Monday, May 25, 2015

Paul Simon will not care for this interview.

 Ed here: I was never a huge Simon & Garfunkel fan. And the times I saw them interviewed I liked them even less. Too much sophomoric posey like the Beatles at their worst in their work for one thing. And Garfunkel's sad insistence that Simon didn't have the right to go out on his own. There's a documentary about Simon producing his Broadway show that demonstrates to the point of hilarity how an ignorant egomaniac can destroy a show. Simon being the egomaniac of course.  

FromThe Telegraph UK  by  Nigel Farndale
for the entire interview go here

 But when I ask him to describe himself he says: “I’m a misanthrope.” There is something in that, given what he will go on to say about Paul Simon. But I would also add “eccentric”. Take his habit of listing on his website every book he has ever read. “You notice it’s heavy sh*t,’ he says. ‘It’s not fluff.”

Since Simon & Garfunkel split up in 1970, he has married twice and raised two sons, had a film career, walked across America and Europe – ”to get away from people” – and continued recording. Although his solo hits (Bright Eyes, I Only Have Eyes for You) were written by other people, and though Paul Simon wrote all the Simon & Garfunkel songs, he does write. Prose poems, mostly. In long hand. “I never bought a computer or a cell phone.” He also does a lot of mathematics, having read it as a student at Columbia. “I’m precise. I think in proportions. I play games with numbers and I proportionalise. I imagine we have now done 1/8th of our interview.” I check my watch.

 I ask about the Beatles, specifically George, who felt his talents were overshadowed. “George came up to me at a party once and said “my Paul is to me what your Paul is to you.” He meant that psychologically they had the same effect on us. The Pauls sidelined us. I think George felt suppressed by Paul and I think that’s what he saw with me and my Paul. Here’s the truth: McCartney was a helluva music man who gave the band its energy, but he also ran away with a lot of the glory.”
Shortly before they split up, Simon & Garfunkel released what was to become the (then) biggest selling album in history, Bridge Over Troubled Water.


Why did they walk away from that phenomenal success?
“It was very strange. Nothing I would have done. I want to open up about this. I don’t want to say any anti Paul Simon things, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead. Crazy. What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. The jokes had run dry. But a rest of a year was all I needed. I said: ‘I’m not married yet. I want to jump on a BMW motorbike and tour round Europe chasing ladies.’”
Paul Simon once said that it upset him that audiences thought Garfunkel had written his masterpiece, the song Bridge Over Troubled Water – because Garfunkel sang it as a solo, with piano accompaniment. “I saw that quote, too. But how many songs did I sing upfront and have a real tour de force of vocal? Does he resent that I had that one? I find that ungenerous.”
He’s a hard man to get the measure of, Art Garfunkel. On the one hand he still seems eaten up by bitterness about his divorce from Paul Simon, yet he also talks about his old friend (they were at school together) with deep affection. He can seem vainglorious, too, referring to his own “beautiful” voice and being a “helluva singer”, but egomania is not incompatible with self-doubt, or misanthropy. 
Actually, another question strikes me. I speculate about whether Paul Simon might have a Napoleon complex. Is there a height thing there, between them? “I think you’re on to something. I would say so, yes.” He adds that at school he felt sorry for Paul because of his height, and he offered him love and friendship as a compensation. “And that compensation gesture has created a monster. End of interview.”

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