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Old 11-17-2016, 10:44 PM   #1
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Default Interview - Nov.17-2016

GORDON LIGHTFOOT: On Drake, music and smoking

By Jane Stevenson, Postmedia Network
Thursday, November 17, 2016 3:32:58 EST PM

Sundown you better take care, if you find Drake's been creepin' round your back stairs.

Hey, it could happen given Gordon Lightfoot's new neighbour of note in Toronto's Bridle Path is none other than the acclaimed rapper.

Not that Drizzy, who's building a mansion across the street from Lightfoot's, has moved into the hood yet.

"He's building a house over there - and I understand it's quite involved," said the Canadian folk legend.

"I had not heard his workup until that point in time [of him buying property but somebody told me that I should check out his latest album because it had been No. 1 on the hit parade for five weeks. So I said, 'I think we better.' [laughs]. And I listened to it and it had that very special thing about it that 'causes records to sell that way. Just a wonderful, wonderful rap record."

At 77 years old, Lightfoot is a busy man. He's releasing his first new song in 12 years, Plans of my Own, on Nov. 18, touring Ontario the last two weeks of November - including four nights at Toronto's Massey Hall starting Nov. 23 - and re-releasing his 1976 album, Summertime Dream, on vinyl Nov. 25.

We caught up with the Orillia-born songwriter at his home in front of the Edmund Fitzgerald wall of paintings dedicated to his most famous song.

Is Drake a welcome addition to the Bridle Path?

Well, of course, yes, absolutely.

Could you conceive him sampling a Lightfoot lick and putting it into one of his songs?

Probably not. It'll be very casual. It's a neighbourly thing to do. We'll introduce our dogs. And that's a very polite thing to do and whatever will be. I'm sure he'll like the neighbourhood.

You were playing your guitar in your music room when I arrived. Do you play everyday?

A little bit every day. The guitar is much more of a problem for me than the vocal. I have very soft skin on my hands and I have to keep my calluses just at the right degree of toughness at all times and not overdo it. It's a disaster if I break one of my nails. Crazy glue just doesn't do it.

So Plans Of My Own was recorded back in 2001 but is just seeing the light now. How come?

I got a call from the engineering person who was going to delete some stuff out of the system at the studio in Hamilton, Grant Avenue, and wanted to know if I wanted to save this one because he remembered it as quite good. I wouldn't agree because I hadn't finished the lyric. The lyric still is not finished but nevertheless. We knew we could probably do something with it if I wanted to. And I said, 'Well, I can accept the lyric.'

So you're pleased it's being released?

It really sounds like a record to me and I know what a record is. I wish all of the stuff that I'd done was that way. It's about touring. It's about what we do now. I have a very robust and interesting group of people who travel with me ... my 14-person entourage, which is required to do this.

Does this release activity make you re-think never recording again?

When you set yourself up to make an album, you usually don't have anything to do with anybody and it includes your own family and I'm sure, as a result, it contributed quite seriously to both of my divorces.

And you're on lucky marriage number three with new wife Kim?

She's very, very, very much in tune with what we do. She understands what it's like being around music. She travels with me because she does about 10 different jobs out there. I'm nursing a case of emphysema right now so we have to carry oxygen. There's nothing to it. I just keep going to the gymnasium every day and just speed it off. I've known about it for years now. It's no big deal.

So have you stopped smoking? (His Canadian Tire-bought lawn chair on his front porch is still present to have a cigarette outside)

Of course not! Did anyone? For heaven's sake, I started very, very young. I was 15.

So the lawn chair is well used?

Sure. Of course. Why not? Not in the cold weather.

And what's your anticipation like for the upcoming Massey Hall run, which is such a November tradition?

Well, I'm trying to get a new pair of pants because my stage apparel is getting a little worn. We've done about 70 shows this year so we're thinking about getting the wardrobe a little bit [better], getting excited about the Ontario dates we're doing the week before. It was planned that way too because we want to be warm. We want to be hot. Am I excited about Massey? Do I seem otherwise? Sure, I'm excited about it. I knew back in 1967 that it was going to be my home, the first time I did it.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Interview - Nov.17-2016

I just knew it would happen. Emphysema. Leonard Nimoy quit cigarettes 30 years before being diagnosed with it. Johnny Carson. Just hope he responds to the meds for a long time. But the need for O2 now is troubling. Both my parents started smoking in their mid teens. Both died at 71 from pulmonary issues. Surprised Gord mentioned it, didn't have to. Must be weighing on his mind.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Interview - Nov.17-2016

You don't nurse emphysema back to health. It's a permanent, progressive disease.
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Old 11-18-2016, 02:40 PM   #4
Dan O'Malley
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Default Re: Interview - Nov.17-2016

Yeah, pretty shocked by this admission too.
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Interview - Nov.17-2016

Unfortunately, an inevitable outcome, not a surprise that this has been the cause of the lack of volume and range. Still sad to hear.
"I'll see you all next Saturday..."
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Old 11-18-2016, 07:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Interview - Nov.17-2016

Some of that could be from what I think he said was having his diaphragm cut into three times during various surgeries after the aneurysm.
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