Patti Smith On Losing MC5 Guitarist Fred Smith, ‘He Was The Love Of My Life’

Patti Smith is back again with a new photography project called ‘A Book of Days’ that came about from her desire to dedicate her work to fellow writers, poets, friends, and family. The artist has decided to release a collection of 366 captioned black-and-white Polaroids from her archive and images from her Instagram account. Speaking to Kate Kellaway for the Guardian, the musician shared some details about her work.

The book was created as much for Smith as for others. The singer shares her personal life through pictures, reflecting on the various losses she has suffered and the loneliness and journey that comes with it. The 75-year-old shared, “By the time I was 46, I’d lost my pianist, Richard Sohl, who died at 37, and to whom I was very attached; Robert Mapplethorpe, who died when he was 42; my brother Todd, who died at 42, and my husband, Fred Sonic Smith who died at 45.”

She recalled meeting the love of her life, saying, “I met Fred in Detroit. In the afternoon, there was a party for my band in a famous hotdog place: Lafayette Coney Island. I don’t like parties so much, but I had my hotdog and was about to leave and saw this fella standing against a wall, and he struck me. And that meeting, probably more than any other, changed my life. He was the love of my life.”

“In a succession of losses,” she continued, “you start to understand the process, and yet each loss takes its toll. All loss is something we know we’re going to suffer, and then life moves along, and things seem OK; then, one day, you’re walking down the street, and the pain of a loss that happened years earlier will come back at full capacity.” When ambushed by grief, she tries to “Ride it out. Sometimes, it can be so intense you have to train yourself not to be enveloped by it. You don’t want to fall into the abyss.”

‘A Book of Days,’ was released on November 15, and the singer just set off on an accompanying 12-day book tour. Smith will present a series of ‘Songs and Stories’ at the events. In addition to all the events surrounding the book, Smith has announced a second live concert with her band at Brooklyn Steel in New York on December 29. She’s also due to play at the venue on December 30 to celebrate her 76th birthday with her fans.