Facing Audiences After Eight Years - Garfunkel Goes Out On His Own

March 11, 1978
United Features Syndicate by Sue Byrom

Admitting to a strong case of nerves about his current tour of America, Art Garfunkel is facing live audiences for the first time in nearly eight years.

It was in 1970 that Garfunkel last faced a tour, and then he was with partner Paul Simon. The same year, the celebrated duo decided to call it a day and go their separate ways. For Garfunkel that meant acting (Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge) and producing.

"People still think of me as a songwriter," Garfunkel commented ruefully, "but I've never written one.  My contribution to Simon and Garfunkel was as a producer and filling out the act.

"Basically I'm a performer, an actor and a producer — and producing gives me the most satisfaction because it's judged by my peers. But now it's time for me to face my audience. I think that I've grown and I want to communicate with an audience, but I'm nervous about going out on my own."

As a prelude to this current tour, Garfunkel took singing lessons for the first time in his life. "I learned some techniques, but I didn't go on with the lessons for too long .because I was worried that the training would take away the honesty in my voice — the trouble with singing teachers is that they want you to sing perfectly."

Watermark, his current top 30 album, took a year in the making, and was recorded in Muscle Shoals and Hollywood. Much of the material was written by Jimmy Webb and produced by Art.

"I love working in the studio although I don't think that the audience is aware of all the effort that goes into recording. I'll spend hours making sure the drum beat has just the right sound, getting the right nuances. That's why on the tour I'm playing places like Carnegie Hall, places that are built for music and not huge sports arenas. The acoustics are the important thing for me."

And after the tour, Garfunkel will probably return to his low-profile life style, which consists (when he's not working) of reading and travelling.

"I love walking and visiting places, preferably places where I'm not well known, like Italy. That way I can be what I enjoy — an observer."