For about seven years from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s I knew the Seegers (Pete and Toshi) about as well as anybody. I worked with Pete Seeger frequently. He was very generous and encouraging at a time in my life when it meant a great deal to me. However, there were some things he did and said that made me sore as hell. That’s the kind of thing that was bound to happen with somebody who was controversial. Throughout the following years we remained friends and though I criticized him sometimes it was always to his face and I think he appreciated that. I never lost my affection for him and the world will be a lonelier place, for me, without him.
I would like to pass on to any young performers a few things that he taught me:
Firstly, he taught me how to perform and make a living with a guitar when I had no money and only dreams.
Secondly, he taught me how to survive success, the most important thing he taught me of all. Because I learned from him that you have to love your music and audience and everything you do, big or small, moves you forward. Everything does not have to be important and major. All the little things add up.
Finally, he said to me once, ‘If you’re going to criticize the government [which I’ve done frequently] make sure you never even spit on the sidewalk.’
Pete will become a statue now, but I remember the living man who, with all his faults had a character that was finer than anyone I ever knew.
February 3rd 2014