Win Tix To See Patti Smith @ The Met Philly

Patti-Smith Child


From the Phawker archives, we present this ode to the high priestess of punk written by Amy Z. Quinn, circa 2007, to mark Patti Smith’s induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame:

“She’s hardly the most famous performer to ever come out of Jersey — The Boss and The Chairman Of The Board still hold those titles — but without a doubt, Patti Smith, the High Poetess of Punk, remains the greatest communicator of the kind of nameless electric angst that drives Kids In Search Of Something to head north on the Jersey Turnpike and never look back. When Patti beat it out of Gloucester County, fleeing a factory job and a year short of her degree at then-Glassboro State Teacher’s College, she was armed with a book of Rimbaud poetry bought on a used-book table in Philly, not dreams of becoming a rock star. In interviews, she’s said she didn’t know what she was looking for back then, but she knew it wasn’t to be found in South Jersey. Some things never change.

From Interview Magazine:

Q: How did you discover Rimbaud?

PATTI SMITH: I found him in a Philadelphia bus depot when I was sixteen. I remember seeing a copy of Illuminations for sale on a table of used books. Of course, Illuminations is a great word, but what I was really taken by was the cover. It was a beautiful picture of Rimbaud. That’s why I got the book. When I opened it up, I didn’t really understand it. It didn’t compute. But still, somehow, I knew this was the perfect language. It looked like it glittered. I knew someday I would decipher it. So I carried the book around with me.

My first glimpse of Patti came in April, 1976, when I was barely four years old and she appeared on Saturday Night Live on a night when my sisters were stuck at home babysitting and let me stay up late enough to watch. Wraithlike, raging, all elbows and sharp angles, she scared the shit out of me singing “Gloria,” especially that blasphemous declaration: Jesus died for someone’s sins but not mine. Omigod, I remember thinking, she did NOT just say that! These days, I’m no longer afraid of Patti Smith, but sometimes, if I hear “Gloria” on the right kind of day, I still shiver at that opening line. Maybe in her youth it was a pronouncement against religion, but now, after the years in between, after the time she spent raising her children away from rock and roll, it finally makes sense to me: only you commit your sins, and only you can redeem them.”

We have a pair of tickets to see Patti Smith at the Met Philly tomorrow night. To qualify to win, all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list (see right, below the masthead). Trust us, this is something you want to do. In addition to breaking news alerts and Phawker updates, you also get advanced warning about groovy concert ticket giveaways and other free swag opportunities like this one! After signing up, send us an email at telling us a much, with the magic words PISS FACTORY in the subject line, along with the answer to the following Patti Smith trivia question: what Philadelphia neighborhood did Patti Smith reside in as a child? Please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

Patti Smith – Gloria (Live SNL 1976) from Eric Hatton on Vimeo.