Interview: Michael Lang

By ROB TURBOVSKY  |  July 22, 2009

But how accurate is it? The way we see Sly Stone in the movie, it looks like the best performance anyone has given — ever.
In fact, I must say, it was. That's the one performance that for me — there were some great moments, Joe Cocker, Santana — but that moment with Sly was the best performance, the most amazing experience with an audience, that I've ever seen. And I've seen thousands. It was just a magic moment for him.

Conversely, did you wish you could get your money back from the Grateful Dead?
Ah, no. Actually, I've seen their performance, in bootleg, and it wasn't as bad as they thought it was. It was far from their best, but it wasn't that bad.

You've said that Woodstock has become overexposed in some ways. What do you mean?
It's sort of come to dominate that whole generation, that whole decade. And there were a lot of things going on in the '60s that were very important to the world we live in today. A lot of the roots of the issues that we deal with today. Woodstock is sort of a convenient word to wrap all that up in. The green movement that started in the '60s, the civil-rights marches. The first movements for change that started in the '60s that culminated in the election of Barack Obama, I think. There are direct roots in that generation. It's important that those things get remembered as well.

There seems to be a lot of Woodstock spirit in the music festivals around today. Have you been to Bonnaroo?
I haven't been to Bonnaroo. The most interesting festival I've been to is Burning Man. Have you been?

No — something about all of the nakedness.
It's something you must experience once before it gets too over the top. It's like living on Pluto for a week.

That's not over the top?
Oh, I just mean in terms of the crowd size. It's totally over the top in every other way.

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