My younger brother Joe was usually the straw that stirred the drink. Were it not for him, Fred may not have played that night. Sonic Smith was the last hold out for the Rob Tyner Tribute at the State Theater. Scott Morgan (Rationals/Sonics Rendezvous Band) put the whole gig together, but Fred “Sonic” Smith was reticent. The concert was put together ostensibly, to celebrate the life of Rob Tyner, former lead singer of the MC5. Rob died on September 17th, 1991 of a heart attack. Proceeds from the concert were to go for his surviving kid’s college fund. The idea was to bring the 4 surviving members of the Five for a blow out of epic proportions. After much cajoling, using every weapon of persuasion in his formidable arsenal, Joe finally got Fred to commit by appealing to his musician’s vanity. “C’mon Fred! You don’t want Wayne to get all the glory do you?” That was the deal-maker. True story. Joe had the gift of being able to talk anyone into doing almost anything…and make them feel good about doing it.
Rich Doris initially recorded this powerful clip. Thanks for “sending it forward” almost 20 years later. If Joe’s sons Mat & Jack happen to catch this, just know my nephews–that he loved you way more than any band. The magnetic essence of Joe’s character…flaws and all…was intoxicating. If you were his friend, you had no choice but to do a life bit with him. If you were in…you were in. He protected his friendships with a pit-bull tenacity. Joey always had your back. Those that ride with me on Facebook know that I post a lot of stuff—and it’s always good shit. However, this short clip means more than all that other stuff put together. It reveals Joe very deep in the zone on a cold February night at the State Theater in Detroit. He was in his element, warming the joint with his ravenous intensity & smile.
“Stay alive with the MC5”.
He was on a mission from God & a very busy little beaver that night. What a handsome, lovable man. O’ God how I wish what he proclaimed to the camera to be true–that he could still with us. Moments like those with Joe were so special. Coming up on the 5th anniversary of his passing, my heart was to share one of those times of blazing intensity with Joey…. when all was right in God’s universe.
You remain very much alive in our hearts Joseph Patrick