Arlo Speaks Out

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

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Those who’ve heard Arlo Guthrie recite all 18 minutes of his signature song “Alice’s Restaurant” know he’s not short winded. Here’s a recent interview with the man that you should really check out, conducted by concert industry magazine Pollstar. It’s always good to hear Guthrie talk. Unlike most aging hippies, he doesn’t think the music was better in his day:

“I’m actually awed by how much is expected of new and upcoming musicians these days as compared to when I started,” he says. “We’re just releasing a record that was recorded 40 years ago and I was thinking to myself, ‘If I had been like this now, I wouldn’t get anywhere in this business.’ You know what I mean?… If you want to hear somebody at a local club in town, a concert or any kind of event, the quality of musicianship is so much better than it was 40 years ago under the same circumstances. It’s really amazing.”

In the interview, the folk singer claims he initially wanted to be a forest ranger, not a musician, and says he keeps up with himself via Google News.

You talk about learning from others, so reverse that. Do you hear your influence in other people’s work?

I read about it from time to time. I get these Google Alerts that have my name in it, and it will say something like, “In the vein of Arlo Guthrie … or whatever.” And I’m wondering, “What could somebody possibly steal that’s in the vein of me?” (laughs).

Arlo’s latest album, the live Arlo Guthrie: Tales Of ’69, is out now on Rising Son records.

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