Sunday, March 20, 2011

Because the Night (Patti Smith)

Getting my head back into my rock and roll days, I've found myself reading some books by musicians I've photographed. Besides being upset that my photos aren't in there (which is pretty much my own fault for sitting on them for all these years) I mostly end up being annoyed that I've wasted my time trying to read these books. For the most part, they are unreadable. (sorry Keef, I tried)

But I just finished reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. It's the story of her early life with Robert Mapplethorpe, and I can't recommend it enough. She is truly a poet and the words are exquisite. And I came away with a greater understanding of two of the most influential artists of our time.

Palladium, 1978
I photographed Patti many times. Onstage and off. Concerts in Central Park and the Palladium, a record signing at Discomat, even in the audience of the Palladium at a Ramones show. Whether it was a job or not, I tried to go see her  whenever I could. She's an amazing performer.

Ramones concert, 1977
We were acquaintances, as I was certainly around enough in those days, but I'm not sure we ever really had a conversation. Didn't seem to be her way. And the closest connection I remember making is when she kicked me (yes she kicked me in the head) at the edge of the stage in Central Park. 

Central Park, 1976
She wanted me to move away and she wanted privacy, and had a number of people hold up a tarp so she could have it for that moment. In the middle of the concert. I've heard the story as to what she was doing, but since I didn't see it myself, it's not mine to share. Ask Richie Aaron. It's on his website.

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