Patti Smith, Dylan, Chicken Salad and Chicken Shit

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June 26, 2018 by jacklovelace

I’ve always wrestled with great artists who produce shit in the later stages of their careers, or stuff that just isn’t as good.

In Mojo magazine they interview Patti Smith and ask her a question. Her answer articulates for me something I’ve felt but haven’t said as well.

Here it is:

Question: Have you listened to Dylan’s albums of Sinatra covers? (nasty, my comment)

Patti: If I want to listen to Sinatra, I’ll listen to Sinatra. But I look at Bob Dylan the same way I look at Picasso. Guernica is the most important painting ever. I love Cubism. But if he wants to do 45 fish plates, he can because he is Picasso.

I took that attitude with Bob a long time ago. It’s been a very long time since I’ve related to some of the things he’s doing. But it doesn’t matter, because I can go back when I’m in a certain mood and listen to Chimes of Freedom or John Wesley Harding.


She’s got it. Instead of wasting time trying to rationalize that it isn’t that better or watch critics struggle with trying to make chicken salad out of chickenshit, don’t even try.

It doesn’t lessen one bit the awe of have listening to Desolation Row.

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