Talking With Punk Poet Laureate Patti Smith

April 30, 2007 4:37 PM ET

For our fortieth anniversary, the editors of Rolling Stone have interviewed twenty artists and leaders who helped shape our time. For another two weeks, we'll be debuting the final ten installments of exclusive audio clips from the Q&As, giving you unparalleled access to some of the most important personalities in history.

Today we present the woman who helped shatter rock's glass ceiling, punk's priestess and poet laureate Patti Smith. Smith's career has seen her writing Horses, befriending every cool New Yorker ever and, this year, being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, she's the 47th Greatest Artist of All Time, according to us. Being interviewed by Rolling Stone's resident rock expert David Fricke in our Fortieth Anniversary Issue, Smith opens up about being born in the same year (1946) as George W. Bush, why she and Bush Jr. are so different ideologically and the days leading up to Horses, which included a gig writing for Rolling Stone. For the entire profile, check out the issue on stands now, and for a sneak peak, check out these audio excerpts:

Smith talks about her upbringing and her parents, who helped mold her into the punk pioneer she became: "My parents weren't artists. They weren't bohemian. They were normal American people. So my world view was shaped by them. I grew up not believing in an enemy...."

Smith expresses disappointment that her generation, a generation that prided itself on protesting, didn't raise their children as they had be raised. "I'm shocked that my generation failed to rally against going into Iraq and against how the media slept with the Bush administration. I find it heartbreaking not just in the choices we made but in what we taught our children. The next generations have not been politically active...."

Check back tomorrow for the next installment of our twenty-part audio interviews, featuring some of the most iconic and influential pop culture figures of the last 40 years. Tomorrow, we feature an Oscar-winning director who told our Peter Travers this:
"What's happened, and everybody knows it, is desensitizing. It's not that much history that separates us from public executions here in New York. Now we see the hangings in Iraq. There's no place for us to go, except the reality of it. There's the charges thrown at my films, too, that every time I do something violent, it goes further..."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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