has earned her place in the pantheon of rock icons by blending three-chord
rock with evocative poetry for three decades. Her performance persona
has always been more punk than poetess. When she first began her musical
career, she differed from the mellow female singer-songwriters of the
70s, such as Carly Simon and Carole King, because her music and moods
were more confrontational than confessional. After putting out such groundbreaking
albums as Ethiopia and Easter, she settled
down into retired married life with husband Fred "Sonic" Smith of the
rock band MC5.
a woman who spat in the face of the "pretty" image female singers of her
day were supposed to uphold, it's no surprise to see that Smith's Mars
is right on top of her Sun in self-possessed Capricorn. The Sun is sometimes
associated with the archetype of the father, and Capricorn is the sign
that is most traditionally associated with fatherhood/maleness (in opposition
to Cancer, representing motherhood/femininity). Mars is the planet that
is associated with sexuality, and traditionally, male sexuality. No wonder
Arista Records' Clive Davis was horrified by the "too masculine" Smith,
dressed in a man's tie with no makeup, in the classic Mapplethorpe photographed
cover of Horses.
Loud, Clear Voice of Gung Ho
husband Fred (immortilized in the beautiful song, "Frederick") died of
heart failure in 1994, Smith has already put out one comeback album. On
Gone Again she sang with old pals John Cale (one of the
founders of The Velvet Underground) and Tom Verlaine, along with new pal
Jeff Buckley (who died of an accidental drowing shortly after recording
with Smith in the summer of '95).
year's Gung Ho has been roundly praised by critics and fans
alike as the true comeback album. Issues of war, consumerism and
patriotism are explored on the album, in songs like "Gung Ho" and "New
Party." Smith draws comparisons between selling stocks, selling one's
body and selling out on the single "Glitter in Their Eyes," warning that
"your body's a commodity."
reflect the strong Scorpio influence in Smith's chart. Scorpio is the
sign associated with sexuality, other people's money/joint resources and
brutal truth. Smith has Venus (planet of art and love) conjunct her Jupiter (good
fortune, excess) in the dark, mysterious sign. As always, speaking
the truth is a double-edged sword for the rock priestess. She gets her
message across, but is forced to remain firmly on the sidelines of the
music business, while commerical commodities like Britney Spears and Celine
Dion sell millions of records, thanks to millions and millions
of dollars in industry support.
course, is very much the baby boomer, and in true Capricorn fashion, continues
to learn new lessons from her formative adult years (the 70s) slowly.
(The symbol of Capricorn is the goat: slowly climbing the hill). On the
title track of her album she revisits the fading but still volatile landscape
of the Vietnam era:
my little one
seed of revolution
in the sleeve
cloth humbly worn
others are adorned.
In "New Party,"
Smith's in-your-face brand of politics, characterized by her unsubtle
but completely sincere Mercury in Sagittarius, shines though:
state of the union
fine fine fine
got the feeling that you're lying lying lying.
ends on an ominous yet optimistic cry for another revolution:
one more turn of the wheel
more turn of the wheel.
Next for the Rock Icon?
it a film about Smith's life is being planned. With significant Gemini (sign
of the writer) influence in her chart, perhaps she'll have a hand
in scripting it. Smith is the co-writer (with former lover Sam Shepherd)
of the play Cowboy Mouth, and did begin the makings of a
novel when she "retired" back in the 80s.
others make of her life, it is likely that she will do some phenomenal
writing during 2000-2001 as lucky Jupiter crosses two key Gemini elements in
her chart. The expansive planet first hits her North Node (destiny
in this life) in September, 2000, and then her Uranus (planet of change
and revolution) in May, 2001. Perhaps she will finish a "great American
novel" that changes the world in the revolutionary way only a true punk