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Old 03-30-2007, 09:40 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,639
Default CHat #1 - Ring,ring: "Hi Char, it's Gordon Lightfoot calling".

Niagara Falls – Fallsview Casino,
Saturday March 3, 2007

a MOST memorable “after concert” moment with Gordon Lightfoot happened:

I was with my daughter Lisa, Nanci and Dan from Hamburg and Brian from Sarnia for dinner and the concert. The sound was amazing in the room and Lightfoot sounded energetic and wonderful. The band was top notch as we’ve come to expect from them. But the casino shows are too short and go by too fast!

We went down by the stage after the show and spoke with Barry Harvey and he graciously let us sit with the few friends and family of the band who were waiting for Lightfoot to come out to say Hi.
We were taking pictures and talking and Lightfoot ambled through the crowd and was speaking to a few of them, signing autographs etc. He seemed very relaxed and happy.

When he was finished he turned and saw us standing there and came over.

He took my hand and said Hi. I told him that the monies raised by the Net People with the raffle we held at the Massey convention in November had been sent to the hospitals and they were very grateful for the donations made in his honour. He said that was very good and thankyou.

And then Mr. Gordon Lightfoot had quite a surprise for me.

As best I can remember he then said, “you know... I should call you sometime - I should call you!”....
I nearly fell over...was he talking to me??
He said -"I mean it, we can do an interview...think of some questions"….(I wanted to say – oh yeah Gord - you told me a year ago in Sarasota you were going to call when you saw the Toronto Sun newspaper article about Internet fans in December 2005 --- but I didn't!!!….LOL)

I didn't know what to say! was so unexpected - totally out of left field...I said “well ok, - I could even come to the office if you want”....
He said “you call me this week at the office and we'll do a phone interview.”
I then joked with him that I know he only does phone interviews.
He said "it would be nice to do, it would be fun since I know what a great fan you have been."!

It was surreal….we talked about other stuff - a possible LIVE album from previous concerts.....but I was still so shocked and baffled about the phone thing....everyone standing around was too!
He mentioned that he had a particular concert night in mind for the LIVE album. It was one night in May 2005 at Massey when the Governor General at that time, Adrienne Clarkson, was in the audience. He thought that was a really good show.

He was so funny and sweet when he said “I know what a great fan you are” that I just reached over and gave him a big hug and told him how sweet he was!

He said “no personal questions!” and as he left he caught my eye and said, “Call me.”

So after a few sleepless nights I did just that!!

I called the office on March 8 and spoke with Anne who took my number because Mr. Lightfoot wasn’t in the office at that time but she would give it to him. I said it was Charlene calling and she asked if I was “CHar”
She said that he had told her that CHar would be calling but she had no more details than that.
And I told her that I didn’t either! LOL

Thursday March 8, 2007



Hi CHar – It’s Gordon Lightfoot

THAT is one salutation I never ever thought I’d hear on my phone!

Well it seems Gord called while I was out buying a new photo album for my Massey and Niagara Falls pictures!
The telephone name display said “Lightfoot.”
No message was left.

I came home 10 minutes after the call.

And then the phone rang…-- “PRIVATE CALLER” is all it said this time.

I broke out in a cold sweat as I answered it.


“Hello, hi Char, it’s Gordon Lightfoot calling”


“Hi Gordon! How are you?” (omigawd did I just call him by his first name?!! ack!)

“I’m doing great, how about you?”

And then it’s all a blur..

He did say right off that he really felt it was important for him to call me, and he’s meant to for a while now, to call and thank me for being such a great fan all these years and for all I’ve done for him, sent him, and for promoting the music. “I really appreciate it all and wanted to let you know that.”


I thanked him for being so thoughtful and said it has always been my greatest pleasure to be a fan all these years and that he has given me far more than I could ever give him. I said it’s been very easy to be such a fan when the reason is such beautiful music.

He said “well thank you for that.” (it was quite a mutual admiration/thank you moment!)

He said he didn’t know if I did the “interview thing” and “if I’d put it “out there” but we could certainly do it if I wanted.” He was just wondering if I wanted to. I said I did and that lots of internet fans would be thrilled with it as well. So I’m to call Barry and set up a time for us to do it whenever it’s good for me.

Then he started talking…..for almost 30 minutes..

