It's been more than 40 years since the song "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" skyrocketed a skinny, guitar-toting, shaggy headed son of a folk singer out of his father's shadow into a realm all his own -- the heart of the Sixties.
Arlo Guthrie bears his father's legacy with pride, but it's his combination of perfect silliness, political commentary and round-about storytelling that won him an audience in his generation, his children's generation and, these days, his grandchildren's, too. Style talked with Guthrie through e-mail about his latest album, the music he's listening to and, of course, his motorcycle.
Style: Tell me about your new album, "In Times Like These."
Guthrie: I've been trying to make a recording of the shows I do with symphony orchestras for about seven or eight years. My friend and musical director, John Nardolillo, arranged for me to record a show we did in 2006 with the University of Kentucky, where he is the musical director. We recorded the event, and it just happened to be one of those rare nights where everything goes really well. There's no messages. It's just a good record.
At 60, what do you think your most important accomplishment has been? Any regrets?
Becoming 60 was less noticeable than I thought it would be. The next day didn't feel any different than the last day of being 59. I'm reserving judgment on my accomplishments until I have a chance to think about them. Regrets? Sure. On the other hand, I've learned more making mistakes than I ever did doing things right. So, I like my regrets.
How has your music changed since the release of "Alice's Restaurant" in 1967?
It's over 40 years since Alice's Restaurant came out. I haven't changed much. I mean, hopefully I'm a little wiser, smarter, aside from the obvious heavier. In a lot of ways, I've become more simple. And my songs are less complicated I like that.
What music are you listening to now?
I listen to classical music sometimes. I just bought a record of my old friends Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, with Josh White and Big Bill Broonzy. So I'm listening to that right now.
What advice would you give an up-and-coming musician?
I don't give advice even when asked. Well, not usually.
Do you still ride a motorcycle?
I have my 2001 Indian waiting for the good weather. S
Arlo Guthrie's "Solo Reunion Tour, Together at Last" will be at University of Richmond's Modlin Center Feb. 10-11 at 7:30 p.m. (At press time the Feb. 10 show was sold out.) Tickets are $18-$36. Call 289-8980 or visit http://modlin.richmond.edu.