Jul 2011

Rambling Notes... On Kings & Things
by adg on Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:09 am
I just got back from the "Songs" Festival at Kloster Banz in Bad Staffelstein, Germany. I was there 4 nights with Jackie and the place is strangely like being in an old monster movie. It's a huge place and you have to walk through underground hallways to get anywhere. It used to be a castle, then a Benedictine monastery and the little cell we stayed in hasn't been updated since. Very impressive place - Nice to see something so big built so well.

The festival was up on a hill over looking the old castle. The stage was a big structure made with see-thru plastic, so the TV cameras (it was being filmed for TV) could see right thru the whole thing. The first night went late, and I didn't get onstage until after 1 in the morning. And I was sitting in a chair that was not good for playing guitar - couldn't get my fingers on the fret board right…. I was awful. But, as I'm not used to being quite so awful on a regular basis, I kind of enjoyed it. I was performing with my buddy, Wenzel and his band. We actually have a record out over here (hard to get in the States), called "Arlo Guthrie & Wenzel - Every Hundred Years."

[My Sister, Nora kindly reminded me, that the CD is available thru the Woody Guthrie Publications website - www.woodyguthrie.org]

The second night was also filmed for TV - basically the same exact show so the TV had two chances of getting it right. I was much better and we all had a pretty good time… So they ended up with at least one good gig for German TV. Still there were plenty of other artists and I had a chance to hang out and meet many of them. Klaus Hoffman & Reinhard Mey were there and Klaus was especially fun to play with backstage. I haven't had much time in the same place with the same performers over the years. Tthat was the one outstanding feature of this festival.

The last day I waited for our time to perform and the evening went into night, and the wind was blowing and the rain began falling, and just before we walked out the police came and shut down the festival saying that a big storm was coming and they had to have everyone leave immediately.

So I'm standing there listening to the announcements and wondering what they were saying - It was all in German. All I knew was, it was my time to perform and the cops come out to speak and everyone starts leaving. I'm thinking 'Okay I know this is a conservative area of Bavaria, but to announce my presence by police, and everyone starts packing up - I didn't think I was that dangerous." Then someone came over and told me what was happening. I took a deep breath and thought 'Okay, it's time for some good beer.'

Then it occurred to me that I would soon be back in the USA in the city of Madison doing a gig to help support the effort of the union and average guys there. I won't be getting much sleep until then, so it could be a pretty funny gig. And just in case there are any conservative friends reading this - no i wasn't invited (although I believed I'd be welcomed). I have been waiting for a chance to help out and I couldn't think of a better date than my dad's birthday, to go on up and lend my voice to the call:The call that sounds out through time and circumstance to make an effort to move beyond talk of money and power, and get into the old feelings of standing by each other in times of need. There's more to the world than money - standing with friends who believe in higher ideals than privatizing everything. Sometimes it's a good idea to work together on making civilization a better place to be. That's what the union means to me.

There's no way any one guy can build the kind of castle I just left. It took a King to command that kind of structure - even the old Wall Street barons that made their fortunes years ago didn't build anything like this place. In America, we got rid of the Kings a while back. We became a nation freed from the tyranny of the lineage of power and authority. We became our own kings and queens. And when we worked together as a nation we built things unequalled by Kings elsewhere. My father took the time to write and sing about some of those things: The Grand Coolie Dam, just to mention one. Our cities became destinations of people everywhere seeking to get to a place where people were free.

There are always people more comfortable being owned, than being free. At least they know where you stand. It takes courage to be free - you have to think for yourself. And when you choose to work together you get to do amazing things - like go to the moon. That working together thing - That's called government - that's us.

So I'm coming to help folks who want better government - so we can do great things. If there's folks in government who want to go back to the days of Kings and Wall Street Barons, let's remind them what we did as a nation back in 1776.

Anyway, enough rambling…. I'll be back soon… See you somewhere
Solo Trek Notes
by adg on Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:15 am
It's been about two weeks since we got back from Germany and we've been following the heat wave across the midwest - sorta just hanging out in the middle of it as best as possible. Finally it seems to be diminishing somewhat as we get some work done in Lexington, KY

I returned from Europe and immediately went to Madison, WI to do a fund-raiser for all the union guys at one of our favorite little theaters - The Barrymore. We walked around the streets the following days and sand a few songs with the crowds gathered at the capitol building, before heading up to Bayfield, WI for a gig at Big Top Chautauqua - always a pleasure to be there. But the heat was unreal until evening when a thunder storm rolled though just in time to cool off the tent.

At some point I realized the heat wave was following me around - I was taking it personally. So we went to Minneapolis at played the Guthrie Theater. Beautiful new theater…

Then we followed the heat as it crawled eastward to Indianapolis, IN where we played outdoors at Conner Prairie with the Indianapolis Symphony and the boys in "Time For Three." They were a lot of fun to share a gig as well as share the bugs that were flying around the stage. The bugs we fairly squishy and tasted great - not a meal but more of a snack. We did two nights there. There were far fewer bugs the second day - which goes to show you how much we ate the first night.

One more gig coming up in Cleveland's Cain Park - before heading home to the farm where I get to chill for a while and enjoy the mountains of Berkshire County. Meanwhile, I'm here in Lexington working on new material with my friend and musical director, John Nardolillo and my partner in musical crime (arranger of our orchestra music), Jamie Burton (who just flew in from London)

It's still hot, but it's getting tolerable… I need a pool and a few rainy days. But, I'm sending my rain thoughts to Texas & Oklahoma where they need it more than I do. Hopefully someone is listening….

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