Everyone knows that Patti Smith is the godmother of punk-rock and that she gets an entire venue shouting along when she begins ‘Because the night’. Yet there are pieces of trivia that surprise even the most devoted Smith fan.
When she moved to New York City in 1967, Patti Smith worked in bookshops, wrote for music magazines, and she even briefly worked in a toy factory. Not a nice experience if you can believe her single ‘Piss Factory’.
Her first show was a poetry reading, in 1971. At this point, Smith had already been writing poetry for a while and for this event she was accompanied by Lenny Kaye on guitar. The reading took place in a church in New York City. This was also the first time that an electric guitar was played in a religious building, an act of rebellion in itself.
In 1980, Patti Smith married musician Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith. Coincidentally, both musicians bore the same surname. The band ‘Sonic Youth’ thanks its name to Fred’s flashy nickname.
When she met poet Allen Ginsberg for the first time, he confused her for an attractive young man. Smith had to point out her bosom to make him realise his mistake.
Smith released ‘This is the girl’ in 2012 and dedicated it to the prematurely deceased Amy Winehouse. "The little song for Amy just blossomed in the studio. We were at [New York studio] Electric Lady doing a whole other song and I wrote Amy a little poem when she died and my bass player, Tony Shanahan, wrote a piece of music and the two matched perfectly", she told an interviewer.
She has published more than twenty books, most of which were poetry and song lyrics. Her last three works can be considered her memoires. ’Just Kids’ describes her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, ‘M Train’ is about her soul-searching through life, and ‘Devotion’ covers her passion for writing. She has won various prizes for her literary work.
Are you going to be at AB on 13, 14 or 15 August? Use the hashtag #abconcerts under your concert photos, as we’re curious to see how you experience the concert!
See you soon in AB.