Pete Seeger

  • Aired:  08/06/12
  •  | Views: 33,155

Legendary folk artist Pete Seeger talks about his former Communist Party affiliation, his socialist musician father and the rights to his songs. (6:36)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS BEEN PERFORMING FORECHECK MUSIC FOR OVER 70 YEARS.

I'M GOING TO ASK HIM IF IT'S TIME TO START CARING ABOUT JIMMY'S CORN CRACKING.

PLEASE WELCOME PETE SEEGER.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

PLEASE, HAVE A SEAT, STLIMPLE YOU GO.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, SIR, I'M A -- I'M OF TWO MINDS ABOUT YOU.

I HATE TO SAY.

>> ME, TOO.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> STEPHEN: REALLY.

WELL TILE YOU MINE, YOU IT WILL ME YOURS.

IT'S AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU ON.

YOU ARE A LIVING LEGEND.

YOU ARE A GIANT.

IT'S LIKE HAVING PAUL BUNION OR JOHNNY APPLESEED ON.

ABSOLUTELY IS WHICH IS GREAT BECAUSE I CAN NEVER GET THOSE GUYS ON.

[ LAUGHTER ]

YOU ARE A POLITICAL ACTIVIST,

AMERICAN FORECHECK SINGER.

-- AMERICA FOLK SINGER.

YOUR SEE IN THE FOLK MUSIC REVIVAL.

GRAMMYS, A LIFETIME LEGEND AWARD FROM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,

ENSHRINEMENT IN THE ROCK 'N' ROLL HALL OF FAME AND A NEW BOOK

CALLED" PETE SEEGER IN HIS OWN WORDS." YOU ARE 93, RIGHT?

>> THAT'S WHAT I'M TOLD.

>> STEPHEN: YOU LOOK G. I'M 48 AND YOU CAN STICK A FORK IN ME,

I'M DONE.

HOW DO YOU KEEP ACTIVE?

>> I LIVE IN THE COUNTRY.

I GET A CHANCE TO DO OUTDOOR WORK.

>> STEPHEN: LIKE WHAT?

LIKE BREATHING?

WHAT IS OUTDOOR WORK AT 93 WHAT IS IT?

>> WE HEAT OUR HOUSE BY WOOD SO I'M SPLITTING LOGS FROM TIME TO TIME.

>> STEPHEN: YOU SPLIT LOGS AT 93?

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> BUT I DON'T GET AS MUCH WORK AS I USED TO.

I'M STARTING TO DEGREE A POT BELLY, BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

>> STEPHEN: REALLY IN GET IN SHAPE.

PUT SOME EFFORT IN LIFE, PETE.

YOU HELP PLANT THE SEEDS.

HERE IS WHY I'M OF THE OTHER MIND.

OBVIOUSLY I ADMIRE YOUR WORK.

YOUR COMMITMENT TO STAGE ACTIVE.

YOUR INFLUENCE IN AMERICA CULTURE, HOWEVER IS QUESTIONABLE.

YOU HELP CREATE THE FOLK REVIVAL.

THAT CREATES BOB DYLAN.

JOHN BAEZ, -- JOAN BAEZ,

WOODSTOCK, SEXUALLY REVOLUTION,

THAT LEADS TO BILL CLINTON AND THEN GAY MARRIAGE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

YOU PROUD OF YOUR WORK THERE BANJO MAN?

>> THIS BOOK IS -- TURNED OUT A PROFESSOR IN WES LEANN UNIVERSITY IN CONNECTICUT SAID

CAN I READ YOUR LETTERS.

I HAVE FILES OF CARBON COPIES OF LETTERS.

I SAID SURE.

ANY OF THEM?

SURE, I WAS NOT THINKING.

HE SAID HE MIGHT LIKE TO REPRINT SOME OF THEM.

I THOUGHT MAYBE WOE WRITE AN RECALL IN A LITTLE MAGAZINE.

