Musician, Writer, Record Producer
Lenny Kaye is an acclaimed musician, writer, and record producer. He has been a guitarist for poet-rocker Patti Smith since her band's inception more than forty years ago, and has worked in the studio with such artists as Suzanne Vega, Jim Carroll, Soul Asylum, Kristen Hersh, R.E.M., Allen Ginsberg, and Pussy Riot, as well as his own solo muse. He is the co-author of Waylon, the life story of Waylon Jennings, and an impressionistic study of the romantic singers of the 1930s, You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon. His 1972 anthology of sixties garage-rock - Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era has long been regarded as defining a genre. On November 9th, 2011, the French Republic honored Lenny by knighting him with the title of Chevalier de L'Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres. In 2014, "Mercy Is," composed by Patti and Lenny, from Darren Aronofsky's Noah, was nominated for Best Song at the Golden Globes. He has just completed production of Jessi Colter's The Psalms, featuring improvisations based on these Biblical poems; is currently working on a book of rock and roll history as seen through its legendary scenes, Lightning Striking; and has recently penned liner notes to an upcoming reissue of his Fidelity High: The Shaggs // Philosophy Of The World // Rounder/Red Rooster // 1969. Lenny says, "It is the heart that makes a classic recording, not the technical finesse. The Shaggs' now-venerated album might seem an arbitrary hodge-podge of clattering drumbeats and askew vocals, outré rhythm and melodies skittering where they might. But as ears accustom, at first having an all-too-easy laugh, then listening with increasing compulsion, the inner logic of each triangular puzzle-piece offers a hypnotic gateway into an alternative universe, the looking glass prism of the Wiggin sisters and their worldly philosophy. A Rosetta Stone of art artless and artful. Thou art."