About Eric and his band and his flying lessons, the younger kids, how happy he is with his life, his exercise club, his music, his concerts. He’s not writing anymore, he’s got lots of stuff and live recordings and he’s mostly enjoying the live performances and traveling to do the shows.

We talked for about 30 minutes…and I will call to set up the interview-he even said he’d answer some personal stuff. Lol
I said that I had no plans to ask him about his personal life but he said he’d be okay with some questions.
I said I’d give him a pass on one question only like a sports show host does here on TV..
He laughed about that.
I told him I wouldn’t have any technical/musical/guitar type of questions because I have no musical talent or knowledge except I know what I like.

While I was out running errands with a friend that night before The Call, The Wreck came on the car radio….I was ready to run in the bank but sat and listened to the whole thing…..I jokingly said to my friend as I got out of the car when it was over, “If the song he wrote for me comes on beep the horn -….it’s called “Beautiful!!.”

I bought my photo albums for my Lightfoot Massey/Niagara Falls concert pictures and came home to two phone calls from Gordon Lightfoot.

I spoke for 30 minutes with The Man as if it was something we do all the time!

My friend was here while I talked with him as was Lisa.

My friend went home a little while later and a few minutes after she left the phone rang again.

The call display again read: PRIVATE CALLER..!!!!!!!!!!

Oh man..

I answered to the sounds of “Beautiful” playing on her car radio…..

Oh man…..

It took a day or so to recall some of the topics we talked about:..he was off to see Eric with his band the night he phoned. (Eric’s the drummer in a hard rock metal/alternative band) called MINORITY. and – plus pics.
Gord said with great pride that Eric had great meter. Must be a music/drummer term! Lol

It was 8:15 when we finished talking and the show started at 9. I asked where Eric and his band were performing. He laughed and said “the Bovine Sex Club”..and I said ‘geeze-that’s the last place I’d expect to see Gordon Lightfoot in the audience!”.. We both laughed at that! – then he said “but next week he’s at the Horseshoe!”..

Eric is in his 3rd year in a Toronto college taking flight/pilot training – he’s got his long haul flights done and was up in Timmins the other day. I replied that he would then have a built in pilot for the tours when he gets his license!!

Right out of the blue he mentioned how happy he was ..”I’m really happy with my life ya know?” He certainly sounded very, very happy! “Like, I’ve got the music, the family, the club” – that led to him saying he goes to the club 5 times a week now – it’s about 4 hours a day from the time he leaves home, gets ready at the club, does his programme and is back out to home and have the kids come over or get to his next stop of the day. The workouts are almost 2 hours.
I was quite flabbergasted...and said so!

He then said “well I’m 68 now ya know but I feel so great and what I’ve found is the exercising really works!”

Omigosh it was funny and I was laughing.

“it’s true - the more you work out – the better you feel!”….
I wasn’t about to tell him that he puts in more exercise in a day than I have in decades – sum total!

I think I then said “well you’ve still got some young kids to keep up with.” And he talked about them only being a minute and a half away and he’s “pretty involved with them, ya know, as much as I can be and not be living with them.”

He said something like ‘I have a pretty intimate relationship with them but ya gotta keep that up for the kids in these circumstances, …but I see the kids all the time.”

So we left it with instructions for me to call the office and let him know when a good time would be for us to do the “interview.”

(it’s rather CHarming how he pronounces CHar with a hard CH instead of the SH soft sound. Lol – he wondered if I had any Native Canadian heritage..Nope-Canadian with Nova Scotia/Scottish and Italian! And I explained that Char was the shortened version of Charlene)

I phoned Barry on Friday March 16 but he wasn’t in so Anne left him a message for the following Monday.

I called back on the 16th and spoke with Barry who seemed as much in the dark about the whole thing as I was. LOL!
I explained that I do home daycare and the kiddies are napping between 12 and 3 so that would be a good time to talk..
good grief… The Man graciously offers me an interview and I’m specifying a time to call that’s good for me!

So a week passes and I compile some questions and practice using the speaker phone and digital recorder…LOL!!
and at around 7:30 p.m. on Monday March 26 the phone display once again reads “LIGHTFOOT”…

I answered it and heard The Voice say, “Hi Char, it’s Gordon again!”

