See Cartoon Patti Smith Talk Censorship: ‘Government Doesn’t Know S–t’
When Patti Smith‘s “Gloria” single came out in the U.K. in 1976, the record label bleeped the singer’s cursing on its B Side, a cover of the Who’s “My Generation” that was recorded live. “I don’t need that fucking shit,” she sang. She explained how the censorship angered her in an interview conducted in spring 1976 by journalist Mick Gold, via RocksBackPages.com, that PBS has now animated as part of its Blank on Blank series.
“I was just like, ‘I don’t need no fucking shit/ I hope I die because of it,’ because it was live, and they bleeped it because that’s not how it’s supposed to be,” she said at the time. “They’re two very important American slang terms. They’re nothing but slang terms. They’ve been abstracted from the physical act. When people say ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ they don’t think of a big turd or people makin’ it anymore, it’s just words.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Smith explained that rock & roll was her art and shouldn’t be regulated. “Government doesn’t know shit, whether it’s art or not,” she said. “That’s the whole thing: Rock & roll is still warfare, total warfare all the time. Always fighting.” She also discussed reciting poetry with musical accompaniment and how the works of poet Arthur Rimbaud inspired her. She also shot down rumors that a photo taken of her with Bob Dylan had helped her early on. There are more quotes about Dylan from the interview on the Blank on Blank website.
In recent Smith news, the singer recently released a vinyl-only recording of her Horses concert at Electric Lady Studios last year. The performance marked the 40th anniversary of the album and the 45th anniversary of the studio, which Jimi Hendrix opened in New York City shortly before his death.