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And my voice got even stronger after he passed away. When Robert [Mapplethorpe] and I spent the end of the ’60s in Brooklyn [N. And no one really cared about Fred and I during the ’80s. How far along were the two of you in planning the new album before he died? He actually seemed to have more ambition for me than I had for myself.

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“Bringing good news is imparting hope to one’s fellow man. “When you listen to a record, you know if you’re listening to someone who loves music or whether it’s someone who doesn’t know what else to do or it’s just convenient to them,” he adds. She loves what music means in her life; she wants to return that. Also, when you’re a mother, you do a certain amount of yelling to your kids. Over the years, you played just a handful of low-key shows with Fred, mostly in the Detroit area. Fred obviously took great pride in your work and shared your passion for music. Even when we did the record was not well-received, which broke his heart, because he worked really hard on it. I looked forward to him coming out more in the world. I’d never heard of the Doors or the Velvet Underground. I was going out the back door – there was a white radiator, I remember. Until Jackson had to go to school, Fred and I spent a lot of time traveling through America, living in cheap motels by the sea.

The idea of redemption is always good news, even if it means sacrifice or some difficult times.” Born on Dec 30.1946, in Chicago, and raised in southern New Jersey, Smith – the eldest of four children – quickly found both succor and purpose in the marriage of poetry and rock & roll. And she has done so – tenfold.” Smith, who is relocating back to New York this year, finds no irony, only coincidence, in the fact that she is releasing a new album in the same year that the Sex Pistols are re-forming for the money and the Ramones are in the midst of the world’s longest farewell tour. Didn’t you ever feel the urge to perform regularly? Why wasn’t he more active publicly during your years together? 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: Patti Smith Did you ever see Fred play with the MC5? I didn’t know about those things until I came to New York. In fact, “Radio Ethiopia” was actually written in tribute to the MC5. I was standing there with Lenny; I happened to look up, and this guy is standing there as I was leaving Lenny introduced me to him: “This is Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, the legendary guitar player for the MC5,” and that was it. As far as your fans and the music business were concerned, you literally disappeared during the 1980s. We’d get a little motel with a kitchenette, get a monthly rate.

And the record was almost completely crafted by Fred. What was it like for you to return to New York after nearly 15 years for the reading in Central Park in the summer of 1993?

But I also think of the fact that during the process of making that record, I had a child [Jesse]. For me, the greatest memory was that both Fred and my brother Todd were there. He wore a black suit and a white, snap-tab-collar shirt. Did he take any consolation in the cult status of the MC5? He felt pride when somebody like Kurt Cobain acknowledged him. But he did not want to be remembered as “He did this in 1969.” Fred was really funny: He didn’t want a whole lot for himself, but he wanted me to have a gold record.

I was with child and watching my friends die.” Yet for an album made in the wake of such prolonged mourning, shivers and quakes with a robust spirit of renewal. There was something that was very real, very no-bullshit. It was the last time we were all together at a performance. He had that Dylan type of ’60s look – like the cover And he refused to take his jacket off. What he wanted was someone – someone like David Geffen – to come to him and say, “Fred, you’re a fine man and a good worker, and I’ll let you do a record.” He felt he deserved that. I said, “I don’t really care whether I have a gold record.” But he wanted me to have one. Arista Records had a little party for us at one of those hot-dog places.

As Smith sings in her raging cover of Dylan’s “Wicked Messenger,” “If you cannot bring good news, then don’t bring any.” “Good news doesn’t necessarily have to be a positive thing,” she contends. And in 1976, there wasn’t very much of that around. I remember every once in a while looking back at Fred and my brother, and the two of them were standing there like proud fathers. That’s my greatest sadness: that people didn’t get to see or hear more of him. I’m not one much for parties, so I wanted to get out of there.

A few weeks later, Smith’s brother Todd, who was her road manager, suffered a fatal stroke. with mixed feelings: “I see the last major portrait Robert took of me on the cover. I don’t want to turn it into record promotion or self-promotion.

Richard Sohl, Smith’s long-serving pianist, died of a heart attack in 1990, and a close friend and lifelong collaborator, the artist Robert Mapplethorpe, succumbed to AIDS in 1989. Some of Richard’s last musical statements are on that record. I like to think that now, when I’m performing, I’m coming around and saying hello to everybody.

Just to go off and get wasted, into death even, is waste.” After 16 years of almost hermetic seclusion in Detroit, Patti Smith has returned to work with the intensely focused energy of her first heyday, when she kick-started the ’70s punk revolt with her 1975 debut album, soundtrack, singing a haunting ballad, “Walkin Blind,” composed by the young poet and songwriter Oliver Ray.

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