He said with great emphasis that he really wanted me to know how much he appreciated me being a long time fan and that I keep the music “out there” – on the internet and such.

I told him I was a moderator at a very busy Gordon Lightfoot message board and his fans are all gearing up for this years tour.

He thought that was great and wondered if I still wanted to do the interview..and then he said “I don’t want to be a pest.” (LOL)

He asked if I needed some time and he could call back in an hour to give me time to think of some questions.

I told him I had the questions all ready to go and I only needed a couple of minutes to set up a different phone and recorder. I asked if it was all right to record our conversation and he said he expected that and it was no problem.

So I put The Man on hold and set up the stuff..(LOL)

I think that’s when I stopped breathing for the next 40 minutes…

(What an incredibly sweet and thoughtful gesture for him to certainly means an awful lot to me. He's a soft spoken, gentle man who I think is perhaps having the happiest time of his life in many ways. He's humble and proud and kind...and I am beyond thankful for this opportunity to have this chat with Gordon Lightfoot - The Man.)

Cue the recorder, hit speakerphone: (damn, I forgot to take a breath!)

CHAR: Hi Gordon!
G.L.: Yeah!

CHAR: Geeze, I don’t feel right calling you Gordon.
G.L.: That’s alright!
CHAR: You’re MISTER.Lightfoot – that’s who you are!
G.L.: Oh well.(laughing)

CHAR: Were you busy over the March break with the kids doing anything? Did you go away?

G.L.: No, I basically stayed on my normal routine. You know I’m pretty much a self-motivated person in terms of getting things done. I work quite independently so I have a schedule and I don’t do very much of getting away as you call it but as far as interacting with my family I do see them.

CHAR: How was your visit to the club down on Queen Street to see Eric play? You were talking about it the last time I talked to you. He was also going to be at the Horseshoe. How were those gigs?

G.L.: That was quite a busy week here in town. That was the Canadian Music week. Eric and his band, the name of his band is MINORITY.

CHAR: I looked that up on the internet and saw their MySpace and website and that’s quite the different type of music than what dad plays.

G.L.: They play heavy metal. You have to be sure and bring your ear plugs. I took my ear plugs on both the occasions.

CHAR: I was quite surprised at the music he plays. Does he not enjoy the music that dad plays?

G.L.: Of course! He’s a very gentle soul. He’s the drummer in the band and also one of the main strawbosses. They get a lot of work done and they’ve got a little album done too. He’s actually quite mild mannered, it doesn’t really fit with the kind of music that they’re playing.

CHAR: No it doesn’t. It seems like a kind of a violent sound. I listened to some of the clips they had. Like I told you the last time we were talking that it’s exactly the type of music my son enjoys so I told him about them and he’s going to check them out and if they’re back in town get down to see them.

G.L.: Well Eric’s quite busy because he’s taking the aviation course at college, he’s in his third year so he’s much more interested in becoming a professional pilot someday.

CHAR: So he has another year left?

G.L.: Yes, that’s correct.

CHAR: That’s quite ambitious to go after a pilot’s license like that.

G.L.: He’s that kind of a person that gets things done.

CHAR: I imagine he takes after you in that way.

G.L.: I’m very fortunate that way.

CHAR: This is beyond any way I can tell you how much of a treat this is for me. Being such a fan and being a kid thinking that I’d ever meet you or do anything like this… I have to tell you the excitement level is more than I can practically stand.

G.L.: Well that’s good! I’ll try and help you along, is there anything else that you want to talk to me about?

CHAR: Well you mentioned you’re going to the club so we’re all assuming that you’re health and everything’s great and you’re looking great up on stage.

G.L.: That’s the interesting part about it, going to the club has an ulterior motive with me so I’m really doing it out of necessity because it really helps the lungs a lot as you can imagine. It’s something as basic as that and it’s very good for the singing. It helps keep the stamina and I can call on a well of energy whenever I go on stage. But it has to be done on a regular basis. Of course I do it that way and it seems like a bit of a drudge sometimes but it has to be done so I go out to do that and I go to a health club to do it.

CHAR: Do you do weights and aerobics?

G.L.: We do everything that needs to be done.

CHAR: That’s very impressive. So your health is good. I know in September…..

