Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Kent Smythe Connection

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He keeps popping up in the background of many photos – but here, he is a photo in a photo. That adorable little boy in the photo that Joan Jet and Cynthia Ross are swooning over is Kent Smythe. Kent was LA Punk’s most trusted road warrior.

As Runaways road crew head, he was their big brother, body guard, and all around loyal man behind the scenes. Joan’s joking around for the photo, but truth be told, there was a bond there as strong as family.

Kent was also the guy trusted by the Dickies and the Dead Boys…and the Go Go’s and most of LA Punk’s bands that hit the road. That’s why he’s always in the background of so many LA punk rock photos. For many bands from LA that went on tour, the advice they shared with each other was: Kent Smythe: don’t leave home without him!

kent backstage dickies WEB
Kent against the wall with the Dickies backstage at the Starwood

Frank Secich told me a tale of how during a Dead Boys show at the Whisky, Kent chased down and retrieved Frank’s pea coat from a thief. The guys were just hanging out in the dressing room, looking out the window with the view of Sunset Blvd. when they saw the coat on the back of a kid on the street. No sooner could Frank point to the kid and say, “That’s my coat,” and Kent was out of the room, down the stairs and on the street, confronting the thief. He returned victorious and Frank could return to the cold Midwest with his warm coat. It was January, after all.

Kent was hanging out during the Disconnected sessions and joined Stiv and the guys for some friendly free-throw distraction during the recording.

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Kent doesn't like to be the subject of photographs - and for all his punk rock experience in the thick of things, he is actually kind of shy and retiring. That's another reason why he's always in the background. That's him, under the basket, at the drum kit.

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These days, Kent is retired from the show biz, but all of us who love him are still in touch with him. There’s nothing more reassuring than a friendly “Hello” email from Kent Smythe, most trusted man in LA punk rock.

Kent Smythe

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