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Old 01-09-2005, 07:54 PM   #1
Brain Toad
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Band Profile: Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Born: Dec. 30, 1946
Bands: Patti Smith Group
Genres: Proto-punk, poetry rock, art punk, new york punk

Horses (1975)
Radio Ethiopia (1976)
Easter (1978)
Wave (1979)
Dream of Life (1988)
Gone Again (1996)
Patti Smith (1997)
Peace and Noise (1997)
Gung Ho (2000)
Trampin' (2004)


Considered many as Punk rock's poet lauret, Patti is the most influential female rocker. Words to describe her and her music are ambitious, unconventional, and challenging. Her music is hailed as the most successful fusion of rock music and beautiful poetry since Bob Dylan. Smith followed her own style, being truly revolutionary, going from the standard rock song, to a free-form delve in expermintalism.

Patti was born in Chicago, IL on December 30, 1946. She moved with her parents to Philadelphia at 3, and to Woodbury, NJ when she was nine. She was an outcast in high school and found salvation in the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, The Beats writings, and music of artists such as James Brown, Rolling Stones, The Doors, and of course, Bob Dylan. She orginally attended a teachers college, but had to drop out due to an unplanned pregnancy, she ended up giving the baby up for adoption and taking a job as an assembly line worker at a factory, she saved enough money to move to NYC in 1967. While there she worked in a bookstore and met Robert Mapplethrope, an art student and future photographer who became her lover, even though he was a homosexual. Patti went to Paris with her sister in 1969 and was a preformance artist on the streets. On her to return to the US, she moved in with Mapplethrope at the Chelsea Hotel. She then became invoved with underground theater, and the playwright Sam Shepard. She co-authored and stared in his autobiographical play, Cowboy Mouth in 1971. At this time she began work on her poetry and met guitarist Lenny Kaye. Kaye had written an essay on doo wop that interested doo wop. The two discovered a common intrest of early and obscure rock and roll between them. When Patti began doing poetry readsing at St. Mark's Church in 1971, she asked Kaye to play guitar for her.

Over the next years, Patti continued writing poetry and preforming plays. She published two volumes of her poem and began contributing lyrics to metal band, Blue Oyster Cult. As Kaye and Patti performed more, their partnership grew. They later added pianist/keyboardist Richard Sohl and their performances grew into blends of Beat poetry, improvised spoken word and covers of classic rock and roll songs. They grew in popularity and in June of 1974, Mappletropped payed for studio time in the infamous Electric Ladyland and Patti along with Kaye and Sohl recorded a cover of Hendrix' Hey Joe (with a spoken word preface about Patti Hearst) and the song Piss Factory, which was about Patt's time as an assembly line worker, including lyrical snippets from the rock songs that she took solace in. The songs also featured guitar worked from Television's Tom Verlaine, who Patti had become lovers with. These songs plus Television's "Little Johnny Jewel" helped lead to the DIY ethic of punk.

In 1974, Patti and her band played gigs on the west coast, and on her return to the east, the group added in guitarist/bassis Ivan Kral for a fuller sound. They joined with Television as part of the developing punk scene at CBGB's. Their two month stand in 1975 featured drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, who became a regular member and who was the one who attracted Arista Records president Clive Davis to the band. Davis eventually offered Patti a record deal.

At this time she entered the studio with John Cale (of Velvet Undergrodun) on the producer's helm. And in late 1975, the debut Patti Smith album, Horses, was released. This album was essentially the first art-punk album. The critics praised the album. The record contained covers of party rock songs such as Gloria (which contained a preface of Patti saying "Jesus died for someone's sins, but not mine") and Land of 1000 Dances, and a mix of orginal songs and lengthy improv spoken word. Despite no airplay, the album clbimed to the Top 50.

In 1976, the second album Radio Ethiopia was released, and was credited to The Patti Smith Group this time, instead of just Patti. The album contained some of Patti's most straightforward rocks, along with some of her most experimental, free-form pieces. In early 1977, Patti was preforming in Tampa, FL and twirled off the stage, breaking two vertebrae in her neck. This forced her to take some time off of touring. During her time off she wrote a book of poetry entitled Babel.

In 1976, she returned to recording, and released Easter. This album was more accesible to album rock radio. It featured Patti's writing collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, Because the Night. The song climbed to number 13 on the pop charts, and became Patti's most commerically successful song. Easter also contained Patti's most controversial song, Rock n Roll ****** which was an attempt to redefine the term as a badge of honor for anyone who lived outside the establishment. Some critics bagged on her for trying to raise controversy.

