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.
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.
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?
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?
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.