By MIKEL TOOMBS
Hey, Jack Kerouac!
Next Thursday (Feb. 28) the Seattle U-District dive bar you (supposedly) frequented, the Blue Moon Tavern, is hosting the Tucson band Saint Maybe, whose leader, Oliver Ray, was introduduced to neo-beat goddess Patti Smith by none other than Allen Ginsberg. (The night before, Saint Maybe opens for Ms. Smith a bit farther on the road, i.e., Northeast 45th Street, at the Neptune. That show, of course, is sold out.)
“I met Patti through Allen Ginsberg,” said Ray, who now also runs Tucson’s Cafe Aqui, which featues a custom-built coffee roaster named after jazz legend Nina Simone. “I was working with Raymond Foye at his small press called Hanuman Books. Allen had introduced me to Raymond in NYC in 1990 when I was about 20 years old.
“In 1995 Raymond and I went out to Ann Arbor, MI, to meet and see Patti and Allen read poems. After the reading, Patti and I were hanging out and became fast friends. I was working on a song and she really liked it. She asked if she could put it on the record she was going to record. I said, of course.
“That song became “Fireflies” (which featured Tom Verlaine and Jeff Buckley) on her “Gone Again” record. I was slowly integrated in the the band she was putting together.
“First tour I went on was the Paradise Lost tour, where we opened Bob Dylan. This is where I met Winston Watson, (the Dylan drummer) who is (now) the drummer for Saint Maybe.
“Patti and I ended up writing songs together for the next 10 years. Writing with Patti was always a joy. We shared the same literary heroes and references and these always swirled about as we sat together and she sculpted the words out of the music I would strum on the guitar.”
Read Toombs story about Smith’s performance at the EMP grand opening in 2000 here.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Mikel Toombs is a frequent contributor to GeneStout.com. Read his recent story about The Not-Its! here.)