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Okay. All right, let's do the show.
Lock the gate. All right, let's do this. How are you, what the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck is what's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast, WTF. Welcome to it. How's it going? What are we, a month, seven of this shit? How are you? Good morning. Good afternoon.
Good evening. How's the exercise going? How's the walk. How's your dog. How's your kid.
How's your leg. How's your hand. How's your fuckin head? Are you using whatever options you have at your disposal to maintain your sanity without hurting yourself or others?
Are you trying to change your mind so they don't mind your mind? Do you know what a mark is? Do you know what a mark is? Not me, a Mark, the intended victim of a swindler, hustler or the like. A mark. An object of derision, scorn, manipulation or the like. Example, he was an easy mark. For this Trumpy and bullshit. Mark. A nation of marks, why am I bringing that up, why am I bringing that up?
I tell you, man, president alluded to leaving the country if he loses.
If he can't maintain power and continue to degrade the nature of the rule of law as we drift further into authoritarianism, don't email me the other three fucking Trump supporters who listen to me.
Don't email me with your fucking delusional bullshit about what's really happening. Don't do it. It's not my fault that you're a mark, that you didn't mind your mind or that you're so myopic that your ability to contextualize or see through the veil of garbage.
Is muted or destroyed. Wouldn't it be beautiful if he loses and then moves the entire operation and family to Russia where he can be protected?
Wouldn't it be the best thing in the world if this motherfucker lived in exile in Moscow?
It's got a lot of debt GAWA charges hanging over his head. I would I would just I love that story. That's the best possible ending as the world ends. Patti Smith is on the show today. Patty fucking Smith is on the show today. Patti Smith, are you fucking kidding me? When was the last time you listened to her first three albums in a row? She's got her latest book out here, The Monkey.
It's now available in paperback. Right. Read some of her other stuff, just kids and devotion and a few other books. But she's here and I've been wanting to talk to her for a while.
And she's here I am her first Zoome interview. I was her first Zoome call. Patti Smith was a Zoome virgin before me, and I'm thrilled to have. At that honor and you'll hear me talking to Patty, I just love her what there's she's the real fuckin deal. She is the one and only Patti Smith. She's the raw goods man all there all the time, right up front. Fuckin lover. True beatnik legacy. That's what I was trying to get at.
There's no context any more, really. History is dissolving. Everything is all the time. Nothing is true. Everything is permitted. That's not true. That's an old riff on Hussin Iserbyt that Burroughs used to do, and then Jim Carroll did it in a song.
I can't think like that, but the context of history is diminished when everything happens all the time and no one is educated properly, no one is really schooled in critical thinking or or a civics or even American history in a proper way.
Global history, myself included. It's just all there, all the time. Nobody knows who did what or what anyone's importance was in the context of history, the big monsters and the do gooders. Nobody knows really how they fit in. The generation of young people who might say, yeah, you know, oh, Hitler, the guy with the mustache, right.
That's the context. But history is being diminished.
And that's why on some level, I was happy to talk to Patti because she comes directly from the New York that was still being occupied by a beatnik idea that was still being occupied by artists, sort of like really pushing the envelope, that first wave of performance artists, the first wave of punk, you know, in the sort of like the beaten up city of the early 70s.
Stuff was forming. Things were happening. There was no Internet. Everything was raw and dirty. Yeah, that history, but she has a direct legacy, she Newborough, she knew Ginzberg, they both took her under their wing. She was friends with Mablethorpe, she dated Sam Shepherd, Tom Verlaine. But she was there in the cauldron of that stuff in the 70s when those old timers were kind of fading out a bit, but still had some wisdom to share.
Because I wanted to be part of the beatnik legacy. I respected that history, I was a hero worshipper, even though I didn't quite understand it. And I don't think any of those people exist anymore. The people that sort of worshipped these times. Is it nostalgia?
Is it wanting to live in the past? Or is it honoring the arc of history and where you land in it and where you come from?
When I was in college, I was like all up in it, reading the books about the beatniks, reading the beatnik books, reading the beatnik heroes.
Arthur Rambow, Baudelaire, Blake Ginsburg was a Blake guy.
A Rambo guy, they were all Rambo guys, Patti Smith, Zarembo woman, a black woman, that poetic legacy, the poetic journey of that particular type of poetry.
Shatter your senses, man, break it all down. I got I got some quotes here from these from these people from Rambow, the poet, therefore is truly the thief of fire. He is responsible for humanity, for animals. Even he will have to make sure his visions can be smelled fondled. Listen to if what he brings back from beyond his form. He gives it form. If it has none, he gives it none. A language must be found of the soul for the soul and will include everything perfume, sounds, colors, thought, grappling with thought.
Hear of Patti Smith. Hear of the beats. Hear of Ginsberg. I always feel like I don't get it. I always thought there was more there that I didn't understand it, how do I crack this fucking code? And then you kind of lighten up with it, just take it in, take what you can get. The beats. The Mark Burrows was a great comedian, a great philosopher, and I think he said something very relevant. My favorite quotes apply directly to what we're living through, like this one from naked lunch.
I think the junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer. He sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.
God bless America. Here's a direct message to the piece of shit president of the United States, we have currently quote, Hustler's of the world.
There is one mark. You cannot beat the mark inside. End quote. The mark. The intended victim of a swindler, houseware or the like, that's from the dictionary.
My point being there was a progression, there was a progression from the beatnik idea through the poetry of Patti Smith through. The playwrighting of Sam Sheppard on into punk rock and boros. Dug in in New York for a while. But, you know, Patti broke out, there's nobody like Patti Smith, but she was shaped and molded in the cauldron of fucking poetic art, the vision of Rambo.
I remember when I walked I came home from college one year.
I went into the Living Bache bookstore where my mentor, Gus Bleasdale, presided. He was the proprietor. There was a poster on the wall for some sort of big shindig up in Naropa.
This must have been in the 80s, the early 80s at that beatnik school. Yeah, I think it was the Naropa Institute. I remember seeing this poster and they were all going to be there, all the living beats at that time. You know, Burrow's Ginzberg, Gary Snyder, maybe Creeley, I don't know who was there.
And Waldman, they were all going to be there. And I was such a fucking fanboy man. I said I said to Gus, I said, I got to get up there, see that?
Because what do you want to hang around with those geriatrics for? Do your own thing, man. And I'm like, yeah, but they were Grayslake, I knew those guys, and then he made a joke, I want to I didn't want to believe it was a joke. Maybe it wasn't a joke, but he said, yeah, I met Kerouac once at a party in San Francisco.
He was sitting on the floor in the corner drunk with vomit on his shirt, talking to Neal Cassady, saying, live like a tree, Neal, live like a tree.
And but that was Guthman.
Here's a funny motherfucker. Changed my head, changed my mind, changed my heart. But I've been to the places. I've been to the graves.
I've worshipped at the altars. And I come out here I am. This is it. Look, everybody is looking for a change of pace these days, people, and now is a great time to launch that idea that you've never got off the ground and Squarespace can help you turn your dream into a reality. You can easily make a beautiful website for whatever it is you're looking to do. Do you want to showcase your writing or do a streaming video show or have a place to sell the things you make?
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My buddy Dean Rey Ray's got a big show drop and today you got all all the fellows from AC DC over the arc of a couple of interviews.
It's a big day. It's like when I interviewed Obama.
Dean interviewing AC DC is a big day.
The podcast is called Let There Be Talk. Go dig on that. He talked to Angus and Brian and Phil and the other guy, but, you know.
