THE SMITH TAPES, COLLECTION #2: AQUARIAN THEATER Set for Release on iTunes Today
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 now available for the first time. Containing over 100 interviews, The Smith Tapes will be released in monthly installments on digital retailers iTunes and Amazon. Collection #1: Fillmore East was released on November 20 with Collection #2: Aquarian Theater due today, December 18. The latest collection contains interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, Jim Morrison, Arlo Guthrie, James Rado and Gerome Ragni and Dick Gregory. See full track listing and details below.
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 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 time. The Smith Tapes recently completed their Kickstarter campaign to release a limited edition, hand numbered box set of more than 12 CD's of 18 conversations and a cassette shaped USB drive containing Smith's extensive interview with Hugh Hefner and his hourly dispatches from Woodstock.
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.
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.
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.