Joan Baez Talks Protest in the Trump Era:
‘We’re in for a Bumpy Ride’
How important is music to today’s resistance? Is it as central as it was in the Sixties, when some of the most famous protest anthems of all time were coming out?
There’s not enough right now. There needs to be more. It’s terribly important, because that’s what keeps the spirit. Carping and shouting, as much as it gets stuff off your chest in front of 100,000, you really need something uplifting. That’s hard to do in a speech if you’re angry. The primary example, of course, would be [Martin Luther] King. In all the darkness he dealt with he brought out the light, and music does that. The problem right now is we have no anthem. We have one! It’s written by Josh Ritter. As soon as we piece it together, I’m going to try it out on the crowd – it’s called “I Carry the Flame.” All I have to do is get Josh to rewrite the verses so it’ll be simpler. That is the first possibility I’ve heard for the movement so we don’t have to keep redoing “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “We Shall Overcome” forever. We need new things. … The Occupy [Wall Street] movement needed an anthem and didn’t have one. We need fresh songs.