THE SMITH TAPES
THE RECORDINGS OF HOWARD SMITH FROM 1969-1972
COLLECTION 4—WOODSTOCK AVAILABLE VIA DIGITAL RETAILERS FEBRUARY 12
“At a time when rock ‘n’ roll, the sexual revolution and the antiwar counter culture all intersected, Mr. Smith spoke to seemingly every boldface name.” —The New York Times
Unearthed after more than 40 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. Following Collection 1—Fillmore East, Collection 2—Aquarian Theatre and Collection 3—Everything’s Not Okay comes collection Collection 4—Woodstock. This new offering features interviews with Ravi Shankar, Joe Cocker, Woodstock producers John Roberts and Jole Rosenman, Sly Stone, John Lennon and Yoko Ono from their Bed-In, live reports from the Woodstock festival and commentary on the Woodstock film. Please 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 times. The Smith Tapes recently completed their Kickstarter campaign to release a limited edition, hand numbered box set of more than 12 CDs 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 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 after 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 restored and edited.
About Howard Smith: Howard Smith is an Oscar-winning film director, journalist and broadcaster. As a writer for more than 30 years, his articles have appeared in Playboy and 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 Calder 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 than 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.
For more information, please contact Samantha Tillman, Carla Sacks at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000.
The Smith Tapes— Collection 4—Woodstock
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Bed-In / May 29, 1969
During the second of their two week-long Bed-Ins for Peace, John and Yoko speak to Smith over the phone from their bed at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. They discuss the ways they believe peace should be promoted and advertised, John’s long hair and beard, and some of the differences between members of The Beatles.
Woodstock Reports / August 15-17, 1969
In these nationally syndicated spots, Smith reports live via telephone from Woodstock Music and Art Fair. He gives a first-hand account of the event as it unfolds, describing the crowd, the music and the scene.
Woodstock, the Film / February 25, 1970
The day before the premiere of their eponymous documentary on Woodstock, director Michael Wadleigh and producer Bob Maurice sat down with Howard. They discuss how they came to make the film, and the incredible challenges they faced while there.
Sly Stone / January 3, 1969
Stone speaks to Smith about how the band came together, their closeness and their recent rise to success.
Woodstock, Inc. / October 1969
John Roberts and Jole Rosenman, two of the four producers of the Woodstock festival sit down with Howard to discuss the business side of the operation. They clarify how the partnership that created the festival fell apart and their plans for the future.
Artie Kornfeld / February 1970
Six months after Woodstock, Artie Kornfeld, another Woodstock producer, discusses his area of expertise, the music and promotions side of the operation. He gives his insight about the demise of the Woodstock Ventures partnership, and the legacy of the festival.
Joe Cocker / November 21, 1969
Cocker reflects on his early days and how he struggled to make it in the industry. He discusses his singing style and how it is unique for a white man, his soul influences, and his disgust with American health care.
Ravi Shankar / November 21, 1971
One day before the opening night of the documentary on Shankar, the artist is in town to attend the premiere and play a concert at Carnegie Hall. He tells Smith how he started playing the sitar, ruminates on a teacher that changed his life, and briefly discusses whether Indian men are stuck-up.