They're back and Dean talked to them, so now I got Patti Smith here just so, so fucking excited about it. Seriously, I was your first Zoome, I hope it went well. I hope she enjoyed it. Right, huh? Her third and latest memoir is called Year of the Monkey. It's now available in paperback Wherever You Get Books.
And this is me and Patti Smith doing her first zoom. Dig it.
What's your cat's name? Cairo. Oh, look at that, it's 19 years old and she's she's a bit infirmed and she doesn't like to be separated from me, so I'm going to that here. Oh, no, no, it's great.
I just had to I had a I just had to put down a 16 year old. I'm sorry. It's terrible. Cheese. And his sister went about six months ago. And then I got I have this other one is about four.
So I got one left or she's the last of three we had so but she she's a little Abyssinians runt. She was born really small, kicked out of the litter box and kicked out of the mom's box and they didn't think she'd last very long. And she's nineteens the runts are tough.
That's right. I wasn't a runt, but I was pretty scruffy. I was a funny thing.
You seem pretty tough pretty early on. Yeah.
I mean, I was people would say I was sickly because I was sick all the time. But in the 50s, you had everything. Measles, chicken pox, scarlet fever among mumps. Yeah, tuberculosis as a toddler. I mean, back then you got everything and two kinds of measles. But it didn't necessarily mean that you were a sickly child. It just meant that you were negotiating all of the things that came out at you. So I'm pretty good at negotiating those type of things.
So, you know, I'm hoping that that will give me extra strength in our person situation.
What a situation it is, huh? Yeah. Well, you know, just sort of, you know, having been through so many different kinds of illnesses. I know. And this one seems extremely troublesome, unpredictable, potentially dangerous. So I've been respecting it. I've had my my my talk with it and said, alright, I respect you, I'm seventy three. I have a little bronchial condition. I'll be prudent. And even though I'm restless and agitated, I'll be prudent and I do what I'm supposed to be doing.
So that's that's all I can do.
Well that's good. Well I like this.
You said in in one of these epilogues you said a psychic nausea, that we were obliged to work off a work off in every way available, a psychic, nausea that we that's that's every day.
Well, the psychic nausea that I was speaking of then, because I wrote that very early, was our our our situation in terms of our government. Right. I was really talking about our political situation and what we have to deal with daily. But I you know, of course, that melded with as you said, you know, now we're dealing with a pandemic that makes us deal with things not only mentally but physically.
Yeah, no, it's all combined. I but I do try to keep busy. I try to keep as much as possible.
I've been saying use whatever option you have at your disposal to maintain your sanity without hurting yourself or others.
Yes, that's I like that. That's good. And also do things that benefit you. I mean, it benefits me being alone in my house. I'm quite messy. So it benefits me to become more disciplined, to be neater, to clean up after myself, to to shed things. It has benefited me to be, you know, more domestically aware, even though I didn't really want to. And I don't like staying put, but I feel better.
I feel like my surroundings are healthier. They're, you know, they they give me more space to think. Yeah. So something like that, you know, just we all have to do whatever we can to survive emotionally, physically and and psychologically. Psychologically.
I mean and I think it's been interesting for me because spending this type of time with yourself, it's not it's I guess it's not really challenging, but it is revealing, you know, I mean, in the book and in some of your other work, I mean, as a poet or as an artist, you know, you're sort of your job.
Part of your job is to to to reflect and spend time, you know, meditating on life and whoever you are in relation to the world and your expression.
But. Right. But now you really find out what you're made of in terms of emotional survival, psychological survival.
You know what's important to you. And it's amazing how that list of things that you think are important to you gets smaller when you spend this type of frightened time alone.
You know that. Yeah, well put. I mean, really, I mean, I. I am used to being on my own. I'm used to. Traveling and being on my own all over Europe or while I'm working or away from my band, I like my solitude. I'm not that social. I like to ride on my own. But that's in motion. Yeah, being stationary alone is a lot different, and I have found that challenging.
So, as you said, I've had to really go into myself and get to know what I'm like in this particular scenario. Yeah, it has been it has been challenging, but I've learned a lot. I feel healthier. I'm attending to myself. I'm doing my own cooking and trying to develop new disciplines. But I find that I pace a lot, talk to myself more.
Well, I mean, it seems like when I look at your life, I mean, like there's this idea. You know that there is some precedent for for for the type of chaos or for how bad this country can get in there, but it seems to me that you grew up in the 50s, but you got to New York, what, in the late 60s, right?
Yes. So it must have been insane, right?
Well, I mean, for me, it was exciting because I lived in a very rural area of South Jersey. And just to see people on the streets was exciting to see all these stores, to see so many bookstores, so many possibilities for work. That was one of the exciting things. There was no work for a 20 year old in South Jersey or in Philadelphia because there was a huge shutdown of the New York shipyard in Camden. Yeah, the thousand people lost their jobs and there were no real jobs for young people.
So New York was for me. And, you know, it was like a gold mine. It was a down and out city like myself at the time. Nineteen sixty seven. The city was nearly bankrupt. It was very cheap to live in New York City. Then there were hundreds, it seemed to bookstores, places to get a job. People on the streets were, you know, didn't bother. And there was things to see everywhere. Museums, it it was amazing to me.
So it didn't feel like like I watched I saw some documentary footage of you, not with with Robert, but also in you know, I don't know what the interview was. I think it was an Adam Curtis documentary, you know, about New York.
But I always get the feeling that, you know, which is maybe wrong, that it felt chaotic and frightening. But but that wasn't the sense you got.
Oh, no. I was never frightened in New York. Yeah, I was. I did. I mean, because, I mean, New York had its dangerous areas. There are areas back then you just didn't go into you didn't go down all the way down Avenue C in the East Village. Right. And there were certain areas that you stayed out of.
But I, I found all of the the action exciting. Yeah. People on the streets. I mean, I you know, in in the parks, there were all these people protesting and singing and playing chess.
And I you didn't see that where I came from. It was exciting. I mean, I never was harmed. In fact, it was a lot scarier walking down a dirt road at night and passing the pig farms in South Jersey in nineteen sixty seven and then walking through this village. That's for sure why I always felt that too.
I always thought I always felt the safest in New York, because at any point in any time you could walk outside and there would be people and. Yes, right.
And there'd be people that if something went down, someone was going to step in and go, whoa, whoa, whoa, no, you can't do that. You know, someone was going to help out.
Yeah, I really I felt I've never been harmed in New York City, never, never been harmed by another person. And, you know, I flourished here. I mean, I yeah, New York is much changed.
And it's not the New York that I knew when I was young, but I feel very grateful to it.
Well, it seems like you I was thinking about, like how to frame a conversation or to think about your work or or how how you kind of became who you are is that you're kind of like there's your generation, the sort of beatnik legacies and the people that sort of came like the type of of environment that created the art that that your generation came from, that you came from.
It was really the last one like that. I mean, it just there was such a creative kind of newness to things. There was like risks to be taken and there was a sort of rock and roll swag, beatnik ethic to it all and sort of desire to push buttons even further.
That and it was also earnest and it seemed like a small community.
And you still had some of the old guys around? Well, we were all.
That's some nicely said, I feel like I should just be listening to you. You're much more articulate than I've been lately, but well, I think also we were all bred on rock and roll, right?
We were all it was a we were post-war kids. We we wanted new things. We didn't want the same. We didn't want the things our parents desired, which was safety, security or their little house. And, you know, nothing wrong with the things that they wanted. And we wanted something different. I wanted to be free of all of that. I didn't want to have things set up for me. I didn't want to be a secretary or a hairdresser or homemaker.
