Singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie was friendly — and generous with his time — when I interviewed him by phone on the morning of April 13 for a story in the April 23-30 Entertainer. I reached him at a hotel in San Diego when he had a day off from performing with his family. (The Guthries will present a concert April 29 in Corvallis.)
I couldn’t squeeze everything into the Entertainer story, so here’s some more from the interview.
One thing he likes about touring around the country is visiting old friends.
Guthrie said he and his wife Jackie planned to get together later that day with Ingrid Croce, wife of singer-songwriter Jim Croce, who died at age 30 in 1973 plane crash.
“She and Jim used to be a duo and opened for me,” he said.
The Croces and Guthrie played a concert on the day in 1969 when Jackie announced she was pregnant. That child, Abe, the Guthries’ first, is 40 now and has performed regularly with his dad since the 1980s.
Asked if he’s still interested in politics, Guthrie said, “Who can’t be? It’s so whacky. It’s great.”
Many who remember Guthrie for his satirical 18-minute “Alice’s Restaurant’s Massacre,” an anti-war talking blues song, and the 1969 movie “Alice’s Restaurant” might be surprised to know that he voted in 2008 as a Republican for Ron Paul for president.
“I still like the guy,” Guthrie said. “A lot of what he had to say was return to constitutional fundamentals.”
Guthrie also likes Barack Obama.
“I think he’s doing fairly well. I think he means well. I think the people surrounding him are not my favorites,” Guthrie said. “He sees the battle going on between corporate interests and everyday people. To the extent that Obama sees the world this way, I’m with him.”
What does he think about the tea party movement? “Why not,” he said, “… as long as people speak up and say what’s on their minds.” He said he can identify with the movement in the sense that “I’ve always been out there in an adversarial position.”
As for his current tour with his family, he seeing older people in the audience, ranging from his peers to his dad’s peers, to people with young children.
“It’s families of people who have been coming for generations,” he said.
The “Guthrie Family Rides Again tour comes to Corvallis next Thursday, when Arlo and his children Abe, Cathy, Annie and Sarah Lee and her husband Johnny Irion, and his seven grandchildren present a 7:30 p.m. concert at the LaSells Stewart Center.
It should be a great evening of songs performed by three generations of Guthries.