Patti Smith, Liberal Icon

I recently stumbled across the information that Patti Smith wrote the lyrics for several songs of the band Blue Oyster Cult.  I like BOC even less than I like Smith (I do like her Horses album), but I was surprised at the connection and soon learned she had dated the keyboardist of BOC.  In Richard Meltzer’s book about BOC he had this to say about Patti:

“OK, basically, I was the one who brought her to the band,” recounts Meltzer. “She was my friend. In the summer of 1970, my dentist was around the corner from the bookstore where she worked, Scribner’s Books on 5th Avenue in the 40s. And I stopped in there and we became great friends. And somewhere down the line I brought her to the band. And Pearlman wanted to fuck her and that was his interest. And I don’t know if he did or didn’t, but once it was clear that she was with Allen, it got to be that there was a lot of tension between Pearlman and Allen. And Allen and Patti were very anti-Semitic folks, without any irony whatsoever. You know, fuck the Jews, all that kind of stuff. And so there was a lot of anti-Pearlman wrath from both of them. I lived with this woman Ronnie and we would hang out with Allen and Patti a lot, through the mid ‘70s. And essentially what made the relationship viable was that we didn’t mind their anti-Semitism. But the point is that Allen thought the faux-Nazi stuff was a joke. I mean, everybody took it as a joke. Except, as I remember, Eric [Bloom] thought there was something cool about it, that the Third Reich had its shit together. You know, the Jew in the woodpile was the one that took it the most seriously.”

My complaint with Smith is the same one I have with Elton John; they both are just too well acclaimed for the low quality of their output.  I wonder if she really was anti-Semitic; I have no idea what Metzger’s reputation is.  Smith’s status now as a liberal icon guarantees she would never admit it. Her public life hides whatever is true.  She just released a second autobiographical book.  Opportunist? Marketing maven?  I think so.

More on the “secret” Patti Smith:

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