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Patti Smith’s ‘Career of Evil’ with Blue Öyster Cult
07:57 am


Patti Smith
Blue Öyster Cult

In the 70s and 80s, Blue Öyster Cult had their pick of interesting lyricists. Their friend Richard Meltzer, one of the first rock critics, contributed a number of songs, among them “Harvester of Eyes,” “Stairway to the Stars” and “Burnin’ for You.” Like Hawkwind, BÖC collaborated with sci-fi author Michael Moorcock, who wrote the words to “Veteran of the Psychic Wars,” “The Great Sun Jester” and “Black Blade.” And how better to while away a lazy afternoon than by puzzling over the gnomic lyrics of manager Sandy Pearlman, author of such intelligence-resisting classics as “7 Screaming Diz-busters” and “Dominance and Submission”? But the only Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres to have written for the metal gods is Patti Smith, who was romantically involved with BÖC keyboardist Allen Lanier in the mid-70s.

In her memoir Just Kids, Smith mentions Richard Meltzer as one of the rock journalists she “held in esteem” in the 70s. A few pages later, writing about her first performance with guitarist Lenny Kaye, she suggests the writer was more Kaye’s friend than hers, listing Meltzer as one of “Lenny’s people [who] came to cheer him on.” For what it’s worth, Meltzer’s version of events, as told in Blue Oyster Cult: Secrets Revealed!, is quite different from Smith’s, and characteristically scabrous:

“OK, basically, I was the one who brought her to the band,” recounts Meltzer. “She was my friend. In the summer of 1970, my dentist was around the corner from the bookstore where she worked, Scribner’s Books on 5th Avenue in the 40s. And I stopped in there and we became great friends. And somewhere down the line I brought her to the band. And Pearlman wanted to fuck her and that was his interest. And I don’t know if he did or didn’t, but once it was clear that she was with Allen, it got to be that there was a lot of tension between Pearlman and Allen. And Allen and Patti were very anti-Semitic folks, without any irony whatsoever. You know, fuck the Jews, all that kind of stuff. And so there was a lot of anti-Pearlman wrath from both of them. I lived with this woman Ronnie and we would hang out with Allen and Patti a lot, through the mid ‘70s. And essentially what made the relationship viable was that we didn’t mind their anti-Semitism. But the point is that Allen thought the faux-Nazi stuff was a joke. I mean, everybody took it as a joke. Except, as I remember, Eric [Bloom] thought there was something cool about it, that the Third Reich had its shit together. You know, the Jew in the woodpile was the one that took it the most seriously.”

Well that’s interesting, isn’t it?

If I’m not mistaken, Smith’s voice first appeared on Ray Manzarek’s The Whole Thing Started with Rock & Roll Now It’s out of Control (1974), which is hard going even (especially?) for a Doors fan. However, the first Patti Smith lyric committed to vinyl was 1973’s “Baby Ice Dog,” sequenced as the first song on the second side of BÖC’s masterpiece Tyranny and Mutation. Set on a frozen Mongolian steppe, the song tells the familiar tale of man’s betrayal by dog, dog’s fatal plunge through ice, and man’s fantasy about “unnatural acts” involving ladies who’d “like to make it with my big black dog.”

“Baby Ice Dog” from Blue Öyster Cult’s Tyranny and Mutation
With its unrepentant declaration of adherence to the left-hand path, Smith’s next BÖC lyric, “Career of Evil,” makes the first lines of “Gloria” seem like not such a big deal. For starters, she wants to seduce your wife and daughter, rob you, hold you for ransom, and charge you for unnecessary brain surgery. When it was released as the single from BÖC’s third album Secret Treaties, the line “I’d like to do it to your daughter on a dirt road” was amended to “I’d like to do it like you oughta on a dirt road.” Meltzer calls the song “the first forcible fusion of rock and Rimbaud.”

“Career of Evil” from Blue Öyster Cult’s Secret Treaties
The platinum-selling Agents of Fortune—the one from 1976 with “Don’t Fear the Reaper”—includes two songs with lyrics by Smith. The chorus of “The Revenge of Vera Gemini,” a duet between Patti and BÖC’s lead singer Eric Bloom, refers to Smith’s debut album Horses, released the previous year:

Oh no more horses, horses
We’re gonna swim like a fish
Into the hole in which you planned to ditch me
My lovely Vera Marie


“The Revenge of Vera Gemini” from Blue Öyster Cult’s Agents of Fortune
The last Smith lyric BÖC recorded was 1983’s “Shooting Shark,” released during her retirement from music. In the video for the song, guitarist and singer Buck Dharma takes part in an unspeakable ritual, chases a spectral woman with an equally spectral gun, and sees a lot of things that are just plain mysterious.

