Four years after losing part of his vocal range, Art Garfunkel returned to the stage recently with a fresh approach to performing. At 72, he combines his solo work and Simon & Garfunkel material with prose, storytelling and a Q&A session. He spoke to The Observer recently about his struggle to regain his voice and where things stand now.
I turn on my TV and there’s Pharrell Williams, the man with the hat that look like Smokey the Bear. He’s good. There’s some things that are happening. Bruno Mars sings great. I’m cynical about today. I don’t want to come across that way in print. I do think the culture we live in is partially dead. Auto-tuning means you don’t have to sing in tune. Do your best! Machines will cover you! Society doesn’t evolve, it goes down.
Now, I guess when I came along in the ’60s and I loved my rock ’n’ roll, Buddy Holly, Elvis and the Beatles, the generation before mine said, “How can you love these songs with only three chords?” (It wasn’t) big band, Tommy Dorsey. Maybe the culture is thinning out. The further back you go the richer things were. Maybe the Romans knew real honor amongst men.
I’m out of touch with today. I’m still having a fine time.