I’ve come to love Patti Smith‘s persona way more than her music, which I do like. She strikes me as a fellow Peace Warrior, a let-it-hang-loose freak in the best sense of the term. I usually get a charge out of people who sincerely let their freak flag fly, especially if I don’t have to smell them. I still get chills thinking about passages in Smith’s memoir, Just Kids, or the energy she projected when I saw her live. Even when she was performing one of those long jazz-poetry numbers I lift the needle over while listening to her records to get to the next song that is essentially “Gloria,” I was magnetized by her shamanistic presence. However, when I read accounts by other artists from the New York punk scene, she’s often made out to be a sham, a careering opportunist. Maybe it’s jealousy, or maybe she’s not the real deal Regardless, her shtick works for me.