Patti Smith revisits her origins on ‘Live At Electric Lady’ Veeps stream
Live At Electric Lady documents Smith’s time working at New York’s storied Electric Lady Studios. In July, the godmother of punk stopped by to record the Live At Electric Lady EP. The record was released as part of Lee Foster’s live EP series, launched in partnership with Spotify.
Smith’s new stream marks the fourth time she's teamed up with Veeps. In 2020, the artist offered two performances, one on Black Friday and a birthday celebration Dec. 30. In 2021, she returned to Veeps for 50 Years Of Words And Music, a collaboration with longtime co-creator and Patti Smith Group member Lenny Kaye.
The latest stream takes listeners behind the scenes of Smith’s new EP, Live At Electric Lady. Smith has a special connection to the studio, having worked there from her earliest days as a musician.
“We are very proud to be part of this very special series at our favorite recording studio,” Smith says. “It was a unique challenge and offered us an exciting and innovative platform.”
The setting is fitting, given the material Smith recorded for the EP. The release features material from across her entire career as a recording artist. There is more recent material, such as “April Fool” from her 2012 album Banga. Smith also digs deep into her archive, performing “Ghost Dance” from 1978’s Easter, recorded at the height of the punk explosion as Patti Smith Group made their ascent into stardom. The record even features “Birdland,” a track originally recorded at Electric Lady in 1975 for the band’s debut album, Horses.
Many artists would be content to rest on their laurels after a long and distinctive career. But Smith has been prolific as an artist. In the last decade or so, she published a number of books, including 2010’s Just Kids, a memoir chronicling her relationship with fabled artist Robert Mapplethorpe, M Train and 2019’s Year Of The Monkey. In a 2020 Interview conversation, Smith suggests she has little interest in taking a break from her work.
“Truthfully, I think of myself as a worker,” Smith says. “Even when I was young… I remember when I did my first poetry reading, I didn’t write ‘Patti Smith, poet.’ I wrote, ‘Patti Smith, worker.’ Because that’s what I feel I do. I have multi-disciplines. I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever been a prodigy or anything. I have to work very hard at all the things that I do in order that they might be of worth. That’s what I think of myself as, a worker. The nice thing about that is you can be a worker for as long as you live! So, I never have to retire. I’m always going to be a worker.”
Luckily for listeners, Smith’s work has also led her back in the direction of music. Live At Electric Lady follows a triptych of records with Soundwalk Collective, who assembled an all-star cast of creatives, including Smith, Anoushka Shankar, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Philip Glass and Mulatu Astatke for the project.
Live At Electric Lady airs Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET. Day-of tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.