Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Toward Freedom - Radical Folk Music: An Interview with David Rovics

Having just started a deadening temp job alphabetizing books that students had returned at the semester’s end, there was something comforting about hearing the triumphant chorus: “When all the minimum wage went on strike!” bouncing off the University of Wisconsin’s buildings. It was early May and rabble-rousing folk musician David Rovics was in Madison to celebrate the centennial of the International Workers of the World (IWW). I had first heard him play “Minimum Wage Strike” six years before at a student activism conference in Boston. I’ve been drawn to David’s music ever since. He continues to leave his own unique mark on the radical folk tradition. I had the chance to sit down with him on a lovely spring day inside the Orton Park gazebo where we discussed his passion for playing music for the revolution as an antidote to crippling wage slavery.

When you’re in a social situation and people ask you: "What do you do?" how do you usually respond?

I just say I play music. It’s my sole source of income so it’s an easy answer. Presumably they’re asking, "What do you do for a living?" or "What do you do with most of your time?" Of course with most of my time I don’t play music—I stare at computer screen or drive a car or sit in a plane. [Laughs]

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