I wanted to see what else was out there. And the nice thing about New York at that time, there were kids from all over, all over America who came like minded. We were all listening to the same music. We all know our causes were the same, whether it was human rights, gay rights, civil rights, the the war in Vietnam. We we had our causes and our and our love were very we're in tandem. So, you know, you felt kinship wherever you went.
And even the people that were more well known when I lived at the Chelsea, you know, any given moment at Janis Joplin or the Allman Brothers or Jimi Hendrix or and all these people would walk in and the only thing that separated the soul was they had bigger rooms or they had more money to spend at the bar. We all dress the same. We had similar cadence in our speech. We all would get to know each other. There wasn't that.
It was it wasn't the cult of celebrity the way that it is now. It was more like that's such and such. And he's done this, you know, he's created these songs that were singing or that it really inspired us. It wasn't people weren't taking people's pictures and asking for autographs. We all sort of lived together.
There's a community of creative people pushing the envelope. Yeah. Yeah, right. And and I don't know, because I'm I'm fifty. I just turned fifty seven. So, you know, a lot of this stuff for me coming into it and being in college and, you know, kind of being obsessed with the beats and then getting obsessed with the next generation of artists that you were part of. And by the time I spent any time at the Chelsea, you know, it was not.
Yeah, it was just a mythological place almost, you know.
Well, that's funny, because it was almost when I when I went there and sixty nine with Robert, people were saying that about it.
Then it was over because you didn't have people like Bob Dylan and Edie Sedgwick and Dylan Thomas and the people before us had left or died. But the people that were still there were pretty good. Yeah it was we were more of the early rock.
We were the rock and roll generation who was there when we I mean. Well, Shirley Clarke lived there. Harry Smith was there. You'd see Arthur C. Clarke. Salvador Dali came in and Janis Joplin lived there for a while. And Leonard Cohen and all kinds of musicians.
There you go into the the bar next door and you'd see whoever was playing with would be at the Elkadi, but they were just there and I lived there. So they were in my house and composed.
And I remember sitting at the bar at the bar because we're working on a project with William Burroughs and it was William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg and Carl Solomon and Dennis Hopper. And then Sam Shepard came in and it was just another night.
You know, Terry Southern, he was writing a script for William.
We were going to do a version of of Junkie. Oh, really? On a play, Mary. But it all fell apart. But for a while, just hanging out with them was pretty great.
I can't imagine. I just like when I read this book, you know, the the new or the one that's coming out in paperback now, Year of the Monkey.
I mean, it seems like you were sort of straddling some of this stuff that Burroughs did, you know, moving between reality, not reality, dream, not dream.
You having guides, you know, and in because like when when all this shit started to go down, for some reason, I went back to Burrow's to try to decode some stuff because I in my life, I always feel like it's all in there somewhere that, you know, all the answers are within burrow's somewhere. You just have to figure out how to find them and sort it out from some of the other science fiction and weirdness.
You believed it was all out there, was all out there and. He believed also, if you were lucky enough to have suffered scarlet fever, which both him and I had, you had an open channel for all of these things to come from this great pool. So he what you were getting from William, he was a good portal because William got all of those things from everywhere else. He believed in that. So he was the right guide for you.
So so the scarlet fever created the the the the the ability.
Well, he believed that it didn't create the ability, but that it opened the portal wider. In the wild, boys, Johnny and the Wild Boys had scarlet fever. We had a club man, William, called the Scarlet Fever Club.
And but he really believed that if you had suffered a really deep fever at a very young age, it opened your portal forever. That's interesting.
Yeah, I went I for some reason, I started to plough into the the western lands, you know, which it seemed to me that and I think that maybe you're dealing with a bit of it, too, that like he had to somehow reckon with mortality in a very sort of practical way for himself.
And it seemed like, you know, his interpretation of the Book of the Dead was how he was going to go about it.
Is that true? Oh, I suppose I don't I've never analysed I never thought about it. I mean, to me, I mean, that's the kind of thing you'd have to talk. I just read his stuff. Yeah, me too.
But like I wanted answered somehow and like, I had to keep going back because structurally he's a little tricky for me. But like, you know, when I started to see that he was dealing with all these different levels, that that once the person dies, goes through and he created characters with names for each of those levels that were very burrowes characters, I was sort of able to figure out, oh, this is the journey, man, you know, so it was a little bit like, you think deeper than I do.
I mean, to me, William, sometimes reading William or reading certain writers is like listening to Coltrane or something or a saxophone solo. Right. I never analyze it. I just I'm just there and I just go with them and I go all the way as far as they're going to take me. And by and then I come back and don't even remember where we've been because I'm so immersed in the go. And I think that's right.
I think that's the best way to do it. I always assume, like, I'm missing something.
No, no, no, no. He's got so many blanks there. Yeah. He wants you to fill in. I mean, you have to be the third mind with with William, right? Because I, I remember one William's great disappointment in himself was that he couldn't write a straight laced detective story or a straight laced novel. And we talked about this, all of these books, if you if you think about it, they start very conventionally.
You think you're going on you're going with this old guy sitting there with his shotgun on a barrel or something. You're going to go straight through some plot with him and then he starts cutting things up and going into several layers of worlds. And he told me he just couldn't help it. That's that's the way his mind works and that's his process. He would have loved to have written even a two bit detective novel, that's for sure.
I've read his essays and it's interesting when he writes with that type of clarity or you read the interviews, but like, yeah, and I get it. There's a magic to it, you guys. I mean, you're a magician as well. There is a magic to this idea of of transcending space and time through cutups and through, you know, I mean, I get it and I like it.
So you are able to spend time with Burroughs early on before you started singing or as a poet?
I met him in nineteen seventy. I think I met him. I had a big crush on him.
So I was always, you know, I had to pick him. He would come into the Chelsea Hotel and he was so handsome and he was always so well dressed and I just had the biggest crush on him. And I would try to, you know, I would talk to him. And I think he was amused by me. Yeah. But also, he got to trust me. He I don't know, we became friends, but also sometimes in the course of the night, William would get extremely disheveled because he'd come into the Chelsea and you had to come through the lobby and then go through this door into the bar.
Yeah. You would start out with his perfect tie and and suit and overcoat.
And then when he left, he was a bit stumbly. He'd get a bit intoxicated and I would wait and then I would get him a cab and make sure that. He didn't leave anything behind and just, you know, because, like little. Guardian angel girl. Oh, that's sweet. We just got to be friends and friends throughout this whole life and right to the end of his life, and he was a very kind and very principled man.
I know people know all different aspects of William. Yeah. And he was many things. And but to me, he was very good to me. He was a good teacher when my husband died. He was so supportive. He was kind to my children. You know, I loved I loved him.
I feel I mean, that's one thing that comes through the writing and your life is that like the the sort of amazing deep and, you know, lasting friendships.
It's really it's like enviable.
I mean, you know, when the way you talk about William in the way you talk about Sam Sheppard in the book, just these you know, this real appreciation of of friends and people you love and other artists that you respect, it's just it really struck me because I don't I don't I think things have become kind of chaotic and odd and I guess people still do it.
But when I look at my life, I have a few friends.
But there's that because you, the generation and the people that you guys, the crew of you, are so daunting in in your output and who you were in the world.
I just love that you're not only your friends, but you stay together until the end.
I mean, it's really kind of amazing and it really is what life is about. I mean, at least half of it. Right?
Well, you find a few people that you really trust who you feel, you know, understand you. I was just lucky. The people that that I was close to as a young girl were and remain close until their passing. We had all of us had work centric relationships as well as sometimes romantic relationships. Mablethorpe with my boyfriend.
