Meet the modern Art

March 2, 2007
Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Art Garfunkel is contented. He's at a point in his life where he has achieved a lot musically, is blissfully married and is father to two children.

"My life is about my two children," the curly-haired singer, who is at Newcastle City Hall on March 9, says.

"James is 16 and he's such a rich individual, I'm crazy about him. It's such a dodgy age. He's a young man who is ready to step on the gas pedal of his career he's going through what I went through at that age.

"And now I have a new year-old son called Beau, who's a beautiful new arrival on Planet Earth. I'm just lost without my kids."

Art adds: "But my career is very alive. I've been at this lucky point for 30 years, where I can pick and choose what I do, after Simon and Garfunkel had their hits.

"The legacy of that is you can approach the rest of your life with a philosopher's eye. The money's been made, the glory's been achieved, and it really is a case of following your values. Life has been philosophical ever since."

As one half of successful music duo Simon and Garfunkel, Art has had plenty to smile about. With childhood friend Paul Simon, he created a lasting legacy with hits like Bridge Over Troubled Water and Mrs Robinson, and the 65-year-old insists he isn't bothered when people remember him more for those songs than his solo music.

"Of course they're interested in those hits. My whole life is charmed by having done those five albums with Mr Simon."

The duo are famous for their tumultuous working partnership, and have reunited numerous times since their split in 1970, only to publicly and acrimoniously fall out on nearly every occasion, vowing never to perform together again.

"We played the game. When Paul and I were buddies in junior high school at age 13, we had a mock splitting up just to create gossip at school. That's very telling."

Their last reunion tour happened in 2004, and for the moment, Art admits they won't work together any time soon.

"Do I have a plan to work with Mr Simon again? No. Is there a possibility of more recorded music with Simon and Garfunkel? Yes, I suppose there is a possibility.

"We are friends. I had lunch with him the other day."

But Art still looks back at the good old duo days with fondness.

"The highlight of my career is that Central Park show I did with Mr Simon in 1981 on September 19, when the rain had cleared and the sky turned pearly grey and half a million people showed up, and Paul and I were blissed out."

Art has achieved a lot since going solo; releasing 11 albums, acting in five films, writing a book and walking across America. His current focus is on his new album, Some Enchanted Evening, a collection of 30s-style standards from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.

"We (he and producer Richard Perry) always wanted to do this, and began recording it in the 90s. Finally, Rod Stewart had huge success with The Great American Songbook and that made me think the way has been paved."

Art admits he has no plans for the future, saying: "I don't have dreams. I don't have a plan to do anything. I leave it very organic, I follow my feelings, I like to blow on the wind so I can find what my natural inclination is."

But Art reveals he may retire from music soon: "I don't know if there's a possibility of me making more music. If this album isn't successful, I don't know if people deserve another.

"It's a wide world. I don't want to spend too much of my time on a narrow focus, and although this entertaining thing is big, it covers a lot. There's other things to do, and to retire and do other things seems appealing now."

Fact File ...

Real name: Arthur Ira Garfunkel

Birthdate: November 5, 1941

Significant other: Second wife Kim

Career high: Bridge Over Troubled Water remains one of the best-selling hits since its release in 1970

Famous for: Being the Garfunkel in Simon and Garfunkel

Words of wisdom: "Show business is so full of projection instead of authenticity. It's so ungodly. God does not smile on this activity."