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Patti Smith
Patti Smithon The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Patti Smith admits she once acted like a ‘jerk’ to Bob Dylan backstage

‘You like the boy but you don’t want the boy to know you like them’

Poet laureate of rock Patti Smith has revealed that she acted like “a jerk to Bob Dylan” backstage after he came to see her band perform for the first time in New York.

Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote her new book, Year of the Monkey, Smith recalled: “He says, ‘Hey are there any poets in here?’ And I said, ‘I hate poetry!’ I acted like such a jerk. I don’t know what came over me. Like Sixteen Candles, when you like the boy but you don’t want the boy to know you like them.” We hard relate. 

Luckily Dylan didn’t take offence, when the pair bumped into each other shortly after and Smith noticed that he was holding a copy of a newspaper with a picture of them together taken the night of the gig. “I looked at it (the newspaper) and said ‘you’re not mad?’, and he just laughed and said ‘no’, and that was that!”

The pair would go on to have a longstanding personal and professional relationship: in 2016, Smith performed at Dylan’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, when Dylan sent her to the event in his place. 

Smith made less of an attempt at concealing her admiration for Greta Thunberg last week, when she devoted a poem to the climate activist on her 17th birthday. “This is/Greta Thunberg, turning/seventeen today, asking/for no accolade, no gifts,/save we not be neutral./” she wrote in an Instagram post. “The Earth knows its kind,/ just as all deities, just as/animals and the healing/spring. Happy birthday/to Greta, who stood today,/as every Friday, refusing/ to be neutral.”

Watch Smith’s appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon below.