Patti Smith Group at Bogart’s, Cincinnati OH [2-16-78]

Today’s post has been in the works for a considerable amount of time, with numerous attempts at editing and proofing and then starting all over again, simply because I was never that happy with the results [mainly with the color images]. I believed they were always too grainy, due to the low lighting conditions, combined with the limitations of the film used at the time, and, yes, I had to use a flash.  In addition, it took me forever to pin down the actual date of this show, as my ticket stub had long ago been misplaced.

concert-ad-patti-smith-at-bogarts-feb-1978

This was one of many shows I would attend at this venue in Cincy, as they would often host artists that rarely made their way into Louisville.  At this point, it was easier to make the trip because I owned a car – one of my lousy life choices, but that’s another story for a different time & place.  At least it allowed me to see music performances of my own choice, more easily, when distances were involved, and for a period of two years or so, I frequently made the drive to this club, before they closed their doors for quite some time, in order to enlarge the place.  One of the great attractions of seeing shows here, was the fact that you could eat at their restaurant, before the show began, which then allowed you to take your seat/place before the others waiting in line outside to get in.

Unfortunately, after making the drive to Lexington, to pick up one of the few people I knew who shared an interest in Patti Smith at the time [Tom Marksbury, who was my classmate and kindred spirit in most things musical while at university], we would arrive too late to take advantage of the “meal route” to get good seats.  Instead, we had to make our way from the entrance into a nearly full room.

By happenstance, whilst earlier researching info on the date of this performance, I came across this interesting tid-bit, regarding the opening act that we missed.  Begs some questions, mainly about whether anything resembling footage from this performance was taken, or, were they some of the people who would later be backstage, talking futher with Patti.….

We’re Just Like You [artist collective]

While that was initially a disappointment, it meant that we could witness the band come down the stairs from the upstairs “backstage” area, uniquely located mid-way between the bar/restaurant and the performance space, itself.  So, as a couple of band members made their way through the crowd, here came Patti, with a large steel cooking pot atop her head like a helmet, reciting a poem of some sort while using a wooden spoon to bang out a rhythm on another pot, as she followed the others to the stage [no photos, as this was unexpected and the room too dark].  It was at this point that I followed their lead to make my way toward the stage, while I left Tom to sort out where he wanted to be for the show.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith white jacket early COLOR [Pa

Patti Smith, shortly after the cooking pot came off her head, and as I tried to find an angle which didn’t involve many heads blocking my camera view

The early part of set took some time to gel, musically, as the band seemed a bit tired at first. Unbeknownst to me, they had only recently wrapped up the recordings for “Easter” “Easter”, the album, Wikipedia  and were probably just getting used to touring again, in a low-key fashion, before the release date. While they worked that out onstage, I was restlessly trying to find a place to take photos from, and eventually had to settle on the left side of the stage, where a roadie was kind enough to allow me to rest atop a bank of PA speakers, for a good portion of the remaining set.  This spot was partially open, because the grand piano blocked any seated view of the proceedings from that side of the room. However, I was happy to be that close to the stage, and not be responsible for blocking others’ view of the show.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith, Ivan Kral and Jay Dee Daugh

At this point, the band is beginning to get in gear, and my angles to shoot from were beginning to get a bit better

While the first roll of film used on this night was color, I soon ran out and had to switch to B&W film.  My budget was tight, so the number of photos was limited to 3 rolls [the number I had in my mind at the time…. explanation and evidence to the contrary, to follow, in part two of this story].

As you can see from the frames above, it was often difficult to get a clear shot without people’s heads in the way, and this also lent itself to strange casting of the flash in several images – frustrating, on one hand, but adding  an interesting imaging quality to some stills, on the other hand.  In case you were wondering:  the two buttons on Patti’s jacket read, “Sonic’s Rendezvous Band”, and “City Slang”, both of which were related to her now-departed husband Fred “Sonic” Smith Fred “Sonic” Smith on Wikipedia. One was for the name of his group at the time, and the other for the A-side of their single.  She’s also wearing a t-shirt with the band name emblazoned on it, as is clear in some of the photographs.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith white jacket eyes closed Col

Still partially blocked for this frame, but nice and clear, for the most part

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith hand and pout RE detail [Pat

Close-up still after moving “stage left”

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith white jacket early 4 COLOR R

Patti is still wearing the jacket, but not for much longer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith hands waving RE [Patti Smith

Patti’s expressive hands constantly gesture throughout the performance

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Lenny Kaye Color [Patti Smith Group - Bo

Lenny Kaye early in the set

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Lenny Kaye guitar & Bruce Brody horizont

Bruce Brody on keyboards, at the left, with Lenny Kaye on vocals and guitar

Lenny Kaye, as many of you reading this may know, is also quite the respected music journalist, and was an early enthusiast of Jamaican releases in the States, in addition to his 60s Garage Music affections.  I even owned a bootleg 45 rpm that was released, under the alias of Link Cromwell, which featured much of the Patti Smith Group playing in such a style, called “No Jestering” image & details of the boot 7″ [not mine btw]. This tune also turned up on a Giorno Records compilation Link Cromwell A-Side on Giorno Records.

