The Silly Pillows
In addition to Silly Pillow releases Jonathan would also release solo ventures like “Iggits And Earls”
The Silly Pillows also released 7”, LPs and CDs on other labels, notably the Little Teddy label from Germany. Above, you see a 7” release and below, one of their LPs on Little Teddy from 1991.
The Silly Pillows were ( and are) the duo of Jonathan and Hilary Caws-Elwitt. From 1993-2000 Hilary dropped out of the group and other members were enlisted including:
Sam Elwitt (guitar, bass, drums, vocals); Michael E. Fiato (bass, vocals); Dave Joachim (drums, vocals); Charlie Zayleskie (keyboards, vocals); Belinda Miller (vocals); Cheryl DeLuke(vocals); Linda Smith (vocals); Chris Ear Zajkowski (drums, vocals); Shauna Guidici (vocals).
In about 1990 Jonathan and Hilary made a trip to California and Jack Jordan introduced me personally to them and they appeared on my “No Pigeonholes” radio show. Delightful, witty and good natured I truly enjoyed meeting them both.
To me, The Silly Pillows have a wonderful niche in my musical universe. They are charming, have a lo fi tidiness, musically adept, are earnest and just plain joyful. Read what others have to say about them.
It was my distinct pleasure – and, really, duty – to introduce Don to the unique yet timeless sound of The Silly Pillows – Jonathan & Hillary Caws-Elwitt – in mid-1988. I had recently experienced their magic through receipt of one of their cassettes for review from OPtion magazine, and as a result was on an immediate mission to “spread the word” about this duo and their very special sound.
Yes, a special sound – original songs with impossibly beautiful yet delicate melodies; intelligent and insightful lyrics often dealing with the very personal yet important little things that comprise the daily lives of us all; calmly expressionistic vocal deliveries with their inimitable ethereal harmonies; and perfectly complementary accompaniment by understated guitar, keyboards, and percussion – and whatever else would be occasionally thrown into the mix.
An ambrosial brew. It’s been described elsewhere as “super-neato psych-pop” and I wholeheartedly agree – but would add that the synthesis of their lyrics and melodies, and the note-perfect execution of both, achieved with an unaffected natural ease and casualness, add a depth that make their songs wholly their own – attempts to duplicate by others would not hit the mark. Even their songs about “silly” things come across at a higher elevation, imbued with a sophistication that separated the Sillies from the rest of the pack.
My wife and I were honored with a short visit from Jonathan and Hillary sometime around 1990, while they were visiting California, and I can attest they were as open and unaffected as their music would suggest. Truly “good people.” They didn’t seem like strangers at all.
Thank you, Sillies, for your role in defining the zenith of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s home-taper “scene.” Your subsequent international successes have been well-earned.
As someone who likes to work in the gray area between pop and rock, I was often hesitant to go in a more pop direction, because most musicians in the cassette culture were rock or experimental. It was quite refreshing and inspirational to come across the Silly Pillows, because they were so blatantly and unapologetically pop. I felt free to use major chords and happy rhythms, without any sense of irony.