Results for Patti Smith

interviews

John Cale

John Cale is known for many things: co-founding The Velvet Underground, producing major albums for The Stooges and Patti Smith, and doing one of the best covers of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." So when John Cale was touring in support of his most recent album Black Acetate in 2006, Jim and Greg wanted him to stop by the Sound Opinions studio to be their first guest on public radio. Now almost 100 episodes later, we wanted to revisit that terrific conversation.

During Cale's visit, the three men covered everything from Brian Eno to Lou Reed to Snoop Dogg. And, Cale played two of his songs live: "Set Me Free" and "Gravel Drive," which he names as his favorite track on the record. He explains to Jim and Greg that this song was his way of talking to his daughter about some complicated issues, and why“Dad”sometimes wasn‘t around. Greg notes that despite Cale’s admitted anger, and his undeniable punk rock attitude, a number of the songs on Black Acetate are equally heartfelt and beautiful.

Go to episode 98

John Cale

When John Cale first visited Sound Opinions in 2005 as part of our debut on public radio, he shocked us all by name-dropping "Snoop Dogg," "The Neptunes" and the "MPC." These influences have come to fruition on the Welshman's latest recording Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood. And Jim and Greg were excited to have him come by the studios to perform the new material. Plus, there's no lack of things to talk about with Cale, considering his decades-long career that includes founding The Velvet Underground and producing music by the likes of Patti Smith and The Stooges.

Go to episode 363
classic album dissections
Horses (Legacy Edition)Horses available on iTunes

Patti Smith Horses

"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." With that opening salvo on her debut album Horses, Patti Smith instantly established herself as a leading voice of the New York punk scene. Horses was released in December 1975, just over 40 years ago, so in honor of that milestone, Jim and Greg give it the Classic Album Dissection treatment. At that point, Smith had been kicking around New York City as a poet and a music writer, performing readings of her work while backed by Lenny Kaye on guitar and Richard Sohl on piano. These shows earned her enough buzz to get a contract with Arista Records and head into Electric Lady Studios to record Horses, with Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale behind the board as producer.

Right from her androgynous appearance in Robert Mapplethorpe's cover photo, Patti Smith defied all categorization on Horses. Jim and Greg cite the album as a great work of self-mythologizing, with Smith cultivating a magnetic public persona. The record veers from accessible yet lyrically disturbing songs like "Redondo Beach" and "Kimberly," to epic multi-part suites like "Birdland" and "Land." With Horses, Smith changed the rules for what a rock star could be and remains an influence generations later.

Go to episode 531
reviews
TwelveTwelve available on iTunes

Patti Smith Twelve

Patti Smith is another artist who is known for her ability to do a great cover song. Early on in her career she did successful rendition of songs like Van Morrison's "Gloria" and Bruce Springsteen's "Because the Night." Now she has a collection of cover songs called Twelve. Jim thinks there are many“interesting”covers on this album, but interesting doesn't necessarily mean good. Patti Smith is still a vital artist though, so Jim recommends listeners Burn It just to sample her versions of famous songs. Greg is also a big Patti Smith fan, so it pains him to say that most of the songs on Twelve are poor and predictable. He shocks Jim and Sound Opinions H.Q. with a Trash It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 79
BangaBanga available on iTunes

Patti Smith Banga

In the past weeks Jim and Greg's inboxes have filled up with new records. This week, they award buy it, burn it, and trash it ratings to five of them. First up, punk godmother Patti Smith. The poetess behind Horses and Radio Ethiopia is back with her eleventh studio album, Banga. Recorded off and on between gallery showings and book readings, Banga, Greg says, is a meditation on the call of art. It's also a tour of global music styles.“We were going to see the world,”Smith intones in the leadoff track "Amerigo," and she doesn't let us down. Different tracks draw inspiration from free jazz, do-wop, celtic folk, and blues. Greg says Buy It. Jim agrees. This album is up there with Patti's best work, not the least because, Jim says, she seems to really be having fun. Double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 345
Bitter TeaBitter Tea available on iTunes

The Fiery Furnaces Bitter Tea

The critical discussion really starts to get good with this next album. Oak Park natives Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger, otherwise known as The Fiery Furnaces, have just released their fifth full album, Bitter Tea, and our hosts could not disagree more. Jim has never been a huge fan of this sister and brother team, but this album just irritates the heck out of him. He finds it pointlessly eclectic, pretentious and basically unlistenable. Greg argues that Jim simply has the attention span of an ant. He loves Bitter Tea, and asks listeners to take their time with this one. Greg points to Eleanor's terrific Patti Smith-like vocals and Matthew's inventive, theatrical songwriting. It's a Trash It for Jim, but a Buy It for Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 20
dijs

