November 13, 1994
Fred (Sonic) Smith, original guitarist for the rock band MC5 and several other groups, including his Sonic's Rendezvous Band, has died. He was 44. He died Nov. 4 of heart failure in Detroit, said his wife, Patti Smith, a poet and singer from the mid-1970s punk movement. A native of West Virginia, the guitarist spent most of his life in Detroit. He began his career playing with local bands when he was a teen-ager and joined MC5 in the mid-1960s.
July 24, 1988 |
Christ died for somebody's sins, but not mine. Patti Smith earned my undivided attention with those words. It was the opening line of "Oath," a poem that appeared in a 1971 issue of Creem magazine. Although it wasn't set to music then, it nevertheless jumped off the page. Ditto, a eulogy she wrote earlier on Janis Joplin in the teen mag Hullabaloo: "We are going to have to reinvent our heroes because they're dying."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 2013 |
Paul Williams was returning to his dorm room when a fellow student relayed a message that was radical even for the 1960s: "Hey, Williams! You got a phone call from Bob Dylan. " Not long before, it was Paul Simon who had rung Williams up on the hallway pay phone. He too wanted to let the Swarthmore College freshman know how much he enjoyed his writing. At 17, Williams was the founder and editor of Crawdaddy, a tiny journal of rock criticism whose first edition he mimeographed in a friend's Brooklyn basement and distributed to record stores, clubs and concert halls.
November 7, 2002
You told the brief story of musician Ryan Adams, who stopped a concert when a fan jokingly yelled out a request for a song by Bryan Adams ("Quick Takes," Oct. 17). Ryan turned on the lights and refused to continue until said fan was ejected from the arena. You didn't mention if Mr. Adams had a solitary tear rolling pitifully down his cheek while all this happened. This amusing story reminded me of a performance I had the pleasure of seeing a few years ago of New York rocker Patty Smyth.
July 18, 1999
With the exception of the Go Go's, Erik Himmelsbach's androcentric list of SoCal's "most remarkable shows" ("What, No Depeche Mode?" So SoCal, June 13) excluded some great female performances. Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company closing a daylong festival at the Rose Bowl in the summer of '68; Laura Nyro's first gig at the Troubadour in October '69; Joni Mitchell on a bill at Pauley Pavilion with Frank Zappa and the L.A. Philharmonic (early '70s); Patti Smith at the Roxy (mid-'70s)
November 6, 2013 |
Lou Reed left behind one of the most influential catalogs in music, spanning his Velvet Underground records and decades of solo work and collaborations. But he also left behind something more immediate -- his will and estate . The 71-year-old died Oct. 27 of complications from a liver transplant. He had no children, and his considerable estate will be divided among his immediate family. The will leaves his Manhattan penthouse, East Hampton home and the majority of his estate to his wife, the musician Laurie Anderson.
March 25, 1996 |
Patti Smith walked on stage Saturday night at the Wiltern Theatre wearing a hooded warmup jacket that made her look like a monk returning from a lengthy retreat, which is not a bad way to think of her first formal U.S. tour in 17 years. Smith, who turned away from rock stardom in 1979 to raise a family in Detroit with musician Fred "Sonic" Smith, is so respected by much of today's rock community that the atmosphere in the Wiltern bordered on spiritual reverence.
June 22, 2008 |
WHO WOULD have guessed, in the mid-1970s, that Patti Smith would end up as the visionary poet-mother of rock 'n' roll? Smith's brilliant early career seemed likely to end in burnout; as she intoned, memorably, at the start of her 1975 debut album, "Horses": "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." Smith, however, has not burned out but thrived. The key is that she is a poet first; she has always approached rock with a poet's eye.