tv Tavis Smiley WHUT October 17, 2013 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
sometimes there is more stuff i would like to find. it is a lot of work. tavis: when you hear accolades of how great a guitar player you are, how does that sit with you? >> it is better than the alternative. tavis: what have you thought of your gift? >> i am grateful for the wonderful opportunities.
a lot of it truly was a tremendous amount of work. we were wood shedding and working on it. there were a lot of young bands th were tremendously influenced by the band. how they zero in on that. tavis: what is undeniable about it? on a were very much mission of finding people that were so extraordinary. we could be a club. we could do something and go out in the world and make a difference. it was really that serious.
we played everywhere and picked up so much musicality. where did this come from? homework and try to gather as much as you can. try to incorporate as much as you can. it all circled around and ended up in this book. fans ofor the long-time the band, i expect they know the answers of these questions. questions i want to ask about naming. how did the band get to be the band?
and how did you get to be called robbie robertson? it was a common thing for kids at that age -- my first name is jamie. what do you have against jamie? >> i was just called something else. i finally had to answer. stuck. i didn't argue about it. in this particular time in 1967 and 1968, there were a lot of groups with very silly names. we had been doing this for a while.
and playing with bob dylan, everybody referred to us as the band. we got used to it. we are just here for the music. tavis: can you give me a sense of if there was the respect, the regard, the difference -- deference there ought to be or once was? >> i think there is always great music being made. a lot of music is made.
be taken that serious, but there is great stuff, always. tavis: the point you make now about the fact that everything is not meant -- what happens when that scale is imbalanced? is not meant to be and 10% is? what will the narrative be about this years down the road? it is a reflection of the times and we are in it. hope -- maybe that has some depth to it. it is hard to recognize because
only time will tell. i don't think that only time will tell. think we have ears right now that let us know that some of the stuff isn't going to hold up. you are being charitable. i willll make you dosh let you make that list. i will let you make that list. tavis: you know very well it will not hold up. >> it is very true, but it is not unique to this period. there is always stuff that's shallow, trendy, gimmicky. >> who do you blame for that? artist, the the industry, the bean counters? >> i don't blame anybody.
it is what it is. it's nobody's fault. tavis: you are in a good mood today, man. >> it is a reflection of what we live the -- what we live with. there are all these different balances of it. it is valid in its own kind of way. like i said, you are in a good mood today. >> you are trying to get me to bash somebody. tavis: i am just trying to make it clear just ancient of what was, what is, and what isn't going to be. i digress on that point. >> do you feel stronger about
what was than what is? i'm glad you asked that. i said to myself the other day, in 50 years, who is going to be in a book and will it be this deck -- thick? a book of legends, icons,a n and rebels. maybe rebels. legends and icons? in this bookpeople really fit this moniker. >> i think there will be a list but it will be a little shorter. tavis: when you put together a , how do youis start? the characteristics, the qualities that you're looking for to make this list?
beenat is what i had saying earlier, time has proven this to be undeniable. of all of the people in this that they did something made a contribution to move the whole thing around. they did change the world. idea that started thinking that for a kid who is nine years book is for ages 9-99. they can grow up and be able to say i know who billy holiday was.
i heard louis armstrong. parents are thinking that is my kid. had that kind of depth and that kind of foundation. tavis: how does a kid even access that? >> because you need to share these kind of things. and in my house, growing up with my son which is where this idea started, he grew up in a house where he heard this music all the time. said a lot of kids don't have this opportunity. good,on't know what is what's bad, what's real. time, this needs to be done.
this in needs to share such a lovely way that a kid can be invited into this thing. this is not for me. it is universal. tavis: i will turn this around a little bit. i love the way it is laid out. own. artist has his or her favorites, i love the layout. you said a moment ago that some titles were just the music that changed the world. take one or two artists if you , and tell me your view of
how they change the world. i think we live in it alter where the word "icon" has been bastardized. right that icons are people that change the game. they bring something to the table that change the way it's done. we use that word all the time, so i will get a sense from you, the music think changed the world. >> without a book like this, you might not be aware of something like this. some years ago, i was spending time with chuck berry. widely considered the father of rock 'n roll. he said that if he wasn't for louis jordan, he wouldn't it even got in the music.
louis jordan changed everything and made him want to become a musician. he was that good. chuck berry said he only wanted to do what louis jordan did. that, i few years after was talking with the great little richard. he says if it wasn't for louis know if i would have gotten into music. tavis: when you spend time with the artists that are still living like little richard, is there a thread that you have come away with?
