Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lenny Kaye Visits Paul And The Pope of Cool Sends Her Blessing

I feel lucky today. Every now and then and for no good reason it happens. I know it'll be gone soon, that feeling, but I'm gonna relish it right now. 

Paul and I have a mutual friend in musician Lenny Kaye. I met him at a benefit for the freelance writers of the Village Voice in 1988. Public Enemy, Mo Tucker from the Velvet Underground, Lenny Kaye and others and myself were on the bill. We met and he produced my second album, Naked Movie Star. A few nights ago Lenny introduced me to an LA friend of his and said "...he and I talked alot during the recording process, a whole lot. And you and I...." I interrupted "we talked about science fiction". And it was true we have science fiction in common. And so does Paul. Actually my husband Paul Williams and Lenny Kaye met as teenage fans of science fiction, before they became well, rock legends. 

Patti Smith was in town last weekend. A wonderful big show at the Wiltern in LA on friday, big because: the Wiltern has that kinda presence and the band met the challenge with ease, not to mention Johnny Depp getting on stage to play some rhythm and Flea (Red Hot Chili's) pouncing out some massive bass riffs on the epilogue of the show. 

After LA the band had two days off in my town of San Diego. So I met Lenny for breakfast on Sunday in my old section of town Ocean Beach (OB) and ran into Patti and Tony on their way back from the cafe. We said our hello's and she shook my hand. I told her I was whisking Lenny off for a bit to visit Paul in the nursing home and she asked me to give her regards to him. As we began to walk apart and she passed me she stepped to the side and looked me up and down in the way sailors do, on leave . It was very cute. Then she said "nice shoes"

Lenny and Paul had a really nice visit. Lenny said to me several times later on, "Paul is really in there. When I talked about the Beach Boys Smile album it was thumbs up and smiles. When I talked about the science fiction scene of our past he was making comments". 

Paul has his good days and his bad. He was less talkative this day then some of the others, not that he converses anymore, because he doesn't, but he does make occasional comments which add up to complete sentences,( and he can be counted on to remember minute details). But not so this day, not too much said. Nonetheless he smiled and nodded with purpose at things he agreed with and remembered with fondness. 

I left Lenny and Paul in the room alone to say their goodbye's and I could tell Lenny was full of feeling when he came out. We didn't talk for the length of the hall. 

Afterwards Lenny came over and we talked and played one another our newest songs, then I drove him back to the band. They had a show that night. 

I can be funny about my city of San Diego, I have a complicated relationship with it. But Sunday nights show (and Patti's spoken word show at the Spreckles Theater Saturday-where I took Alexander) were wonderful reminders of how San Diego can step up to the plate and love and support a powerful and inspired artist like Patti Smith. 

After the show Lenny led me back into the inner sanctum and I was able to give Patti a few little presents: a chapbook by Paul called Common Sense which has a lovely hand binding and pressed pages and is a numbered edition and then I gave her something I wrote this week, an essay about Women. Before I left the room she walked over to me and handed me something small in her hand, at first I couldn't quite make it out. It was her guitar pick. "Give this to Paul" she said.


  1. lovely post....I'm glad you had a day of feeling lucky.

  2. So nice to hear about your positive experience these past few days. Glad to hear Paul got to spend some time with Lenny again too. Thanks for sharing, Cindy. I was at the Spreckels show and was in awe, as I always am when seeing Patti Smith. A group of friends of mine had just seen her and Lenny and the rest of the band perform at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco the weekend before, so we were still on that high, and her playful and personal reading really topped it off.

  3. The music in Lenny keeps him going.