And, um, but when we, you know, had to, you know, transition our relationship, we had so much to salvage our, you know, our mutual respect for each other, the work that we did with each other, how we trusted each other's opinion, how comforted we felt by each other. And so there was no reason to, you know, tear our friendship apart. We we had we we we we had to work very hard, but we saved it.
And the same with Sam and I. Sam was my boyfriend when I was young. Yeah, it was that was quite an exciting period. But we also worked together, but we had a great trust and great communication and the friendship that we had and that aspects of that working relationship and that trust were way more important than, you know, a romantic relationship.
If that's not what you're destined to have, there's often even a greater jewel, you know, there if you recognize it and work to to keep it alive. And we did. Yeah, it's beautiful.
And it's so it's sort of early on. The only way I could picture you to at that time was by actually reading or seeing a production of Cowboy Mouth. And I was like, wow, that that that seemed exhausting.
We writing that was Sam was the easiest thing. I mean, it was this a Sam and I decided mutually that we would part. Yeah, he did family and what's the right thing to do. But we were you know, we were we were sad and but. One night he just said, we were in the Chelsea Hotel and he said, let's write a play. Yeah, let's not sit and wait. Let's write a play. And I said, I don't know how to write a play was like, you know, do it, zoom.
I don't know how to do that. Yeah. And so we said, well, I'll set up a scenario and you'd be your character and I'll be my character. Yeah. So we set up a scenario and then he started writing and when it was my time to talk, he would just hand me the typewriter. We were sitting on a bed and he would slide over the typewriter and then I would write my part. Yeah.
And then I would slide it back and we wrote a play and and just it had a naturalness to it.
But both of us being lovers of language, you know, a lot of which in it to me, it's just so like, you know, these reflections in this book, you know, particularly like I don't I don't know all the books specifically, but, you know, I've kind of immersed myself in the music. You know, yesterday I listened to the the last album you did, which was great.
And, you know, I was who I listened to the first four and kind of in the middle and picking up pieces here and there and then looking at the gaps in I'm like, what was going on there?
I just do a lot of thinking before I talk to you. No kidding. You would like stop me in my tracks a couple of times.
I did. In a bad way. No, I'm in a good way. I was like, you know, especially when you were talking about William and and where the different layers of last year ago. I was just like, again, I just went with you. And then you asked me a question about what you said.
And I was like, Huh? I just like I was off with you, man. I didn't I wasn't analyzing what you were saying.
And, well, that's that's I think I can do that with jazz and I can do it with Jay.
Yeah, exactly. That's what it's all about. Improvisation. It's the miracle of improvisation.
I can lock into that stuff, you know, but like, I think there's some part of me that, like, I guess it's not it's not about craving answers, but it is sort of amount about making sense, you know what I mean? And like, you know, and I'm looking to him to make sense. You know, control needs control to survive, you know, like I'm like, what does that mean? You know, so but that to me, he was from, too.
And it's like the whole idea was to explode the senses, you know, it was I mean, think about it with doing cutups and all of the things he was doing. Yeah. He was always looking for new things. William was looking for like a new language, a new alphabet, you know, some new aspect of the psyche. But he wasn't really looking to make sense. A part of him did crave to write the straight detective story. But when he was writing, he was looking for things.
He was looking he was looking for something that no one had said before, no one had seen before because that William was what an artist did. Right.
That makes sense. So, yeah, Rambo's, another one like, you know, the championing of Rambow that you do and like Jim Carroll, like there are people that do it, the beats do it like that brought me to Rambow and again like I was like do I just take this stuff at face value? And you do because the images are mind blowing. That's what you're looking for.
Right? I've never been an analytical person, but I do speak to us. I mean, I was like eleven years old when I saw Cubism for the first time. Right, Art? For the first time, Cubism spoke to me at eleven years old. Jackson Pollock spoke to me at eleven years old. I can't say why. I mean. Yeah, well, it's the time of rock and roll. Maybe it was the, you know, that fifties energy, but I've never really been able or even sort to analyze why things have spoken to me, why Rumbo spoke to me.
I didn't even understand his poems when I was like fifteen, but their beauty just captivated me. I didn't care about what they meant. Yeah, well, it seems it's not so difficult to comprehend what he's saying now, but back then it was like, you know, reading Wittgenstein, the world, the world is everything that is the case, you know.
What does that mean? Well, I don't know. But I'm there you know, I'm there with you, man. I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm right with you.
Yeah. I went I wrote something down with it, said, you know, I don't know what it means, but when I'm reading, it feels like I'm thinking it. Yeah. Yeah.
Who said that? Me. Oh, well, see, there you go again. That that is a statement. And I know exactly what you're talking about. I like that. Yeah.
It's just like it's like feeding it to, you know, and then, you know, something is something reconfigures something in your brain, whether you understand it or not.
Well, and and sometimes like do we understand music? You. Listen to Hendrix or Beethoven or something, and, you know, you don't need to break it down if it speaks to you or makes you weep or just makes you feel like you can conquer the universe, there's, you know, what's tantalise. It's it's. Yeah, I know.
Yeah. You've got to let it happen. Yeah. There's no I'm no, I'm not great at analyzing things, but when I feel I just always assume that I don't like.
Understand certain things, but, you know, as you get older, those things become fewer and less important.
That's for fucking sure that, you know, there's another way to look at that, how great it is that there's still stuff out there we don't understand. Oh, yeah. It's more exciting. More more adventure. If we understood everything you know, then you might get get a little boring. But I, I, I love when things beguile me and I, I can look at like one of the things I love to do is look at like geometry books or higher math books that have or that have all kinds of diagrams in them.
I don't know what it is, but it's so beautiful and the language of mathematics is so beautiful. I've never been able to figure it out, but I'm endlessly entertained by it.
Yeah, I know I'm no good at math either.
Good. Yeah. What is it, what's going on out there.
Just people. It's a thing they're doing now. People put their car radios up to as loud as possible and open the windows and saying, oh, well, you know, people are kind of crawling out of their skin.
They need to they need some relief. The thing is, I know it's becoming a thing because I sometimes see the same cars circling in it. I think they're, you know, hoping they'll be discovered.
Oh, that oh, that really.
I mean, just being in the ass, so happy that they're having a good time.
What about Ginsburg? Benjamin Ginsburg? I meant Alan again, right near the Chelsea Hotel. And I had written about this in Just Kids.
I met Alan. I knew who Allen Ginsberg was, of course. Yeah. And I think I learned about Allen Ginsberg through Bob Dylan, it seems to me. Right. I had never met him. And then I think probably early nineteen seventy one or somewhere in nineteen seventy I was going to the automat and to get a sandwich and I was really hungry and Robert and I had hardly any money and I didn't have enough money, I just had enough money for a sandwich.
So I put the money in and went to get my sandwich out and it wouldn't open because they had up the price from like fifty five cents for this cheese and mustard sandwich to sixty five cents. Yeah. So I was like devastated because I was so hungry. Yeah. And I hear this voice behind me and I was dressed like I had a long overcoat on and a like a Makowski cap you know. Yeah. It's kind of cool looking. I mean I was like twenty two or something and this guy says can I, can I help.
And I, I turned around and said Allen Ginsberg.
And I just I was like, wow. And I just like this. And he put a dime in, I got my, my sandwich and then he went and got me a cup of coffee and then he sat with me and I was like, speechless. I thought, jeez, Allen Ginsberg is like getting me food and coffee.
And then he starts talking away to me. And then finally I answer him. We start he was talking about Camden and I I'm from that general area. So I started talking about Walt Whitman.
