America’s great folksinger, Pete Seeger influenced both American music and American history. In 2006, when he was in his mid-80s, he did the following interview to promote a concert celebrating the life and music of his onetime bandmate, Woody Guthrie. We spoke about Guthrie’s devotion to the fight against fascism, the composition of “We Shall Overcome,” Martin Luther King’s influence on Seeger’s faith, and what happened when a human met a Neanderthal on the trail.

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In 2011, Camp Whiteface Mountain alum Dorothy Wickenden – better known as the executive editor of the New Yorker – published “Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West.” Due to my deep network of sources & contacts within the industry, I was able to wrangle the following interview with Wickenden for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, my hometown newspaper.

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“Abu Marwa and his buddies in the Thunder cell tracked down the Syrian [Al-Qaeda] gunmen. They devised an intricate ambush. In their beige Opel sedan, the Syrians regularly drove a desolate stretch of road. … As soon as the Syrians pulled over, the insurgents shot them dead.”
“When my uncle was killed, I promised my aunt I would avenge his death,” Marwa said. She responded by invoking an Arabic expression that Filkins reports is rarely meant literally: I will drink their blood.
After killing the Syrians, Marwa presented his aunt with a vial of their blood. Down the hatch it went. And so it goes in “The Forever War.”

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Lxyzen pop & politics, I asked them what the use is:  Three members of the “industrial pop” group INVSN are photographed after performing in Washington, D.C. in March of 2014.

If you ask Dennis Lyxzen what his late, great, future-punk band Refused’s greatest accomplishment was, he may well say something like, “the greatest accomplishment was that we – in Sweden, ’93 to ’97, we toured and toured and toured, and we built a movement in Sweden of bands, of people that are still active today, still playing music. I think that was our greatest accomplishment: that we managed to become something that meant a lot to people in Sweden at that time. The touring we did in ’95, ’96, around ‘Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent,’ that was when it really meant something. People came out and people were really excited. And we were building something new, you know? Not only Refused, but a bunch of our friends – we built a hardcore scene in the ’90s that got kind of big in Sweden. All these cities that we played – people showed up. It was really cool. We built something, for real. And 15 years later you go on tour and play Terminal 5 in New York for 5,000 people, two nights in a row.”

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sven-kurth

The Bard of the Blue Line Reflects on a Career in the Wilderness

“Being deeply rooted to a rural area is the defining aspect of every issue that I’ve ever cared about,” says Sven Curth. “At the same time, it’s probably been the demise of everything I’ve ever done, because it means I’m pretty much doomed to failure. There have always been musicians and troubadours, and they’ve always gravitated to urban areas — because you have to have people to be able to entertain people.” And with that, the bard of the Blue Line sighs.

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In addition to being a terrific writer, Lois Lowry is a beacon of encouragement to late bloomers everywhere. The extremely successful author has published more than 30 books since her debut, “A Summer to Die,” appeared in 1977, when she was 40. Lowry is well-known for her books “The Giver” and “Number the Stars,” which have become staples of high school English classes, as well as for her comedic series about Anastasia Krupnik and her brother, Sam, which were among my favorite books back when I was a spring chicken.

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A Tribe Called Quest’s fourth member, Jarobi White, used to be somewhat mysterious, but in the Internet age everyone knows everything about everyone. Jarobi managed the D.C.-based rapper Head-Rock for a few years and I got to know him when I booked Heady on a few bills. In my experience, Jarobi has always been friendly and astonishingly down-to-earth. If one can be killed with kindness, consider me slain.

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Pioneering rap-rock agitators Rage Against the Machine spent the ’90s railing against the new world order, but critics carped that making the corporate oligarchs behind Epic Records boatloads of cash was a curious method of sticking it to the man. Rage Against the Machine has been more or less defunct since early in this millennium, though, and guitarist Tom Morello’s ongoing political activism and efforts to “give back” should help to bury any lingering suspicions of insincerity.

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Say one of your siblings killed thousands of people and then spent the rest of his life hiding and making home movies. That might be a little hard to imagine; but it is, of course, the case for Osama bin Laden’s dozens of half-brothers and half-sisters.

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Some artists need no publicity. Without doubt one of the most important lyricists and cultural figures of our generation, Ice Cube (not his real name) helped create the template for a sub-genre, “gangsta rap,” that eventually became hip-hop’s dominant strain.
Ice Cube rose to prominence in the late ’80s as the main lyricist in a little group called N.W.A. and remained at the top of the charts through the ’90s under his own name and with his group Westside Connection.
Following the enormous success of his movie “Friday,” in the new century Ice Cube has continued to build a career as a director and actor through a series of remarkably family-friendly films.

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curt

More than 30 years ago, Curt Kirkwood sang, “I don’t have to think / I only have to do it / The results are always perfect / But that’s old news.”
The Meat Puppets still perform that song, “Oh, Me,” and their singer remains an intelligent, skilled, and accomplished guitarist and songwriter who defines himself by indifference and indolence.

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I didn’t exactly have a daunting series of obstacles between myself and basic literacy: My mom blazed a path for me by achieving basic literacy herself and then becoming a journalist, author, librarian, and teacher.

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I was very fortunate to review a few dozen theatrical productions for the Washington Post Company between 2006 and 2009.

Of all the plays I saw, “Stones in His Pockets” did the most with the least, while the Restoration comedy “The Way of the World” and the Kennedy Center’s spectacular version of “Ragtime” were the most ornate.

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Like Hunter S. Thompson & Ronald Reagan before me, I cut my teeth as a sports reporter.

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Having served in both Republican & Democratic administrations in positions such as “Chair of the Counterterrorism Security Group,” “National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism,” and “Counterterrorism Czar” (not his actual title), Richard A. Clarke had a less-prominent role under George W. Bush. After resigning his post in 2003, Clarke became a noted critic of the Bush Administration, and particularly of the administrations’s actions in the months before 9/11. I was able to interview Clarke when he wanted to promote his engrossing second novel, “Breakpoint,” in 2007. Set in the near future, “Breakpoint” is a thriller that describes threats both cyber and traditional – and what the United States can do to combat them.

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The little folksinger that could and did, DiFranco has toured and recorded at a fantastic clip over the past two decades. Since her 1990 debut album, “Ani DiFranco,” she’s released more than 20 records – including two double-live CDs and a career retrospective, “Canon.”

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The punk historian, philosopher, and scene-maker Mark Andersen is also a hardcore Christian. Andersen’s books include “Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation’s Capital”

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Duran Duran’s keyboardist and sole original member, Nick Rhodes started the band when he was 16. I spoke with him in May of 2008 for an article tied to Duran Duran’s show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. The article appeared on expressnightout.com and can be read here.

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“Yeah,” the polite and soft-spoken Silverchair frontman said with a chuckle. “I suppose so. We’re in a pretty good position right now. I don’t know if it’s a result of teenage angst — ah, it probably is.”

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