The music video for “Shooting Shark” from Blue Öyster Cult’s The Revölution by Night

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Great 1979 footage of Patti Smith at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ now online
10:41 am


Patti Smith

A lovely soul at Music Vault (a beautifully curated YouTube channel) has uploaded some amazing footage of Patti Smith from a 1979 show at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic. The Jersey girl could not have been met with a more enthusiastic home turf crowd, and it’s a really great performance. Smith is at home onstage, sweet and familiar—at one point she introduces a song by Lenny Kaye to a cheering crowd by saying, “Oh thank you; I have to go to the bathroom.”

She’s going a bit hoarse throughout, but it only seems to add to the growl of an animal performance. This was just after the release of Easter, her most commercially successful album, but the show has some great material from my fave, Horses. Check out the sexy rendition of “Redondo Beach,” which gets the sapphic intro, “Redondo… Beach… is the beach… where…women… love other… women.” She also absolutely destroys “Revenge,” and does a few mournful bars of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

Check out the rest of the show on their Patti Smith channel.

More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa, John Cage, Patti Smith & others celebrate William S. Burroughs at the Nova Convention

Nova Convention
In 1978, after many years of living in London and Tangiers, William S. Burroughs decided to return to his home country. For a small group of artistic weirdos, this was a significant event, and a convention was held in his honor at the Entermedia Theater from November 30 through December 2, 1978, on Second Avenue and 12th Street in New York City (it’s no longer there). Much earlier, it had been announced that Keith Richards would be on hand, but after his heroin arrest in Toronto, his management calculated that it would not be wise to appear at a festival honoring the legendary deviant drug addict William S. Burroughs. Frank Zappa was enlisted to read the “Talking Asshole” section from Naked Lunch. Patti Smith, who wore “a glamorous black fur trench” in the words of Thurston Moore, objected mightily to having to follow Zappa and had to be placated by Burroughs confidant and organizer of the convention James Grauerholz, who explained to Smith that Zappa’s appearance was a last-minute necessity and not intended to show Smith up. You can listen to Smith’s contribution, in which she addresses Richards’ absence, here. At the “event party” for the convention, the musical performances included Suicide, The B-52s, and Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie. The inclusion of The B-52s is most fascinating, as they hadn’t even released their first album yet.
William S. Burroughs
Other participants included Terry Southern, Philip Glass, John Cage, Laurie Anderson and Allen Ginsburg. You can read a writeup of the event from the December 4, 1978, edition of the New York Times: “Of the other performers, Mr. Burroughs himself was the most appealing, and this had less to do with what he was reading than with how he read it. Although he has created some enduring characters, he is his own most interesting character, and he was in rare form, sitting at a desk in a business suit and bright green hat, shuffling papers and reading in his dry Midwestern accent.” An LP and cassette documenting the event were released in 1979 and they fetch top prices today at Discogs.

According to Ted Morgan in Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs,

The Nova Convention took place on November 30, December 1, and December 2, 1978, with the principal performances being held on the last two days at the Entermedia Theater, on Second Avenue and Twelfth Street, which had in the fifties been the fabled Phoenix Theater. Attending were an odd mixture of academics, publishers, writers, artists, punk rockers, counterculture groupies, and an influx of bridge-and-tunnel kids drawn by Keith Richards, who made the event a sellout.


Saturday night the Entermedia was packed, largely with young people waiting to see Keith Richards. There was a small hitch, however, which was that Keith Richards had cancelled. He was having problems as the result of a heroin bust in Toronto, and his office convinced him that appearing on the same program with Burroughs was bad publicity.

But the show had to go on, and the composer Philip Glass, playing one of his repetitive pieces on the synthesizer, was thrown to the wolves. The disappointed kids who wanted Keith Richards shouted and booed. Then Brion Gysin went on amid cries of “Where’s Keith?” and found himself hoping that the riot would not start until he had done his brief turn.

In a last-minute effort, James Grauerholz had recruited Frank Zappa to pinch-hit for Keith. He volunteered to read the “Talking Asshole” routine from Naked Lunch. But as Zappa was preparing to go on, Patti Smith had a fit of pique about following him. James did his best to make peace, saying “Frank has come in at the last minute, and he’s got to go on, and he’s doing it for William, not to show you up.” Patti Smith retreated to the privacy of her dressing room, and Zappa got a big hand, because that’s what they wanted, a rock star.