And he looked and he goes, Are you a girl? And I was I've already read this, but since you asked me and I said it's a true story and I said, yeah, is that a problem?
And he went, uh oh no, no, no, no.
I'm sorry. I thought you were very pretty boy. And, uh, and I, I, I, I figured it out. Yeah. So I asked him, I said, well, do I have to give you back the sandwich or, you know, how can I keep the coffee. Yeah. And it started laughing and he said, no, it was my mistake and I just we just hit it off.
We kept talking about Walt Whitman, but he had come to my rescue because he thought I was where I was often mistaken for a because I didn't wear makeup or anything like that. I just had an androgynous look, I suppose. Yeah. So it was that's how Alan and I met. And and we it's funny because I met William because I was trying to pick him up. Yeah. And which was equally fruitless because when William realized I was trying to pick him up, he said, my dear, I'm a homosexual.
I don't care. That's OK.
But both of these men really were such for me.
Great teachers and great friends.
I mean, really, again, when when my my husband died in ninety four and I had two small children had to come back to New York, I was really at the lowest point in my. It was Allen who came, Allen came right to my rescue to bring me back into working again, actually talked to Bob Dylan to ask Bob to maybe take me on a tour. Help me get work. So these men, you know, I met these men both in nineteen seventy in humorous circumstances, but they were lifelong friends.
So when when you started to do like it seemed like you landed on poetry, like you seem like you were doing a lot of stuff and you continued to do a lot of stuff, but poetry seemed to be the thing. Was that a decision you made at some point like this? Is it?
You know, I I wanted to be an artist. That's what I want to me. An artist was the whole spectrum. Right. And, you know, I dreamed of being a painter and I always wrote and I always I wrote poetry since I was about 14.
But when I first came to New York working at a bookstore, Robert and I lived in a little apartment and I did little drawings. But it was really the lion's share of my energy, went into poetry and. That's really how I wound up performing or and and recording later, it's all the poetry was the genesis, like even horses, the first lines of horses. Right. You know, Gloria is from a poem I wrote in nineteen seventy. Right.
And and Redondo Beach came from a poem.
A lot of the and the idea of improvising came from the way I wrote and performed poems. So I guess I've always been in a poetry centric when it comes to my work. Even now when I write a lot less poetry, I still feel it invading my books like In The Monkey on any of these books that I write. Yeah, I'll read something and I'll think, you know, that's three quarters poem, but. Oh definitely, yeah.
There's like I ended up like last night, I don't know, I was listening to a tangerine dream, you know, reading the book was reading the rest of your book and like, you know, I'd read like over half of it already, but I've got Tangerine Dream On. I'm reading your book and all of a sudden I'm like underline and shit.
I'm like, this is poetry. Yeah. There's like I definitely see parts where, you know, if you just spaced it differently, they just be poetry.
A lot of the poetry I wrote when I was younger was a. Love centric or relationship centric or, you know, and it's just as I got older, I've written I don't write so much of that anymore. So I'm I find myself gravitating almost completely to prose. Well, yeah.
I mean, I was thinking about that, like what you just said about, you know, the you wanted to be an artist and an artist is all of it. And I and I think it seems to me like even in that this being your first zoom and I I'm very excited to be part of a Patti Smith first, and it's not so bad.
I was I mean, I have to I have to say, I was a little worried about it. I thought, well, I don't know. I just didn't know what to expect. It's it's all right. It's fun so far.
It works. Yeah. But like, yeah. When you talk about being a full artist in that, you know, that you did you had to do all these things, whatever it was that there is this general sense of the artist in art. I was talking to my buddy Sam Lipsyte last night. He's a writer, a genius. I love them.
And, you know, it struck me that even, you know, the that you don't you don't zoom, you don't have the headphones and you live the life of an artist. But you also, it seems to me in reading the books that you look to art to resolve all the fundamental questions of of existence.
You look to art for relief. You look to art to make sense of the world. You look to it when you're just hanging out, having coffee. That is almost a religiosity to to what it can do for somebody if they surrender to it wholly and fully. And it seems that's the life you live. Well, that's thank you.
That that's really a nice thing to say. But I think it's also I look at when I was very young, I always looked at being well, that one is called to be an artist. You're calling to be a poet. Well, it could be anything a calling to be. It could be a priest or a musician, comedian, actor. I mean, it's know one has a calling. Yeah. But, you know, I felt like it it was my calling.
I've never wanted to do anything else. I don't really not that adept to do anything else. It's been a part of my life my whole life and even when I was very ill. And it's, um, I've been very ill or at the you know, at the brink of despair. It always comes to me. It always gives me refuge or it always gives me a voice. It always or makes me feel that I have some worth, you know, that there that I have something, you know, to to offer the canon of of art or offer to people are offered to the future.
And it's just but, you know, I think of all of these things are linked together. If one has a calling, where does the calling come from? You know, one can say from God, from nature, you know, from some kind of vast energy pool. And and I believe in those those things. I mean, how I believe in it shifts as I evolve. But I've always connected. Art, for me has not been a godless pursuit.
So I always I have it all within my work. I have connections with everything within my work.
But I've also understood that being an artist, you know, there's there's a certain amount of sacrifice and also.
There's a certain amount of self. Orientation, I mean, self-centered ness in being it's not I'm not talking about being conceited, I'm just talking about that you're you've become a sort of work and one's own work centric, creative course centric, which can be at the detriment to how much time or how much of yourself you give to others.
So there is you know, it's not like it's the most benevolent of all the vocations, but it's the one I it's the one I got.
It's interesting because I feel a calling. I feel like I had a calling and I felt like I had no choice but to be a stand up comic. I mean, that was it. Like there was no there was no other thing to do. So, you know, that's what I did and I do.
But there's other things we do. I do this now, but whatever.
But it's the ability to identify the calling and then actually have it in your brain that you have no other option is some sort of strange, you know, you know, commitment that I can't explain it.
But maybe it's a it's a God thing. It's a spiritual thing. But there's literally when you have it and you honor it, you're like there are no other choices. And then when shit gets tough, you're like, well, I guess I'm just fucked. Or else it's going to get me out of this. I don't know. I have no idea.
I also think that for myself, I've been very. Lucky because lucky or unlucky, because it's almost like I have like like I live on live on a constant fork in the road and I'm always going up this road or that road because one great part of me as a performer is entrenched in collaboration, public life, collaboration with it, with with a crew, with technology, with the people, with with with my band.
It's entirely collaborative and it's and it's very outgoing. And and then the other part of me. Requires no one and desires no one, the right or part of it really requires no technology. I mean, I can get a notebook and a pencil. I can be off by myself. I don't need anything. I don't need anyone. And it's. And I keep vacillating or going back and forth to these two vocations, which is, again, why this the first months of this of our lockdown was difficult because I had my bags packed.
I was going on a world tour, a whole year of touring. I got myself ready for that. I was my gift to my people because at at seventy three, it's one can start questioning how long you were going to be doing this. And I was ready for that. I my whole psyche was ready for that to be out, going to be more giving, to be more open with people and, and then suddenly I'm locked down in solitude and stationary which.
I wasn't mentally or physically prepared for, so I was quite restless, to say the least, but but I've gotten into a groove.
Yeah, I mean, I see I see the Instagram stuff. You seem to be kind of like at least writing daily, taking pictures I take daily.
But the first couple of months I, I didn't write as much as I wished I had to read the first couple of months was really getting a new mindset, reprogramming myself to being blown to being in one place, not going anywhere, not doing anything publicly. So it was. You know, I had to return, but, you know, I'm doing I'm more. Yeah, you seem good. You know, you can do these calls with anybody, Patty.
