Pete Seeger on his famous banjo

In an in-depth interview, I talked with folk music icon Pete Seeger about his family, music, activism  and his friendship with another famous bard, Woody Guthrie. Here is Pete on his famous banjo.

Gene: How did you come up with the phrase written on the face of your own banjo? 

Pete: I made it up. Woody [Woody Guthrie, author of “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh” and “This Land is Your Land”] had on his guitar: “This machine kills fascists” in World War II. And after World War II, he kept it on, and we said, “Woody, Hitler is dead. Mussolini is dead. Take the sign off.” He said, “These fascists come along every time the rich people get the generals to help them stay in control.” I wanted to have something a little more peaceful: “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” While it’s true, there are still people in the world that hate, small groups here and small groups there…and the stupid scientists invented horrible things that they can do if they get the right weapons.

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