With her first album since 1988 still being completed,
Patti Smith is about to hit the road again. She will arrive in San Francisco
next weekend, and will perform for two nights at the Warfield Theater. When
asked if the album has a title yet, she sagaciously told us: "It has a few.
When it has just one, I'll let you know." Without getting into specifics about
the new material, she recently reflected on how the album is a departure from
vintage Patti Smith. "I think it's different," she said. "I wrote
three-quarters of the music, I've never done that before. Again, Having Fred's
[her late husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith] spirit with me, I imagine... Fred taught
me how play some acoustic guitar. In the last few months he was giving me my
little guitar lessons, and he taught me enough so I could write my own songs
and I did write several of the songs. I really don't know how, I'm in some ways
so out of touch with things that I have no idea where it fits, where it sits,
what people will think about it. I can only say that it's an honest effort.
"Every record I've done has been an honest effort," she continued. "
Dream of Life was really more Fred's record: It was all of Fred's music,
Fred's philosophy, "People Have The Power," Fred's concept, the titles of a lot
of the songs were Fred's--even though I wrote all of the lyrics, a lot of the
titles and the concepts of the songs were Fred's. The title of the album was
Fred's (laughs) so it was really Fred's gift to me. He really crafted that
record for me. This particular record is really my record with Lenny's touches.
But it pretty much reflects myself. I don't know what to say about it. I think
one couldn't place it... You couldn't say it's any particular kind of music
'cause I don't really think it sits anywhere. I just think it's something
people will like or not. I can't ever promise to give people what they want or
what's in current favor. All I can promise them is an honest effort. I don't
have filler stuff, I don't just throw stuff together. Everything that I do, I
work hard on. Then it's up to the people whether they like it or not. It
doesn't have any curse words on it."
Hmm. No curse words. Is that because
of her kids? "It just happened that way," said Smith. " Actually Dream of
Life doesn't either. But I think all those things weren't even thought of,
they just came out as they did. I'm anxious to do another record. This record
really does reflect Fred. He's in it. A lot of thoughts about losing Fred,
whether abstractly or directly. I had to write that, I had to do that. And then
the next record I believe I'll really find out what I'm thinking