Like, if you get used to this, you can hang out with people like this.
It's really funny. It's just I just. I saw my kids did this once and they asked me to sit in it and I was like for like three minutes, this is my first. I mean, I did that, but this is the first all by myself doing it with figuring it out and Cresson I thing and everything.
I lasted about four minutes and I was like, I'll be right back.
My kids and I love my kids, but it was like all this talking and all these faces that I was like, let me out of here.
Yeah. The other thing, when you were talking about art and about, you know, like, you know, about writing and about choosing writing, you know that writing becomes the the primary as you get older. Is that what you're able to do? I mean, certainly in this book and just kids as well is, you know, you're able to take your experience with people you love and people you respect. And then, you know, as they pass on, you know, you integrate them into the universe of your own creativity through, you know, how you represent them in these books.
You know, they become characters that, you know, none of us knew.
Like, I didn't know Sandy at all, you know, but like I had when I when I went and looked him up and I saw the work he did, I saw the records he produced, I you know, I hear what you had to say, but you're sort of interpreting a very moving on of they're passing it.
It creates another world for their existence. It's kind of it's a beautiful thing. But it seems like, you know, that you are doing a lot of reckoning with this loss business, you know?
Well, I have my whole life. It's just seems to be something that. You know, and especially in the past, well, I just had a string of losses. Yeah, my my pianist, Robert Mapplethorpe, my brother, my husband, my parents and just so many friends and Sam and Sandy in one year was there was quite a blow. But I know the I think.
Robert asked me to write Just Kids, I would have never written that book ever, I never wanted to write nonfiction. I just wanted to write fiction and poetry. Robert asked me to write it the day before he died, and I promised I would. And it took me over 10 years to write it and. But what I was trying to do was give people give give people, Robert, as a human being, you know, what his ideas Christy's and you know, his work ethic, the way how funny he was, how loving he was, or I think he wanted to be remembered more spectacularly.
But he also knew he could trust me. And Sam was alive when I when I wrote Entrain Sam, as Sam is entering. Yeah, he's in the M train is himself and he's in them train as my sort of like guardian angel cowpoke writer. And he he he loved this. He he saw himself in just kids and he knew that I presented him as as we were. And that's what he said to me. I said, were you mad?
Was, were you OK with what I wrote? And he said, I was just like it was, yes, I like giving people. I like sharing my people with with with everyone right now, I'm writing about my brother, very few people knew my brother. My brother was an extraordinary person. He died when he was forty two. And I just want people to know him and. I don't I, I don't know, I, I don't I don't even know what to say.
I feel like you you put a mirror up to me and I'm thinking, oh, should I be doing that or what?
But it is cause of course you should be doing it.
It's like I was sort of amazed because, you know, I recently lost somebody that that I loved tragically and quickly and reckoning with loss.
You know, I've never had to do it. You know, this is the first time, like, you know, my parents are still fucking alive, you know?
And, you know, and this woman was, you know, my my girlfriend.
And she was in my house, you know, and I never had to to deal with that, that the trauma, the tragedy and then the absence, you know, living with the absence.
So what do you do with them?
So I felt.
You know, especially reading this and reading parts of just kids that, you know, it seems that you are integrating, you know, that absents into what life is.
I mean, it's it's as if there is nothing unusual about loss and about death.
It's the most common thing in the world. But it's like it's really a lot to deal with, but it's perfectly human.
Well, I, I also like I a lot of my relationships, a lot of my friendships would be long distance and we wouldn't see each other for a while. So, you know, but I always felt them with me. I always felt Sam with me when I traveled. Yeah. If I didn't see him for a couple of months, I knew him for half a century. I knew that he was in my corner and I was in his.
And, you know, it doesn't feel any different. I do long to see him as I mean, he is such a beautiful man and he was so protective. And I just his presence I miss his physical presence more than I could have imagined. But, um, but I also feel, you know, I'm sure I'll write something else again and he'll be back again.
Yeah. I keep bringing him back.
You know, he's because he'll always be with me. Yeah. I don't see why he shouldn't be with me.
Right. Of course. Yeah.
And Lenny and you have been together for a million years now, right? Yes.
I met Lenny. Not long after I met Sam, Lenny and and Sandy were very good friends as well, we all knew each other like Sandy was like Sandy Perlstein, right?
Is that Perlman?
Perlman Perlman was the manager and producer of Blue Oyster Cult for a lot of records. Yes.
And he wrote a lot of their songs. He wrote a lot of their lyrics and the concepts and a lot of those songs, astronomy, estab. I wrote some of the lyrics. I wrote Career People and some of the other ones. But the night I met Sandy was my first poetry reading. And I was with Sam and Lenny did a little guitar with me, play some feedback on some poems and. And Sandy Perlman came up to me and and told me I should be front in a band and asked me if I wanted to come and audition to sing, to be the other singer with IRC on what became Blois typical.
Yeah, they were called Storck fast at the time. And I just thought that was I thought it was really funny. I mean, I said, Sam, I said I said this guy said the funniest thing to me. And he said, I don't think that's so funny. You could do that. You know, yeah, and yeah, but that was 19 February seventy one, and I wasn't even thinking about doing anything like that. I wanted it.
You know, I think I had my first poetry book and, you know, I was very poetry was my vocation that I was magnifying.
Never even occurred to doubt the St. Mark's Poetry Project. Yeah, it's weird, the convergence of, like, you know, that scene and the punk rock scene is all sort of like swirling around and then it just blows up.
The weird thing is about about you is like I'm listening to you, you know, from from horses and the first three records, it's like, you know, you're a fucking rock star.
I mean, that shit holds up and like, you know, whatever you were doing, wake with the poetry or whatever there is, you know, when you sing on those songs.
I saw you perform here in L.A. a couple of years ago at that small club. It was, you know, remember when Johnny Depp came up and I think Joe Perry was there.
That was a good show. You were great rock hard.
But like you're like, you know, when you when I see you do that or I guess those records are like this is you know, you're a singular force in rock and roll. I mean I mean, I'm sure the poetry was great, but was there a certain amount of relief when he started to do rock and roll?
Oh, absolutely, I mean, that's that's why it happened, because I got bored really quickly, you know, I mean, just pomes. I had so much energy. I had really seventy eight speed, natural energy, you know, it's just a wired kid and I couldn't really be contained easily. Yeah, I found that. You know, it happened, it started slow, but when it started happening and I started improvising over three chords, yeah, I could just spew language and plus I, I liked the physical physicality of it and.
But, you know, I was still thinking of it as poetry. Yeah, I wasn't thinking. You know, of. That I was like a rock and roll singer, I didn't have any, you know, visions of me singing, I was a performer. I still think of myself as a performer. But when it evolved to rock and roll and we were recording and going on the road, of course, you know, I loved rock and roll.
Rock and roll saved my life when I was a kid. You know, being part of the evolution of rock and roll was helped form me. And I wanted to be like the best. You know, if I was going to be even a minor rock and roll star, I was going to be a good one.
I don't mean even talented. I just mean I would put all of my everything into being like, you know, all in the real deal.
Yeah. Because, you know, who wants to be a mediocre rock star?
Nobody is a lot of them around, though.
So when you like who were I mean, it's pretty you have pretty specific rock heroes though, don't you, that kind of compelled you.
