Studio portrait of Patti Smith taken in 1977, following the release of her debut album Horses. Photograph: Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
In 1975, with the opening line of her debut album Horses, Patti Smith set out her stall: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins,” she drawled, “but not mine.” It was a visceral, shocking, uncompromising and quite unprecedented introduction to an artist – as Michael Stipe of REM once recalled: “It tore my limbs off and put them back on in a whole new order.”
It was Horses that positioned Smith – as “punk’s poet laureate”, but also established her as an artist who believed she was serving something greater than herself. That opening line serves not just a radical rejection of religion, or a controversial embrace of sin, but as a refusal to ever be the main point of focus. “She belonged to a time,” says the music writer Richard Williams, “but she didn’t belong to a movement. She existed slightly to one side.”
Horses: Patti Smith’s debut album. Photograph: Record cover
Horses turns 40 this year, and in its honour Smith is to deliver a string of live performances, from Field Day to Glastonbury, Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo to Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall – a run of venues, grand, intimate, stately, that in its diversity encapsulates her particular role – an artist who is able to simultaneously hold both the Ordre des Artes et des Lettres from the French ministry of culture and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Born in Chicago in December 1946, she was raised first in Philadelphia and then New Jersey, one of four children in a family that had little money but that celebrated books, opera and religion.
Patti Smith performs on stage, New York, 1976. Photograph: Michael Putland/Getty Images
Though she was well-read, her prospects as a young woman did not look particularly hopeful – after school she worked in a factory, and in 1967 she had a daughter whom she placed for adoption. But that same year she relocated to New York City, becoming romantically involved with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whom she would later live with at the infamous Chelsea hotel. In the years that followed she became an integral part of the downtown Manhattan scene that circled around Max’s Kansas City and CBGB and included Television, the Ramones and Blondie.
It was a scene that Williams recalls as “very interesting – more than anything that was going on in London at the time. It was very stripped down, it didn’t privilege or respect virtuosity as the progressive rock scene did, and which I found very sterile. And there was much more poetry to it. In the way that Lou Reed had been a poet. It was a kind of poetry that was different from Tales of Topographic Oceans, that was not about English whimsy, but that was something hard-edged and strong. It was dirty. In a way that beat poetry was dirty.”
Smith was a poet before she was a rock’n’roll star. In the early 1970s she was a member of the St Mark’s Poetry Project, which she described in her memoir Just Kids as “a desirable forum for even the most accomplished poets. Everyone from Robert Creeley to Allen Ginsberg to Ted Berrigan had read there. If I was ever going to perform my poems, this was the place to do it.”
We just launched a new feature: Check out Indie Brew Radio, now in Beta!
Tune in now and let us know what you think. Be a little patient, as the stream may be unavailable from time to time during the beta, but our goal is to have 100% Indie Music flowing 100% of the time. 24/7/365.
There’s no plugin or player needed. Just go to the site and hit play from any browser: http://indiebrew.net/brewpress/stream/
It even works from your phone’s web browser (tested so far on iPhone/Safari and Android/Chrome)!
We’ve got some great artisit already signed up, with more on the way really soon! (If you are an Indie Musician, be sure to submit your music to be played on the air!
Click the link…you know you want to: Indie Brew Radio BETA – indieBrew.Net.
Words by: Stu Kelly
Images by: Ian Rawn
15 Most Memorable Lockn’ Festival 2014 Sets
The 2014 Lockn’ Music and Arts Festival was packed full of highlights featuring some of the most well respected and artistically creative bands touring the circuit today. With two main stages adjacent to one another, festival attendees were treated to the luxury of not missing a note of music in the main festival area. Two other stages were used for early morning sets and late night after-parties and everything was scheduled around the main stages, giving fans a chance to begin seeing music as early as 11 a.m. and staying up past 4 a.m.
The entire culture and atmosphere can only be described as something majestic and intrinsically beautiful. Approximately 30,000 people constructed this utopian society fueled by love and the desire to explore and preserve the festival culture. Stepping into this society, even for the weekend, felt like experiencing another world where anything is possible and there’s nothing to worry about.
The entire weekend was full of interesting collaborations and inspiring covers as this year’s lineup featured everything from local bands who had to fight for their spot on the main stage, through the Rockn’ to Lockn’ contest, to the other side of the spectrum of rock and roll royalty. This particular environment worked so well not only due to the caliber of talent booked but also the schedule of the events as they were set to unfold. It was especially interesting to see String Cheese Incident sandwich their sets with Umphrey’s McGee as well as former members of the Grateful Dead the following day. The same fluidity could be felt as Widespread Panic traded sets with Phil Lesh, Tom Petty and the Allman Brothers.
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Acoustic Set: 12:00 a.m. Triangle Stage 9/5
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Recorded Live At Indie Brew Studios- Jamie Gray And The Brew
This version of Jamie’s original song “90 mph blues” was recorded 7/19/2014 during the 6th annual Artists 4 Life Benefit to support the Children’s Cancer Association’s MusicRx broadcast.
Jamie’s set was over an hour long, and featured a 20 minute solo acoustic opening. This song came a couple songs into the electric portion of the show, featuring the 3 piece band: Jamie playing a vintage 70s Ibanez Musician electric guitar, along Chris Schmidt on Drums and Mr. Butch on bass and backing vocals.
“This was our first time really playing this song together…and you can tell. There’s some rough edges…mostly timing stuff. But there’s also a way cool bass solo that we squeezed out of Butch and a few cool sounds flew out of the old Ibanez as well. She’s been spending way too much time in her case up to now…I think you’ll be seeing more of her soon” ~jg
Without further Adieu: Jamie Gray and The Brew with 90 M.P.H. Blues
He was short, furry, and funny. He was also running from demons that no one else could see.
The death of Robin Williams came as a shock to us all, how could someone so immortal; die? How could someone who made so many millions laugh and cry, so many times, in so many ways through the years; how can they just be gone? How could they have done it themselves?
We may never know the depth of the sadness or depression that Robin felt. We may never know what he was thinking. We may never find out the root of the darkness that was able to snuff out such a bright shining light; but hopefully it is not all in vain. Read More…