Radiohead, everybody knows, didn’t play a free show for the Occupy Wall Street protesters last Friday. But there’s been a stream of high-profile musicians showing up in Zuccotti Park to offer their support.
This afternoon, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary set up on a makeshift bandstand and played a set with some friends, serenading the occupiers with “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
Yarrow’s voice isn’t quite as robust as it once was, and without amplification, he had trouble carrying over the drumming that is the incessant soundtrack to the occupation.
Also in the crowd today (though not performing) was Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio. Freshly off tour, Malone said he was just downtown to observe, but said he hopes the protest continues to grow. He also had harsh words for media efforts to cast the protesters as ignorant and unfocused.
“People have such little opportunity to be heard in the first place,” he said. “What journalists are being paid enough to be dismissive of this?”
Malone used to live in the Bay Area, and said the protest culture there taught him long ago that having more than one message doesn’t make a movement unfocused.
“No matter what the march was for — the pot-legalization crew, the Free Mumia crew — you’d always see a lot of other people with other messages getting involved as well,” Malone said. “It’s not that the message is diffuse; it’s that there isn’t one of these aspects that doesn’t have to do with the central problem: an unsustainable economic order that we’re constantly told is the highest stage of our evolution.”
“If the press will tell the real story about these protests, they’ll get bigger, and they’ll actually be able to be disruptive,” Malone said. “Then we might get somewhere.”