Singer-Songwriter Craig Smith: gone lost on the way


Craig Smith made in Los Angeles of the ‘ 60s career as a Folkie and turned on the Hippie Trail. A book now tells his story.

Portrait of Craig Smith - in the Background a bridge

Craig Smith, 1966, in New York during the filming of the series “The Happeners” Photo: Feral House

I’m Walkin’ Solo” is Track number 9 from “Apache”, of 1971 in a small edition published album of a certain Saitya Sai Maitreya Kali, his mother, he would have killed it almost knew, under the name of Craig (Smith). In the late 1960s, early 1970s, there was a figure of speech, when a Band broke or a prominent artist left his group: He goes solo.

This meant: no one joins a Band, and so, somehow, but here is someone who feels called to dedicate themselves to the latest high existential discipline to the dizzying tree-line, the entertainment industry, just below the peaks of the art: the Singer-Songwritertum.

No longer play a role, a Type embody, which is determined by the context of the Band and the Genre of popular music, was the target. Instead, the artist was now both, be the own boss, the power of Design, in the preconceived context, Narrative, Image, etc., and the performer, the embodiment of the Narrative.

The typical emotional Overload of the outgesourceten Solo-self-employed of our post-Fordist time here was prefigured in a Genre that was then also complain actually below his with Oh and noise stable star, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Carole King (and under which: James Taylor, Tim Buckley) riege in fact, many victims, in which “solo” lost was to go: victims of drugs, mysticism, Religion, madness or simply an indifference to, the grew to the extent that in the interest of the Concerned in self-increased. Skip Spence, Dino Valente, Bobby Callender, Scott Fagan, David Stoughton – to name just a few of the more inspired among the completely Forgotten.

To your genius Craig Smith is only occasionally, the Drama of his disappearance with their epics from all. For some years this Lost to be found again. Usually posthumously, it undermines the work, released it on 180-gram Vinyl and sold it to a small community of devoted admirer of the scarce own failure: This delicate quirk has been cared for once, but at some point, then again his mind turned on. With works such as “Apache/Inca” Satya Sai Maitreya Kali – so Craig Smith – can approach safely to these depths again.

At the same time, a moving insight into the soul of the ideal total Californian, between the perfect, shining appearance and shaggy, psychopathic Homelessness opened once more. Craig Smith was sunny boy, TV actor, TV-choir-singers, male modelthat was in the late 1960s to a starring role in a never-the Pilot come out of television series: “The Happeners”, the story of a Hipster-folk trio in New York.

Compositions for other

Together with his also a with the Monkees comparable fame brought Co-Star Chris Ducey as a result he founded a number of Bands in the real Los Angeles and succeeded as a Songwriter, whose songs were recorded by Glenn Campbell. Smith made known to all, had to say in the LA of the late 1960s: from Frank Zappa to the Beach Boys.

The Only one who helped him but, really, was a of others, today almost forgotten genius songwriters (and musicians, hobbyists, videographers, and more): Michael Nesmith, who had also been a TV star (the Monkees) and his role as a TV pop star in real life wanted to play (with, however, considerably more success). Nesmith helped by Craig Smith and Chris Ducey founded the Band The Penny Arkade, recorded their 1968 unfinished Album, while the jet-in-law at the end of son of actor will Smith became friends with even more people in LA Say that.

Now that was Charles Manson. Psychedelic drugs and a variety of longer trips to various Hippie trail followed. Smith was not the Only one who lost his mind and with a new name came back: Saitya Sai Maitreya Kali – Yes, in India and Nepal, he wants to be.

Hot Currency Native

When he returned to Los Angeles, he has always been a charming fellow, and what he spoke that way in private, the religious stuff was also no reason to call the police. Two very delicate albums publisher in the course of the year in 1972, “Apache” and “Inca arise in the micro-self” – native American Yes at least a not-so-hot currency of Nepal and the Maharishi, which had influenced the Beatles Fan Maitreya in the meantime, of course.were in California

Ghostly, full of longing, but somehow Sunny Vocals, the swarms of silk and ivory, peel from the understated, acoustic guitar, garlands, and remind a little of the however, more to the formlessness seeking postcoital Stoner idylls of Dino Valente, I was allowed to at this point, a few years ago, praise – then back to “Dear Prudence”.

A couple on two Black-and-white passport photos taken in a Photo booth

Smith alias Maitreya around 1970, with his girlfriend Cheryl in Los Angeles Photo: Feral House

Between this relaxed mental stretching exercises Maitreya placed on both albums, the whole of the unpublished spread – almost to this point already four years old Album of his Band The Penny arcade: on the part of psychedelic-dozen goods, as they, for decades, to the Compilations of the “Nuggets”series is also quite delicate to gifted spin stuff, including a right angeturntes 13-minute Jam Piece is sold, but partly.

Spider on the forehead

Also the time quite unconcerned with the for the Psychedelic competent controllers and Filters, the game ends Nesmith you to listen to. The original covers, with its numerous dedications to celebrities, knew, Smith (Neill (sic!) Young, Paul Butterfield, Mike Wilson, Gabor Szabo) or known would have (Paul McCartney, Lord and Lady Lennon, Jimi Hendrix …), you can see that Smith wanted to build in 1972, something violent to a old life among the Stars again. However, the spider tattoo that he can be in the place of the forehead was stinging, where in the case of Charles Manson, his stubble, he cut short, took over the swastika was sitting, came a anticipatory self-stigma as a dangerous Weirdo.

Smith’s friends reports, already, of violence, of a classic split Person, as Craig still Sunny, as Maitreya has been rather dangerous. Misogyny was a train of some private religious texts on “Inca”. He went then to his mother and you almost killed, is reminiscent of other acts of aggression against maternal or quasi-maternal great Crazy counter-culture as Joe Meek or Wild Man Fisher. Zappa, for the Maitreya after all, a Tour of the opening act made, was sure to clarify something, as he called his Band The Mothers of Invention and his musicians, perhaps not only louder, Neo-Dada, urged, as the end of mom kick-to wear costumes.

In any case, Maitreya spent the next three years in various institutions. The Rest of his life, from 1976 to 2012, you knew him as a homeless singer on the streets of LA – not, however, without several Comeback Attempts, where the one or the other Single dropped, most recently in 1994. The British journalist Mike Stax, we owe then for a few years, a veritable Craig-Smith-research: this is an exhaustive biography and the Liner Notes to this double-album, the “Apache” and “Inca” is coupled.

As Maitreya 2012 died, not wanted to pick up his family time, his ash – the has then taken over by his biographer. Because that belongs at least to the business of re-discovery, it is the sepulchral culture of the Rock ’n’.