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Piss Factory: Patti Smith performing at Max’s Kansas City, 1974
05.09.2014
03:19 pm

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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
04.25.2014
07:25 pm

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Music
Punk

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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
03.27.2014
04:30 pm

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Animals
Music

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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.
 
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Patti Smith and stylist.
 
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This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
 
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There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
 
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Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
 
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Bjork and a kissing cousin.
 
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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
11.25.2013
01:33 pm

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Art
Literature
Punk

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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
04.29.2013
01:25 pm

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Art
Belief
Heroes
Music
Pop Culture

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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
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Odd couple: Patti Smith meets the Pope
04.10.2013
10:46 pm

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Current Events
Punk

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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
03.11.2013
03:18 pm

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Music
Punk

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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…
02.20.2013
07:05 pm

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Amusing
Art
Books
Music
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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.
 
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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.

 
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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’
02.01.2013
04:18 pm

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Pop Culture
Punk

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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
01.21.2013
01:55 am

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Punk

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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
01.15.2013
11:09 am

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Music
Pop Culture

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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
Gung Ho: Photos of Patti Smith from her high school yearbook, 1964
12.19.2012
11:45 am

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Amusing
History
Music

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Images of an 18-year-old Patti Smith taken from the 1964 Deptford Township New Jersey High School yearbook.
 

 

 
More photos of Patti after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Patti Smith talking about Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol
12.18.2012
04:40 am

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Art
Music
Punk

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Patti Smith’s recollections of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe are touching, beautiful and sad in this interview filmed during the 2012 literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.
 

 
Patti on Andy Warhol after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Patti Smith Group cover The Velvet Underground’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ in 1976
09.07.2012
03:26 pm

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Music
Punk

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Photo credit: Kate Simon
 
Patti Smith Group perform The Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” and garage classic “Louie Louie” written by Richard Berry and made famous by The Kingsmen.

Stockholm 1976.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Patti Smith’s rioting pussy in 1978
08.28.2012
04:54 pm

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Music
Politics
Punk

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Patti Smith’s pussy has been rioting for 4 decades now and this clip from 1978 is a reminder of just much of a rock warrior she was and has always been.

This all-too-brief clip is from a 1978 PBS television fundraiser, The Night Of The Empty Chairs, organized by Leonard Bernstein in support of Amnesty International and in protest of political oppression across the globe.

Patti began her performance by reading a poetic declaration from Czech band Plastic People Of The Universe, who had for many years experienced unrelenting oppression in their homeland.

In the sixties there was a piece called HUNDRED PER CENT that the Plastic People of the Universe writ.  After a decade of harassment, censorship, mace, lice - they were arrested in the Spring of 1977.  All their work - the technology of their work - everything built on blood and sweat, was confiscated, which brought another blow in the face, which mouths the tongue of love. Rock ‘n’ roll: the universal language of freedom.

In the harsh light of recent events involving Pussy Riot, these words have never seemed more timely or more true.

A HUNDRED PER CENT - REVISITED

They’re afraid of the old for their memory. 
They’re afraid of the young for their ideas - ideals.
They’re afraid of funerals - of flowers - of workers -
of churches - of party members - of good times.
They’re afraid of art - they’re afraid of art.
They’re afraid of language - communication.
They’re afraid of theater.
They’re afraid of film - of Pasolini - of God/dard.
of painters - of musicians - of stones and sculptors.

They’re afraid.
They’re afraid of radio stations.
They’re afraid of technology, free float form of
information. Paris Match - Telex - Guttenburg - Xerox
- IBM - wave lengths.
They’re afraid of telephones.
They’re afraid.
They’re afraid to let the people in. 
They’re afraid to let the people out.
They’re afraid of the left.
They’re afraid of the right.
They’re afraid of the sudden departure of Soviet
troops - of change in Moscow - of facing the strange -
of spies - of counterspies.
They’re afraid.
They’re afraid of their own police.
They’re afraid of guitar players.
They’re afraid of athletes - of Olympics - of the
Olympic spirit - of saints - of the innocence of
children. 
They’re afraid. 
They’re afraid of political prisoners. 
They’re afraid of prisoners families - of conscience -
of science.
They’re afraid of the future.
They’re afraid of tomorrow’s morning.
They’re afraid of tomorrow’s evening.
They’re afraid of tomorrow.
They’re afraid of the future.
They’re afraid of stratocasters - of telecasters.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
What does he mean, even rock bands?  Even rock bands?
Rock bands more than anybody else suffer from
political repression. 
They’re afraid.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll - of telecasters - of
stratocasters - of old age - in the streets - behind
the locked doors.
They’re afraid of what they’ve written - of what
they’ve said - of fire - of water - of wind - of slow
- of snow - of love - excretion.
They’re afraid of noise - of peace - of silence - of
grief - of joy - of language - of laughter - of
pornography - of honest and upright - they’re uptight.

They’re afraid of lone and learn and learned people.
They’re afraid of human rights and Karl Marx and raw
power.
They’re afraid of socialism. 
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.
They’re afraid of rock ‘n’ roll.

AND WHY THE HELL ARE WE AFRAID OF THEM?

Patti Smith Group guitarist Ivan Kral, who is Czech, provides some vocal back-up.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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