This book comprises Michael Stipe’s intimate and evocative photos of Patti Smith on tour in 1995, along with other cultural celebrities who appeared with her, such as Allen Ginsberg. In addition to text by Stipe, William S. Burroughs, and Patti Smith, there is also commentary from Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lenny Kaye, Tom Verlaine, and more.
“This isn’t a traditional book of portraits . . . The overwhelming mood is one of disjunction, claustrophobia, exhaustion, temporariness—and the effect is raw and intimate.” —Publishers Weekly
“An energetic and gracious tribute to not only a great artist, but also to a powerful moment in her oeuvre—and to those who contributed to it and shared in it.” —New York Journal of Books
“Stipe’s personal friendship lends something greater to the overall vision of this book. It isn’t simply a set of snapshots of performances, but rather a collection of rare moments. The personal nature of the anthology makes it all the more enticing and enjoyable. Smith, in all her glory and awe-inspiring talent, is portrayed in the truest light.” —Verbicide Magazine
“A fascinating book . . . including appearances by Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Tom Verlaine, the members of Sonic Youth and more . . . and the short text tributes to Smith by these people, scattered throughout the manuscript, are well worth your time.” —Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
|Publisher:||Akashic Books (Ignition)|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
2xIntro is when the singer comes in. 20 years later here I am. abstracted vs. personal. never meant to be a photo book.
2xIntro is when the singer comes in. In writing and performing pop songs, you pretty much find the hook and repeat it twice before you introduce the vocal – two choruses or two of the guitar parts that go through the verse and you're off – that's the formula, that's the general rule. All this – this book, whatever I've done whatever she's done – is kind of about breaking the rules, and working within them. This is about inspiration, and wham it can take you.
I first met Patti Smith In the autumn of 1975. I was in detention study hall at high school in Collinsville, Illinois, outside of East St. Louis. I was 15. I was a dork nerd. I didn't want to be there. Somebody had left a music magazine. Creem, under the desk that I sat at. I started reading it, and found an article about a new scene that was developing in New York City. At a bar called CBGB's, bands like the Patti Smith Group and Television were creating a local stir, and starting to attract fringe music fans. Though I was far away and had nothing to do with any of this, I immediately felt a strange connection, some outsider teenage pull – not to sound like "this is my church" – but it was like a Mack truck dropped on me.
The writer of the article, Lisa Robinson, said that the music and style of these bands was like b&w TV, scratchy and raw and stripped of color, visceral and vital, radio-static and intense. There was a haunting photograph of a young Patti Smith, leaning against a wall, staring down the camera, all scary and beautiful. It was astonishing. I was mesmerized.
I hounded the record store and bought her first album the day it came out. It was mindblowing -emotional and imperfect, swirling, b&w. It was so direct and real. I went on to buy Television, Wire, The Velvet Underground – there was a world of music to explore. I felt disconnected from the popular music of the time. but here was something that spoke to me. For almost two years I was alone in my love for this stuff – I was still an insecure nerd, but the music gave me a sense of strength. As Burroughs wrote in the preface, I felt "lifted out of myself."
I was taking a class in photography and borrowed my Dad's 35mm camera and started taking pictures. I answered an ad, joined a band, moved away, answered another ad, quit, got a job, started my own band in 1979; and by 1980 I was writing okay songs and printing my own photos in the kitchen of my rental, using stolen developer and a shitty enlarger.
I met Patti Smith in the summer of 1995 in Detroit, and several times subsequent, and we became friends. She had pretty much abandoned live performance for near on 16 years and was considering doing shows again. I was on tour with my band, R.E.M., and had spent the last 15 years performing live and making records. On first meeting her, I stated my long admiration for her work, and how profoundly it had influenced me and the direction my life had taken.
It must have bored her to tears, but it had a leveling effect It allowed our past together – my past – to be put away. I could see her for the person she is and not as some distanced heroic influence. She would not have to guess my interest or allegiance. And we could get on with the present as two people whose experiences and work afforded us a great deal in common.
That November. Bob Dylan invited Patti to open for him for several shows in the Northeastern US. She accepted- Dylan had been a huge influence on Patti, and it was significant in that she had not toured wtth a band for almost two decades. I was In New York and Patti asked if I wanted to coma to a few shows. I said yes.
It was kind of a mistake that I wound up on the bus for the entirety of the tour. Dylan added several shows to a successful run, and so I jumped on Partti's bus in Manhattan and what was supposed to be 4 shows turned into 12 or 13. Half the way through I was having so much fun I thought why not finish it up, and so I did. I had my cameras, as I always do. Oliver Ray, guitarist in Patti's band, had a old polaroid and was excited about learning how to use it. A lot of pictures got taken.
The combined bill of Dylan and Patti was phenomenal. They obviously had great admiration for each other, but what might have been great became Instead transcendent – a kind of inspired and benevolent boxing match. I sat stageside or backstage with my camera, watching and taking pictures. This is my photo diary of those 2 weeks. It's what I saw.
I can only hope that the inspiration that made this book possible will carry on through words or pictures, or music or laughter.
All the best and thank you for looking.
Michael Stipe August. 1997(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Two Times Intro: On the Road with Patti Smith"
Copyright © 2011 Michael Stipe.
Excerpted by permission of Akashic Books.
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Table of Contents
2 x Re-Intro 2011,
Chiaroscuro: an arrangement of light and dark parts to create a pictorial vision.,