>> it is an extraordinary talent, a unique talent that stood out like a diamond. growing up, these guys were my heroes. what chuck berry said about louis jordan, you are the guy that made me say i had to be a part of this thing. when you talk about billie holiday, nothing before and nothing after in her own unique special way. louis armstrong. what he did for music changed the world. elvis, the beatles, bob dylan. it holds up. not just in regard to music
but in other arenas, technology doesn't fit this paradigm because technologically, we are advancing every day. i think they are actually setbacks, but that is a conversation for another time. genres -- haveer we experienced the best that is ever going to come? the most you can do is elevate to the level of sarah von or the level of billie holiday or louis armstrong. this is where i am cutting this generation some slack. to expressght to be your artistry, but how do they become iconic? is that still possible? is the argument from some of
this is that it doesn't get better than x, y, or z. >> i am not sure it doesn't get better. when i was playing with bob dylan in 1966, i was 20 years old. i did not know that was it and that this was a musical revolution. that what we were doing was going to change music forever. lament plays a part. artists today that will grow and will do something magical. time will tell. you are very much a traditionalist.
i am trying to keep an open mind. try tothat is why when i find something -- >> you are kicking and screaming. tavis: i think the standard is think that rather than try to elevate to that standard, people do what is making money. i think the music business is just sold out. as a result, it is all about the numbers. everybody is trying to be a copy of somebody else. that is what my issue is. theset wait to get persons on the show. this person is at least doing something that is original. not that i am just a stuffy traditionalist.
>> one of the things that has happened over the years, when these artists were at their height, there were great songwriters writing the songs wit. i don't disagree with you with any of these things. i don't think the standard is in that same place. they were songwriters. beatles, bobhe dylan, buddy holly wrote their own songs. it was financially beneficial, two. other artists said, that is what i will do as well. nowadays, a lot of people write their own songs and they are not great songwriters. they repeat 11 times. there's no real verse or melody.
7-11 songs. not all of it. a minute to go. what this book does is expose this generation, these people to legends and icons and rebels that change the world. once they are aware of it, will if they want to be an artist, what is the next piece of advice? >> to go deeper. this is just opening the door. there are a lot of artists that we very much wanted to be a part of this. there will be a volume towo on this and volume three. the stones aren't in this book. the badnd isn't in this book. i would not allow that to
happen. it was written in there and i did not want the distraction so i pulled it. there is a connection between parents and kids. tavis: you can to do your own horn with this. the band, live at the academy of music 1970 one. over four very special night, these live performances come to life in these new projects. changed the world. it is still a very busy man. always a pleasure for me to have you. thanks for watching and until next time, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with
by generous support from... life can take you almost anywhere. fortunately, so can we. this program is brought to you in part by bread for the world, an advocacy organization working to end hunger and poverty at home and abroad. this time with a focus on practical travel tips. in this three-part special edition,
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everything's in two languages -- dutch for locals and english for everyone else. and there's an information desk ready and waiting. hello. do you speak english? i do. do you have a map, please, to go to amsterdam? i'd like to take the train to the center. okay. uh, best place to go, sir... but even in the netherlands, where everyone seems to speak english, it's polite to learn and use a few key local words. dank u wel. bye-bye. to get your cash, atms are the way to go. they provide local currency at the best rates. quick, easy, and in english. but each atm transaction comes with a fee. minimize these fees by comparing card policies before you leave home and by taking fewer and bigger withdrawals in europe. it's just like withdrawing cash at home. you just need your four-digit pin. but before you leave, let your bank know you'll be overseas so there's no hang up in using your card over here.
my hotel's in the city center. getting downtown from european airports on public transportation is easy. you've got options. if you're packing heavy, really tired, or with a small group, a taxi can be the best value. when i'm on my own and packing light, public transit -- trains and busses -- can be the best choice, and it's far cheaper. busses are clearly marked. these days, you'll buy tickets and lots of other things using machines. there's always a button for english. get comfortable using your credit card and following the prompts. okay, i've got my train ticket to the center. most european airports have excellent train connections into town. from schiphol, there's a train into amsterdam every couple of minutes. and we're downtown in a snap. i find europe's big iron-and-glass stations