I mean, I, I mean, I love I love Jim Morrison. And, you know, I look I mean, I love Bob Dylan. Of course, Bob Dylan was very important and mentor for me. But one of the people that I learned so much from. Yeah. Was Johnny Winter. Really well, because I got a job for a while with Steve Paul. Steve Paul wanted to sign me up to his record. He opened up a record company in nineteen seventy one called Blue Sky Records, and he would give me a record contract in nineteen seventy one and but he wanted me to, he wanted to form me.
Yeah. It and I said and he offered me a lot of money and I said I ain't doing that. I actually talked to William Burroughs about that. I said this guy offered me like a huge amount of money but it's not something I want to do. And he said, you know, you got to keep your name clean. You got it. Never do anything that you know isn't right for you. Keep your name clean.
Wow. So I but I needed a I wanted to shift. I wanted a different job, so I didn't take that. But I took a different job from him sort of shadowing Johnny when or when they went. They had to go to England because Johnny was colorblind and they needed somebody with them to go, you know, walk across the streets, look at the traffic lights and and roam around with him. And Johnny liked me, Johnny Chelsea Hotel for a while.
And Robert designed some of his clothes. So so I started going to some Johnny's concerts. Well, he wasn't like anybody that I would have thought I would have liked. Yeah. I mean, I was I was Jimi Hendrix all Jimi Hendrix all the time. Yeah. But I saw Johnny live many times and I have to say nineteen seventy, seventy one seventy two. I never saw anybody like him. Anyone is fierce is him, he he would leap the first person I ever saw that leaped into the people, leap into the people, would leap right off the stage.
He commanded that whole stage and I the energy that that guy had and his body language was like nothing I ever saw was like a wizard.
Yeah. Yeah. My favorite guy. I mean, it wasn't even like my kind of music, but his physicality. And I learned a lot from him.
Yeah, he's he's a monster guitar player.
I mean, he's always, always was. And, you know, he was almost the wit and it was like he's like Bewitched. I learned a lot from him. I learned a lot, of course, you know, I modeled myself a little after Bob Dylan. And, you know, I I was wasn't embarrassed about, you know, modeling myself after these guys.
So, no, I mean, Bob Dylan modeled himself after Ramblin Jack Elliott for years. But I you know, I just got what I mean, I was myself, but I got certain things from these people, like certain things I know from from Jimi Hendrix. So I got certain things from a lot of Leonia. Yeah, sure. So I just took the things from Masters because I had no training and I had no musical training and I didn't.
And I didn't replicate them, I just absorbed what I could learn from, of course, just yeah, because, like, I can't like it becomes seamless and, you know, you take the magic of the heroes and you integrate them into your sense of self and confidence, and then you kind of bloom into your own thing. You know, you don't you know, you don't become them. But, you know, it's definitely magic. I like the way you characterize Johnny that you just saw that he was a vessel.
You know what what it was, but it was in there, you know, and I and also he was fearless.
I saw Jim Morrison and Jim Morrison. He was awesome. And he, like, pushed things as far as he could, but he always seemed afraid. I was very paranoid style performer.
He seemed because he had you could feel I don't know what his own demons, whatever he feared. Yeah. I was a young girl. I mean, I saw him in nineteen sixty eight or something or sixty seven. But what I got from him wasn't the same thing I got from Johnny Wright.
You know, he had know. I'm sure sometimes he might have felt like a God. Jim Morrison. But you also felt a self-loathing or something.
He had a strange right in. He lacks self-love I think. And I don't I can't say that I understood him, but his style didn't appeal to me. Right. Right now I look at him and I thought. I didn't feel intimidated by his presence, right? Well, it seems like with Johnny and even I can see that with you, that, you know, you're all you're all in and you're not afraid of the vulnerability of being all in like this, is it?
You know, it's going to be awkward for some of you, but this is what it is, right?
Well, it's just I just think all the things that I wanted for our band and for myself was just that we were ourselves. Right. However flawed. I don't know even that sometimes when I was awkward or sometimes when it seemed like I was like and acted like an asshole, it didn't it didn't matter. It was all you know, I hate to use the word authentic. It's just we didn't have any sort of artifice right now. Yeah. And and I if I sensed artifice or because of repetition, you know, a lack of complete engagement, then I would like mentally count counsel myself about that because I didn't want that.
I just wanted. Oh, and I just thought of another great performer, Bob Marley. What a great performer. Oh, yeah. Oh, my. He was he was an awesome performer, he he was another one that had you could feel him. It was like shamanistic. You could feel him entered right now.
Yeah, just beautiful energy. Yeah. It's all about inner.
Sure. Well, what about some of your contemporaries? What about what do you think, Iggy?
Well, he was he was he came out before he was Jesus. He came in the 60s, I guess the former. Yeah. Yeah.
I mean I guess yeah. He's a younger and Lou Reed who is older to your younger than those guys. But they were around right. They left their mark on the city.
Iggy just started younger. Yeah. And I, you know, he was just he was started in the sixties after the five. Yeah. I, I didn't I never even saw Iggy before until later in life. You know, he wasn't he wasn't on my radar I thought.
Yeah. Because I guess your husband Iggy used to hang around their house or something. Right.
Well I mean even I mean my husband I didn't know about you know, I was from South Jersey. I didn't even hear about the Velvet Underground there, you know, like I came to New York and had to learn a lot about our present culture. Right. And I didn't know anything about the M.S. five or. Right. Yeah. When I when I first saw Fred, I just saw him as a a guy. Yeah. Across a crowded room.
And that was that. Yeah. And how are your kids. Good.
My kids are, they're great. My, my daughter does works tirelessly for, you know, for climate change awareness is a non-profit and she's a musician and she writes and my son is a great guitar player and as a family they're awesome. My kids are they're just they they they magnify they're the best of their father. And I see myself somewhat in them. And I love my kids. Sometimes we all play on stage together and I love my kids because they're always my kids.
Yeah. I mean, my son has come up once we were playing. I don't I think we were in Spain or something. There was like thirty thousand people at a festival and my son was playing lead guitar that night and we were on some song I can't remember. I'm singing the chorus.
And then there was a breakdown and my son is going, Mom, Mom, Mom, and I'm done.
And he is saying. I'm having a little rough time, he was having a little rough time physically, and I don't know what kind of soldier I'll be doing, but just to do the best I can and I just do the best he can, Jack.
But we're talking he's always my son, you know, I'm always mom, you know, and of course, late.
Great. But he's the you know, I remember also we were touring with Bob Dylan and some reporter, you know, asked him, what's it like having your mom is your mom?
And he goes, she's my mom. You know, she makes dinner and she's, you know, precious the clothes.
And that was the best answer of all. I don't want to be anything else but but mom, to my kids.
Well, it seems like he had a lot of time there where you could really focus for a while, right? Well, they were quite young when they lost their father, but six and 12. But. But when their father was alive, we were always with each other every day because Fred and I both loved public life and we lived very simply and we were always together in a way, so. We have a lot to remember here. We have all of that time to get a good foundation, but also they just my daughter plays piano and she sounds like Fred well.
And my son, sometimes he's playing guitar and just sometimes the faces he makes or or the tones that he draws, which are very unique. Yeah, we're very active, Fred. And I've stood on stage and actually almost burst into tears hearing my son play it so much with sound just like his father. And he wouldn't even be conscious of it. Wow.
I bet you some of that stuff is just in there. Just carried on. Yeah.
It's it's it's been proven to me. Yeah. That, you know, we you know, there's so many ways that we.
We become who we are, you know, from the people that nurture us and from, you know, experience and what we study and all of the the the influences that we have. But also blood is blood can be a gift to. Yeah, for sure.
Yeah, I definitely believe that's true. And another Jersey guy. Bruce, do you are you friends with Bruce? Well, I mean, I know him, I mean, I'm you don't have we're not like we don't hang out or anything like the other. We're happy to see each other.
