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March 12, 2007 9:08 AM   Subscribe

On the occasion of her induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, punk poet and musician Patti Smith (no, not this Patti Smith) offers eloquent reflections on the benediction she received from her late husband Fred "Sonic" Smith of MC5, the future of rebellion, and her own question: " Am I a worthy recipient?." Yes, Patti, you are. Some sound and video...
posted by twsf (51 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
She's worthy.
posted by caddis at 9:12 AM on March 12, 2007


counterpoint
posted by phaedon at 9:14 AM on March 12, 2007


Wow, I was sure she was dead for some reason. I "bought" a copy of "Horses" a month ago or so, and it does not rock at all, so I'd say she's perfect for the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, since they think the Beatles and the Beach Boys and Michael Jackson all rock for some reason.
posted by interrobang at 9:14 AM on March 12, 2007


Yeah, I guess that "Rock & Roll Nigger" is a disco ditty, who would have ever mistaken it for rock...
posted by dbiedny at 9:20 AM on March 12, 2007


She doesn't rock at all? WTF are you talking about? Let's take this one outside dude.
posted by serazin at 9:21 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


since they think the Beatles and the Beach Boys and Michael Jackson all rock for some reason

Oh. Jeez.

Needed to start a flame war right off the bat did you?
posted by tkchrist at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2007


...since they think the Beatles and the Beach Boys and Michael Jackson all rock for some reason

Don't you have some puerile little illustration that could represent this statement much more succinctly?
posted by prostyle at 9:31 AM on March 12, 2007


Interrobang clearly does not know how to pony (like Bony Moroney).
posted by scratch at 9:40 AM on March 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


interrobang is just upset because the Monks of Doom invitation has been lost in the mail again this year.

Patti Smith is wonderful as a perfomer, that bit in "Break It Up" where she beats her chest while singing has been strangely captivating to me since I first heard it as a teenager.
posted by sleepy pete at 9:44 AM on March 12, 2007


No, I'm not upset. I just don't get—while listening to "Horses" right now—why this weak, bland music is considered rock. Were the standards just incredibly low in 1975? Is "Horses" really Elton John's fault, or what?
posted by interrobang at 9:50 AM on March 12, 2007


I don't get why I don't like great music that doesn't conform to my expectations or personal tastes. Please hope me.
posted by psmealey at 9:57 AM on March 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


As for claims that it doesn't rock... it's certainly doesn't rock in a conventional way, for the most part, but have you heard the cover of the Who's "My Generation"? It strips the paint off walls.
posted by psmealey at 9:59 AM on March 12, 2007


Till Victory
Because the Night (sorry, Bruce, but she fixed your half-assed song)
Dancing Barefoot
So You Want to be a Rock & Roll Star (Byrds cover, turned up to 11)
People Have the Power
Gone Again...

So many cool songs -- the list goes on, but those are a few of my faves. Awesome, powerful, sexy voice. Staying power, too. She lived through a generation that's claimed a lot of its greats, and keeps on making art. She deserves.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:15 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


So very, very worthy.

I was going to get all, that's it, let's step outside all you Patti Smith hatin' (or not-gettin'-it) folks. But then I remembered the first time I really heard her. I remember thinking: meh.

Then I saw her in concert...and I thought, yeah, that was pretty good, I guess. The second time I saw her was my road to Damascus, and now I'm a convert to the Church of Patti. Any of y'all who don't like her: fine. more for me.

(besides, past inductees include the Supremes and Bobby Darin; while their influence is undeniable, I wouldn't call either's creation "rock" music. Consider changing your parameters.)
posted by rtha at 10:21 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is Boney M in the Rock and roll Hall of fame?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:24 AM on March 12, 2007


I'd say they aren't a rock band in the sense that KISS or The Who are a rock band, but they are rock in the sense that it's not jazz.

Smith was a larger part of the art scene in New York than the so-called punk scene. Because they had one foot in art and another in garage rock (Lenny Kaye was the man who brought us the collection of 60s garage bands known as Nuggets and was the guitarist/songwriter in the band) and were going about dissecting rock and intersecting it with art/poetry, doing meta-rock songs like "Horses" and "Piss Factory," creating a more intellectual rock. The band was on Arista and, as such, the production of the album is better than most "punk" albums, especially since punk hadn't really become a uniform term for songs-sounding-like-The Ramones yet. And, lastly, if intellectual rock isn't doing it for you, check out some of the live stuff from the band's early days, especially live versions of "Horses" which is actually usually closer to improvisational garage rock over the poetry of Smith.

But if you're looking for Keith flailing away on the drums while Pete destroys his guitar, it's not really that kind of rock.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:25 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


the "rock" hall of fame features artists from the genres of funk, soul, country, blues, folk, motown, etc etc etc

They are pretty clearly using "rock" in the sense of "modern popular music."

also, the "rock" hall of fame is a boring place to visit and a tribute to all that is wrong and stupid and corporate.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:33 AM on March 12, 2007


one foot in art and another in garage rock

In theater as well. Patti, Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Shepherd all shared the same flat for a time in the early 70s in Manhattan.