From July 1 through July 13, the Red Gallery in London is putting on an exhibition dedicated to the Nova Convention. The exhibition is curated by Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz; Moore, who was present at the event in 1978, supplies a short piece called “Nova Reflections” to the exhibition catalogue; here are some snippets of that:

What I remember of the Nova Convention, in my teenage potted reverie, was a palpable excitement of the importance of Burroughs’ return to NYC. He had been living and working in London for some time, and before that, was residing in Tangiers. My awareness of the poets and performers on the Nova Convention bill was obscure, but I did realise everyone there had experienced a history in connection to the man. The poet Eileen Myles performed, and I have a hazy memory of what she has since reminded me was a polarising moment that night: She and a femme cohort came out on stage and performed the so-called William Tell act where in 1951 Burroughs tragically sent a bullet through his wife Joan Vollmer’s skull, killing her instantly. According to Eileen she was hence persona non grata backstage, and frozen out from the coterie of avant lit celebrities shocked at her “reminder” performance.


Glass’s idiosyncratic high-speed minimalist pianistics was natural, gorgeous and sublime. Zappa came out and read a Burroughs excerpt “The Talking Asshole” which seemed appropriate and was mildly entertaining. Patti hit the stage in a glamorous black fur trench, purportedly on loan from some high-end clothier. She rambled on a bit, brazenly unscripted, testing the patience of the long night when out of the audience some fan-boy freako leapt on stage and bequeathed her with a Fender Duo-Sonic guitar. She accepted it cooly and before long was gone. And we stumbled into the 2nd Avenue night.

In his catalogue piece, Moore leads with an anecdote about photographer James Hamilton, whose astonishing pictures of rock icons are collected in the book (Moore was intergral in putting that book together as well) You Should Have Heard Just What I Seen. Hamilton was covering the event for the Village Voice, and while it’s not stated as such, presumably many of Hamilton’s photographs, are featured in the exhibition.
Here’s Timothy Leary, Les Levine, Robert Anton Wilson and Brion Gysin engaging in “conversations” about Burroughs’ work:

And here’s Frank Zappa reading “The Talking Asshole” from Naked Lunch:

Preview video of the “Nova Convention” exhibition at the Red Gallery:

via {feuilleton}

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘I always hope that people will have some kind of orgasm’: Patti Smith on ‘The Tomorrow Show’

Perhaps due to the lateness of the hour that it aired, Tom Snyder’s classic Tomorrow Show, in its run on NBC from 1973 to 1982, was able to feature interviews with genuinely adventurous and sometimes even anti-commercial musicians. Perhaps Snyder’s most famous musician guest was John Lennon (and his immigration lawyer), in what turned out to be his last televised interview. His most notorious was arguably the pointlessly combative and dickish cop-out of Public Image Limited. But Snyder’s skill as an interviewer was such that he rarely had a bad interview, and his chat with Patti Smith was fantastic.

She was interviewed by Snyder in May of 1978, shortly after the release of the Patti Smith Group’s classic third LP Easter. Surprisingly, they don’t talk about the album at all—Smith was really on that night (some of her more dithering interviews from around that time remain notorious to this day), so Snyder wisely let her free-associate about creative transformation, the divine, and the things that ultimately turn a kid into an artist.

A couple chunks of the interview are missing from this clip. The first is nothing particularly mind-blowing, just a bit of intro, but without it, one does wonder what the hell is going on. I’ve transcribed the missing bits from Shout! Factory’s fantastic Tomorrow Show: Punk & New Wave DVD.

Snyder: Now here is one of the first and the most accomplished of the New Wave rock artists in this country, her name is Patti Smith. She has released three record albums so far, she’s published a book of poems and drawings, and is an accomplished concert performer. She’s in Los Angeles for a show tomorrow, and she’s really excited to be here at NBC tonight because she saw where the stars park their cars.

Smith: Johnny Carson! I didn’t say all the stars, just Johnny Carson.

The second missing bit, however, is much longer and more illuminating. This belongs at about 6:33, after the fade-to-commercial, before the big glitch:

Snyder: Patti Smith will be at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium tomorrow night. I went through your book of poetry before we did this tonight, and I was interested in your, uh, what do they call it, dedication—“This book is dedicated to the future.”