Greg

“The Red and the Black”Blue Öyster Cult

During his conversation with Jim and Greg, Mike Watt reveals some of Minutemen's more surprising influences. One that didn't come up, but has been cited in the past, is Blue Öyster Cult. But, as Greg explains, the more you think about it, the more that affinity makes sense. This hard rock arena band was actually masterminded by producer (and former rock critic) Sandy Pearlman. And some of the bands lyricists were Patti Smith and critic Richard Meltzer. So you have the heft of literary words with the speed and intensity of punk rock. You can hear that combination in a song Watt continues to perform to this day: "The Red and the Black" by Blue Öyster Cult.

Go to episode 433
lists

Ultimate Summer Mixtape

Summer officially begins in a couple of weeks, and in honor of these lazy, hazy days and hot, sweaty nights, Jim and Greg have decided to re-run one of their favorite shows which celebrates the best songs of the season. These are the tracks that would make up their ultimate summer mix-tape:

  • The Rivieras, "California Sun"
  • The Beach Boys, "All Summer Long"
  • Patti Smith, "Dancing Barefoot"
  • Wire, "Sand in My Joints"
  • Wreckx-N-Effect, "Rump Shaker"
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, "Mr. Heatmiser"
  • Sly and the Family Stone, "Hot Fun in the Summertime"
  • Bananarama, "Cruel Summer"

On Sound Opinions, everyone is a critic. So, Jim and Greg turned to the phones for some other Summer Song suggestions. Here are what the callers recommend:

  • The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Weezer, "El Scorcho"
  • The Pastels, "Windy Hill" (Cornelius remix)
  • Del tha Funkee Homosapien, "Dr. Bombay"
Go to episode 132

Better Campaign Songs

Presidential candidates keep reusing the same generically inspirational anthems (Springsteen, Mellencamp, U2, etc.) on the campaign trail. They rarely seem to pay attention to what the lyrics of the songs are actually about. So Jim and Greg are offering their services as political consultants to help freshen up the campaign rallies. Here are their picks for campaign songs that candidates should use as they run for office:

Go to episode 555

Rock's Best Lead-Off Tracks

This week's show is dedicated to the true rock geeks out there. Continuing in the tradition of "Track 1, Side 1" Jim and Greg take the discussion into the post-vinyl age. What songs best kick-off an album? Here are their picks for the best Lead-Off Tracks of all time:

Go to episode 92

Ultimate Summer Mixtape

Summer officially begins June 21, and in honor of these lazy, hazy days and hot, sweaty nights, Jim and Greg have decided to run down their favorite songs that represent the season. These songs would make up their ultimate summer mixtape:

  1. Rivieras, "California Sun"
  2. The Beach Boys, "All Summer Long"
  3. Patti Smith, "Dancing Barefoot"
  4. Wire, "Sand in My Joints"
  5. Wreckx-N-Effect, "Rump Shaker"
  6. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, "Mr. Heatmiser"
  7. Sly & the Family Stone, "Hot Fun in the Summertime"
  8. Bananarama, "Cruel Summer"

On Sound Opinions, everyone is a critic. So, Jim and Greg turned to the phones for some other Summer Song suggestions. Here are what the callers recommend:

  1. The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  2. Weezer, "El Scorcho"
  3. The Pastels, "Windy Hill (Cornelius remix)"
  4. Del tha Funkee Homosapien, "Dr. Bombay"
Go to episode 29

Favorite Literary Rock songs

Recently Jim and Greg were invited to speak at Washington College in Maryland about the relationship between rock and literature. They were eager to share some of their discussion this week on the show…and play music! While pop music doesn‘t get taken as seriously as the great novels of our time, for critics like Jim and Greg and for music fans, it’s as important a“text”as any other. Literary rock can mean multiple things — great rock criticism, poetic lyrics and even songs inspired by literature and poetic lyrics. Here are some of Jim and Greg's favorite Literary Rock songs:

  • Roxy Music, "In Every Dream Home a Heartbreak"
  • The Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil"
  • Patti Smith, "Gloria"
  • Cannibal Ox, "Iron Galaxy"
  • The Kinks, "The Village Green Preservation Society"**
  • Sly and the Family Stone, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"
  • Blur, "Parklife"

