The Tim Buckley Archives


About the Archives

Suzanne Bodoin

Suzanne Bodoin - the compiler and curator of much of of the Tim Buckley Archives - was interviewed by Room 109 founder Jack Brolly in September 1999

As many of you already know, Suzanne Bodoin is the person most responsible for the comprehensive web site entitled "The Tim Buckley Archives". She was kind enough to indulge my curiosity - and I'm sure the curiosity of many others - by granting me a short interview via email exchanges - Jack Brolly

I thank you Suzanne for allowing me the opportunity to ask you these questions. I hope I come up with one or two that you've never been asked before? So if you don't mind, I'd like to start at the beginning.

Where were you born and where did you grow up as a teenager?

I was born in Boston, Massachussetts and grew up in Sudbury, Massachussetts.

You don't have to answer this one, but when were you born?

January 5, 1973.

How long have you been using a pc?

I have had my own pc(s) since 1994; before that I would use the ones at school.

Of course, you have to be aware that just about everyone loves the Tim Buckley Archives. Did you compile all that information yourself?

I input about 90% of the articles and lyrics, 60% of the photos, and just about everything else but the tabs and the front page title - which was kindly created for me by Taylor Buckley’s wife Susanna.

Whatever possessed you to take on such an in-depth project to begin with? I'm guessing here, but did the Archives evolve from some kind of a college assignment?

I could write a book about this! The page originally evolved from Carol Mariconda’s (the original list manager of the Jeff Buckley mailing list, who unfortunately had some personal problems in late 1995) Tim Buckley page, although I contributed most of the material being an insomniac college student. I credit her with seriously introducing me to Tim and getting me to deeply appreciate his music.

When she gave up the list and I took over, she also gave up the page although it was passed on to Johnny Walker Black - or whatever he goes by. You might recognize his name as he is a frequent contributor to online music magazines - especially Addicted to Noise. However, he was completing his PhD at the Univesity of Toronto so after about six6 months he gave it to me, and I’ve had it ever since.

How long did it take to gather all that information and transcribe all those articles? I'm assuming that you didn't use a document scanner at that time.

Forever! Literally years, and that was when I was being really ambitious and had a lot of time to spend on the page. I worked intensively on the page from summer/fall 1995 to spring 1997, since then it’s been only bits and pieces - particularly because I’ve pretty much run out of material.

I started typing things up and posting them to the Tim mailing list because I’m a documentation nut and I believe that you can find out an awful lot about a person through their interviews and other kinds of articles - this used to be cause for great debate on the Tim list. Then Carol would put them up on the page. In 1997, I tried scanning some stuff from the scrapbooks but it came out really terrible and I just found it easier to type it all in.

When did you start your research and when was the web site finally ready?

I can remember going to the Boston Public Library on weekends and hunting through the microfiche and old back issues for articles. My memory is really hazy about exactly when Carol started the page – I joined the JB mailing list in Jan/Feb 1995 and the Tim page & list must have been started sometime in spring/summer and that’s when I got involved. Then I hit a goldmine with the scrapbooks which Paul Rhodes so wonderfully told me about. Without those, my life would’ve been much more difficult.
" I wanted to give an as in-depth view of Tim as I could – make him more 3D as a person and an artist. I named it 'Archives' because I thought that would be a good description of the page, and it’s why it isn’t a very chatty or interactive page..."
When did you first become aware of Tim Buckley's music?

In 1995, so I’m a latecomer. I have to admit, I was a Jeff fan first because I found out about him first and then was told about Tim. I was completely mindboggled when I first heard Tim because I couldn’t believe both he and Jeff were that good. How many other father & sons have there been that have been so incredibly talented in their own way?!

Has the effort that you put into the Archives been rewarded at all?

Monetarily, not much, although I figured out how to do Cosmic Credit at CDNow and I think I’ve made about $50 in credit in the past year or so. I think it’s actually costing me money because I have to pay for the Yale server each year.

I used to get incredible emails though from people who knew him or liked him and were able to find out more about him through my page. The Buckley’s have also expressed their appreciation, and even more importantly, have given me permission for the page.

A major reward that would mean much more to me than money would be to finally get a copy of the Tim Tribute Concert. I've been trying to get a copy of it for many years but every time I've made a deal with someone, it's always fallen through. It used to be known as the Holy Grail although it doesn't seem to be as hard to find as before.

Do you get a special kind of satisfaction out of knowing that you have provided so many fans with information that would otherwise be unattainable?

