There's only been a small smattering of mentions of Smith on here -- not too surprising given the obscurity of his story -- but as a couple of us have been noting on the Ugly Things thread, Mike Stax's book-length study of Smith's life and fate is about out (I already have a copy en route via the UT webstore)
The original article about him in UT was seriously breathtaking and sad -- the idea of the acid-burnout/psych weirdo as cliched concept is so locked in it might as well be a joke in some circles, but Stax did a great job in pointing out the actual human loss involved. Not that Smith died back then -- he only passed a couple of years back -- but most of his life ended up being a terrible fog, something that this country's method of dealing with the homeless and mentally ill just made all the worse. Imagine the last three decades of Skip Spence's life but ultimately much more confused and worse -- at least Spence had some care and support from the ex-Moby Grape folks, for example.
Pretty good summary of the story here plus some TV and song clips:
I have honestly been waiting for this book for a couple of years, and I'm willing to bet it will be as remarkable, in its own way, as Bob Mehr's _Trouble Boys_, less a story of a 'cult musician' as it is someone caught in a situation with no such thing as a simple answer.
― Ned Raggett, Thursday, 1 September 2016 17:42 (one year ago) Permalink
― velko, Saturday, 3 September 2016 17:52 (one year ago) Permalink
The book is unsurprisingly excellent, and I highly recommend it. While it helped I'd already read the shorter version of the overall story, it's very easy to get into and read through,and Stax is open at every step of the way about who was contacted who didn't wish to participate, as well as the sheer lack of information about whatever exactly happened to him in Kandahar back in 1968. We'll just never know.
― Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 September 2016 16:37 (one year ago) Permalink
my friend just got a copy of the stax book. i was looking through the pictures and somehow just got sucked into one of the later chapters, just totally absorbed. when i came back to the real world i was like, "wow, i need to read this very intense book!"
also, this "apache" record is just so so good imo
― budo jeru, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 06:50 (two weeks ago) Permalink