How come she is so mellow and crinkly now? She seemed like a thorough wackadoodle back in the 1970s. Has she gotten help, or what?
Also - what did her husband die of? IIRC, he died very young, like 41 or something.
Fred Smith died of heart failure, OP. I don't think he was a druggie at the time of his death, but it's possible he was during his earlier career and that took a toll. He was 44 when he died, and it was apparently completely unexpected.
I think the change with Patti came when she dropped out of the NY club scene, moved to Detroit, had kids, and retired from music for a decade. I attended the premiere of Dreams of Life at the Film Forum a few years ago, and she was there answering questions. She was indeed mellow, much more so than in her performing youth. An odd combination of ego and zen-like humility. She had a lot of close people die young during a short period (her husband; her brother Todd, who used to tour with her; Mapplethorpe, and band member Richard Sohl.) She seems close with her kids; it's possible being a hippie suburban housewife for a while got her off the fame merry go round before it consumed her.
"Wackadoodle?" "Did she get help?" Poor OP. You really didn't get her at all, did you?
To be fair to OP, I don't think wackadoodle is far from the mark. I saw her performances a lot as a teenager & young adult in NYC. There was the time they pulled the plug on her concert in Central Park because she wouldn't get off the stage when it was over; she had the mike and was just rambling. Her performances at venues like CBGB's and Irving Plaza were always entertaining but also a crapshoot, whether she'd stick to the music or go off on poetic rambles. She was talented and a lot of fun, but a little doddery back then. She seems much more self-aware and articulate, sure of herself as a person and an artist (as opposed to an artiste) now.
"Wackadoodle?" "Did she get help?" Poor OP. You really didn't get her at all, did you?"
Poor fangurl, apparently YOU don't "get her at all." Smith's bizarre behavior and mental instability have been well documented. She was VERY fucked up in the head when younger and would sometimes have what looked like nervous breakdowns on stage. Robert Mapplethorpe said this of her at the beginning of their co-dependent relationship: "She was on the edge of being psychotic in a schizoprenic way. She told me stories, and I didn't know if they were fiction or nonfiction. If she hadn't discovered art she would have wound up in a mental institution."
She's in her sixties now. Most mentally ill people tend to mellow out some as they age.
Patti had a very good singing voice, no auto-tone there.
Her husband drank himself to death, PR coverups to the contrary.
Agreed r5, she has good pipes. I saw her in the 90s when she was testing the waters for a comeback of sorts, she sang/read unamplified in a church in Cambridge. I was taken aback by how much this skinny little whispering scarecrow could really belt out a song.
She'll always have the classic 'The Warrior'. I think the lyrics "shooting at the walls of heartache, bang bang!" must've been theraputic balm for her otherwise tortured mind.
very funny r8.
you're thinking of John McEnroe's wife.
I had a perfect night out at a gay club, dancing to 'Gloria' once. I was too young to have been there at the time, but 'Horses' and the next few albums were way ahead of their time- I only became aware of them in the late '90s, but even then they sounded like nothing else and I started to retrospectively see their wide influence.
Patti was a repellent, pretentious social climber with borderline personality disorder who eventually landed her own Kurt Cobain. But before she became a full-on Courtney Love she seems to have achieved some kind of sanity.
Medication? Age? Or maybe it was her marriage. Her husband was a tyrant and she submitted to him. She disappeared from the world for years, allegedly according to his wishes. For some reason that appealed to her and maybe stabilized her. Perhaps submission was her thorazine and that's what accounts for her apparent sanity now.
Getting away from Robert helped her.
For years Patti Smith was an aggressively strange character with a bloated ego and an insatiable desire for attention. Then she married Fred Smith and became a demure, reclusive housewife. I guess that was what she wanted. After his death her need for attention returned and she's always out and about promoting something and selling herself. It's considered fashionable to revere Patti Smith; I don't know why.
Her book "Just Kids" is one of the most overrated, laughably pretentious pieces of garbage I've ever tried to read.
Smith is awful. Mick Jagger called her out in the 70s. She was a spoiled rich girl. Jagger called her fake and a poser.
Her only claim to fame was dating people that died young. She turned Robert Mapplethorp gay.
She would get bored and trot off to Paris to sponge off her sister or go home to sponge off Mommy and Daddy and have them raise the kid she kept, after all she couldn't be bothered keeping the kid she had when she was 21.
All she did was scream into a microphone. Screaming isn't singing. Of course neither is talking to a repetitive drum beat, but African Americans seem to have convinced the world it's music. And they invented it, though movies from the 1930s show Fred Astaire doing it and calling it a "patter"
Smith is an epic fail. I love the way all her credits are "additional words by Patti Smith." Meaning she didn't even cowrite it, she probably just changed a few words around to get credit and money.
Wait a sec, R13. It's certainly your right to dislike "Just Kids", but it did win a National Book Award and get a highly positive critical reception.
Read the linked long 2008 profile from the Guardian. Smith began recording and touring again after her husband's death because she had two kids to support. She hardly promotes herself the way many present day musical "artists" do; in fact she's a recluse in comparison to many. Again, she's not everyone's cup of tea but she's paid her dues and produces thoughtful, original material.
r14, she's from a very working/middle class family from southern NJ. She's not an Edie Sedgwick trustfund type. Where did Jagger call her fake or a poser? She's always worshipped him, and i'm unaware of him ever putting her down.
are you sure you're not confusing her with someone else?
