Benjamin Nugent – Elliott Smith and The Ballad of Big Nothing (PRESS, US)

12 October 2004 Da Capo Press 9780306814471
Benjamin Nugent - Elliott Smith and The Ballad of Big Nothing (PRESS, US)
Book on Elliott Smith featuring a few mentions of the Blues Explosion. Issued as a hardback on 12 October 2004 and paperback on 3 October 2005.

The book received some very bad reviews and the Russell Simins/Simmons mistake is addressed in the Wikipedia page for this book:

“Perhaps the most damning review of the book came from LA Weekly’s Alec Hanley Bemis, who himself is ironically thanked in the acknowledgement section of Nugent’s book. He graded Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing as “shallow”, “sloppy”, “a quickie”, reliant on “second-degree friends and third-party accounts” and includes “fact checking that doesn’t extend far beyond Google.” He cited one particular passage wherein Nugent incorrectly wrote that Smith spent an evening partying in New York with hip-hop mogul and Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons, when in fact he was actually hanging out with the drummer from the indie rock band The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Russell Simins. Bemis goes on to say that Nugent “failed to realize the Blues Explosion’s drummer happens to be named Russell Simins, a profoundly inconvenient homonym for a writer hurriedly transcribing interviews and rushing a book into print. The biography is filled with many such errors and approximations.” The Simmons/Simins mistake was not corrected in subsequent editions of the biography.”

“The book received mixed reviews, with Publishers Weekly remarking that while “Nugent manages to patch together the major beats of Smith’s life, he can offer little meaningful insight” and that Smith’s fans “will be disappointed by this short and shallow biography.” PopMatters cited that Nugent “fails on a very basic level to discriminate between his privilege as a fan of Smith’s unforgettable music and his responsibilities as a journalist writing an objective study of Smith’s life” and the book “is murky, indistinct, and woefully incomplete.””


Hardcover: US $23.95 / CAN $33.95 / UK £15.99
ISBN: 9780306813931 / ISBN-10: 0306813939

Paperback: US $15.95 / CAN $17.00 / UK £9.99
ISBN: 9780306814471 / ISBN-10: 0306814471