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Friday, April 06, 2007


Patti, Dark & Light

Easter and Patti Smith have always corresponded with each other since punk rock times. I remember being one of the only people in my UCLA dorm during the last couple days of Spring Break (Easter time) and blasting the hell out of "Horses," especially, the first song, "Gloria," where Patti's poetry borrows from the Jean Genet and Albert Camus school of existential thought with the lines "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine."

Back then, Patti was a cult/underground figure, known to poets and punk rockers and general NYC downtowners. It wasn't until her album entitled "Easter" that the general public learned about her as a result of her hit song, "Because the Night." That song has been covered by 10,000 Maniacs and it saddens me that so many people think its a Maniacs song (that is coupled with my annoyance at being told that I look like Natalie Merchant. I'm older - she looks like me! OK?).

This year, Patti Smith was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame - and was paid tribute for that honor by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Recently, Shelly Ross turned me on to Flea's tribute from the RHCP's blog, and I'm sharing it with you as Flea shared it with his fans out there in the world wide web:

on this day that patti smith is being inducted into the rock n roll

hall of fame

i am happy for patti

if i were going to induct her there today instead of play a gig in

oklahoma city

this is what i would say

ladies and gentleman

patti smith is god

she is god because she has made it clear that everyone of us is god

she reminds us who we are

for those of us who listen to her records and go to see her concerts

she brings to life the highest part of of us

awakens us to our greatest gifts

makes us want to be alive

makes us want to read the finest poetry

makes us want to surrender our bodies and have the beat dance through us

makes us want to fuck with all the love in our hearts

makes us want to be quiet and know ourselves

makes us want to live every day with purpose

and live a life of kindness and dignity

and mind our own business

and rock out like the animals we are

and not take shit from anyone

and fight the good fight

and give of our selves for for sake of being a giving person

and above all

she makes us want to start our own band, write our own book, and

paint our own painting(stolen from mike watt)

i have been to a lot of rock shows and been inspired and had a great


but i have only ever sobbed like a new born baby at a patti smith show

in this time when we are constantly taught by our pop stars to get

rich or die trying

that amassing a large quantity of money and it's hollow, predictable

power is the most important thing to strive for

we can listen to a patti smith record and know what it really is to

have a meaningful successful life

that to make something beautiful without concern for commerce

and to trust in the beauty of that thing

is true success as a musician and as a person

patti, along with the great musicians that have collaborated with and

accompanied her, lenny kaye, jay dee daugherty,richard sohl, and tom

verlaine, have kept alive the greatest traditions of rock and roll

and changed it and uplifted it and reminded the world of it's true


and the source from which it came

she gave a generation of punk rockers something to hold on to

and a path to freedom

patti who can say fuck you and it will be as profound and full of

life as her greatest lyrics

who can sing the most profound and uplifting lyrics that capture the

deepest complexities of this sad and beautiful world and they are as

intense and direct as a fuck you

who never considered selling out

who always told us the truth about herself and the world around us

and let the chips fall where they may

who rocked your world to its core

who is the number one coolest rock star of all time and is an

entertainer everytime she steps on a stage as much as sammy davis

junior, jimi hendrix, or james brown were

who never placed herself above anybody

who got her self out of the way and let the gods speak

who easily could have cashed in on all that trappings fame had to

offer but never ever put her career ahead of being a totally devoted

mother of two beautiful kids

who's late husband the true rocker fred sonic smith is glowing and

proud of her right now

patti made a lot of people not feel alone

including me

i am so grateful to her

my friend

my hero

ladies and gentlemen

it is my pleasure to induct into the rock n roll hall of fame

patti smith

1 comment:

Shelly said...

Wow, thanks for the shout out!!
Flea is a genuine, classy dude. One of a kind.
A gentleman.
I wish there were more like him.