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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.
He wanted it to have an American Indian spirit, because that was part of his heritage. Instead, I paid homage to the warrior – the warrior who fell. I didn’t know anything about his torments or personal life.
I was to be the woman of the tribe who lived in the mountains, and in times of hardship, when things got really rough – they had a heavy snow, crops failed, warriors died – she would come down and recount the history of the tribe. You also pay tribute to Kurt Cobain in “About a Boy.” What was it about his life and music that touched you? Not so much for myself – my time had passed for putting so much passion into music and pinning my faith on a band. I saw the work and the energy, and I was excited by that.
What was also important was to tell them about God, to say prayers with them.He let himself be a guinea pig for every type of drug. You want to take a person by the scruff of the neck and say, “OK. It’s just frustration, concern for how something like that affects young people.I am aware that I am somewhat estranged and out of touch, maybe even a little out of time. Now kids must look around – there are viral conditions, pollution, still the threat of nuclear war, AIDS. How hard has it been for you as a mother to navigate your own children through that minefield?There was famine and drought, and then the rains came and the corn grew high. So it was a tremendous shock – quite a blow to me – when he died. I came down, and Fred told me to sit down at the table.