G.L.: Oh that. We had a bit of a transient ischemic attack, a transient stroke. It got my right arm out of commission for about three months. But I’ve been fighting my way back from that and I’ve pretty well fought my way back from it and working quite diligently on restoring some neuropathways with a lot of hand and finger exercises. And of course when I go to the club and I work out a lot it’s brought it back to about 98%. I think over the long while it’s improved my playing a little bit. I actually got a bit of a plus with that.

CHAR: It must have been a bit of a scary time for you there.

G.L.: Well it was a little bit scary right at the time when it happened but I still had two of the digits on my right hand still functioning – my thumb and my small finger so I very quickly fashioned a different way of going about it. The first time I went onstage I hardly played the guitar at all but I had a thousand people sitting out there! (big laugh)

CHAR: So you were back to being the boy singer again!

G.L.: Yes – I didn’t lose the vocal fortunately. So I just brought myself back from that and I’m right back to normal now.

CHAR: That’s great. At Niagara Falls everything seemed fabulous.

G.L.: I’ll tell ya – that’s a great little one. It’s a fun engagement.

CHAR: That’s the first time I’ve ever been in a casino other than a local one up north of Whitby. It was quite the facility and the sound system in the room you played in was amazing.

G.L.: On the tour we played perhaps about fifteen of those a year. They’re staged out all over the place, all over North America.

CHAR: I guess that’s good for everybody in the band, it’s just down the highway.

G.L.: Oh yes, it’s a nice one to do and it’s very handy and it’s not close.

CHAR: It’s really changed. The whole Niagara Falls area has changed. I hadn’t been down in a few years. So different from when I went as a kid.

G.L.: It’s the first place I ever went when my dad let me take the car out.

CHAR: And you drove from Orillia to the Falls! You didn’t come to Toronto?

G.L.: Well yes I did….I did “the tour” shortly after I started driving. I had to get down here anyway. I wrote a song when I was seventeen and I wanted to bring it down here to BMI Canada who was a publisher here in Toronto at that time so they could listen to it. He was used to me borrowing the car to come to Toronto so one day I figured one day I’ll just keep going and drive right on down to the Falls. (laughing)

CHAR: What kind of car was it?

G.L.: It was a Buick.

CHAR: When you were a kid up in Orillia where did your love of music and words come from? We’ve read the stories about you singing yourself to sleep and mum and dad were always backing you and helping you.

G.L.: I can actually remember doing that. I actually remember doing that myself. I just wanted to sing so when I went to bed I started to sing.

CHAR: And words just seemed to fascinate you.

G.L.: They put me in a mission band concert at age five. I mean it was the logical thing to do. My sister played the piano and she was about 3 ˝ years older than me. By the time I was about 10 or 11 years of age we would go out on engagements and accompany me and we’d play locally.

CHAR: It fascinates me, perhaps because I have no musical ability at all, that a person can put together words and music and a beautiful voice and it comes as such a gift.

G.L.: At high school I had some results and when I first played anything, the first time I played a song for a person which was here in Toronto, it was for Harold Moon at BMI and he encouraged me to keep writing and I just kept on writing at that point and I wrote quite a few songs over the next three years.

CHAR: When you came home and you told your mum and dad you were going to head to California from small town Orillia, you were still just 17 or 18 years old..

G.L.: I had a friend up there by the name of Buddy Hill and he and I were both interested in jazz in high school, and so were a lot of the other kids as a matter of fact and we used to get Downbeat magazine and we’d read the ad in one about writing songs and I needed to know more about theory and that sort of thing you know, and writing.

CHAR: Did your mum not just say “Gordon! What are you talking about? You can’t go all that way by yourself?”

G.L.: I’d gone through Grade 13 and was one paper shy of my senior matriculation and I could have gone back and done 13 again but my friend and I decided we were going to take this music course that we’d read about it in the magazine. We put it to our parents in a very straight and direct manner and they agreed with us and away we went.

CHAR: I asked you this one time before, and I know you talked about it at Massey either this last concert series or in 2005, about writing a book about the life of Gordon Lightfoot.

G.L.: Oh yeah…well I’ve decided against doing that. I had to make a decision on that last year and I decided not to do it.


G.L.: No.

CHAR: Wow, that’s going to be a disappointment to a lot of people.

G.L.: That’s all right.

CHAR: We will just live your life through your music I guess.