You might just make out Lenny’s t-shirt featuring Rastafarian imagery, with the “Jah Love Productions” underneath.  Meanwhile, Ivan Kral Ivan Kral Official Site was sporting a Keith Richards image on his chest, early in the set, between songs. That particular shirt has shown up countless times in other photos of the band, and being worn by different members, as well.

Another note to mention about the above-left image, and the picture below:  you can see Patti’s dear brother Todd, who was also a key member of their tours.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye & Todd Smith alo

Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye & Todd Smith [Patti’s brother]

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Ivan Kral solos & Patti Smith sings [Pat

Ivan Kral solos

The following series of shots might look a bit “off”, but that is due to the fact that I had decided to try out a lens filter, as an experiment……..

That was not to be repeated many times afterward.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Ivan Kral, Lenny Kaye & Patti Smith hori

Ivan Kral, Lenny Kaye & Patti Smith

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Ivan Kral, Lenny Kaye & Patti Smith no 3

Ivan, Lenny & Patti, with what appears to be her Fender DuoSonic, reportedly owned by Jimmy Hendrix?

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Lenny Kaye shines on bass & Patti Smith

A very clear example of the lens filter at work

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Bruce Brody, Jay Dee Daugherty & Ivan Kr

Bruce Brody, Jay Dee Daugherty & Ivan Kral

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jay Dee Daugherty closeup RE [Patti Smit

The only clear shot I would get of Jay Dee Daugherty on this occasion. He would play a vital role in allowing me to get much better images of the band a few months later.  Story to follow, a bit later….

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Ivan Kral, Andi Ostrowe, Patti Smith & L

Ivan Kral now sports a different shirt; Andi Ostrowe sits & listens while Patti and Lenny play

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Ivan Kral, Lenny Kaye & Patti Smith no 2

Ivan, Lenny & Patti jam; and the lens filter created those streaks of light

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith tends her hair Color [Patti

Another image of Patti from very early in the set

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith hands RE - Close up [Patti S

Close-up that is slightly marred by a waving hand

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith pursed lips shadow [Patti Sm

Another favorite image of mine, caught between the mic-stands and verses.  For once, the flash worked as desired

The “story”….. Part Two:

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith & Ivan Kral collage 1 [Patti

The beers and the joy of the performance led to me losing track of how much I had already shot, and the beers subsequently led to me re-shooting a roll of film by accident.  Interesting, if chaotic, results, like Lenny Kaye’s hand resting on Ivan Kral’s heart, and Andi Ostrowe peering from the lower right corner………

Earlier, I mentioned that Tom Marksbury had joined me to see this show. Tom was a contributing writer to the university newspaper, and also had a show on their radio station, as did I, during our freshman year. Seeing as he was a Lit-major and fledgling writer, and I had a camera, I hit upon an idea in my now-fuzzy state, and threw out the idea of trying to get an interview of Patti Smith and the band.  I had seen a couple of record promotion people wandering around as the show finished, while people were encouraged to drink up and head home. Although Tom was not convinced it would work, we approached a rep and pitched doing an interview for a small university in Kentucky, and the next thing we knew…

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Ivan Kral backstage looking glum [Patti

Ivan Kral looking positively bored, waiting for the whole after-show scene, with record company people and hangers-on taking up valuable rest time.  Another frame from the roll of film that I drunkenly re-shot

Once we were backstage, Tom immediately took a spot crouching next to the table where Patti was being interviewed by another young couple.  She seemed drained, from the show, and from the types of questions she was being asked, and when Tom found a chance, he immediately gained her attention with his questions concerning the authors Rimbaud and Baudelaire and her work.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith backstage collage 3 [Patti S

Patti Smith as she is interviewed backstage, from that roll of film that was exposed twice, by accident. Notice Lenny Kaye & Patti in the upper left

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith backstage collage 3 RE [Patt

Close-up during the interview

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Patti Smith backstage collage 1 RE [Patt

Tom Marksbuy has got Patti Smith’s full attention at this point. Another frame that was accidentally double-exposed.