Smith: Oh, and it’s got a little picture of me and my sister on Easter when we were little girls?

Snyder: Yeah, two little kids. What do you want the future to be like?

Smith: I want the future to be like, I just want it to be an open space for children. I mean to me, the future is children. When I was younger, first I wanted to be a missionary, then I wanted to be a schoolteacher, I just couldn’t get through all the dogma and I couldn’t really integrate all the rules and regulations of those professions into like my lifestyle, and into the generation that I was part of. And the really great thing about doing the work that I’m doing now, I have all the ideals that I ever had, to like communicate to children, or to people in general, to everybody, and to communicate with my creator. I can do everything, all the perverse ends of it and also, you know, all the innocence, it’s all inherent in the form that I’m doing. But I just like, I think that we’re really so lucky, to be alive and to be on this planet, and after going all over the world, really, America’s a really great country. We’re really lucky to be here, but also, there’s a lot of things that we have to fight for. This country was built on freedom, freedom of speech, and it is a very rich country, Capitalist and all that kind of stuff, that is true I suppose, but what we have to work on is refocusing our energies.

Snyder: How about “Redefining our priorities?”

Smith: Yeah, that’s a good one. We have nature, we have life, we have breath, we have so many chances we can take…


Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Piss Factory: Patti Smith performing at Max’s Kansas City, 1974
12:19 pm


Patti Smith
Max's Kansas City

Recently I posted what is surely the earliest professionally shot full concert by The Patti Smith Group, a gig taped in Stockholm in 1976 for Swedish television, but a few days ago some even earlier Patti footage surfaced. It’s not exactly professionally shot (it’s likely to have been lensed by rock photographer Bob Gruen), but taken as a whole the clips might represent the entire performance.

Smith, then 27, performs nine numbers backed by Lenny Kaye and Richard Sohl, including both sides of her “Hey Joe/Piss Factory” single as well as Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground covers. Within a year Clive Davis would sign The Patti Smith Group to Arista Records and they would be recording Horses with producer John Cale.

On record, Smith’s cover of “Hey Joe” begins with the addition of a spoken word bit about Patty Hearst (“Patty Hearst, you’re standing there in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army flag with your legs spread, I was wondering were you gettin’ it every night from a black revolutionary man and his women?”) but this was before that became a part of the song.

“Piss Factory” is a powerful soliloquy about Smith’s horrible job working on a baby buggy assembly line when she was sixteen and dreaming of what her life was going to be like in New York City..

“Paint It Black”

You can see the rest at Historie du Rock.

Below, in this brief (mildly NSFW) clip from the Kino Library, we see a typical evening at Max’s Kansas City with the likes of Candy Darling, a topless, insane-looking lipstick-smeared Brigid Berlin, Paul Morrissey, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, Taylor Mead, Ray Johnson, Marisol and others. That’s Warhol’s Factory assistant Gerard Malanga who we see smoking as the voiceover reader says the word “pretentious.”

Via E.O.M.S.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Radio Ethiopia: Everything you love most about Patti Smith in this incendiary 1976 concert video
04:25 pm


Patti Smith

Videotaped recordings of early Patti Smith concerts tend to be well, scarce for one and when they do exist, they’ve almost always been amateurishly shot on some sort of crappy video format like B&W half-inch open reel tape. Most of the time you can tell that the master recording was poor to begin with. I can count the number of high quality early Patti Smith shows, ones with good audio, professional camerawork, multi-cameras, etc. that I’ve seen from the first years of her career at… one and I saw it yesterday for the first time. From the rock snob high I got from it, like a fine wine I think it was probably worth the wait.

During an era when a bohemian weirdo like Patti Smith actually could get on Saturday Night Live or The Mike Douglas Show or even on Kids Are People, Too for a guest shot, there was still practically zero chance of seeing a full set of the Patti Smith Group on American television. Let us thank the gods that when Smith played Stockholm’s Konserthuset on October 3, 1976 supporting Radio Ethiopia, that the Swedes were there to record it for posterity.

There’s an interview before the music starts that gets to the essence of what makes Patti Smith so great, and what made her work seem so exciting, inspiring and utterly revolutionary at the time.

