Legendary interviewer and Village Voice writer, Howard Smith, knew how to meet his subjects on their level. The antithesis of the stuffy late-night show host putting the latest band on for hype alone, Smith interviewed the biggest names of the day and now, his interviews are going to be available for the first time. Via The New York Times:

“The Smith Tapes,” drawn primarily from interviews for his Voice column and a radio program he had at the time on WABC-FM (which became WPLJ), feature many of these people at pivotal moments in pop culture and in their own lives, speaking candidly and often at unusual length. One of the five Lennon-Ono interviews in the collection lasts two hours.

“This is not someone talking about the time; this is the time,” said Ezra Bookstein, a documentarian who delayed his film projects for a year to prepare the interviews for release. If some subjects are familiar stars who by now have been interviewed ad nauseam, their appearances on “The Smith Tapes” often capture them before their current iconography had been set.

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