Unearthed after more than forty years and unheard since their original airing, the recordings of Village Voice "Scenes" columnist and radio personality HoWard Smith are available for the first time on iTunes beginning November 20. During his tenure as the host of a nationally syndicated WPLJ-FM weekend program Smith conducted interviews with well-known musicians and notable cultural figures between 1969 and 1972. These tapes include revealing and personal conversations with Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Jim Morrison, Buckminster Fuller, Abbie Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Hugh Hefner, Dr. John, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Pete Townsend, Arlo Guthrie, Bill Graham, Norman Mailer, D.A. Pennebaker and many more. Smith sat down with John Lennon and Yoko Ono no less than five times and dispatched hourly reports live from Woodstock.
Containing over 100 interviews, The Smith Tapes will be released every 3 weeks on iTunes starting with Collection #1-Fillmore East featuring John and Yoko Ono, Bill Graham, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, The Dominos, Lou Reed, Andy Warhol. Please see full track listing and details below. The Smith Tapes will also release a limited edition, hand numbered box set of more than 12 CD's of 19 conversations and a cassette shaped USB drive containing his extensive interview with Hugh Hefner and his dispatches from Woodstock solely via Kickstarter November 20.
With each interview, The Smith Tapes creates an unscripted time capsule of a period of extraordinary cultural transformation. Smith had an unique knack for meeting artists at seminal moments including Mick Jagger just weeks before The Rolling Stones Concert at Altamont, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda directly following their the debut of Easy Rider at The Cannes Film Festival, Pete Townshend during The Who's rock opera Tommy performance at The Metropolitan Opera, Andy Warhol after his shooting and Janis Joplin just before her deatH. Smith locked away these original interview reels in a crate for more than 40 years in his loft in New York's Village. Upon discovery, the tapes were carefully digitized and edited.
About HoWard Smith: HoWard Smith is an Oscar winning film director, journalist and broadcaster. As a writer for more than thirty years, his articles have appeared in Playboy, The New York Times. He had a weekly column "Scenes" during the formative years of The Village Voice. In 1972, Smith produced and directed the Oscar winning feature-length documentary film "Marjoe" about evangelist Marjoe Gortner.
About The Smith Tapes Release: The Smith Tapes are being released by Ezra Bookstein in conjunction with Cass Smith, Howard's son. Bookstein has been working in documentary films and television programming for the last 15 years. When Bookstein was contacted about this incredible collection of reels, The Smith Tapes were born. Working with the interviews, Bookstein "found them more engaging then if they were filmed. Without the visuals to get in the way, to distance you, one can experience the conversation almost as a participant." Cass Smith is an architect and discovered the interviews while helping his father clean out his apartment and has been looking for the right vehicle to bring them to life.
The Smith Tapes – Collection #1-Fillmore East Track Listing
John Lennon and Yoko Ono- January 23, 1972
In their new home in the Village and set against the backdrop of a Beatles marathon on the radio, Lennon and Ono spoke with Smith about the Beatles and their break-up, John's new album, Janov therapy, the complicated feelings he has about performing live and the remnants of their Peace activistm.
Bill Graham-June 1969
As owner of the Fillmore West in San Francisco and Fillmore East in NYC, Graham ran two of the most beloved music venues in the country during the time of the interview. In June '69, the clubs were only open for little more than a year and were wildly successful however Graham would close them the next year.
Frank Zappa- June 6, 1971
By the time of this hotel room interview, Zappa had already released 11 albums in his prolific career. A few months prior, he formed a new version of his band The Mothers and made the film 200 Motels. The interview ranges from topics of speaking about the film, his band's rehearsal regimen and the nuts and bolts of managing The Mothers. The conversation turns to his dislike of the audiences at the Fillmore East. Near the end of the interview, we hear Lennon & Ono chime iN. Howard had brought them along to meet Zappa and they'd been sitting on the couch the entire time.
Eric Clapton-October 24, 1970
By the time of this interview, Clapton had already been in eight bands, including the Yardbirds and Cream. His new band, Derek & the Dominos, was the first in which Clapton took the leadership role. They discuss this, and that Clapton recently learned to sing and the corrupting influence of money. The day of this interview, they are about to play Fillmore East which was recorded live and released as the album In Concert.
The Dominos (Derek & The Dominos)-October 25, 1970
The day after their second show at The Fillmore East, Howard met members of The Dominos including Carl Radle, Jim Gordon and Bobby Whitlock to talk about their different musical backgrounds, their technique and how the band got their name.
Lou Reed-March 26, 1969
At the time of this interview, Reed and his band, The Velvet Underground, had already recorded the two albums The Velvet Underground & Nico and White Heat/White Light. The internal struggles within the band surfaced and as a result Warhol had been fired as manager and Nico and John Cale had left the group. Reed's new album, The Velvet Underground, had just been released and he and Smith discuss the bands name, radio as opposed to film being the future of entertainment and Reed's newfound dislike of drugs and disassociation from his past persona.
Andy Warhol & Paul Morrissey-November 28, 1968
Still recovering from being shot five months earlier, Warhol came to the station to talk with Howard off-air about the upcoming release of his film Lonesome Cowboys. In this long conversation, Warhol and longtime film collaborator, Paul Morrissey, talk about filmmaking on the cheap, the Valerie Solanas shooting and Warhol's new focus on television. In a few weeks time, Solanas would be released from the State Mental Hospital and call Warhol threatening to shoot him again.