An interview with Patti Smith from 2010 has been shared online in full for the first time.
Smith – speaking to Membranes frontman John Robb in Sheffield during a tour in 2010 – speaks in the interview about her memoir Just Kids, her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe and the proto-punk scene in New York – as well as her own poetry and music.
Smith begins by describing her first meeting with Mapplethorpe, saying “it’s almost like we always knew each other” before talking about how “gifted” he was, together with his “strong work ethic.” Smith goes on to discuss the difficulties in their relationship, how she coped with losing him, and the way they both influenced each other’s art, saying: “I learned to be a little better socially because of him.”
Smith added: “I didn’t like life without Robert and he didn’t like life without me because what we shared was so deep. It had to do with our work, really believing that the other understood our work better than anybody and that we really had this mutual need for each other to validate our work and we trusted one another and we both knew how to make each other laugh and we had a lot to save…
“I still feel him with me, I still feel the confidence he instilled in me and I collaborate with him in my mind. I can still hear him laugh when I’m in certain situations that he would think was funny… I’m still learning. I’ve hopefully learned to be a less judgemental and kinder person [because of him].”
Speaking about the interview, Robb recalled: “Smith was in full flow throughout the talk – no subject is off-limit, no emotion is left untouched. You can feel the humanity, and the air is charged with passion.
“One moment she wells up, the next she is hilarious, the next she speaks with a powerful wisdom that so few of her male counterparts have managed over a similar time span.
“I sit there and realise that I am talking to the very core – the very epicentre of rock ‘n’ roll where poetry, emotion, dark energy, magic and art sparks all at once.”
Smith also talks in the interview about meeting and working with musicians in New York soon after her arrival there, including Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. “We were all part of that late 60’s early 70’s revolution,” she said.
The interview is part of a series of rare chats Robb is currently sharing, the last of which was a never-before-heard ‘lost’ interview with Kurt Cobain during the early days of Nirvana.