Guthrie is on tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of the song, and on a recent stop in Lowell, he spoke with WGBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu.
Arlo Guthrie: Well, unlike a lot of other people I decided a long time ago that I was not going to do this every night of my life.
I mean, if I thought it was going to become popular, I would have made it a hell of a lot shorter to begin with, if I knew I was going to have to repeat it for 50 freaking years.
Mathieu: So are you inspired at this point, or depressed by the fact that the message of that song is maybe more relevant now than it was 50 years ago?
And I think a sense of humor is necessary to survive as a human species, not as an artist, not as a comedian, but we need to laugh.
Mathieu: Arlo Guthrie may not be listening to this tomorrow, but he has his own Thanksgiving tradition, a special meal for those in need at the Old Trinity Church in Great Barrington, Mass.
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