Art Garfunkel at Dan hotel in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: ELIRAN AVITAL)
When legendary singer Art Garfunkel takes the stage on Wednesday night at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa, he may not have old partner Paul Simon with him, but he offers the next best thing – his son Arthur Jr.
“He has a great musical gift, my boy sings better than I do and I’m pretty good. I would not bring him in the show if it was nepotism,” said the 73-yearold Garfunkel during a press conference Monday at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv the morning after he arrived in Israel.
Looking more like an Ivy League college professor than a rock star – with open collar, sport jacket and horn-rimmed glasses – Garfunkel said that his 24-year-old son would be joining him for a couple songs at the show, in which he promises to perform a generous selection from both the Simon and Garfunkel songbook as well as from his illustrious solo career.
“We all have our children and we all like to show them off but I’m trying to give the customer their real value for the ticket.
So I’m bringing on a great singer, my son Arthur Jr., because he is so damn good,” he added.
Garfunkel, who last appeared in Israel in the early 1980s with his erstwhile partner Simon, said that he was happy to be in Israel and had not been approached by anyone urging him to boycott the country.
At the same time, the Jewish singer explained that he wasn’t here to be a tourist.
“I feel I’m with my cousins, my brothers, my sisters, my nieces, my nephews and my job is to focus and to concentrate on being a good singer.
First comes the paying customer who has a right... to hear a nice sound from Art Garfunkel,” he said. “I lost my voice in 2010 and it’s taken four years to become Art Garfunkel’s sound again and I enjoy it and the world enjoys it.”
When asked if the America that Simon and Garfunkel sang about and that Garfunkel walked across on a decade-long trek 20-odd years ago was a different, more dangerous place today, he responded by comparing that description to how Americans view Israel.
“We Americans read about Israel and we get Alan Dershowitz through the newspapers and it looks terribly dangerous to be here. And Israelis always tell me it’s not like that when you’re in Israel – you people go on with daily life, and don’t live with a sense that your house will be bombed,” he said.
Despite chastising a questioner for asking about his relationship with Simon, Garfunkel said that he was proud of the duo’s work.
“There is a power to lovely melody. Melody works at any age. ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ is full of melody. It’s a forgotten word melody. I think Simon and Garfunkel lyrics are thoughtful and poetic. I think that works at any age,” he said.
Asked if he will ever perform again with Simon, Garfunkel said with aplomb, “I’ll give my standard answer, which is ‘it takes two to tango.’”