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olivejuicemusic

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Jeffrey Lightning Lewis

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I saw him play a number of times, once at my high school, and at various protest rallies over the years, mostly anti-war demonstrations in New York City. 
A German journalist asked me to think of some words for Pete, hearing of his passing, I don't feel worthy of the task but here's some thoughts... 
In the rock and roll world where rebellion is supposed to go together with dying young, Pete Seeger was an opposite example, showing how much real work it takes to be genuinely revolutionary (not just rebellious) AND keep it up for year after year, decade after decade. If Pete Seeger had been in the "27 club" he would have died in the 1940s, can you imagine that?!? Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain and all those other rebellious icons just look like tiny specks compared to a man like Pete who had to keep the spirit and body and dedication and focus and compassion strong for an additional two lifetimes, not just for himself but for the whole world to whom he gave more than most mere musicians can ever hope to. For young artists of today it's only a small fraction of the picture if you only know the Pete Seeger of his 80s and 90s, or even if you only know the songs from the Weavers; for myself I had mostly given him credit as an omni-present activist more than as a performer until I eventually heard the Almanac Singers recordings and some of Pete's solo recordings to hear what I felt to be his more powerful and resonating material. 
The clip of Pete doing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the Smothers Brothers show is a classic but it seems to have been removed from Youtube, I'm not sure where it can be found nowadays.
soléna

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Reply with quote  #3 
Pete Seeger was such a big influence on my life. He was so inspiring for so many people, for such a long time. He never got tired or cynical. I was still secretly wishing that I would have the chance to see him someday, on a trip to the USA. But I guess it's not that important. I got to know of him and of his path, like so few people of my generation in France, so I guess I'm lucky. I know he was old and probably lived a very full life but I'm still a little sad, selfishly. Tomorrow, it's gonna be OK. May he rest in peace.
olivejuicemusic

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Both of you have touched upon it and I think it's very worth noting. It's his gratuitous lack of cynicism that I found the most inspiring about the man. You could feel it just looking at him. I think this was even more inspiring, to me, than the music he made. I am frustrated by the lack of activism in popular music these days, as well as what could be called a serious lack of music in modern politics. On the other hand, I am moved by a lot of (not all but many) kids that we run across at shows that have that fire for speaking out against destructive environmental or social issues that we all know in our hearts are wrong, but for some reason, turn a blind eye to as our lives grow older and more complicated. Pete kept it simple, perhaps the most important message of all when it comes to effective art, communication and maybe even politics. Contrary to what one might think, it's not always the fastest way to get things done. But there is something in the idea of keeping it simple that allows us to stay connected to the goodness that we all possess in our hearts. It's easier to share.  
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