**Ray Davies fans should check out his 2008 visit to the show.

Go to episode 176

Songs About the Music Business

Rock ‘n’ roll is all about railing against the“man.”And for musicians, there's no bigger man than the record business. Some songs celebrate music's great A&R men and women or label heads. Many more skewer the suits. Here are Jim and Greg's favorites:

Go to episode 418
features

Music of the Beat Generation

If you read On the Road in high school, you know a thing or two about the Beat movement's influence on literature. This week, Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll author Simon Warner wants to get you thinking about the Beat influence on rock. Forget the stereotypical bongos; Warner says Beat fathers like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were most inspired by Harlem's avant-garde jazz invention, Bebop. Warner makes the case that the Beats influenced a whole generation of rock lyricists - Bob Dylan and John Lennon among them - to embrace a more surrealist, personal, and politically engaged approach to lyric-writing. Think of "Subterranean Homesick Blues," he says, as Beat poetry with a, well, beat. But while Ginsberg and Kerouac struck a chord with the hippie generation, it was Beat colleague William S. Burroughs who served as guru to the later musical avant-garde. 1970's punks Jim Carroll and Patti Smith, and alternative era stars like Kurt Cobain and Sonic Youth, all made pilgrimages to Burroughs' NYC bunker-apartment to pay their respects to“Old Bull Lee.”Burroughs'“cut up”writing technique may still inspire wordsmiths from Bowie to Thom Yorke, but Jim thinks it's Kerouac whose legacy may ultimately be the most lasting. It's that writer's spirit of adventure, Jim says, that continues to motivate every indie band still "on the road."

Go to episode 398
news

Music News

The first news story this week involves a deal made between the band Korn and the concert promoters formally known as Clear Channel-Live Nation. Korn, its label, and Live Nation, which runs about 70% of venues across the country, have agreed to share profits from record and ticket sales. This kind of synergy helps sell the Korn brand and maintain the idea of music acts as corporations. And, as Greg points out, deals like this could really revolutionize the music industry. Korn is not the first group to operate this way, however. British pop sensation Robbie Williams struck such a deal in 2002. Fellow Brits Radiohead, on the other hand, have chosen to go a completely different route. By not working with corporate promoters at all, they avoid the corporate concert machine entirely. As Radiohead fans in Chicago know, though, this is not an easy task.

Next up in the news is the bankruptcy announcement made by the largest chain of music stores, Musicland. While our hosts now prefer to support independent music stores, Jim (who was once a Musicland employee of sorts) remembers buying his first record, an album by King Crimson, at a similar chain store. For Jim and Greg, and many music fans who grew up shopping for music at the mall, the fall of Musicland is really the end of an era — or the death of a dinosaur.

Also making headlines this week is the always-controversial rapper Eminem. He and ex-wife Kimberly Mathers remarried. Like Sid and Nancy, and Kurt and Courtney before them, Marshall and Kim have a love story for the ages. Kim, both muse and mother, has managed to overlook some of the less kind words Eminem has said about her. Therefore, the romantics on the Sound Opinions staff wishes to congratulate those crazy kids. Mazel Tov, Em and Kim!

The Rolling Stones also make an appearance in the news. The latest all-stars to perform in the Superbowl Halftime Show, the Stones can hope to appeal to all generations of viewers. The Superbowl, however, seems a bit concerned. Despite the fact that the average age of a Stone is 65, halftime show producers initially tried to ban people over the age of 45 from coming up on stage to dance. The ban has since been removed, but sports fans shouldn't expect to see the Ashlee Simpson crowd getting down to "Start Me Up."

Finally, Jim and Greg remember soul great Wilson Pickett, who died Thursday. The singer, often called“Wicked Pickett,”was known for his wicked sound and behavior. Pickett, who grew up on a sharecropping farm in Alabama, fled to the north to make music. He later returned to the south to record some of his most famous songs, including "Mustang Sally," "In the Midnight Hour" and "Land of a 1000 Dances," which was embraced by punk rockers like Patti Smith. Pickett did covers as well. Listen to his version of "Hey Jude," which never ended up on a regular studio release, but can be heard on Pickett compilations.

