Phil Ochs

Some select quotations

      [The demonstrations were] merely an attack of mental disobedience
      on an obediently insane society...and if you feel you have been living
      in an unreal world for the last couple of years, it is particularly
      because this power structure has refused to listen to reason...Step
      outside the guidelines of the official umpires and make your own
      rules and your own reality. 

(from _An American Ordeal: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Period_ by Charles DeBenedetti (Syracuse Univ. Press, 1990). America is two Mack trucks colliding on a superhighway because all the drivers are on amphetamines. It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can't expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That's morality, that's religion. That's art. That's life. God isn't dead--he's just missing in action.
From the liner notes of The Broadside Tapes: When they show the destruction of society on color TV, I want to be able to look out over Los Angeles and make sure they get it right. Leaving America is like losing twenty pounds and finding a new girlfriend. A protest song is a song that's so specific that you cannot mistake it for bullshit And if there's any home for America, it lies in a rebolution, and if there's any hope for a revolution in America, it lies in getting Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara. The final story, the final chapter of western man, I believe, lies in Los Angeles.
From Phil's intro to The World Began In Eden And Ended in Los Angeles on There and Now - Live in Vancouver 1968 I was over there, entertaining the troops. I won't say which troops.
From Phil's intro to The Marines Have Landed on the Shores of Santo Domingo on Phil Ochs in Concert and There But For Fortune Before the days of television and mass media, the folksinger was often a traveling newspaper spreading tales through music. There is an urgent need for Americans to look deeply into themselves and their actions, and musical poetry is perhaps the most effective mirror available. Every newspaper headline is a potential song.
From Broadside "Leave the old and dying America and use your creative energies to help form a new America, which would be de-militarized, more humanistic, where the police are less hostile and closer to the community, where the wealthy are not given unleashed power for the exploitation of the people. "And, mostly because it's now a matter of life and death, reassert an ecological balance with the environment, which means the people in the oil companies and the car companies and the space industry and all the other industries will have to be brought into account, so that there will be a new definition of government which has to be closer to the people and less close to special interests which are far more harmful than any revolutionaries."
From an interview with Michael Ross, 1969 "I can spare a dime, brother, but in these morally inflationary times, a dime goes a lot farther if it's demanding work rather than adding to the indignity of relief."
From the liner notes of "I Ain't Marching Anymore": A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over. -- Joe Hill


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Last modified: Thursday, 31-May-2007 09:42:04 EDT