Lenny Kaye

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Patti Smith Group guitarist and author Lenny Kaye reminds us that “Bob Dylan is still experimenting, seeing who he might be, putting on the weirdest shows ever, upending barriers”. Almost in one breath, Lenny gives forth on working with or listening to Suzanne Vega, John Coltrane, Gayle, The Stooges, Brian Eno, The Byrds, Bing Crosby and Janis Joplin (“I wanted her to be my girlfriend”). His colleague Patti Smith fought for “the freedom to have a field of noise, beyond language. But also: a hit single.” Elvis “is an extraterrestrial: a mutation”. And after two tours supporting Dylan, he confirms that “Bob is private backstage. You’re instructed not to look at him. But that was OK. I don’t want to meet my idols”. A wise man. And a perfect podcast guest.

Lenny Kaye has been the guitarist for The Patti Smith Group since the band's inception in 1974. He produced Patti’s first single and worked on the band’s hugely influential 70s albums: Horses, Easter, Radio Ethiopia and Wave. Lenny has also produced and/or played with dozens of artists such as R.E.M., James, Soul Asylum, Kristen Hersh and Allen Ginsberg. His seminal anthology of 60s garage rock, Nuggets, defined the genre. His first book was Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings. You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon was published in 2004. His current book is Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll. Lenny also wrote the liner notes to the accompanying double CD (he has been nominated three times for Grammy awards in the liner notes category). As a freelancer, he has written for a wide range of periodicals, including Melody Maker, Creem and Rolling Stone.

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Dark Eyes (duet between Dylan and Patti Smith)

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Recorded 28th June 2022

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