Robert Crumb comments on celebrities and artists

It's interesting to learn what Robert Crumb thinks about notable people. "Crumb on Others, Part Five," compiled by Alex Wood, was just published on Robert Crumb's website. (The black-on-red text is awful; thank goodness for Instapaper.)


Robert: Peter Max [laughs]… he's a totally fucking jive character. I read an article about him about ten years ago and he was doing these really bad, sloppy paintings, knocking 'em out as quickly as possible and trying to sell them based on his name. But you know, in the psychedelic era, his stuff was all over the place. He was way better known than I was, back in like '68, '69, '70 period. Yeah, Peter Max capitalized on the whole psychedelic art scene in that period; completely jive character. I wonder if he's still alive.


Robert: Seeger… he's a saint. Pete Seeger's a fucking saint, but I never found his music very interesting. You know, musically he can play the banjo, but he's so political, so deeply, vehemently political — and I agree with his politics completely — but it made his music political; the message was more important than the quality of the music to him. He's a literary musician, you know? But he dedicated himself to getting out there an playing these left-wing, rousing songs to labor unions and strikers, it's amazing they never put him in jail. Well, actually, I think he was in trouble for a while but he never went to jail. Is he still alive? I think he is. I think he's still going! I know someone who recently talked to him and I guess Seeger is very inspirational. He's still very lucid and he talked about the old days. You know, he started all that political campaigning in the '30s, and he started very young with that. He's from an upper-class family with money. I think it was the Seeger family whose maid was Elizabeth Cotton, and one day they found her playing guitar and singing and they went, "Oh my God! This woman is a talented singer/musician!" Somebody, years ago, gave me, as a gift, a huge box set of ten LPs of all of that left-wing folk music done by the folknics, not by the real folk, but the folknics of the '50s and early '60s: the Almanac Singers; Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. It's just totally uninteresting. Real country hillbilly music by deeply ignorant, racist people is much more interesting than that stuff. As I said, I agree totally with their politics, but musically it's really uninteresting. The whole folknic scene, even when it was happening in the late '50s and early '60s, I was never moved by it. I preferred rockabilly. [laughs]

Crumb on Others, Part Five