Natale”

  2. C’è ancora grande confusione. Colpa delle scarse notizie provenienti dal suo “entourage”, colpa del Natale di mezzo… la storia rimane triste comunque. Decesso o coma che sia. Un suicidio la notte di natale è solo da SENZA PAROLE.

  3. dopo questa notizia resto con il bel ricordo del concerto di spazio211, ben recensito dal mio concittadino Simone!

    arrivederci Vic!


    Well the first time i ever laid eyes on you
    Was my first year at marching band camp
    You never played the part as it was written
    You would always vamp

    You was always cracking me up
    Messing with the band director
    Mocking the tuba parts
    In your upper register

    If i knew then what i know now

    You shouldn’t’ve even been talking to me
    Just a lowly freshman
    And you the undisputed queen of the senior class
    Without question

    Yet at the band hangout ruth’s restaurant
    We sat together in a corner booth
    We got our burgers for free
    Because you was kin to ruth

    If i knew then what i know now

    You always had a little something
    Hidden in your instrument case
    We would be practically making out
    On the bus home from the way games

    Once you soaked a tampon in some serious vodka
    Wore it to school
    Second period science lab
    You fell right off your stool

    If i knew then what i know now

    I didn’t go to your graduation
    I just couldn’t find the strength
    And i had to throw my yearbook in the dumpster
    Because it was haunting me

    The very next time i ever laid eyes on you
    It was practically christmas
    You already looked like a whole different person
    Just like much older sister

    If i knew then what i know now

  5. Vic era fuoco vivo (chiunque fosse nelle prime file al Circolo non potrà non ricordarlo per sempre, nonostante il repertorio per metà “minore” e “leggero”), che scaldava l’anima di chi aveva la fortuna di fruire della sua arte ma evidentemente consumava l’artista, oltre ai crescenti problemi pratico-economici (…) e alla sofferenza psichica. Era nel pieno della sua creatività, un vortice ultimamamente, e per questo la perdita – che è ENORME, perchè già gli autori di “canzoni” vanno scarseggiando, in questi tempi di tanta forma e poca sostanza, ma di questo livello e di tale apertura mentale negli arrangiamenti e nelle collaborazioni se ne contano veramente sulle dita di una mano – fa doppiamente male.
    Artisti “in fiamme” così sono rari, ma non per questo ce ne accorgiamo: io stesso (che critico il volgo ma sono superficiale quanto e più di chiunque altro, ovvio) non me lo sono filato colpevolmente per anni, l’ho scoperto per bene solo con “North Star Deserter” ed era diventato uno dei pochi di cui attendevo con ansia le uscite discografiche e i tour. Ma non ce ne saranno più. Peccato.
    Spero che Vic abbia ora trovato finalmente la serenità che la vita e le circostanze gli avevano negato. Noi da oggi, senza quel fuoco, sentiremo per sempre un po’ più freddo.

    P.S.: per chi non l’aveva visto dal vivo e pensa che sto esagerando, questo splendido video di un mese fa (di cui spero pubblichino l’esibizione intera) rende piuttosto bene l’idea:


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