Art Garfunkel chats before Westbury show
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The heart of a half-hour interview with Art Garfunkel, by phone from a Manhattan hotel where he does his office work, is a detailed travelogue of all the cities he has walked through in the United States and Europe -- hundreds of miles, from Pennsylvania to St. Louis, London to Paris. "I'm a walker," he says.
Garfunkel, 72, is especially chipper now that his legendarily high voice has returned; in 2010, citing a condition called paresis, he and longtime partner Paul Simon had to cancel several concerts in order for him to recover.
Today, he's writing a book, taking questions from the audience while on tour and raising two boys, a 23-year-old singer and an 8-year-old second-grader, with wife Kim Cermak, a former model.
You recently told Rolling Stone your voice is 96 percent back to full strength. That's very specific.
I'm a mathematician and I'm silly. I say these things because I'm a Scorpio. I should've said, "It's 100 percent now," because I just came off the road playing Milwaukee and Chicago, and it was happening. The voice was there. I'm thrilled by what just went down. I've got my stage legs back.
Did your voice problems really begin because you ate an oversized piece of lobster?
It's true. The Palm [in Manhattan] serves very big lobsters. If you're talking with your son, you get excited about what you're saying and you don't give enough time to what you're chewing.
So are you done with lobster?
I'm just going to cut smaller pieces and chew more.
I read that you recently put "Bridge Over Troubled Water" back in the set.
Yeah, that's true. It wasn't long ago. Because there's no piano in our set -- just my guitar player, Tab Lavin. We don't have the full song. It's a sketch, now. We're working on it. We just did "Homeward Bound" for the first time. We just did "I Only Have Eyes for You" for the first time. So the show is constantly in development. . . . I'm having a ball with this. I'm passionate. I'm 26 years old up there.
I read in a Phil Everly obituary from January that as soon as Paul Simon heard the Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love," he called you about putting together your own act. True?
No, that's not true! It shows you how loose things are. Where do these things come from? As soon as Paul Simon heard "Bye Bye Love" -- that's a wild distortion of the truth. We heard "Bye Bye Love" together, Paul Simon and I, in Jamaica, Queens, coming out of a bowling alley. We were about to take a bus. There was "Bye Bye Love." And in the introduction [sings], we were galvanized by the guitar rhythm kick. And we listened. Along comes the vocals just seconds later, and we fell out: Oh boy, can these guys sing! What a sound! And we were smitten within seven seconds from what we just heard. . . . The truth is going to get kicked around like crumpled paper on the floor.
I have to ask you about your appearance in the "Garfunkeling" episode of "Flight of the Conchords." It was so funny -- but did you have to be talked into it?
My manager at the time, John Scher, said to me: "You've got to do this. I know from my daughter and from young people, it's hip." I said, All right. I don't stay current with some things that are going on. I don't know my TV. I don't know cable. I watch "The Big Bang Theory" sometimes -- I get amused by the acting and the writing. . . . So I trusted him. . . . I didn't like it. I thought I was a doofus. I thought it was goofy.
Really? I thought you were treated respectfully, as an icon, but self-deprecating in a very funny and unusual way.
My sense of humor is different from that. But OK!
WHEN | WHERE Tomorrow at 8 p.m. at The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave.
INFO 516-283-5566, thespaceatwestbury.com