Radio Ethiopia is the name of our new record and it represents to us a naked field wherein anyone can express themselves. It’s a free radio, ya know. We’re the DJ’s. The people are the DJ’s. When we perform “Radio Ethiopia,” I play guitar. I don’t know how to play guitar, but I just get in a perfect rhythm and I play, I don’t care. And the people are allowed to do as they wish. If it’s a really good show, there’s like a thousand, 10,000, 50,000 people. 50,000 minds, 50,000 sub-consciousnesses that I can dip into. I mean, the more people submit and the more I submit, the greater show it’s going to be, the greater we’re going to be. I mean, I don’t like audiences who sit there and act cool like this—“pfft”—because nothing’s going to happen.

If you are a Patti Smith fan, prepare to watch what is undoubtedly the best long form record we have of The Patti Smith Group from their early days, maybe the best full show period. Smith is in her full on Mick Jagger meets Rimbaud mode and she kills it here, just kills it. There are two Velvet Underground covers—the band walks onstage and starts up with “We’re Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together” and later does “Pale Blue Eyes.” There’s also a Stones cover “Time Is On My Side” before Patti straps on a guitar for a rather incendiary, you might say Dionysian take on “Radio Ethiopia” at the 38 minute mark.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rock stars with their cats and dogs

Cool pictures of musicians with their pet dogs and cats, which show how even the most self-obsessed, narcissistic Rock god has a smidgen of humanity to care about someone other than themselves. Though admittedly, Iggy Pop looks like he’s about to eat his pet dog.
Patti Smith and stylist.
This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
Bjork and a kissing cousin.
O Superdog: Laurie Anderson and friend.
More cats and dogs and musicians, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Patti Smith hangs out at the Bloomsbury Group’s country retreat
10:33 am


Patti Smith

Patti Smith has a passion for the Bloomsbury Group, the influential set of upper-middle class writers, artists, philosophers and intellectuals, who came to prominence in England during the early twentieth century and lasted, in various forms, until the 1960s.

The Bloomsbury Group took its name from the district in London where its main associates lived and worked. These included the writers Virginia and Leonard Woolf, E. M. Forster, and Lytton Strachey; the artists Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, and Dora Carrington; economist John Maynard Keynes; and diarist Frances Partridge.

When not in London, the Bloomsbury Group gathered at their rural retreat Charleston Farmhouse, in Lewes, Sussex—the home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. In recent years, one of Charleston’s regular visitors has been Patti Smith, who describes the farmhouse as “like home.”

In 2006, Smith was interviewed by the BBC’s Culture Show at Charleston Farmhouse, where she was photographing the “tea cups and saucers,” the bed where Vanessa Bell died, and the personal accoutrements of the artistic life.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Patti Smith: Advice to Young Artists
10:25 am

Pop Culture

Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s advice to the young (and not-so-young) artists:

“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency. Life is like a roller coaster ride, it is never going to be perfect. It is going to have perfect moments and rough spots, but it’s all worth it”

Recorded at the Louisiana Literature Festival August 24, 2012, at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

With thanks to Chris Frantz

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Odd couple: Patti Smith meets the Pope
07:46 pm

Current Events

Patti Smith
Pope Francis

Patti Smith pressed the flesh with Pope Francis yesterday on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. They seemed to have hit it off.

I’m keeping my mouth shut. I like Patti.



Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
An effervescent Patti Smith… and her clarinet, 1979
12:18 pm


Patti Smith

I know she’s giving Rockpalast presenter Alan Bangs a hard time here, but she still seems so sweet and so earnest!

Lenny Kaye seems to be attempting to salvage a sense of professionalism, much to the host’s relief, I’m sure, who appears to be struggling to translate every little Noo Yawk nuance into German.


Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The Record Books: If best-selling albums had been books instead…

Blood on the Tracks’ - Robert A. Zimmerman

Fast-paced 1958 thriller: a jilted train driver hi-jacks his New York subway train to exact revenge upon his love rival, only to threaten the life of his ex-lover. The last 30 pages are missing. Don’t know if she survives.

Christophe Gowans is a Graphic Designer and Art Director, who once designed for the music industry (with Peter Saville Associates, Assorted Images, amongst others) and has since produced some stunning work for Blitz, Esquire, Modern Painters, Stella and The Sunday Telegraph.

Christophe is also the talent of a series of fun, collectible and original art works that re-imagine classic albums as book covers.

These fabulous Record Books are on display at his site and are also available to buy at The Rockpot.
Abbey Road’ - The Beatles

Classic paperback. The story of two catholic sisters growing up in a swiftly changing post-war Britain. Guess what? It doesn’t end well.

