Recently, the OnlyOneWorld Interviewing Team arranged an interview, via e-mail, with Mr. Eric Bogle, a world-renowned musician. Below is the complete, four-question interview.
OnlyOneWorld: When did you first start playing music? What instruments did you play? What style was it?
Eric Bogle: I first started playing in 1963. I started on the ukulele and graduated to guitar a couple of years later. This is because I play left-handed, and there were not too many left-handed guitars around back then. I therefore bought a cheap ukulele and restrung it to enable me to play it left-handed. My playing style varied from awful to dreadful,but was meant basically to be folk-style acoustic licks and suchlike.
OnlyOneWorld: Many of your songs (e.g. "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda") relay the horrors of war. When did you start writing these songs, and why?
Eric Bogle: I wrote "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" in 1971, and that was my first serious attempt at an anti-war song. I am unsure myself as to why I started to make anti-war statements in the first place. The paradox of war, which shows the worst and best sides of humanity, has always fascinated and puzzled me, and personally I've always viewed wars as mostly bloody, brutal and ultimately pointless.
OnlyOneWorld: What song of yours do you think most relays the message you want the world to hear? What is that message?
Eric Bogle: No one song I have written would begin to encompass what message I would want the world to hear. However, I am not arrogant enough to think that many people in the world would listen to any messages that may be contained in my songs. I'm no prophet or teacher, and have no deeper understanding of, or any original answers to the world's problems than the next person. If my songs have any message at at all, it would be let's stop killing each other and start looking after this Earth we all live on, nothing earth-shattering or original about that message.
OnlyOneWorld: If you had infinite control over the world's leaders, how would you attempt to create peace in the Middle East?
Eric Bogle: Pray for a very unlikely miracle. Failing that, get all Israel's neighbours to agree to Israel's right to exist as a nation, and to abandon all their jihadist bullshit. Get Israel to withdraw from all occupied territories and get her to rein in the Zionist zealots who threaten her long-term existence even more than the fundamentalist Muslim Zealots. Withdraw ALL foreign troops from the Middle East. Increase investment in and development of alternatives to oil-based fuels. If all that happened, embark on a programme to teach pigs to fly.....