Go to episode 8

Music News

The Nielsen SoundScan numbers for 2006 are in this week, and some members of the music industry would have you believe the sky was falling. This is because total album sales in the U.S. fell 4.9% since last year. But, the fact that is getting buried is that overall music sales still rose to 1.19 billion units in the year. It's hard to think of that as any kind of slump. The reason music is thriving is actually digital music distribution. Digital music sales rose 65% to almost 582 units. Jim and Greg speak with an expert, Chris Muratore from Nielsen Music to make sense of all the numbers. He admits that despite what the record labels would have you believe, digital music could be the best thing that has happened to the music industry in years. Billboard senior analyst Geoff Mayfield echoes this sentiment, and explains that the industry is having to shift its business model. One thing we can all agree on though - music sales may be up, but the quality of the big sellers (High School Musical, Rascal Flatts, Daniel Powter) has plummeted way down.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also made news this week. This year's inductees include The Ronettes, Patti Smith, Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and R.E.M. (listen to Jim and Greg's discussion with the band's guitarist and co-founder Peter Buck in the next segment). While many of those musicians are deserving of honors, Jim and Greg are dubious of the ceremonies themselves. They're more about tuning in to see who will or will not attend and who will and will not reunite than they are about music's great history. Van Halen is not the most important rock act, but fans are anxious to see which front man will show up and play — David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar (or Gary Cherone)? Our hosts wish that bands like Chic, whose music has provide the basis for tons of other songs like "Rapper's Delight," "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life," had been inducted. Jim adds The Stooges and Kraftwerk also deserve a Hall of Fame nod.

Go to episode 59

Music News

Jim and Greg kick off the show by celebrating the life of another great artist: saxophonist and free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, dead at the age of 85. While critics sometimes loosely toss around phrases about musicians changing music, in this case, it is an undisputed truth. Coleman forever set jazz on an entirely new path, with an influence spreading into the world of rock, as well. Artists like Patti Smith, The Velvet Underground, and Sonic Youth all stood in the shadow of Coleman's innovations. He developed a musical philosophy he called "harmolodics," which set aside the traditional approach of adhering to chord changes and instead created intricately layered melodies that favored each instrument equally. Though sometimes dismissed as dissonant noise, Greg contends that Coleman had one of the greatest ears for melody in music. As an example of Ornette's unique approach to ensemble playing, Greg plays "Jump Street" from Ornette Coleman's 1979 album Of Human Feelings.

Go to episode 499

Music News

Jim calls Poly Styrene one of the most important female rock figures from the 1970's - right up there with Patti Smith. And this week, she died at age 53. Marianne Elliot-Said adopted the persona of Poly Styrene after seeing the Sex Pistols play in London. She went on to front her own band X-Ray Spex. They only put out one album, Germ Free Adolescents in 1978, but it's a classic. To say farewell to Poly, Jim and Greg play a track from that record called "I Live Off You."

Go to episode 283

Music News

The Beatles remasters were a big success story for Apple Corp. In one week they sold more than 600,000 albums in the U.S. and had 13 of the 14 best-selling catalog albums. So the question is, are they worth it? Jim and Greg give their answers. The sound is improved, but the packaging isn‘t much to write home about. And, as Jim says, how many new Beatles formats should fans be expected to buy? Greg thinks the real gems are the Fab Four’s mono mixes, but those are only available as a separate and pricey box set. Jim and Greg think fans deserve a little more for their money.

Two rock lawsuits are making the news. First, The Ellen DeGeneres Show is being sued by some of the largest record companies for copyright infringement. As viewers know, Ellen frequently and enthusiastically dances during the show. Unfortunately for her she doesn‘t like any fair-use beats. Instead she’s boogied down to over 1,000 copyrighted pop songs without permission. As Jim notes, the ironies abound: Ellen has not only hosted the recording industry's biggest award show, The Grammys, but she's been tapped as a new judge on American Idol, who works in partnership with Sony Music, one of the plaintiffs.

Next is an update on a lawsuit Jim and Greg discussed earlier this year. Guitar shredder Joe Satriani sued Coldplay for ripping off his composition If I Could Fly, in their track Viva La Vida. The suit has been dropped, and while no financial details have been revealed, Coldplay doesn't have to admit to any guilt.

Jim CarrollFamed poet, spoken word artist and punk rocker Jim Carroll passed away last week at the age of 60. Carroll may be best known for his 1978 book The Basketball Diaries, which was adapted into a film of the same name. He was also very involved in the CBGB's punk scene of the 1970s, and under the encouragement of Patti Smith, transformed his poetry into music. To honor Carroll, Jim and Greg play People Who Died from his 1980 album Catholic Boy.

Go to episode 199