July 14th, 1993
Detroit Free Press
By Lynn van Matre
sent to me by Allen
Gapske, thank you very much!
Seven years ago, in the wake of soso sales for his 'East of
Midnight' album, Gordon Lightfoot announced he had nothing more to say as a songwriter and was retiring from recording. Now he
wishes he had kept his big mouth shut.
'I never should have said anything,' laments the newly rejuvenated folk-pop singer, who recently released
'Waiting for You.' His 18th album and first connection of new material since 1986.
'That (quote about retiring) keeps coming back to haunt me; every body keeps asking me about it.
'I guess I'm smarting because people are accusing me of quitting,' admits Lightfoot, who will play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Pine Knob Music Theatre.
'I never really dropped out, I kept on doing concerts. But I write all of my own material, and at the time I was feeling kind of washed out and discouraged. Now I'm coming to the realization that I should have kept quiet about how I felt. Jeez, I feel like that after just about every
Still, there's no doubt that Lightfoot, who launched his career in Toronto clubs in the early 1960s and made his U.S. recording debut a few years later, maintained a low profile during the late 1980s and early '90s. His current 40-city tour is his most ambitious in ages.
'We're having great fun touring,' Lightfoot says. 'We're organized like a hockey team. All you've got to do is make sure you get lots of rest.
'I've learned how to have good conduct and that sort of thing, and all the crazy stuff is behind me, way back there in the misty
past,' adds the 54-year-old singer, who once battled alcohol problems but notes he is in his 11th year of sobriety.
'I've come through, and as far as I know, I haven't hurt anyone physically, spiritually or
So what exactly has been up to in the years between 'East of Midnight' and
'Waiting for You'?
'I spent 31/2 years making the new album, which was a hell of a job,' Lightfoot says.
'Before that, I spent three years working for the environmentalist movement, doing benefits and things. I was part of the project that Sting did with the Indians down in Brazil, and I also got involved on some projects in Canada, until it all got too political and I was being called upon to express my thoughts to the press.
'I had no idea it would be like that,' he says. 'I'm not a public speaker, and I'm not interested in wearing that mantle, but the media would turn the cameras on men and reporters would ask questions, and I started feeling like a prophet of doom.
'I'm still in touch with environmentalists, and I still support what they are
doing,' adds Lightfoot, whose life these days is devoted to family, exercise
('normal stuff, like weights and running') and music.
'But I've moved on. Actually, I think that the environmental awareness factor is pretty much established now, and I don't think there's very much we can do to change anything. But maybe the time I spent committed to the environment gave my weary brain a rest. Maybe I needed a
Lightfoot's leap onto environmentalism wasn't the only change in his life in the late 1980s. He married again and had child, which led to renewed creativity - and a new work schedule.
'The only way I could get quiet I needed to write was to got to bed early and get up at 3
a.m.,' he says. 'I did that 89 or 90 tines and then refined the songs until I had the album done. I'd like to think it's an uplifting, positive
No matter what happens with this album, you won't hear a word from Lightfoot about retiring.
'I'm keeping my mouth shut,' he says. 'I want to keep on going until at least the year