Friday, July 24, 2009

An Evening With Michael Lang

In a couple of weeks, I plan to write an article about the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

Michael Lang (pictured below) was one of the four men who organized the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival. He made an appearance in the Boston area tonight to promote his new book The Road to Woodstock along with his co-author Holly George-Warren.

If one is going to write an article about Woodstock one might as well as go directly to the source.

As you can imagine he is quite enthusiastic about President Obama. In fact, he called Obama's inauguration "a Woodstock moment." Hey, he's entitled to his opinion. Even if you disagree with it.

But don't let the curly hair and his soft-spoken manner fool you. The man has a keen sense of entrepreneurship and has a way with people.

He also looks very good for someone about to turn 65 this December. It was interesting to contrast Lang with some of the people in the audience who were clearly showing both their age and the after effects of consuming one too many hallucinogens.

I had the opportunity to ask Lang a couple of questions.

The first question is the subject of my article so I will leave it for now. You'll have to wait for the article. I know the suspense is unbearable but.....

The second question (which I also directed to George-Warren) was which version of the song, "Woodstock" did he prefer? Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or Matthews Southern Comfort? The same song but two radically different arrangements.

George-Warren was surprised at the question but told me in a whispered tone that she preferred MSC's version (as do I.) She asked me what Iain Matthews was up to and I replied that he was based in Holland had recently recorded a jazz album with the jazz combo known as The Searing Quartet.

As for Lang, he noted that he liked Joni Mitchell's version. After all she did write the song. However, he also told me that he Stephen Stills and Dallas Taylor (who was CSN&Y's drummer) played it for him before recording it on their 1970 album Déjà Vu. Not many people can make that claim. So I can understand how he would be partial to their version of the song.

Bill Hanley, the sound engineer at Woodstock and Boston area native, was also on hand.

The only comment I'll make about the article is that it will surprise everyone who reads it.


Lee Vanden Brink said...
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Aaron Goldstein said...

Is it really necessary to take that tone with me?