Ouch. I found it r14, in an interview with Jagger (Sandy Robertson, Sounds, 29 October 1977):
Q: Can you remember any of the New York bands like the Patti Smith Group? Do you like Patti?
JAGGER: "I think it's crap! I think she's so awful...she's full of rubbish, she's full of words and crap. I mean, she's a poseur of the worst kind, intellectual bullshit, trying to be a street girl when she doesn't seem to me to be one, I mean, everything...a useless guitar player, a bad singer, not attractive."
Q. Isn't that what people used to say about you?
JAGGER: "No. I was always very attractive, much better singer, much better with words, and I wasn't an intellectual poseur. She's got her heart in the right place but she's such a POSER! She's not really together musically, she's...all right."
R14 Patti Smith's parents are not rich.
BTW Robert Mapplethorpe did not "turn" gay he was bisexual and always was bisexual as that's his sexual orientation.
Patti Smith came from a working-class town in Jersey. She wasn't rich.
But: Who says Fred Smith drank himself to death?? Info please.
That's what MBA (it's all about the money) Jagger said about Patti Smith, R17?
Consider the source. Does anyone consider Jagger to be authentic? If so, it's a history re-write.
Her vindication was Morrissey's decision to name his band The Smiths after her.
I hate her and her ugly face. She looks like Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Frederick, name of care
Fast asleep in a room somewhere...
One of the best concert experiences in my life was a Patti Smith concert some years ago in Brooklyn. I don't know anyone who has seen her live who doesn't say the same. She is something else on stage.
Wow. Mick Jagger sounds so .... humble.
Yeah, Mick -- your LSE degree made you perfect to sing Chicago Blues...
What artists aren't a little pretentious when they're young? Read any of her press now and she comes across as honest, down-to-earth, and very loving in her way. Birdland & Land were personal anthems when I was a wee gayling.
Wow! R14 is wildly misinformed, racist and seems to have a hatred for Patti Smith which borders on mental illness. Don't rattle Mary's cage!!
R14 is correct, of course.
Mellow and crinkly? Crinkly?
Is that what you wrote?
r16 - Wasn't Patti more of a Keith Richards fan?
r32 - Mick had only one year at LSE, not a degree. But sure, Patti is no more a poser than "Sir" Mick.
You know, in 1977 the Stones weren't coping very well with punk rock. Keith still makes fun of it, as if the topic is relevant. Mick trashing Patti was 35 years ago. He himself didn't become a particularly good singer until the early-70s but they were both close enough for rock and roll.
"It's certainly your right to dislike "Just Kids", but it did win a National Book Award and get a highly positive critical reception."
As I recall, there was some protest when it was announced that her book won that award. I can understand that; no doubt there were a lot of books more deserving. I think the critical praise came about because there's a sheep-like tendency among critics to revere Patti Smith because...well, they're think SUPPOSED to. It's considered taboo to diss Patti Smith in some circles. It seems that to worship her is considered the chic and fashionable thing to do.
When she left Mapplethorpe (they had a very sick co-dependent relationship) he reportedly wailed "please don't go...if you go, I'll become gay!" Jesus! He already WAS gay! I guess he was trying to tell himself he wasn't gay because he was involved with a woman, albiet a very ugly, very strange one. But eventually he realized that he liked cock (black cock, really) in a BIG way and accepted the fact that he'd always been a queen.
We worship the flaw, the belly..the belly...the mole on the belly of an exquisite whore. He spared the child and spoiled the rod.
I have not sold myself to God!!!
Bumping this thread with a Patti update.
WTF is she doing here?
Wow. Hanging out with the pope.
Did she have a nose job?
Re Jagger, I expect some of the things Patti said about the Stones rattled him. In the mid 70's, she said watching the Stones "gave me my first glob of gooey in my virgin panties."
Jagger's a conventional dude in some ways & that was probably too much for him!
I saw her at a smallish club in Ann Arbor just before she "retired." It was an evening I will remember all my life; she was absolutely brilliant as she made her way through her repertory.
"Just Kids" may have its faults, but it is a fascinating look at an era now gone. I knew a lot of the people she mentions, although not her; she arrived in Manhattan just after I left, but hung out at places and with folks quite familiar to me. The book seemed generally on target, I thought, as a representation of the pre-AIDS era in NYC.
Is Patti back together with Sam Shepard? They restaged their 1971 play "Cowboy Mouth" last year at Lucky Cheng's and they've been touring the country and Europe off and on with their improvisational readings and jam session. Interestingly, Patti wrote the introduction to Jessica Lange's photo book, "50 Photographs."
Where I live, a couple miles from where she lived in metro detroit, it was widely accepted her husband died of aids feom drug use. At least that's what I heard.
The Victor Bockris Patti Smith biography claims that Fred Smith indeed drank himself to death. Wayne Kramer's accounts of Fred's drinking at Rob Tyner's memorial concert seem to bear that out.
Jim Carroll's semi-fictionalized version of the end of the Mapplethorpe/Smith affair is as follows: "("Roger") was lovers with ("Jenny Ann") when they both moved into their loft after dropping out of the same art school, but then Roger decided he was completely, irremediably gay, so they began sleeping in seperate beds and erected an amicable, think plaster wall between their two work spaces." This is from Carroll's "Forced Entries..." Carroll and Smith began their affair just after this.