R.I.P. David Berman of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains
In a tweet, Drag City wrote, "We couldn't be more sorry to tell you this. David Berman passed away earlier today. A great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we've ever known is gone. Rest easy, David."
Born in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1967, Berman met future Pavement members Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich in the 1980s at the University of Virginia. The trio recorded as Silver Jews, which turned into Berman's songwriting vehicle once Malkmus and Nastanovich left to focus on Pavement.
As Silver Jews, Berman released six albums on Drag City between 1994 and 2008 with a rotating series of collaborators, including Malkmus and Nastanovich. In 2009, Berman ended Silver Jews and retired from music.
In late 2018, Nastanovich revealed that Berman was mounting a return to music under the name Purple Mountains. Purple Mountains released a self-titled album on Drag City on July 12, 2019. Purple Mountains was set to embark on a North American tour beginning in Pine Plains, NY this Saturday (August 10), with Canadian stops in Toronto and Montreal at the end of the month.
You can find Drag City's post below, followed by select tributes. Read our recent interview with Berman.
We couldn't be more sorry to tell you this. David Berman passed away earlier today. A great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we've ever known is gone. Rest easy, David. pic.twitter.com/5n5bctcu4j— 𝕯𝖗𝖆𝖌 𝕮𝖎𝖙𝖞 (@dragcityrecords) August 7, 2019
I could sit here all day and quote memorable David Berman couplets and never grow tired. He had no competition. He was the competition.— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) August 7, 2019
Jesus Christ David Berman you fucking legend my heart is sinking— Japanese Breakfast (@Jbrekkie) August 7, 2019
700 hundred taken today in ICE raids, mass shootings every other day, an endlessly poisonous + cruel political climate and the death of David Berman. Something awful and dispiriting for everyone.— Carl Newman (@ACNewman) August 7, 2019
Hurts that David Berman was suffering so much. He brought me and I'm sure all of you so much joy. Twisted eccentricities of the suburbs were psychedelic cartoons in his lyrics. Sad day. It's raining in NYC.— Ryley walker (@ryleywalker) August 8, 2019
if i were asked to name a poetry book with a perfect opening, david berman's 'actual air' would be the first one that comes to mind. i'm always thinking about this poem pic.twitter.com/MS0nOxbU2X— speedy ortiz haunted presence? (@sad13) August 7, 2019
I didn't know about my friend DCB when I wrote this must have been in the air .His death is fucking 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— Stephen malkmus (@dronecoma) August 8, 2019
Very very sad to hear David Berman has passed away. A massive talent and a huge influence on us. RIP— Aaron Dessner (@aaron_dessner) August 7, 2019
Crushed. So much beauty. RIP DB. This one:— Craig Finn (@steadycraig) August 8, 2019
Well the water looks like jewelry
When it's coming out the spout
And nothing could make me feel better
Than a wet kiss on the mouth
Fake ID's and honey bees
The jagged skyline of car keys
I never knew a bird could fly so low
rest in peace to the great David Berman 😞— el-p (@therealelp) August 8, 2019