On November 1
Arlo Guthrie will be making a return to EJ Thomas Hall on November 1st for a second helping of "Alice's Restaurant." Arlo played EJ Thomas back in 2015 which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the events of "Alice's Restaurant."
Guthrie agreed to an email interview to help preview the show. Here's what Arlo had to say.
Greg Drugan: Hello Arlo! I appreciate you taking some time to answer a few questions today. I guess I’ll get right to it. Many kids decide to do something totally different than their parents; why did you decide to follow in your father’s footsteps and become a singer-songwriter?
Arlo Guthrie: It really began long before I could make decisions. I began playing guitar around 5 years old. The only decision I made was whether or not to continue playing and writing or find a real job. I was 18 when I decided to keep playing music.
GD: Did you ever get to perform live with your dad?
No, we never had that opportunity.
GD: Besides your father, who are some of your musical influences?
AG: There are countless musicians and entertainers who’ve inspired me. The major ones were probably Pete Seeger, and Lord Buckley, aside from the usual Beethoven etc.
GD: Who was the first artist you ever saw in concert and what impact did that have on you?
AG: I learned so much from so many, even going back to before I can remember. The first time I saw Olatunji I was a kid in elementary school, and the records of The McPeake Family of Belfast were very early influences. I loved it all.
GD: I read that you were raised Jewish, but then later converted to Catholicism. Are you more agnostic today or do you believe in a combination of religions?
AG: That’s a book, not an answer to an interview. But, in essence, I believe in kindness.
GD: You were a part of an era where musicians did not shy away from songs with a particular political point of view. Where are today’s protest songs and why don’t you think artists are writing songs about the political climate and social issues today?
AG: Today’s protest songs are coming from people most affected by modern cultural changes. You won’t hear it on popular radio etc., but it’s out there and as good as ever.
GD: You are out celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the film Alice’s Restaurant. Are you playing the entire album in its entirety?
AG: I’m not sure how to answer this. There was an original album “Alice’s Restaurant” that came out on Warner/Reprise in 1967. Then there was the soundtrack to the film that was issued by United Artists in 1969, also called “Alice’s Restaurant.” We’re not performing either of those albums in their entirety, but we are performing “Alice’s Restaurant."
GD: Next summer is also the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. Is there anything in the works to honor this event and, if so, will you be a part of the celebration?
AG: There’s probably something in the works, but no one is saying much about it. So, I don’t know much either.
GD: What are some of songs from your father’s catalog that you enjoy performing live?
AG: There’s always a few I do at our live shows.
GD: I hear your daughter is joining you on this tour. Besides hearing the full version of “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” what else can fans expect from this show?
AG: Sarah Lee has been working with me off and on for over 20 years. I’m thrilled that she’s with us for this tour. For this tour expect a great band, fabulous lights, and a multimedia extravaganza - Just what you’d expect on a tour of this significance.
GD: I have to tell you that, as well as a music lover, I am a high school teacher and one of the classes I teach is the History of Rock and Roll. I play the entire “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (with the animated video) every year and the kids really enjoy it. I wanted to let you know that you are still making an impact on today’s generation. Is there any bit of advice you would like to give the young people today?
AG: I’m not sure what animated video you’re referring to, as I don’t think we’ve ever done one that accompanied the song. As far as advice goes, I generally don’t give it unless asked, and even then I’m not in a hurry to advise anyone. My only advice to younger people is: Don’t listen to advice unless you’ve asked for it, and don’t ask too often.
GD: Arlo, thank you again for your time and we look forward to seeing you in Akron next week.
AG: Thanks! It should be a lot of fun.
Be sure to check out Arlo Guthrie at EJ Thomas Hall on November 1st
Tickets range from $45 - $95 and can be purchased by clicking here. The show begins at 8:00 p.m., with doors opening at 7:00 p.m.