Singer-Songwriter David Berman Dies At 52
Indie singer-songwriter David Berman has died by suicide just days before he was scheduled to go on tour with his new project Purple Mountains. He was 52.
“We couldn't be more sorry to tell you this. David Berman passed away earlier today,” read a tweet from his record label Drag City. “A great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we've ever known is gone. Rest easy, David.”
Berman formed Silver Jews in 1989 and released six studio albums before calling it quits in January 2009.
“I always said we would stop before we got bad,” he wrote in a message to fans at the time. “If I continue to record I might accidentally write the answer song to ‘Shiny Happy People.’”
He returned to music this year with Purple Mountains. The self-titled debut album, released last month, includes tracks with titles like “That’s Just the Way That I Feel,” “Darkness and Cold” and “All My Happiness Is Gone.”
Friend and former bandmate Bob Nastanovich said in a statement that Berman battled mental illness for nearly all of his life.
“He had professional help and the unyielding support of hundreds of good friends. He had many loving and devoted fans,” he said. “Please try to cherish your memories of him and his words and music … I know I will and I’m grateful that the list of good memories and stories is long.”
Ex-bandmate Stephen Malkmus tweeted: “His death is f**king dark ..depression is crippling.. he was a one of a kinder the songs he wrote were his main passion esp at the end. Hope death equals peace cuz he could sure use it.”
Berman spent a lot of time in Vancouver, where he recorded an album with Canadian band Black Mountain that was never released and recorded demos last year with Dan Bejar of Destroyer.
Purple Mountains was set to play Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Aug. 27 and Montreal’s La Sala Rossa on Aug. 28.
"A definite wordsmith for the ages," reads a message from Canada's Broken Social Scene on Instagram. "Had the privilege of playing for him in Nashville a long time ago as he heckled us from the audience and to this day it’s still an honour.
"Love this mans (sic) words and love this man (sic) songs. A sad day."
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