But, yeah, I mean, I'm also not I'm not really a musician. I don't really have a musician's lifestyle or hang out with, you know, musicians. I mean, even when Lenny and I are together, we're like, you know, we're like two bums. Yeah. You know. Right. Or bums that all you know.
Yeah. Old friends hanging out and the and the Dylan thing, has he is he present in your life.
But believe me, if I was present in my life that no one would hear about because he is the most private man you can imagine.
But no, Bob is not in my life except in my life the way that he is. He's been in my life since I was 15 years old. And I I've had time when I've spent gotten to talk to him a lot or sit and listen to him play and and then years not you know, it's I don't we don't I don't have any established relationship with him. He knows I'm in his corner, so.
Right. How do the like I'm sure you've told this story, but I don't know. I just watched it. How did the the the Nobel Prize gig come up?
The Nobel Prize job came because they asked me to. It was the Nobel people. I play a lot in Sweden and actually. Sort of well-liked in Sweden, so the Nobel people asked if I would sing for who ever won the literary, you know, who won for the Nobel Prize for Literature. And that year there was some talk. It might be more a commie. Yeah. And so I thought I would sing this song wing because of the wind up bird chronicle.
Well, it wasn't it turned out to be Bob Dylan. And then I, I thought, oh, my gosh, I'm singing. I'm going to be singing for Bob. I can't sing one of my songs. I should sing one of his. Yeah.
So I chose hard rain, hard going to fall because I felt it even though it was an early song and encompasses everything, his poetry, his, you know, his humanity, his sense of the environment, his sense of all of the things that he believed in that we all believe in or in that song. And I thought it was the perfect, you know. Yes.
Great way to introduce him. And of course, I had this terrible episode of strange white out nerves.
But it's like it is one of the greatest moments of live performing I've ever seen in my life. It is so personal.
It's so odd the way it kind of I know it must have been just horrible for you, but as it was, I thought I would die.
And I can I really I don't have any when it comes to performing, I don't mind screwing up anything and I screw up a lot, but it's my own screw up. Yeah. But just RaHoWa. Another person's work, especially Bob Dylan, who is as meant so much to me. My whole life. It was it was it was terrible.
But but the self correction of it was beautiful because it was ultimately an act of respect. And, you know, but it just that moment where you make the decision to be like, wait a minute, like every time I watch it, I be like, oh, my God, as a performer, it almost makes me cry because it's like because it's so honest, though.
It's so honest. And, you know, I don't know. I thought it was great. And everybody it seemed like everybody kind of woke up and realized that they were seeing a human. It was kind of an amazing moment.
Well, it all it seemed universally to people that way. And I'm grateful for that, because at the moment, with the orchestra behind me.
Giant and these cameras, because they were global cameras going all over the world, you know, massive cameras and looking down and the king and queen of of Sweden and and all of the Nobel laureates and and all of this expectation. And then suddenly to just freeze it, I just froze. I mean, a song that I knew backwards and forwards just suddenly escaped me and I didn't know what to do. I've never I've had these things happen to me on stage where I can laugh and make a joke and say, well, we'll do this and then talk to the people.
I've had paranoid moments where I had to actually talk myself down with the people and say, I don't know what's wrong with me, but I feel really self-conscious and people are always with you. And I know that people most of the time people are with you. If if they come, they are going to be with you. Right.
It was just it was so humiliating and so frightening, but.
It turned out that it made people people seem to identify it because everybody has these moments where they're their worst moments of their life.
Everybody has these moments.
And I guess it's just I guess I had to be the poster poster girl for the worst moment of your life.
But I. I don't know that I feel about it now, like. I feel about. Everything, if it's if it's served anybody, then it's OK. Yeah, you know, I've been in a pub that says you've got to serve someone.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's it's seemed to serve people.
Did he say anything about it? Not to me directly. But I, I know from the family that everyone seemed very happy.
They said you can take look good with with with everything.
Well, it's great talking to you.
I wanted you to know I was going to talk more about some of this this line, the evidence of an awareness of the relative value of insignificant things, like it seems that, you know, that like can I see some of your photographs, too? And I have a lot of little things that that really become personal magic objects, sort of like, you know, triggers of of emotion and nostalgia and place and time. And, yeah, I love that appreciation of that.
And I like the way you look at them. Oh, thank you, Mark.
That's so nice. Well, I guess it's we used to mosey on, but I had this was really fun. It was great. I wish I was sometimes a little more articulate, but I'm just not my you know, I've become very mentally abstract in these months, but really fun to talk.
No, I thought it was great. And I love talking to you. And you know who is always telling me that he wanted us to talk? You know, Barry Skills, your.
Oh, Barry, he's my is one of my favorite people. He is really I've been blessed to have him as a as a crew member and a friend. And I don't know if you know this, but, you know, he has my husband's motorcycle.
Oh, really? I didn't know this. My husband had a Harley Sportster and, um, Barry and I just had it, you know, we had no you know, no, none of us ride a motorcycle.
And it was, you know, you can't leave a motorcycle for years not doing anything, you know.
And Barry's dream, I found out, was to have a Harley sports Sportster. Yeah.
And he really is really taken. He is loved that Barry also, I have to say, reminds me of my late brother Todd. So I always say he gets the tody award, OK?
And Barry, my brother was the head of our crew when when we performed in the seventies and and Barry became the head of our crew when I would return to performing in the nineties. And he is really shepherded that that that motorcycle, he goes everywhere in it. He named it Sonic after Fred. Oh, that's great. It's like he had it painted on it. Oh, wow, that's great.
I didn't know that. Like, I know him from doing Koenen a as a comic and he, he'll, he'll, he'll work on my guitars occasionally and we'll talk about this and that. But he's a great guy, but he always used to say like, look, I'm going to talk to Paddy. You guys got to talk.
Oh he he's he's been the one he keeps and you have to do this and you have to and he and talk about being in one's corner. He is in your corner, that's for sure. That's sweet.
Well, I just want to acknowledge that, that he's a great guy and that, you know, he was always championing this and I'm glad it happened. Me too.
Well, we'll have to do it again sometime because there's a million things we could talk. Oh, yeah, I can see.
Hopefully in person, you know, like maybe we'll get back to some sense of normal. I'll come to New York with some microphones and we'll do it.
Although I forgot that. I mean, I'm you know, because I'm the only interviews I've done in the past six or seven months, I've been on the telly. I haven't anybody. So actually, I almost forgot that we're not just talking. It's yeah.
Yeah, no, it's great. I'm so happy that we got you involved in the Zoome thing and it's working out. Yeah. All right. We'll take care of yourself. It's officially your resume.
You've been zoomed. Patti Smith. Oh, thanks, Mark.
Talk to you again soon. Oh, I love her so much, Patti Smith. The book is here, The Monkey and everything else she's ever done. Go listen to those first three or four records again. Damn right. Out of the gate. Just fucking mind blowing. And remember, documentary filmmaker and self-described anxious New Yorker John Wilson serves as writer, director, cameraman, producer and narrator of the all new HBO docu comedy series, How to Watch John Wilson.
In a uniquely hilarious odyssey of self discovery and cultural observation, Wilson films the lives of his fellow New Yorkers while attempting to give everyday advice on relatable topics. How to watch. John Wilson, an HBO original, is streaming October twenty third on HBO. Max live like a tree. Neil Dingleberries got AC DC on. Let there be talk today and now I'll play some guitar. Now I'll do it. All. Boom, our lives. Maggie. The fund.