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August 13th, 2009
06:30 AM ET

Arlo Guthrie on Woodstock at 40

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Guthrie calls Woodstock a 'single, unifying icon.'"]

Folk singer Arlo Guthrie, famous for his appearances at Woodstock and the movie “Alice's Restaurant,” is still at it. He’s about to launch a 50-city tour with a band that includes his own children.

At 62, Guthrie remains married to Jackie, his wife of 40 years. He lives on the 250-acre wooded spread in the Berkshires he purchased in 1969. And he continues to promote the ideals of the 60s generation – even as a registered Republican.

Guthrie is matter-of-fact about his political affiliation. "I've always been more comfortable being a loyal opposition than a 'Rah rah, let's go get 'em, we're in power now!' kind of guy,” he says.

Although he has some reservations about Sarah Palin, he admires her anti-elitist spunk. "I'm not suggesting that she would make a great VP or president, by the way, but what I am suggesting is that when we begin to limit who we think is in a position to do these things, we form ourselves naturally into the old sort of inherited positions, the ones that gave rise to the Kings and Queens of the world,” he says. “It disturbs me.”

Guthrie calls Woodstock a "single, unifying icon" – that's come to symbolize bigger, more important movements of the times, like the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. Guthrie is, perhaps, better known for his anti-war anthem and film "Alice's Restaurant," than he is for Woodstock.

The “restaurant” of the famed movie is really a deconsecrated church. Guthrie bought it, and has turned into a spiritual community center. That said, Guthrie is still a child of the sixties – still vehemently anti-war and anti-establishment. They are beliefs born at Woodstock that have not changed with time.

“It revived your faith in human beings,” Guthrie explains. “It made you feel like you could trust your buddy, even though they were telling you that you couldn't.”

Filed under: Entertainment
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. len bullard

    Don't be so quick to write off Arlo, Cody. He is saying something the Republicans need to hear. From the inside, it might be heard.

    Go to and read his posts there. He expands on his views. Arlo thinks long and hard about where he uses his celebrity and what his own core beliefs are. Listen a little harder and don't take it all on facebook value.

    August 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  2. Cody

    His mind perhaps?
    No offense to any republicans, but the GOP are not exactly any more anti-establishment than the Democrats, I would hope to seem him as an IND..yet he seems also to have lost his marbles or his guts or both perhaps to give a second of credit to Sarah Palin for anything..she is the most demonstrably inept and anti-intellectual politician besides perhaps Michelle Bachmann to exist at the moment.

    Man I once had great respect for this man, and now he comes out seemingly shilling for corporate interests alongside the rest of the lobbying firms like freedom works and the AFP/pro-elite firms, and while saying he is against 'the elite'..he sounds like he's gone sideways from the lyricist I loved..registered GOP? "Don't touch my bags if you please mr. customs man" and he registers GOP?! It seems inherently many parts of that lyric prove to be anti-GOP platform in so many explicit ways..

    August 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  3. John von B

    Ah... Bernice, Arlo is launching a 50 city concert tour. These will be LIVE performances. What loss are you referring to?

    August 14, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  4. Bernice

    A true loss.... Truely a well gifted man. Prayers to his loved ones. God bless..

    August 14, 2009 at 6:17 am |
  5. Todd Marut

    I really enjoyed your interview with Arlo Guthrie and his commentary about Woodstock forty years ago this month. I visited Stockbridge and Lenox, Massachusetts in the 1970's when I attended UMass at Amherst. I had to see the church and Alice's Restaurant after seeing the movie. I still play the Alice's Restaurant album (now on CD) every Thanksgiving. It brings back some great memories of the 1970's. Thanks.


    August 13, 2009 at 11:02 pm |
  6. Rae Whitacre


    Enjoyed the interview with Arlo Guthrie. It was very interesting and entertaining.

    Also enjoy your "Just Sayin" reports. They give you some pause for thought.

    August 13, 2009 at 7:27 pm |