With 1979 came the release of Wave. With this album also came a more polished sound from Patti. This is mainly due to new producer, Todd Rundergren. But many critics find it to be Patti's most undeveloped set of material. Patti had been living with Allen Lanier, keyboardist for Blue Oyster Cult, but now took up with MC%/Sonic's Rendezvous Band guitarist, Fred "Sonic" Smith. The songs Dancing Barefoot and Frederick were both dedicated to him. The two married in 1980 and Patti retired to a life of wife and mother in Detroit, raising two children with Smith. In 1988 Patti re-emerged with Dream of Life, which her husband co-wrote and played guitar on with backing of old Group members, Sohl and Daughertry. However the album wasn't supposed to establish a full comeback from Patti and she disappeared from music once again. However, she continued to write and completed a poetry colelction called Woolgathering, and occasionally gave readings.

Sadly, in the span of a few years Patti lost some of her closest associates. Mappletropped died in 1989, and a year later pianist Richar dSohl died. By the end of 1994, her husband and her brother Todd both tied of heart failure, within a month of one another. Patti, giref-stricken, returned to performing as a way of therapy. She reformed with Group with survigin members Kaye and Daugherty, along with bassist Tony Shanahan. They toured at a small scale, mainly to reconnect to the audience, and reorienting herself with the stage.

In 1996, the grouped entered the studio again to record Gone Again, which featured a new second guitarist, Oliver Ray and guest spots from Tom Verlaine, John Cale and Jeff Buckley. Gone Again took a stronger, optimistc tone, which was surprising from a grief-stricken Patti. In 1997, the Group released Peace and Noise and earned a Grammy nominated for the track 1959. This album was darker than it's predecessor, and took account of the death of two more people who inspired Patt, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroghs.

Patti returned again in 2000 to record Gung Ho, the most aggresive sounding and socially conscious album of her comeback. The song Glitter in Thier Eye earned her a second Grammy nomination. In 2002, Patti parted ways with Arista, with the laberl releasing Land (1975-200), a two disc compliation of hits and rarities.

In 2004, Patti signed with Coloumbia Records and released Trampin. This album showed that even after all the years, Patti still could make amazing music. With the happenings of 9/11, Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq, Patti returned to her socially conscious poet roots. The album continas in your face garage rock, poetic ballads, and raucous improv spoken word pieces. One of the most politcally charged and storng songs on the album is the final song, Radio Baghdad, which speaks of the war in Iraq and the trespassing of American troops on the place where the Garden of Eden once resided.

Because the Night
Glitter in Thier Eyes
Hey Joe
Piss Factory
Pissing in a River
Radio Ethiopia
Radio Baghdad
Rock and Roll ******

"Please Kill Me" by Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:55 PM   #2
Let's Chop Cats!
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Never listened, but I'm not too much into that type of punk.

*adds profile into links*
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:59 PM   #3
40 oz 2 freedom
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Kudos. I dig Patti Smith.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:03 PM   #4
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never heard of her

::looking her up on allmusic::

nice bio. a little long, so i skipped like 2 paragraphs, but good nonetheless. rep + (after i can, i have to spread some around first)
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 40 oz 2 freedom
Kudos. I dig Patti Smith.
The word is "rep".
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:11 PM   #6
Brain Toad
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Originally Posted by Ska_Pirate
never heard of her

::looking her up on allmusic::

nice bio. a little long, so i skipped like 2 paragraphs, but good nonetheless. rep + (after i can, i have to spread some around first)
My bio is the allmusic bio, but in my own words with included personal knowledge and opinions.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:15 PM   #7
HiP-h0p |\|4zi
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Originally Posted by Ska_Pirate
never heard of her
Post count +1
for the thread started rep +1
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:43 PM   #8
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If you like the poetry punk kinda stuff, you should check out Patrik Fitzgerald.
Old 01-10-2005, 04:50 AM   #9
Two Minutes Hate
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good stuff, also high five on your avatar
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:10 PM   #10
fuck i'm cool.
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i never really much cared for Patti Smith. But i think you did an excellent job on this, when i can rep you, I will!
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:20 PM   #11
das ist mir wurst egal
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i really like the song ask the angels but nothing i else i could find worked, so i got some from you on slsk and am awaiting its download.
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:52 PM   #12
Brain Toad
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This isn't a bump, I promise.

Thanks for all the good comments and the avatar comment
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:55 PM   #13
2 punK 4 u
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isnt patti smith that chick who used to be on that show , i forget the name. it has barbara walters and a bunch of other old whores sitting on a couch and b1tching..
or am i mistaken
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Old 01-11-2005, 10:02 PM   #14
Brain Toad
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Originally Posted by PunkMeister15000
isnt patti smith that chick who used to be on that show , i forget the name. it has barbara walters and a bunch of other old whores sitting on a couch and b1tching..
or am i mistaken
That was the View, and no.
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:26 PM   #15
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Horses is an amzing album, to anyone who thought green days chaptered songs on american idiot were a new thing for punk, listen to this.

i love thier cover of my generation.
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