Art Garfunkel Talks About Solo Touring and ‘Squirmy’ Relationship With Paul Simon
Anyone who's ever been interviewed for publication will tell you it can be a difficult experience, and even under the best of circumstances, it's a little stressful. It's easy to understand, then, Art Garfunkel's somewhat unorthodox approach to his recent conversation with Salon.
In the piece Garfunkel, as the headline notes, "practically interviews himself," and even in dialogue, he's prone to digressions about everything from the Indiana landscape to the prevalence of digital devices in the lives of younger people. But as he says at one point, he's fascinated by the "flow of syllables and words" in language, and it wouldn't be entirely fair to accuse him of rambling during the interview — more like holding forth on a wide-ranging array of topics.
One of those topics, naturally, is his on-again, off-again partnership with Paul Simon, which he brings up himself toward the end of the interview. Baited into asking whether he'll "ever work with Paul again," writer Stephen Deusner jokes that he'd definitely like to know whether Garfunkel will ever work with Paul McCartney again, which leads into a sweet little story about McCartney singing with Garfunkel's young son — and an admission that even artists who don't get along on a personal level can keep finding themselves drawn back to an imperfect relationship by the creative high.
"Do you know this about musicians? Making music is a place we go to. It’s a real comfort zone. On the Monopoly board, it’s the box marked Go," mused Garfunkel. "When you pass go, you get $200. It’s our favorite box. When you go into a song, when you respect your own God-given talent, there’s something automatic about flexing those muscle. You go to that comfort zone and lo and behold, you find other musicians there. That’s the great thing about making music, but it’s also why Paul and Artie can be very squirmy around each other. We’re so damned different, but when the song and the music is happening and Paul is playing guitar — and Paul Simon plays brilliant acoustic guitar — you go to that place comfortably."
Regardless of what happens between himself and Simon in the future, Garfunkel sounds satisfied with his solo tours. "The live show allows me to be the sensitive singer that I like to be. I can drop the notion that I have to have upbeat numbers. It’s just me and a guitar, so it’s less-is-more taken to the extreme. If you believe in your own vocal as colorful and worth hearing, you only want one guitar. You want a sort of 75/25 volume balance where the vocal is paramount," he explained. "I love my show. It works. Every night the audience eats it up."
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