Absolutely. That’s why I started to contribute to it in the first place. It has always irked me whenever I go to a web page for an actor or musician or artist and there are nice pictures and maybe lyrics or a short bio but no articles or interviews to give you an idea of what the person thinks about things or what they are like. So for this page, I wanted to give an as in-depth view of Tim as I could – make him more 3D as a person and an artist. I named it Archives because I thought that would be a good description of the page and it’s why it isn’t a very chatty or interactive page.

© US State Department
After graduating from Yale University, Suzanne joined the US State Department and now works as a Foreign Service Officer in Russia. She is shown here at a lecture on American visa issues in Samara.
Does it bug you when you read something that you know was pinched from your site and the author doesn't give you credit?

I don’t mind the photos or lyrics as much as the really long articles that took me hours to type in!

Does that happen often?
Since there aren’t that many sites about Tim, it doesn’t happen too often.

Any particular instance that irked you the most?

I think there is or was a page or two out there that has ripped me off wholesale – one article isn’t so bad, but a lot of them - without acknowledging the inputte - is just laziness. It was kind of nice that the new Italian CD acknowledged me – I’m pretty sure they used most of my material for the booklet. But then, I think my next project will be to transcribe the entire thing (English & Italian), so we’ll be even.

Could you say how many hits your web site has had since it's inception?

I wish I could say, but I guess I’ll never know. I’ve tried putting a counter up on my site but it just doesn’t work - it’s a really ancient Unix-based site. The CDNow statistics are something like 35/week but that’s just hits through the CDNow links. I used to get about 10-15 emails per week when I had my email address on the page, but I had to discontinue that because I just didn’t have time to answer them all and it was really getting me stressed out.

Did you ever see Tim perform live, and if so, how many times? Remember, I have no idea how old you are.

Alas, I was barely walking when he died. I managed to see Jeff about seven or eight times so at least I didn’t entirely miss out on the Buckley phenomenon.

Which performance was your favorite? If you never saw Tim perform, then what is your favorite recorded concert?

Honeyman has to be my fave or one of the other later ones like the Felt Forum or San Francisco Boarding House. I love Dream Letter and Live at the Troubadour, but the soul/funk-flavored songs just kill me.

How many of Tim's family members, friends, aquaintances, fellow musicians, and lovers have contacted you over the years?

Just about every one except Carter CC Colins and Larry Beckett, who I’ve always wanted to hear from.

Would you mind listing some of the ones you've conversed with?

The Buckleys except Judy, Lee Underwood, John Balkin, Stan Agol, and many other friends and acquaintances.

Which ones impressed you the most?

Lee and John. Lee, because he keeps in touch which is sweet and John because he’s very esoteric and way out there.

How many friends would you say that you have made as a result of email exchanges relating to Tim?

Unfortunately for me, very few. If you haven’t guessed already, my mantra is “I just don’t have time”. I try to keep my online life to a minimum (especially since April when I adopted two kittens who take up a huge chunk of my time), even though I know I’m probably missing out on meeting and getting to know some great people.

Have there ever been times that you regretted starting the Archives?

Unfortunately, yes. It’s kind of like an albatross around my neck (was that a mixed metaphor?). I try to live a really unencumbered life, but the page is something I’m stuck with no matter where I go. And I feel very guilty at times, because people always want more but there’s only so much I can do. At the same time, I don’t think I could ever pass it on to someone else because I’m too paranoid that they’ll take the page down e.g. the Jeff Buckley page, which I contributed a ton of articles and interviews to only to see them vanish without a trace.

You have to excuse me for not doing my homework, but I've read that you've also done some excellent research on Edith Piaf? Could you briefly fill me in on your connection to her and where I can read some of those insights that you've recorded?

Again, you can trace my history to her back to Jeff. I heard him cover her on Live at Sine and I was immediately hooked. I created the page to help people who love Edith but, like me, aren’t too great at French. I tried to find as many lyrics as possible - about 250-300, I lost track - and type them up.

Thank goodness I had help in the form of a generous retired guy name Basil who did about 150 or so songs. It is mainly a lyrics page (hence the name Songs of Edith Piaf) and wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive page like Tim’s - although some people would like it to be, and I have added some pictures and other info for their benefit. Out of the two pages, it’s actually the more well-known one, even though to me it’s the less complete and less important one.

Well...That's about all I have to ask you at this time. I want to thank you so much Suzanne for taking the time to answer my questions. The Tim Buckley Archives is indeed a treasure chest filled with insightful experiences that otherwise would be lost forever. Your contribution is without exaggeration, immeasurable!!

Thanks for giving me the chance to share my background with everyone. I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to do so up to now.

© 1999 Jack Brolly/Room 109

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