Patti Smith wants to show her love for Tony Glover, too.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted punk poet and award-winning author got word of her St. Paul-based influencer/friend’s death on Thursday before a performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She and her daughter Jesse Paris Smith were there for a Walt Whitman bicentennial celebration.
After her set, Smith responded to the Star Tribune’s request for a comment in our obituary on Glover along with a note about dedicating a song to him at the museum.
“I was traveling and received your message late,” she wrote. “It’s not dawn yet. I sent you some words for Tony in the previous email. Even if they did not come fast enough they are with you. Last night I had a job in Philadelphia. I dedicated ‘Beneath the Southern Cross’ for him. I played alone and I felt him. Some people were crying. I felt his newly discovered sense of freedom.”
Smith and Glover’s friendship went way back to 1972, when he helped bring her to the Guthrie Theater for her first Twin Cities performance. She invited the bluesman doubly known as “Little Sun” to join her on stage many times in the ensuing years.
In one of their last appearances together in 2009 at Walker Art Center, she formally, humorously apologized to him for being a no-show on his late-night radio show for KDWB-AM in the early 1970s. The reason she stood him up? She saw a big rat on her way to the studio and freaked. “I ran back to my hotel and never said anything to Tony," she said. "He was too cool to say anything.”
And Smith is too cool to not say anything about Glover. Here’s what she sent in her other email:
“I have known Tony Glover for nearly half a century. As our Little Sun, a fine musician, a dignified and expressive harp player, and a knowledgeable and fair-minded writer. I will always remember the low timber of his voice, his distinct midwestern drawl and his wry sense of humor."
"Tony was modest yet knew who he was, he knew his own worth. He was a loyal, discreet and benevolent friend. He was a man with an unshakable personal code. He was Little Sun Glover, leaving us silently, his rays quietly reverberating."