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Paul Simon On Art Garfunkel: ‘Stay Away For Safety’s Sake’

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With Paul Simon’s career now slowly winding down, he was asked about making mending fences with childhood friend and estranged collaborator Art Garfunkel. The pair’s relationship went sour when the pair was forced to scrap their 2010 tour after Garfunkel lost his voice for several years. With Simon going ahead with his own studio and live work without Garfunkel, the singer turned bitter, publicly lashing out and demeaning Simon in several high profile interviews.

During a talk with CNN, Simon was asked about finally making peace with Garfunkel after a near decade apart: “I don’t know how to even approach that. There’s too much damage that was done. But, y’know, it’s like somebody that I’ve known since I’m 11, so I understand. I understand — I think I understand why it happened, but I think it’s best to stay away. Stay away just for safety’s sake. And so I do.”

Simon recently released his latest album, In The Blue Light, featuring deep cuts from his back catalogue that hadn’t reached their artistic potential or had been generally overlooked. Simon’s hinted that he’s likely done writing new material: “It’s not like I couldn’t do another album now at the same qualitative level as I’ve done the last two or three albums — which I think are as good as I can do, as I’ve ever been. I think I could do that, but I’m not sure that’s the most interesting choice for me. . . I can’t help but think music. It seems it’s always there. I wake up with it.”

Simon, who’s now 77, went on to explain where he’s at creatively: “I’m not physically tired; I’m mentally tired in a way that I don’t know how to explain exactly. I’m holding back from going into solving these musical thoughts, as if they were puzzles that needed to be solved. Now I say, ‘No, don’t solve it that way. Just leave it alone. Let’s just see what happens.'”

Although Simon maintains that he’s done with touring, he still aims to perform select benefits for causes near and dear to him, mainly in support of the environment, explaining, “I’d like to do it for my own pleasure, in concert halls that have prestige sound and with perhaps different musicians that I admire, and play a repertoire that is different from what I’ve been playing.”

Paul Simon has always rated his creative autonomy as the most important by-product of being an active songwriter and musician: “I always pursued a course that seemed interesting to me and that I hoped would be interesting to someone else, y’know — to a lot of people, I hoped. But if it didn’t, or if it wasn’t — I never had any intention of changing. Actually, I don’t think I could have been, or am, capable of changing.”

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