BEHOLD HE AND HIS SON SELECTED NOT DOZENS BUT HUNDREDS OF SHORT QUOTATIONS HE FELT FROM ME, SOME

OF THE MAGAZINE ARTICLES I HAD WRITTEN AND A FEW PARAGRFS FROM BOOKS -- PARAGRAPHS FROM BOOKS

I'D WRITTEN.

PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER.

20 CHAPTERS.

YOU SEE, I CONTRADICT MYSELF HERE AND CONTRADICT MYSELF THERE.

AT ONE TIME I WAS A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY FOR A FEW YEARS.

>> STEPHEN: I'M GETTING TO THAT.

I'M GETTING TO THAT.

IN 1955 YOU REFUSED TO TESTIFY BEFORE THE HOUSE ON AMERICAN ACTIVITIES.

>> WELL THAT WAS --

>> STEPHEN: WOULD YOU LIKE TO NAME NAMES NOW.

I'LL START PETE SEEGER.

[ LAUGHTER ]

I GAVE ONE.

NOW YOU GIVE ONE.

>> MY FATHER HAD WRITTEN ARTICLES --

>> STEPHEN: YOU JUST TURNED YOUR FATHER IN TO THE HOUSE.

AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE,

WOW, BOLD.

>> ACTUALLY, HE -- AS A TEENAGER, HE BECAME SKILLED AT READING SYMPHONY SCORES AND WHEN

HE WENT TO COLLEGE GOT A PLUS IN ALL HIS MUSIC COURSES.

WENT TO DO GRADUATE WORK IN GERMANY.

FOUND HIMSELF GOING DEAF AT AN EARLY AGE BUT ALSO MET THE PRESIDENT OF UNIVERSITY OF

CALIFORNIA WHO WAS IMPRESSED BY THIS SELF CONFIDENT YOUNGMAN AND NEXT HE FOUND HIMSELF IN CHARGE

OF MUSIC DEPARTMENT AT BERKLEY -- BERKLEE.

BUT HIS FELLOW PROFESSORS SAID YOU MAY KNOW ABOUT MUSIC BUT YOU ARE AN IGNORE RAMOUS WHEN IT

COMES TO HISTORY AND PRETTY SOON HE WAS A SOCIALIST.

AND HE MADE SPEECHES ABOUT IMPERIALIST WAR.

MY MOTHER SAID CAN'T YOU KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUVMENT YOU WOULDN'T

BE DRAFTED WITH TWO CHILDREN, MY OTHER BROTHERS WERE BORN THEM AND HEARING AND EYEGLASSES.

MY FATHER SAID WHEN SOMETHING IS WRONG YOU MUST SPEAK UP.

HIS GRAND FATHER WAS AN AND LISTINGIST BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR.

>> STEPHEN: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SONGS IF I HAD A HAMMER.

>> I JUST WROTE THE TUNE.

>> STEPHEN: YOU WROTE THE TUNE, STILL NOT A BAD THING TO HAVE ON YOUR RESUME.

YOU DON'T SELL ANY OF THE RIGHTS TO YOUR MUSIC FOR COMMERCIALS.

>> SOMETIMES.

I CAN'T THINK I'M THAT PICKY.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> STEPHEN: I HAD HEARD THAT YOU DIDN'T.

THAT'S WONDERFUL.

BECAUSE I THINK IF MIRACLE GROW HAD WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

OR STANLEY TOOLS HAD IF I HAD A HAMMER.

♪ IF I HAD A HAMMER I WOULD USE IT TO ACTUALLY HAMMER.

SPEAKING OF WHICH WE HAVE YOU HERE.

YOU HAVE THE BANJO, HOW ABOUT A SONG FOR THE KIDS OUT HERE?

I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, WE'LL TAKE A LITTLE BREAK.

WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LITTLE BREAK AND WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH A PERFORMANCE BY PETE SEEGER.

THANK YOU

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