After winning a National Book Award for Nonfiction for her 2010 memoir “Just Kids” — which focused on her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe — Patti Smith is planning a sequel that will flesh out and add to the story.
Smith tells Billboard the next book “is in more of the ‘Just Kids’ vein and even in the similar time period, but shifts more to family, Fred (Smith, the MC5 guitarist and her late husband), music. So it’s a different perspective. ‘Just Kids’ was very focused on Robert and my relationship with Robert and wanting to be an artist, and the next book will be more, perhaps, music-based.”
But while it may rock a little harder than “Just Kids,” which was also a New York Times bestseller, Smith doesn’t expect to turn in anything particularly tawdry.
“I don’t have a big rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, a sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll story to tell,” she notes. “I think I have maybe a better story. Through rock ‘n’ roll I traveled the world, worked with my late brother (Todd) and, best of all, that’s how I met Fred. It changed my life in many unexpected ways, so I have my story to tell.”
The book is one of a few that Smith says she’s working on “simultaneously,” part of “a year of work” she sees ahead of her. “I just reached social security age, but I’m far from retiring,” she cracks.
Smith — who’s headlining a Dec. 16 Christmas Jubilee charity concert organized by her son Jackson in Detroit — will continue to take her “Patti Smith: Solo Camera” photo exhibit to museums around the world. Its next stop is in Toronto. She’ll also keep touring to promote this year’s new album, “Banga”: after opening for Neil Young & Crazy Horse this fall, Smith has January shows booked in Japan and will open for Morrissey on March 1 in Los Angeles, with a Rome date on April 14. And while another album isn’t imminent, Smith says that she’s “always thinking of a lot of ideas. I’m interested in exploring new things.”
Next year may also see the release of Smith’s rendition of the Spencer Williams standard “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” which she recorded for the season finale of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”
“They just asked if I’d sing a song for them,” Smith says. “I’ve met (series star) Steve Buscemi, and Michael Pitt as well, who’s now departed. So I said I would do it, and I just sang it. I listened to the original versions and tried to integrate some knowledge of that period, when they didn’t sing so emotionally, but also put my own spin on it. I didn’t know where or when they would use it; it was really nice that they put it in a good spot.”