By Bob Vincent
John and Yoko are there, talking for hours and hours — during a bed-in, at a “happening,” listening to the Beatles at home. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, just back from Cannes in June 1969, rap about their new movie, “Easy Rider.” Eric Clapton, between shows at the Fillmore East in 1970, struggles with a sense of responsibility for his new band, Derek and the Dominos.
Those are among more than 100 interviews with rock stars, artists and assorted radicals recorded from 1969 to 1972 by Howard Smith, a longtime writer for The Village Voice. They have now been cataloged and packaged for the digital era as “The Smith Tapes” and will be released in monthly batches over the next year. The first, with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lou Reed, Frank Zappa, Mr. Clapton and others, comes out Tuesday through Amazon’s MP3 store and next week on iTunes.
At a time when rock ’n’ roll, the sexual revolution and the antiwar counterculture all intersected, Mr. Smith spoke to seemingly every boldface name for “Scenes,” his influential column in The Voice. He also had a knack for being in precisely the right place at the right time...