G.L.: My old manager Albert Grossman used to say “it won’t make the coffee taste any different in the morning.” (laughing) Whether there’s a book or not… doesn’t matter.

CHAR: No it doesn’t matter….that’s very true. It’s just that in this day and age where you’ve got kids that are writing their life story because they’ve made a movie or had a hit song…and THEY have a life story? They’re only 19! (laughing) It would be nice though. It wouldn’t have to have all the nitty gritty but just as a one focus sort of idea.

G.L.: Ya know…. it would be a nice thing to do….maybe later when I’m doing a memoir or something after I’ve stopped touring. You know really the touring takes up a lot of the time. I don’t know, it really does. We have to stay prepared all the time. We rehearse regularly between times. I don’t have the whole band here….but I sometimes have Michael here, maybe Terry or Rick and Terry.

CHAR: So you have a dedicated room in the house?

G.L.: Yeah – there’s a practice room.

CHAR: Do you have any studio equipment? Do you do any recording there?

G.L.: No, I go to the studio when I need the machinery.

CHAR: are you on the computer at all?

G.L.: No I’m not, I never got into that. My kids do, my younger kids are but I never got into it.

CHAR: You’ve never gone to a computer to GOOGLE.COM and typed in your own name? laughing..

G.L.: No, it’s too late.

CHAR: It’s not too late! You need to get on the computer!

G.L.: No, no I’m doing fine. I’m having a great time.

CHAR: Are there any songs that you’ve written and performed over the years and you don’t do any longer for whatever reason that you wish you could do again?

G.L.: Yeah there’s a lot of songs that have to sit on the sidelines but we do manage to fit them in once in a while.

CHAR: I know you throw Ponyman in once in a while. What I’d like to hear is “I’ll Tag Along.”

G.L.: I know, see that’s a very nice song and it’s one of my favourite practice tunes as well to play when I’m working here alone at the house. I sometimes would like to do that to open up side two and I could think about doing that….maybe I’ll try that.

CHAR: It’s a beautiful song.

G.L.: It’s fun to sing too, it’s a nice song.

CHAR: There’s a video, something by the CBC, did you do a video of that where you’re sitting on a stool with just your guitar at Massey?

G.L.: I think I remember when I did that – yeah! We did it sitting on the stage at Massey Hall. Except my A string was out of tune! The guitar tuning was off that day.

CHAR: Oh geeze, you’re probably the only one that would know that. Are you still that much of a perfectionist?

G.L.: Oh yeah, we’re more professional about intonation than before.

CHAR: I read that you now do all the tuning with the keyboard.

G.L.: We’re having fun with it now because we’re getting it locked right in and it takes a lot of time to do that.

CHAR: Well all of that is beyond my technical scope. All I know is that it does sound fabulous.

G.L.: Well we’re gonna make it sound better! What we’ll do is make it sound a bit better.

CHAR: You’ve had your band members, and I know Mike is the newest of the band members, but you’ve had them for years and years and so many people in your career are there for a long time like Barry Harvey, Anne in the office,

G.L.: Yep

CHAR: and Bernie Fiedler, and the band… important has that been for you not just musically, but personally to have that relationship and maintain those friendships and keep it like that for so long? You must be a good boss!

G.L.: Well people don’t step on other people’s toes in my organization ya know? Everybody gets along and I get along with everybody personally as very best as I can at all times. And as far as playing the music, we love playing the music, the keys are weird but we don’t care! It’s fun having an organization that functions this way because it eliminates a lot of the problems and a lot of the issues that can cloud the progress of an organization such as this. You see the challenge is to keep it underway very much in the way that Mr. Nelson, Willie Nelson, you want to keep it going, you want to keep the engine running as long as you want, you don’t have to stop, nobody has to stop. It’s got to do with health issues and all sorts of things that can arise as long as lady luck is with you just sort of carry on until something comes along and tells you it’s time to stop.

CHAR: I think you’re going to be the one to make that decision.

G.L.: I haven’t reached that point yet and I’m not even thinking about it because we just want to play the music because we love doing it and get to play fifty times a year and we’ve been together 30 some years some of us, and we still have the challenge, we still feel the challenge.
CHAR: We’re all very grateful that you’re still feeling that way and you do want to get up on stage and sing the music that’s so important to so many of us.