It's unfortunate that the Ramones became the archetype for the punk sound, because good as they were, the sounds was definitely varied back in those days: from the loose and loud New York Dolls, Heartbreakers and Dead Boys to the jagged stylings of Richard Hell and the Voidoids to Patti's ethereal brilliance, to the eclectic Television, there was definitely something for everyone.

I guess it's sort of like remembering only Black Flag and not giving at least a mention to X, Catholic Guilt and the Minutemen when recalling the hardcore scene.
posted by psmealey at 10:39 AM on March 12, 2007


Sam Shepherd Shepard
posted by psmealey at 10:40 AM on March 12, 2007


the "rock" hall of fame features artists from the genres of funk, soul, country, blues, folk, motown, etc etc etc

So what should the "rock" hall of fame include if not those genres? "Rock" without country, blues, or soul is nothing.
posted by blucevalo at 10:41 AM on March 12, 2007


"Easter." That's good work. I first heard it when I was a kid growing up in Kansas in the late '70s. I knew something was up because it wasn't rock, at least the "More than a Feelin'" kind. (Now try to get "More than a Feelin'" out of your head.)
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:45 AM on March 12, 2007


Patti Smith rawks. Her personality and the scene was definitely larger than the music by itself.
posted by sfts2 at 12:34 PM on March 12, 2007


Patti, Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Shepard all shared the same flat for a time in the early 70s in Manhattan

Imagine the parties!
posted by serazin at 12:46 PM on March 12, 2007


Since I already laid out my impressive credentials for judging music in the recent Wilco thread, I won't repeat them here.

Let me just say that, thanks to my impressive credentials, I am able to write definitively that my opinion of Patti Smith is the correct and accurate one. All reasonable people will surely agree with me on this.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:03 PM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well Joey Michaels, I have four penises, though like you only two of them are functioning, though one will occasionally softly throb and I have no opinion in this matter.
posted by drezdn at 2:31 PM on March 12, 2007


No, I'm not upset. I just don't get—while listening to "Horses" right now—why this weak, bland music is considered rock.

We get it. You like harder stuff than this. Pin a rose on you. Now let us enjoy our conversation.
posted by jonmc at 3:14 PM on March 12, 2007


I guess it's sort of like remembering only Black Flag and not giving at least a mention to X, Catholic Guilt and the Minutemen when recalling the hardcore scene.

And why the Minutemen are so often lumped in with hardcore is a complete mystery to me. (Not piling on psmealey, just saying.) Come to think of it, that's kind of like lumping Television and Patti S. in with punk a la the Ramones or the Dolls. Just a coincidence of time and place, I suppose.

also, the "rock" hall of fame is a boring place to visit and a tribute to all that is wrong and stupid and corporate.

Agreed. Like having a Barnes & Noble Hall of Fame for writers.
posted by scratch at 3:17 PM on March 12, 2007


"the benediction she received"?!?

what rot.

she is benediction.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:30 PM on March 12, 2007


She does that godawful poem/tribute thing to Mapplethorpe at the end of No Alternative. I think that was an attempt to make her "relevant" to the latter-day Gen X'ers like myself or something. It didn't work.
posted by bardic at 3:34 PM on March 12, 2007


Joey Michaels, your time in the sun has passed.

Bow down before your new fully-functioning four-pronged overlord!

(and open that mouth wide, willya? i've got something to teach you about us rock-n-roll niggas)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:36 PM on March 12, 2007


I think if you can record albums of the quality of Easter and Horses, you are relevant for all time, or at least for the duration of your own lifetime.

I don't think Patti Smith has anything to prove to anyone. She does what she wants, even if bardic doesn't like it.
posted by psmealey at 3:37 PM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


But yeh, rock'n'roll hall of fame is nothing to write home about.

Unlike receiving the top French cultural honour, Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:44 PM on March 12, 2007


Ya know, that's why I love these threads. It's like someone sets up their little idol/memorial shrine in the middle of a field and says "Attention! I doth love this idol/memorial shrine, and none of you shall besmirch its greatness amen!"

First off, if you really love something and require unchallenged affirmation regarding it, the internets are probably not for you.

Second, if some jagoff like myself doesn't like your crappy favorite band, why the hell do you care anyways? Am I actually challenging your view of the artist in question? Probably not. More likely, you're being sulky and highly amusing in your petulance.

Anyways, here's visual and audio proof regarding why I never "got" Patti Smith: "Free Money" live 1976, "You Light Up My Life"
posted by bardic at 3:48 PM on March 12, 2007


Try the decaf, bardic. It bothers me not at all that you, or anyone else doesn't like Patti Smith. I just thought your ascription of cynical motive to the track on No Alternative was kind of lame.
posted by psmealey at 3:52 PM on March 12, 2007


Thanks for taking time out of your life to tell me that my opinion matters not at all, psmealey. You're a real giver.
posted by bardic at 3:56 PM on March 12, 2007


;-)
posted by psmealey at 3:56 PM on March 12, 2007


bardic: even the best artists can do embarrassingly awful shite. As much as I love most of Patti's work, I will be the first to get up on a soapbox & declare that some of her songs are so godawful they might have been secretly penned by Starship.

