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Patti Smith Born in Chicago and raised in Woodbury New Jersey just across the state line from Philadelphia Pattis mother Beverly was a jazz singer cum waitress Her father Grant worked at the Honeywell plant she was the oldest of four siblings her sisters Linda and Kimberly the latter plays mandolin on Gone Agains Ravens and brother Todd Unable to find her place in high school society she took refuge in the images of Rimbaud Bob Dylan James Brown and the Rolling Stones Dropping out of Glassboro State Teachers College she headed for the bright -lights-big-city of New York When she arrived in town she met an art student named Robert Mapplethorpe and they moved in together Patti found a job as a bookstore clerk at the Strand and Scribners In 1969 she traveled to Paris with her sister Linda working on the street as a performance artist and making her first forays into the visual arts Returning to New York as the seventies got underway she rebounded between the back room at Maxs Kansas City and the Hotel Chelsea Encouraged by such as Dylan cohort Bobby Neuwirth and blues virtuoso Johnny Winter Patti made a name for herself in underground theatre starring in such plays as Jackie Curtis Vain Victory at the Cafe La Mama and collaborating with the playwright Sam Shepherd with whom she co-authored Cowboy Mouth She was also writing poetry On February 10 1971 she opened for Gerard Malanga at a Poetry Project weekly reading at St Marks Church on the Lower East Side She was joined for three songs by Lenny Kaye a rock writer and record store clerk whom she had met through an article hed written for Jazz and Pop magazine about Accapella music the unaccompanied doo-wop of the Philly-New York corridor Discovering they liked the same type of obscure records and knowing that he played guitar she added his rhythmic chording to
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