Hypebot is about the "business of music" rather than the music itself. So, we don't usually write about musicians, unless it's in the context of their marketing and sales efforts. But Pete Seeger, who died yesterday at 94, was such an important figure in music and the social justice movement, as well as in my own development, I'm going to break my own rule and share 3 quick personal Pete Seeger stories:
My older brother introduced me to the music of Pete Seegar when I was 11 or 12.
- At 16, I saw him play on the back of a flatbed truck at a small anti-war rally on a commune in rural Connecticut. Seeger, the rally and the commune opened my eyes to a world by beyond preppy suburbia. I've never looked back.
- A couple of decades later, I offered to carry his guitars at a Folk Alliance convention. He replied rather tersely that he was "a working class fellow who still carries his own tools." That image, from years before Napster, the digital revolution and d.i.y., helped shape my belief in the importance of musician empowerment.
- A few years later, while in awe watching 50 pickers jam at 2AM in the hotel lobby of another Folk Alliance convention, Pete put his hand on my shoulder and whispered "this was how music was meant to be played and enjoyed". He was right.