Because The Night is one. People Have The Power is another. Cringeworthy, both.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:13 PM on March 12, 2007


So Bardic, if Patti sucks who doesn't?
posted by caddis at 4:27 PM on March 12, 2007


Thanks for taking time out of your life to tell me that my opinion matters not at all,

If it doen't matter at all, why do feel compelled to spout it?
posted by jonmc at 4:27 PM on March 12, 2007


Best. Youtube. Evar. ????

Oh, my, Bardic, you do have poor taste.

;)
posted by caddis at 4:42 PM on March 12, 2007


It never ceases to amaze me -- express opinion not in alignment with the mefi hivemind. Be told your opinion doesn't matter, multiple times. Have people dig through your blog archives in order to find out more about your opinion, and how irrelevant it is. Have a blog post linked on the blue and a blog readership spike, because my opinion is so worthless and irrelevant.

Thank you caddis. Well played, as usual. Your ability to be simulatenously annoying and creepy is astounding. "Patti" would be proud of you, I'm sure.
posted by bardic at 4:50 PM on March 12, 2007


Metafilter: sulky and highly amusing in our petulance.
posted by tkchrist at 4:55 PM on March 12, 2007


It never ceases to amaze me

It ceased to amaze me. Long ago.

In fact the script has been re-used so often I can lip syc to it as some things are just predictable little magnets for irrational hate on MetaFilter: Hipsters. Fratboys. Bono. Oprah. etc.

Though I agree it's odd odd that most of the hate-cloud is reserved for matters of taste. It seems what you like is more important than what you do.
posted by tkchrist at 5:02 PM on March 12, 2007


Typewriter tappers
You're all just crappers
You listen to love with your intellect
...

Typewriter bangers on
You're all just hangers on
Everyone's human 'cept Jools and Jim
...

Anyone can have an opinion
Anyone can join in and jump
Anyone can pay or just stay away
Anyone can crash and thump

posted by jonmc at 5:45 PM on March 12, 2007


Bardic, it's simple. Horses got boys into girl pants (well, not into them into them, but maybe some of them did and that's, you know, cool too) all during the 70s and maybe even into the 80s when it was all about Journey and Foreigner and god knows what else. And for that I'm profoundly grateful to Ms. Smith.
posted by Haruspex at 6:43 PM on March 12, 2007


As a rational man, I find I must now agree with drezdn's opinion - not just on this, but on all things. His credentials trump mine.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:10 PM on March 12, 2007


The brutal truth of the matter is that when you invest yourself emotionally in an artist, deep deep down inside there is allways going to be that little nagging doubt saying "maybe this sucks". No one wants to go there.

Anyway, when is someone going to turn down being inducted? It's like having your portrait hung in a McDonalds.
posted by joseppi7 at 12:53 AM on March 13, 2007


How can people bicker over if Patti rocks or not and nobody mention Radio Ethiopia? (And yes, she does.)
posted by Scram at 9:49 AM on March 13, 2007


The brutal truth of the matter is that when you invest yourself emotionally in an artist, deep deep down inside there is allways going to be that little nagging doubt saying "maybe this sucks".

What? How insecure do you have to be to get to a point where you're secretly worried that something you feel passionately about "sucks"?

I am certainly not innocent of doing exactly what bardic did above. Time was when I chimed in with "I don't get it" comments on Radiohead and Wilco threads. I took shit for it, and largely, I deserved to.

Threads having to do with the MeFi creative canon (sacred cows like David Foster Wallace, Chuck Close, R. Crumb, etc.) can and will get posted from time to time. It you don't like those artists, or "don't get" them, you're probably better off not contributing that (at least not without something more interesting to add) if you can't handle the inevitable flack you get for it. It's just the way of things. Some people enjoy stirring things up on those threads, to some times amusing result. But for the most part, they'll accept it when fans shout them down for it.

This is probably an argument against posting such things to begin with, but personally, I dig it when it happens. I liked it when vronsky posted some YouTube links to Johnny Thunders performances. Why? It's about the community, man. I don't personally know too many people in the wilds of Connecticut who know WTF John Anthony Genzale was, and when someone on MeFi posts about him, you can start a nice little conversation about it, share some memories with kindred spirits or learn something new about a subject or person that you thought you knew a lot about.

That's perhaps not what Matt's original intent was for the site, but it is a common occurrence, and is by and large a good thing.
posted by psmealey at 10:39 AM on March 13, 2007


How can people bicker over if Patti rocks or not and nobody mention Radio Ethiopia?

Who's bickering?

I'm too busy listening to Radio Baghdad, turned up to 12.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:04 PM on March 13, 2007


joseppi7 writes "It's like having your portrait hung in a McDonalds."

If I had my portrait hung up in a McDonald's, I'd eat there every day next to it.
posted by concrete at 9:22 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


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