Valhalla for them both was the back room at Max’s Kansas City, where Andy Warhol, Mapplethorpe’s idol, once held court. By the time they reached the sanctum, though, Warhol was in seclusion after his shooting by Valerie Solanas in 1968, leaving would-be courtiers and Factory hopefuls “auditioning for a phantom.” Smith also wasn’t as smitten as Mapplethorpe with Warhol’s sensibility: “I hated the soup and felt little for the can,” she says flatly, leaving us not only chortling at her terseness but marveling at the distinction.
Smith, as Carson later notes (perceptively I think), "has always been both tough and funny, two real saving graces in an artist this prone to excess." I'm reminded of something she said when I asked her about Elvis Costello in an interview for the old Stereo Review back in 1978.
"I don't like Elvis Costello. I don't hate him, but...I mean, as a politician I'm into solidarity, but as a fan I'm relentless, a real Nazi. You ask the fan in me and you're gonna get a pretty narrow view. Basically, if there isn't somebody I want to fuck in a band, I couldn't care less. Unless it's such great abstract music it carries me away. Otherwise, if it's a rock-and-roll band, there better be somebody fuckable or forget it."
Have I mentioned I've been a fan of this woman since forever?