Pete was my hero growing up. From the first time I saw him at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Music Hall and was admonished to stop singing so loudly during, "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley" - to the many other times I saw him at Anti-Nuke rallies, benefit concerts, and my own private concert when I got to photograph him. By some miracle one day in 1997, I got an assignment from Rolling Stone to photograph Pete Seeger up at his home on the Hudson. The story never ran, but it gave me one of the greatest thrills of my career. It was a cold, crisp sunny spring morning. When I got to his house, he came out carrying an ax and said we had to chop some wood so he could boil the sap for maple syrup. So he lined up some logs and chopped away as I took my pictures. When he was done he grabbed his banjo, sat down on the chopping stump and asked what I wanted to hear. I told him I loved so many of his songs, but one of my favorites was an obscure one on a recording recently released on streaming services (Pete Seeger Now) from the tent city the homeless had set up in Washington, DC. It was a song called, “Letter To Eve” and it has the words:
If music could only bring peace, I'd only be a musician.
If music could only bring peace, I'd only be a musician!
If songs could do more than dull the pain, if melodies could only break these chains!
Oh-oh Pacem in Teris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Heiwa!