Patti Smith Says She’s Not Working for The Man

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 1974: Singer/songwriter Patti Smith poses for a portrait session in November 1974 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Patti Smith, who’s come under fire from longtime residents of the Chelsea Hotel for agreeing to put on a concert at the behest of the new, unbohemian management who wants to kick them out in favor of wealthier tenants, says she’s doing it for them, the oldtimer. The singer responded today to the charges with a statement her website, in which she explains that she’s just trying to keep the spirit of the hotel alive, and the whole thing was her idea:

My current involvement with the Hotel Chelsea began some months ago when I heard rumors that the hotel would be leveled. I was devastated and entered in a dialogue with the architect, through a mutual friend.

He assured me this was not the case and every effort would be made to save and restore the building, which was greatly deteriorating. Having witnessed the demolition and redevelopment of much of our city I was at least hopeful that the hotel would stand.

Since then my few efforts on behalf of the Hotel have been unofficial and uncompensated. My dialogue has continued with the architect. My personal objectives have always been: To offer uncompensated advice as to the aesthetics of the renovation project. To council all concerned to develop positive communication with the rightful tenants. To be available in the future, without fee, in participating in the development and preservation of the artistic cachet of the hotel. To participate in the development of a possible artists-in-residence program.

My small performance for the tenants was my own idea. My hope is that we might have a nice evening and the opportunity to communicate directly. I am an independent person, not owned or directed by anyone. My allegiance is to the Hotel itself, and I have done nothing to tarnish it. It is very difficult for me to embrace change, but my great hope is to witness the Hotel Chelsea find a strong and positive place in the twenty-first century.

Previously: Why Is Patti Smith Playing at the Chelsea Hotel?

Patti Smith Says She’s Not Working for The Man