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q&a 2003

Patti Smith agreed to do a Q&A with me for this PS website in Spring 2003, and I asked you to e-mail me questions for her to answer. The following questions were sent to Patti.

Patti's message to the people who sent in questions

I am sorry it took so long to respond. I would like to think that the work we do already answers these questions. But I will continue to answer if it is helpful. I wish everyone a happy summer. Take care of yourselves, and each other, and drink plenty of water.

Patti Smith
June 2003


Kent: I think I could see you perform seven nights a week, but I'm lucky if I can see a show four times a year. Do you ever get bored performing Rock and Roll Nigger and other songs over and over? I know that it's different each time but I've heard you refer "to working" when you play. So it's a job, albeit a great one, but does it get routine and boring like most all jobs do sometimes?

Patti Smith: Our band never does the same set list twice. Much of what happens thru the night depends on the people, the atmosphere, the venue, the city, and the political situation. We draw from a multitude of energies. Each performance is unique, so i never get bored. I experience all kinds of emotions from frustration to elation. But never boredom.

Julie: One thing I am curious about is if Patti likes to listen to opera and jazz, what motivated her to want to sing rock music and start a rock-n-roll band?

Patti Smith: The evolution of my band, both past and present, has been an organic, collaborative effort. I was motivated by the desire to reinfuse rock and roll with the political, spiritual, and revolutionary energy that had inspired me. My love of the human voice, expressed thru opera and spirituals, and my love of improvisation, for example, the work of John Coltrane and Miles Davis have influenced the way in which I conduct myself in the arena of rock and roll.

XRubyVroom: Are there any albums, artists, works of art, books, or poems that you turn to when you need inspiration?

Patti Smith: Currently I am listening to Marian Anderson (spirituals and arias). I am reading Joseph Conrad. But often I will return to my old favorites, Jimi Hendrix and Arthur Rimbaud. I am fortunate to be able to turn to my band for inspiration as well.



Patti Smith