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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…

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‘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.

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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.

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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

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Gung Ho: Photos of Patti Smith from her high school yearbook, 1964
08:45 am


Patti Smith
High school yearbooks

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…

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Patti Smith talking about Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol
01:40 am


Patti Smith
Robert Mapplethorpe

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…

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The Patti Smith Group cover The Velvet Underground’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ in 1976

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.

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Patti Smith’s rioting pussy in 1978

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.


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
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
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.


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

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Video of Patti Smith standing up for Pussy Riot: ‘Jesus Christ would fucking forgive them!’
11:36 am

Current Events

Pussy Riot
Patti Smith

“Putin has pissed himself.” Patti Smith in Oslo.
During yesterday’s performance of “Gloria” in Stockholm, Patti Smith and her band make it quite clear how they feel about the imprisonment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

“Ask Jesus Christ. He would fucking forgive them.”

I’m not sure the women in Pussy Riot require anyone’s forgiveness. Forgiveness from what? Exercising freedom of speech and artistic expression? “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” But Smith is fighting the good fight by appealing to what Putin and his lot can comprehend; a way out of an international public relations debacle that leaves them looking human instead of like fascist pricks. Yes, the thugs should forgive the girls and let them go. Be Christ-like. People like that.

Go Patti go!

Thanks Bgrrrlie

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Flea releases solo EP ‘Helen Burns’: Featuring Patti Smith

Over the past couple of days, Flea has caused a major tremor of excitement as he announced news of his first solo EP Helen Burns.

Described as unlike anything he has created with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea tweeted that:

i recorded most of the ep when we finished our tour for stadium arcadium. it is not rhcp music or even close to it. it is a trippy freakout.

on helen burns, i play trumpet, bass, synthesizers, drum machine, piano, and a bunch of other shit

all proceeds from my helen burns ep will go towards the silverlake conservatory of music

it will be available for down load at any price you want to pay, it will be a donation to the silverlake conservatory of music

Patti Smith also sings on the EP, along with the Conservatory Choir, and a vinyl copy is also available which “is autographed and contains a piece of a bass string” which Flea has played live.

Over at the download page, Flea added:

Hi people who like The Red Hot Chili Peppers! I love you a lot! Mucho! Just wanted to give you a heads up about this little record “Helen Burns” I am putting out on the Silverlake Conservatory website.

Warning! It is not a Chili Peppers record. It does not have songs that are like the Chili Peppers at all. It is a mostly instrumental, weird and arty record, the music is mostly just me creating soundscapes that are very emotional for me, but certainly not for everyone! Just me tripping out at home. I am putting it out to raise money for The Silverlake Conservatory of Music a community based non profit music school that i am an integral part of. There you have it. See you all soon i hope! and all proceeds from the Helen Burns will go to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

I reckon most of our DM readers will love Flea’s excellent Helen Burns EP, which you can Download here, and follow the great man on twitter here.
Now, as a bonus here’s an early RHCP interview with Flea and Anthony Kiedis from 1986.


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Frida Kahlo as Patti Smith (or vice versa?)
09:03 am


Patti Smith
Frida Kahlo

I’m not entirely sure what the Angry Lambie website (NSFW) is all about, but it sure looks like they’re big Frida Kahlo fans.

Here’s the only thing the site says regarding the manipulated images:

Frida Kahlo nudes created in Photoshop (except for the drawings which are authentic)

If you didn’t get it the first time, it’s a NSFW link

Image via The World’s Best Ever

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Groovy new Patti Smith videos
12:56 am


Patti Smith

Here’s a couple of tasty new Patti Smith videos for you fans out there…and I know Dangerous Minds has a shitload of readers who have come to expect a healthy dose of Ms. Smith’s magic medicine on this site.

The interview from NY1 cable channel is an absolute delight. It’s a really smart overview of Patti’s history and the bard of Jersey really comes across as the spiritual force she has been and continues to be in rock n’ roll, literature and motherhood.

The second video is a performance at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where Patti has her photographs on exhibit, and it features her son Jackson on guitar and daughter Jesse on piano. Together they do a righteously rocking version of “Gloria.”


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Patti Smith performing ‘April Fool’ at the Detroit Institute of Arts
12:59 pm


Patti Smith
Neil Young

I’ve been listening to the new Patti Smith album for the past two days and my initial enthusiasm for Banga has only grown stronger. At first I thought my lust for a Smith album that knocked me sideways like Horses was coloring my take on this new one, but I think I can fairly objectively say it is the second or third best album of Patti Smith’s career.

Smith’s voice has never been finer and, unlike many of her albums after Easter, Banga is full of lovely melodies and hooks. Lyrically, the album follows in the spirit of Smith’s memoir Just Kids: ruminative, prayerful, melancholic and hopeful - a delicate, tough and occasionally fierce expression from a spiritual warrior moving forward with grace and determined soulfulness.

Banga was produced by Smith at Electric Lady Studios (where Horses was recorded in 1975) and features her group (Lenny Kaye, Jay Daugherty and Tony Shanahan) in stellar form. Tom Verlaine provides some shards of psychedelia to two tracks and there’s some drumming and guitar work from Johnny Depp on the title track.

For fans of rock legends who still deliver the goods, Neil Young has added Smith to his tour schedule. The Patti Smith Group will open for Young in these cities:

Nov. 23 – Montreal, Quebec, Bell Centre
Nov. 24 – Ottawa, Ontario, Scotiabank Place
Nov. 26 – Boston, Mass., TD Garden
Nov. 27 – New York City, N.Y., Madison Square Garden
Nov. 29 – Philadelphia, Pa., Wells Fargo Center
Nov. 30 – Fairfax, Va., Patriot Center
Dec. 4 – Bridgeport, Conn., Webster Bank Arena

The following video was shot at Detroit Institute of Arts where an exhibition of Smith’s photographs is taking place concurrent with the addition of her late husband’s, Fred “Sonic” Smith, guitar to the museum’s collection.

The song “April Fool” is the opening track of Banga. Accompanying Patti are her son and daughter, Jackson and Jesse.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
80 lovely minutes of Patti Smith reading her poetry at the Strand bookstore

New Directions recently re-issued Patti Smith’s book of poems Woolgathering, which has been out-of-print for almost 20 years. The new edition contains a previously unpublished autobiographical short story called “Two Worlds.”

Woolgathering is an evocation of Smith’s childhood and early days in New York City delivered in sensuous prose that flutters at the edge of consciousness like the iridescent wings of a Luna moth. The writing is vivid, intoxicating and haunted.

“I had a ruby.  Imperfect, beautiful like faceted blood.  It came from India where they wash up on the shore.  Thousands of them—the beads of sorrow.  Little droplets that somehow became gems gathered by beggars who trade them for rice.  Whenever I stared into its depths I felt overcome, for caught within my little gem was more misery and hope than one could fathom.”

In the video below, Patti reads from Woolgathering and shares memories of growing up in Jersey and New York. She is, as usual, totally charming.

This was shot at my favorite bookstore on the planet, the Strand. For 25 years I lived just a few blocks from the Strand and would spend at least 10 hours a week there hunting and gathering. I have the books to prove it. Thousands of them.

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Patti Smith and Lizzy Mercier Descloux ‘play dress up,’ 1977

Patti Smith and Lizzy Mercier Descloux as Arthur Rimbaud and his sister, Isabelle Rimbaud. Photographed in 1977 by Michel Esteban.


More after the jump…

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