Once I saw Tom was in his element, and things were progressing well, I wandered off to attempt to take a few pictures of the sort that I’ve never really been good at: candids.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Bruce Brody backstage RE [Patti Smith Gr

Bruce Brody backstage

Bruce Brody Bruce Brody website was the first of the musicians that I worked up the nerve to approach and strike up a conversation with.  Things did not start well, at all, because I mistakenly referred to him as Richard Sohl Richard Sohl – Wikipedia . Quite some time had elapsed between the release of “Radio Ethiopia” “Radio Ethiopia”, the album, Wikipedia. In the meantime, Patti Smith had had her fall offstage and severely damaged her neck and spine; the recuperation; and then the recording of the new material; so, news of Richard Sohl’s illness and subsequent replacement, wasn’t immediately as widespread as it is today, with the ubiquitousness of the Internet. It was instantly clear that he did not  want to continue with any sort of chatter, so I moved on.  Lenny Kaye was quite absorbed in discussions, one after the next, with a variety of people: promotional, road crew, and fans alike.  It was clear that he was too busy, and you could tell that Ivan Kral was not interested either.

All the while that I made my way around the room, quite a few peope would come in and out, including members of the road crew, whom I thought should also get some love, and share a few snapshots of:

It would seem that the gent with the woolen cap on his head, must have been Jay Dee Daugherty’s drum roadie, judging from the snare drum he is seen carrying, and from his talking with Jay Dee in the left image, looking over Ivan’s shoulder, above.  There are plenty of other images to be seen lurking in these “happy accident” exposures, as well.

As I made my way around the room, it was suddenly clear that Jay Dee Daugherty was free, and I took my chance and decided to take another stab at starting a conversation.  When it comes to speaking with musicians, I have always tried my best to stay away from adulatory remarks, and instead, tried to “talk shop”, as much as possible.  I have never played drums, so that line of discussion was well out of my league, but, I was intrigued with the fact that with so many groups based in NYC at the time, there must have been a huge need for bands to meet with, and work with, producers…. and all the better, if those producers were musicians, as well.  It seemed as good a question as any, to start with, so that’s exactly what I did: asked him if he or any of the others were involved with producing other bands, seeing as they had had such a long time between touring and recording?

Jay Dee immediately perked up, and started talking about the fact that there were many, many bands working in NYC, and that, indeed, he’d been approached to work with a few.  One of the few he mentioned, as I recall, was called Driver’s School, or Driver’s Ed… After reading his brief bio on Wikipedia Jay Dee Daugherty – Wikipedia it is easy to see that he had been working with several people, in such a capacity, at that point in time, including Lester Bangs Lester Bangs’ 7″ single and the group Mars  Mars 7″ single. He may have mentioned both, but I was not writing these details down, nor recording them in any fashion….. all of this is from memory, detailing events that happened 38 years ago.  The conversation went much smoother than I had anticipated, and enjoyably so, for so long, that at a certain point, the record company people signalled it was time to wrap it up, and we had to be on our way.  Jay Dee and I shook hands, and I thanked him for giving me his time and attention, and then Tom and I headed on our way.The ride back to Lexington with Tom and I sharing our stories and thoughts on the day, made the drive back a safe and very enjoyable one, in spite of the time.

Before leaving, the handlers for Patti Smith gave us a bio/folder, with materials related to “Radio Ethiopia”, and more:

Patti Smith - You Can't Say article

Patti Smith - Palladium NYE '76-'77 flyer

Patti Smith - 78 Speed

Patti Smith - Field Marshall

Patti Smith Official website:

Patti Smith Official

Whether or not Tom actually wrote anything for the newspaper on this experience, I do not know.  None of these photos have been published before [to my knowledge], and if Tom Marksbury happens to find a gap of time between his documentary projects, like those on Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, and Nick Nolte, directors Sam Peckinpah, John Ford, and Tod Browning, music producer Jerry Wexler, and author Hunter S. Thompson, and he wants to add his recollections to this post, I’d be most happy to post them.

Here is an interesting interview of Patti Smith, done by another successful artist, who was much influenced by his predecessor.  The site features many artists being interviewed by their peers:

BOMB Magazine interview of Patti Smith by Thurston Moore

In the meantime, stay tuned for the story and photos that were taken, just a few months later, as a result of Jay Dee Daugherty remembering our conversation after the Bogart’s performance.

The story continues… at Louisville Memorial Auditorium, on April 28, 1978

The Louisville Show, in April 1978

NOTE:  A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE WATERMARKS ON MY WORK

While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.

No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs.  On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night. 

Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then.  Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers:  a venue for discussion.

Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here.  This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.

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One response to “Patti Smith Group at Bogart’s, Cincinnati OH [2-16-78]

  1. Pingback: The Patti Smith Group – Louisville Memorial Auditorium, in Louisville, KY [April 26, 1978] | michaelconen "where were you?"·

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