Art Garfunkel, Songwriter

February 16, 2003
The New York Times
By Kathryn Shattuck

It would be easy to twist "Everything Waits To Be Noticed," the title of Art Garfunkel's latest recording, into a plaintive metaphor for a man who, since the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel in 1970, has been struggling to emerge from the shadow of his former partner.

It would be wrong.

"I think that's a little self-absorbed, and I won't go there, " Mr. Garfunkel said, chuckling a bit. He was speaking by phone last week from his Manhattan apartment, where he lives with his wife, Kim Cermak and their 12-year old son, James. "To be honest, when I walk on stage, I know there's support waiting for me, " he said. "There's a lot of love waiting out there."

This week a kind of triple bill may have the public wondering how the bookish fellow with the ethereal tenor, now 61, could ever have doubted its affections. Tonight, Mr Garfunkel steps out in a recurring role as a record store owner and musical mentor to the Kennedy-era teenagers in NBC's "American Dreams," a Dick Clark-produced drama based on "American Bandstand." (Mr. Garfunkel and Paul Simon, then calling themselves Tom and Jerry, made their debut on that show on Thanksgiving 1957.)

On Friday at Town Hall, he'll give his first New York concert since 1997, teaming up with Maia Sharp and Buddy Mondlock, the singer-songwriters with whom he composed six of his album's 13 jazz-folk works. Woven from poetry he had written in the 80's while exercising what Mr. Garfunkel called his Jeffersonian right to traverse the United States by foot, they represent his first attempt at songwriting. "I had a personal breakthrough," he said.

And on Saturday, the day before the Grammy Awards are held at Madison Square Garden, Mr. Garfunkel and Mr. Simon will receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Though their relationship has had its publicly documented rough patches, "we're good enough right now," Mr. Garfunkel said.

"Put it this way; we have a deep and somewhat buried affection."

"I never was a joiner, I don't like groups, and I find it hard to find my proper place in the community," he went on, pondering the role of fame in his increasingly private life. "But I'm very proud to give my life to rock 'n' roll. I don't live my life in my head as if I'm a celebrity; I live my life in my head as if I'm a philosopher-writer. But once upon a time, Paul and I sought very hard to be recognized and become famous. You can't suddenly stop and change the rules."