Art Garfunkel, sans Paul Simon, will give a concert at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium tonight while on a visit to Israel. Garfunkel, now 73 years old and looking vulnerable and tired, explained in his press conformance that, like all mere mortals, he suffers from jet leg: “I’m not a star. I’m a singer who can sing very well if he can get his sleep.”
The singer with the velvet voice lost it for a while in 2010. When he was asked about that, he said that he will perform with a great singer, his son Arthur Jr., because “he is so damn good.”
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How did Garfunkel prepare for this tour?
“I do what I always do; I put my iPod on and I sing to James Taylor and to Chet Baker, ” he said.
The highlight of Garfunkel’s press conference came when he was asked by about his interview last month in The Telegraph, in which he spoke of his relationship with Paul Simon. Garfunkel called his friend of many years an “idiot” and a “jerk.”
But on this occasion Garfunkel refused to take the bait, instead saying:
“If you ask me a lot of questions about Paul Simon, and Simon and Garfunkel, I’m not going to feel that you’re interested in me. I would like your interview to be about my own career and my work, and naturally Simon and Garfunkel is part of that. But you make me feel bad when you bring up something I said to the press …”
But the press being the press, they continued to press further on this button and wanted to know whether there’s a chance he might reunite on stage with Simon. Garfunkel then gave what he calls his “standard answer, the real answer… It takes two to tango.”
One question journalists in Israel love is to ask about the Jewish roots of the rich and famous. This time it was Garfunkel who told a small story:
“I went to Hebrew School in 1948, an important year in the history of this country. I was a little seven-year-old, going to Hebrew School. I didn’t really love Hebrew School. But on Saturday mornings, I was singing, and the rabbi taught me some things to sing… I realized I have a gift from God. It’s a lucky thing. And when I sing these minor key ancient melodies—[Garfunkel hums a riff]—I could see that people relate to it, and I began to realize at that early age [that] these Hebrew words are useful to me as a singer.”
“Do you still go to synagogue from time to time?” one journalist asked Garfunkel.
“Very little. They make me pay money when I go. I don’t like that, ” he replied. He is right too. Though unlike churches, synagogues do not have weekly collection plates so they try to make up for it by selling tickets on the high holy days.
However, they obviously do try to solicit donations from their wealthiest members and Garfunkel falls into that category.