G.L.: We’re playing it so well right now, we’re loving it and I’m getting the vibes and getting the feedback from the audience and I’m starting to get so that I can feel the communication.
CHAR: It’s quite something to sit there in the audience and you’ll launch into whatever of the 28 songs that you do each night and just look around and see people completely mesmerized, it’s the only word I can think of.

G.L.: And the time flies by very quickly. It just starts and it’s finished.

CHAR: I found that with the casino shows. I’d never attended a casino show where it’s straight through 80 or 90 minutes.

G.L.: Yeah, those are about 90 minute shows that I was doing.

CHAR: I’m more used to the Massey shows of one hour, take a break, do another hour, so it did go very quickly for me for the first time at a Casino show. You didn’t do Early Morning Rain that night.

G.L.: I alternate that one. We sort of have to, it depends on the locale.

CHAR: Do you get out to a lot of concerts? I know you went and saw Pavlo.

G.L.; Yes I went and saw Pavlo’s show and I thought he was really great , he’s a wonderful guitar player and he’s also a great person.

CHAR: I remember seeing him when he performed in the aisles at the One of a Kind craft show in Toronto a long time ago, with his guitar case open on the floor. Yeah, he is quite a dynamic performer.

G.L.: He’s got a wonderful band.

CHAR: Are there any performers that you would like to see in concert that you haven’t seen?
G.L.: Oh there’s a few but I get out and see quite a few you know.

CHAR: Some of the local talent?

G.L.: Oh yeah sometimes. I think we already covered the Queen Street scene! (laughing)
I sort of stay in touch with the Hugh’s Room because they’ve been very gracious every time I go down.

CHAR: That’s what I was going to mention. I go down to all the tribute shows that Jory and Aengus produce and they are fabulous. I think of 12 or 13 they’ve put on at Hugh’s Room I’ve only missed two.

G.L.: Yeah! and the (tribute) record that was made was absolutely fabulous.

CHAR: Yes it was a beautiful album....beautiful title. It was amazing, but it’s unfortunate it couldn’t be put up for a Juno.

G.L.: Remember Jesse Winchester? Did you ever know him?

CHAR: Yep, I have a few of his CD’s. He’s coming…
G.L.: He’s been down there.

CHAR: Has he just been down recently or is he coming? He’s slated to come back in the next few weeks I think.

G.L.: Is he going to come back to the Hugh’s?

CHAR: Yes.

G.L.: I’m going to follow that up and find out when that is.
(note: JW at Hugh’s-Sun. April 1/07)

CHAR: Somebody I’d like to see down there is Ian Tyson but I can’t get down on a weeknight.

G.L.: I saw him when he was down there! He was great.

CHAR: I read that you were down there. (laughing)

G.L.: I don’t go out that much. I lead a pretty quiet life.

CHAR: You’ve earned a quiet life!

G.L.: Yeah! I live pretty close by.

CHAR: I talked to you at Niagara Falls about a LIVE recording.

G.L.: Yep.

CHAR: You mentioned the old recordings are no longer in existence? From Massey and places like that?

G.L.: I think I said that we had some stuff that went way back in the catalogue that we got rid of in the last couple of months but I will eventually have something from Massey Hall of course, there’s everything we’ve done in the last seven years. When that’s going to take place I can’t tell you because I don’t know when I’m going to bring that out. It can come out now or it can come out later.

CHAR: Well now would be good, now would be good! We would be ready for that.

G.L. We have it.

CHAR: You’ve got it….okay. (laughing)

G.L. We’ve got them.

CHAR: Alrighty. And you’re not writing anything right now?

G.L.: For right now it would be a total exercise in ah……what is the word?

CHAR: Futility?

G.L.: Yes! It would. My contract with Reprise was finished, I finished that entire contract. I did 14 albums for Reprise records and I have no further obligations and I made one quick afterthought as you know, the Harmony album just cuz the material was there, the vocal and guitar pieces. So I thought I may as well do something with this stuff and put it out and it gave me something to think about while I was recuperating. And other than that there doesn’t seem to be a need for it but it would really be a waste of time at this point. I’m 68 years old and I’m not ready for the kind of isolation that that causes. That’s been one of the main drawbacks of songwriting over the years. It’s ruined a couple of relationships, it’s caused a lot of problems and so I would not want to get into that kind of isolation again so probably I’m gonna leave it alone. There’s lots and lots of things to do.

