Folk Fest Interview: Loudon Wainwright III talks about music, his famous offspring, and his role in the blockbuster kids' movie G-Force

Filed under: Interviews

It's not every day you get to meet and speak with a bona fide legend. Sure, I've met and talked to a lot of amazingly talented comedians, actors, and comedians over the last 2 years I've been doing interviews for But on the final day of the 2009 Winnipeg Folk Festival, I got the chance to sit down with legendary folk icon Loudon Wainwright III (though he would humbly disagree with being called a legend). Wainwright III has played to audiences large and small worldwide (including several appearances over the years at the Winnipeg Folk Fest), bringing his singing, guitar playing, and occasional comedy to folkies since way back when he was hailed as "the next Bob Dylan" in the late 60s and early 70s.

If for whatever reason you've never been exposed to his music, you probably still know who he is. First, he's the father of a pair of Canadian singer/songwriters who are critical darlings: Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright. Secondly, he's also built a decent acting career for himself. While older folks remember him from his great appearances on M*A*S*H as Capt. Calvin Spalding, younger audiences know him from elevision (mostly as Hal on Judd Apatow's Undeclared, but also a recent Parks & Recreation guest spot) and film (Grandpa Goodman in this year's summer family hit G-Force, Uncle Dale in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, Beamen in Tim Burton's Big Fish, and cameos for Judd Apatow as the priest in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and a doctor in Knocked Up).

However you may know Loudon Wainwright III -- as a musician, actor, or just a great source of genetics -- I can tell you that in person he is very funny, enganging, and incredibly humble. But mostly funny.

Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties during our interview with him. Our main camera was picking up mostly shadows in our interview location (we tried to recover it as best we could), and then the camera itself just showed 'error' and shut off (gotta love digital technology!) right after Loudon began hilariously comparing songwriting as you grow older to sex -- something that will sadly never be seen. We did use a different camera to get our last question in, but you'll notice that while the video quality is much better, the audio's a bit weak.

We didn't have this issue for any of our other 2009 Winnipeg Folk Festival interviews, so be sure to come back to in the coming weeks as we continue to post more coverage from this year's festival.

Tags: Winnipeg Folk Festival, Music Festival, Loudon Wainwright III, folk, G-Force, Undeclared, Judd Apatow

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Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found putting on and promoting music and comedy events with The Purple Room in Winnipeg, or co-producing the live comedy game shows Pants on Fire and The Great Patio Showdown. (@comedygeek)

Original Comments Posted (1)

sunshine says...

I liked this interview, and looking forward to the rest from the Folk Fest.

Aug 14, 2009 2:26am

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