Why the Sound Is Still Sweet: Q&A with Joan Baez
JB: Right now I'm in Amsterdam, so I think there are tricks to it. I do a lot of meditation, but when I wake up in the morning and it's quiet—that could be anywhere. I'm not necessarily searching for anything, but I think it's a good habit to shut up once in a while. As often as possible actually, because I think it's the noisiest decade in the history of the world. So if I can get someplace where I can just be quiet, that's probably a very good thing.
MK: Does music have the power to transform the world?
JB: I think music has the power to transform people, and in doing so, it has the power to transform situations—some large and some small. I guess I don't like the expression "change the world" because it's just too massive a job to take on and it may lead to some kind of discouragement. Having really high expectations can be dangerous because it leads to feelings of exhaustion and frustration. I think it's important to not expect too much of yourself, or of the movement, or of the march. Be realistic about what the possibilities are to come out of each step.
MK: We live in a culture where there are so many expectations that come with no work.
JB: You're absolutely right. And with no risk. People wait for change. They'll say: "When is somebody going to write another 'Imagine'? When is somebody going to write another song, do another march?" First of all, that's not going to happen. It's not going to be what was; it's going to be whatever is created now. If we really want change, the factor that has to be in there that's been missing for so many years is risk. Most people have been unwilling to take a risk. We have to come back to an era of risk-taking, which has just become uncomfortable for people because it's not comfortable to take risks. But I think that we're going to need to do that.
MK: It was definitely clear from the documentary that you were not afraid to take a risk.
JB: There were some times when I felt afraid. But when I determined that it was the absolute right thing to do, I knew there would be moments when I was afraid, but when my decision was made, it was made.
Answering the call of family