×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

David Berman, Singer-Songwriter With Indie Band Silver Jews, Dies at 52

David Berman, a singer-songwriter who formed the 1990s indie group Silver Jews as well as creating poetry and cartoons, died Wednesddy in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 52.

His death has been ruled a suicide.

Berman was due to start a tour with his new project Purple Mountains on Saturday in New York. The tour had set dates across the country, concluding in Los Angeles on Sept. 23. After Berman had taken a break from music for several years, Purple Mountains had released an album on July 12, which features songs including “All My Happiness Is Gone” and “Maybe I’m the Only One for Me.”

Drag City called him “a great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we’ve ever known.”

Berman had dealt with drug addiction for years and had survived several overdoses and at least one suicide attempt.

The Silver Jews, whose songs incorporated elements of noise and country music, rarely performed live but recorded six studio albums between 1994 and 2008, including “Starlite Walker” and “Tanglewood Numbers.” They did tour in 2006, however, following the release of “Tanglewood Numbers.”

He talked to Pitchfork about his stance on performing in 2005, “I believe that intermittent live performance has cut short the writing lives of touring musicians. If you are making an argument with history you don’t waste your energy and brain cells on sales, publicity, relentless travel, and other adjoining tasks. The less my body moves, the more energy my brain has to write.”

Berman started making music while living in Hoboken, N.J., with college friends Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich. Malkmus went on to form the indie rock group Pavement, but continued playing with Silver Jews, which had a number of different musicians over the years.

The group disbanded after playing a final show on Jan. 31, 2009, in the 333-foot deep Cumberland Caverns in Tennessee. Berman wrote two books of poetry, “Actual Air,” and “The Portable February.”

Berman had written in a post on the Drag City Records message board about his anger with his father, tobacco lobbyist, Richard Berman, from whom he was estranged.

If you are in distress, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a certified crisis center near you.

More Music

  • Warner Chappell Names Shani Gonzales Head of

    Warner Chappell Names Shani Gonzales Head of International, Executive VP of A&R

    Warner Chappell Music today announced the appointment of Shani Gonzales as Head of International, Executive Vice President of U.S., A&R. Based in New York, she will report to the company’s co-chair & CEO Guy Moot. Gonzales was most recently co-head of A&R at BMG U.S. and U.K., following stints at Epic Records and Def Jam. She [...]

  • KeshaSaks x Stonewall Inn collection launch

    Kesha Releases Trailer for ‘Debaucherous Joy’-Filled New Album ‘High Road’

    Kesha is more glittery than ever in the trailer for her new studio album, “High Road.” The eclectic clip, released Monday, heralds the coming of Kesha’s first album since 2017’s “Rainbow.” Amidst vintage clips of the American landscape and snippets of new songs, Kesha explains what to expect during a sit-down interview. “I’ve seen the [...]

  • Brandi Carlile at the 61st Annual

    Brandi Carlile Pulls Out of Fortune Women's Summit Over Kirstjen Nielsen Appearance

    Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has pulled out of the Fortune Most Powerful Woman Summit that begins today in Washington, D.C. She follows Hillary Clinton and “Surviving R. Kelly” executive producer Dream Hampton in exiting the summit over the inclusion of Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump’s former homeland security secretary, who shared responsibility for implementing his family separation [...]

  • Sony/ATV Names Dana Baxter Senior VP

    Sony/ATV Music Publishing Names Dana Baxter Senior VP of Corporate Communications

    Sony/ATV Music Publishing today announced the appointment of Dana Baxter as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, effective November 1.  According to the announcement, in this role, she will lead all global communications strategies to further advance Sony/ATV’s evolution and mission of putting songwriters first.  She will report to Jon Platt, Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV and will [...]

  • Young Dolph

    How Rappers Young Dolph and Key Glock Turned Street Smarts Into Business Savvy

    Young Dolph and Key Glock are taking their “Dum and Dummer” act on the road, announcing their highly anticipated No Rules Tour, which kicks off Feb. 5, 2020 at Seattle’s ShowBox and hits a total of 33 dates. The rappers are booked by APA. Anyone who’s followed Dolph’s trajectory knows he’s all about getting his [...]

  • Coldplay

    Coldplay to Drop Double Album, ‘Everyday Life,’ Next Month

    After a teaser campaign that took place over the past few days, Coldplay confirmed in social media posts this morning that they will release a new double album called “Everyday Life” on Nov. 22. LOVE this type of real, old-fashioned post! Thanks @coldplay, new album due out 22 November! 🎉👏💕 #EverydayLife #Music pic.twitter.com/JDZeJQQzNM — Dan [...]

  • JOHNNY CASH, with BOB DYLAN, c.

    Bob Dylan Releases Archival ‘Wanted Man’ Video, Featuring Johnny Cash (Watch)

    “Travelin’ Thru, 1967- 1969,” an album collecting Bob Dylan’s country-leaning recordings from the era, many of which feature Johnny Cash, is out on Nov. 1, and the album was previewed today with the release of a song from it, a rough version of “Wanted Man.” The pair are obviously still working on the song — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content