I love it when a legend pops up in my own backyard.
Tucked away in the tree-lined campus of Dominican University in San Rafael is a little hidden treasure chest of a hall called Angelico. From time to time a motley array of left-of-center celebrities, artists, entertainers and cultural icons make a brief appearance, gracing our little corner of the world with some fairy dust.
Krishna Das, with his Cosmic Kirtan Choir was just here, as was Diane Keaton, Michael Pollan and others and then,…BOOM!!,…outta nowhere!
Among a younger generation that falls flatter and wetter than a deflated party balloon in the rain. ……..Who?
And yet, she is an icon, a legend this generation really ought to bother with. Anarchy is her touchstone and the flavor of Peter Pan is never far from her words. Go Google her kids! Her album Horses was not only seminal to your beloved grunge/punk rock movement it is also rated among the ten most important ever recorded.She knew and worked with practically everybody worth knowing in the 70’s and 80’s.
And beside all that she is a wonderful, powerful presence,…still.
Hearing her sing ”People have the Power” to the backing of a single guitar can still make the hair on the back of your neck rise.
It turns out that she is also a writer of some literary heft. She began her artistic career wanting to be a poet, her loyalties aligning to a milieu of french poets of the last Century, Genet, Verlaine, Rimbaud all of whom were the forebears of our own Beats of the 60's and 70's. Writers who were done with Society at large but displayed a sensitivity and soulfulness to "life" in general. She walks that same borderline between extreme delicacy and crassness and it can at times be jarring, but you cant look away. It's the same voice that drove her music. There are a handful of women with voices like this. Cassandra's on the City Walls. You may not like them, but you cannot ignore them either. Janis Joplin, Maria Callas, Lisa Gerrard, the kinds of voices one imagines the oracles and Shamans of ancient times to have had. Hypnotic, entrancing, compelling. Patti has never been an easy listen but always a worthwhile one.
Yes, people do have the power, remember that when you are confronted with all the negative, hate-filled backlash bullshit out there, and Thank You, Patti.
Go pick up her books Just Kids and M Train, to name a few....