Patti Smith: “I feel embarrassed when people call me a musician”

"I can’t play anything!" She admits

Trending Now

Patti Smith said she prefers to see herself as a “performer” rather than a “musician”, speaking at a festival in New York this weekend.

Smith, who releases her new book M Train this week, was at a Q&A session at the New Yorker Festival on Saturday night [October 3].

“I feel embarrassed when people call me a musician, because I can’t play anything,” Smith told the crowd, according to The Guardian.


“I didn’t have any musical aspirations. I liked being in front of people,” she said before adding that she would rather be called a “performer”.

Smith also discussed her love-hate relationship with poetry, stating that she originally thought poetry readings were “snoresville”.

Smith attributes her love of the medium to Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jim Carroll.


Speaking of her own foray into poetry, she added: “I didn’t have any game plan. It was just to make poetry a little more visceral.”

M Train, which will be released on October 6, has been described as a “roadmap” through Smith’s life. You can pre-order M Train from by clicking here.

Meanwhile, Smith will adapt her memoir Just Kids with John Logan, who is showrunner on the cable network’s series, Penny Dreadful.

The announcement was made by Sowtime president David Nevins during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.

The Hollywood Reporter quotes Nevins as saying, “Just Kids is one of my favorite memoirs of all time.

“Not only is it a fascinating portrait of artists coming of age, but it’s also an inspiring story of friendship, love and endurance. I’m so thrilled that Patti Smith will bring her unique voice to writing the scripts along with the gifted John Logan, who has been doing such a phenomenal job with Penny Dreadful for us.”

In a statement, Patti Smith said, “A limited series on Showtime will allow us to explore the characters more deeply, enabling us to develop stories beyond the book and allow a measure of unorthodox presentation.

“The medium of a television limited series offers narrative freedom and a chance to expand upon the themes of the book.”

The History Of Rock – a brand new monthly magazine from the makers of Uncut – a brand new monthly magazine from the makers of Uncut – is now on sale in the UK. Click here for more details.

Meanwhile, the November 2015 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring Rod Stewart, Joanna Newsom, Julian Cope, Otis Redding, John Grant, The Doors, Harmonia, Linda Ronstadt, Dave Gahan, John Cooper Clarke and more.

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.


Latest Issue