The Dark Side of the Moon’ - Pink Floyd

Alternative scientific textbook from the 60s. Californian professor Floyd achieved enormous success with this study of the moon’s influence on the menstrual cycle. Indeed, he was able to found his own college, specialising in the study of women’s fertility. The college no longer exists. It was shut down in 1972, having been razed to the ground by a mob of angry husbands.

More of Christophe’s ‘Record Books’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Keith Richards with tits’
01:18 pm

Pop Culture

Patti Smith
Binky Philips

My good friend Binky Philips writes a column for The Huffington Post which basically recounts what it was like being in a rock band in Manhattan during the 70s. It’s a lovely column that is full of telling details about the scene surrounding CBGB and Max’s at a time when we were all trying to form bands in an all-out assault on the musical status quo. Binky was in the middle of it, but somehow managed to stay sane enough to have a cleared-eyed take on the scene. Binky’s a fanboy with just enough cynicism to keep it real.

In this excerpt from his column, Binky writes about his first encounter with Patti Smith. You can read it in its entirety here.

One day, about a month into my tenure at Guitar Lab as their gopher the summer of 1970, Bruce, this hotheaded very not-politically-correct kid from Long Island working there, a master repair and modification man at age 22, walked into the back room and said, “Hey, Binky. Ya wanna see Keith Richards with tits?” Uh, yes! I do!

I walked out to the main customer area and there was this skinny pale black-haired ragamuffin chick (I never use that word, but this was a chick) holding a beat up Fender Duo-Sonic (at the time, a total loser/beginner’s guitar; I’m now a proud owner of a 1964 worth more than $2,000) and she was just about falling out of a really large, loose, and worn-out-to-paper-thin t-shirt with prominent and frankly fabulous breasts. She was frantically and inarticulately explaining over and over again that her Duo-Sonic was…

“Buzzin’! It sounds like shit. I mean, it’s buzzin’. It’s buzzin’ bad. You can fix buzzin’, right? God, this sucks, it’s bad buzzin’ alla time. Really buzzin’ bad, man. Why’s it buzzin’?”

Almost like she had Tourette’s.

And, as it turned out, Bruce’s description was utterly on the money. Her haircut was exactly Keef’s in Gimme Shelter. Her cheeks were gaunt, the black eye-liner was thick, the bone earring was in place, as was a skull ring, ditto old black ankle boots with rundown heels, (maybe more Dylan in the footwear department… what with the price of snakeskin, even then). No hips in ratty black skin-tight jeans. Even at the age of 17, I could see that she was so immersed in her dream that she was genuinely unaware of the effect she was having on five 1970 chauvinist pig guys who worked in a guitar shop. We were all smitten and totally in novelty lust with her. At least two Guitar Labbers kept her there talking for quite awhile. But, after a few minutes, I kinda drifted away and went back to opening cases of guitars left for repairs that I could drool over. I guess I was the least infatuated. I mean, I dug her. Her look was down so cold. I was jealous, even in my ultra-cool Granny Takes A Trip boots. But she seemed like she really was a total urban-hillbilly goofball. Actually, just not sexy at all.

Yeah, it was Patti Smith.”

Here’s a clip of The Patti Smith Group live in Spain in 1976. By this time Patti had come a long way in the six years since Binky had first encountered her. This is quite a stunning performance. Buzzin’ and all.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Patti Smith Group with Tom Verlaine live in Spain, 1996
10:55 pm


Patti Smith

Photo: Anton Perich.
The Patti Smith Group with Tom Verlaine performing in Spain, 1996. This was the European leg of her first tour since coming out of retirement. I saw the very first show of the tour at Irving Plaza in NYC with my daughter who immediately became a convert to the power and glory of Ms. Smith. And an old buddy of mine who hated punk rock was equally blown away.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A photograph of Patti Smith aged 11
08:09 am

Pop Culture

Patti Smith

A photograph of Patti Smith aged 11.

Smith was ill for a lot of her childhood - sick with bronchitis, tuberculosis, scarlet fever and ‘three different kinds of measles’. Though she has claimed she was happy throughout her childhood, Smith did, for a time, think of herself as “alien to the human race”, as she explained in an interview with the Observer in 2005:

‘From very early on in my childhood - four, five years old - I felt alien to the human race. I felt very comfortable with thinking I was from another planet, because I felt disconnected - I was very tall and skinny, and I didn’t look like anybody else, I didn’t even look like any member of my family.’

Read the full interview here.
With thanks to Tony Vermillion, Via Another Mag

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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