CHAR: You seem like you’re awfully busy and you deserve the time to do what you want to do.

G.L.: I just want to get out there and play the music. That’s the biggest privilege of all.

CHAR: Do you find the travel hard?

G.L.: Traveling is not the issue. The traveling gets done.

CHAR: Well you might have Eric to fly you around!

G.L.: I don’t know if I’ll still be in the business by then! (laughing)

CHAR: In your song “Inspiration Lady” who or what is Inspiration Lady?

G.L.: pause….Well, it was, (pause)…, actually it’s kind of one of those songs that could relate to just about anybody… Having a problem of emotional trauma.

CHAR: Oh, okay…

G.L.: Yeah, (pause), yeah…..that’s the answer.
CHAR: Laughing…

G.L.: Emotional trauma.

CHAR: Nothing has changed with you! (laughing) From day one in the old interviews I’ve ever watched you can work your way around an answer pretty good. (laughing)

G.L.: (laughing)…Well thankyou!…

CHAR: Some people think it’s about your guitars or a specific person but we’ll leave that for you.

G.L.: (quietly) I wrote it for my wife, I wrote it for Elizabeth.

CHAR: Okay, … well there ya go….that’s very sweet. And who was Jessie-Jo?

G.L.: Jessie-Jo is a name that was suggested to me.

CHAR: Oh….just a name that fit in perfectly.

G.L.: It’s all made’s all made up.

CHAR: And speaking of names….your middle name is Meredith and the youngest in the Lightfoot family has the first name Meredith. Was Meredith an old family relation?

G.L.: I don’t know, I don’t know…

CHAR: You don’t know who mum and dad named you after?

G.L.: Don’t know.

CHAR: It’s an unusual name, especially for a boy.

G.L.: Gord Sr….his name’s Meredith also.

CHAR: Is that right? I didn’t realize that. I think it’s fabulous that you passed the name down and named Meredith that.

G.L.: Well thank you.

CHAR: It’s a very nice gesture, it’s very sweet. She’s going to be a teenager soon isn’t she?

G.L.: Yes she is.

CHAR: She’s right into your music. I saw her sitting there one night at Massey completely enraptured with her Dad up there. She had all the words, she never took her eyes off you for a second.

G.L.: She’s a wonderful little girl.

CHAR: And your son Miles is 16 or 17?

G.L.: 17.

CHAR: I remember those days with my son. (laughing)

G.L.: Yeah. (laughing)

CHAR: Do you find having kids at that age at this time of your life very different? Raising them?

G.L.: It eats up time. (laughing)

CHAR: Well you’re not writing anymore! You’ve got more time. (laughing)

G.L.: You’re asking me why I don’t write songs….do you understand what I’m talking about now? (laughing) To take that job on right now I would have to neglect everything.

CHAR: I guess over the years with the career and the writing it takes a toll.

G.L.: It’s all I did for twenty years….the next album and the next album and the next one. I was under contract, I had an orchestra, an organization.

CHAR: Yeah, you never think about those things….without you there there’s a lot of people involved that wouldn’t be employed in the fashion they are.

G.L.: Yeah. So things are good. So alright, we got a good one here kid.

CHAR: Yep! Hopefully we can do this again, before Massey. You’re going to be back at Massey right?

G.L.: Well you can break that one down right there....just go for it….it’s not a big deal.

CHAR: Well it is a big deal MISTER. Lightfoot! (laughing)

G.L.: (laughing)

CHAR: You’re a big deal. Do you accept that at this time of your life and career that your music and everything it’s meant to so many people around the world IS a big deal?

G.L.: (very quietly) Yep.

CHAR: You do?

G.L.: It’s a big deal for us because people always know where we’re going to be.

CHAR: It’s important for people to know that because we want to keep seeing you wherever we are. I know that on the internet people are gearing up in a couple of weeks when you’re heading down to the States.

G.L.: Yeah, we’re going down there and doing ten shows.

CHAR: And the people down on the east coast are waiting for you.

G.L.: And we’re back in New York City at the Town Hall.

CHAR: That’s one place I would like to come and see you.

G.L.: The New York crowd down there is just fabulous and it’s always sold right out.

CHAR: What size venue is that?

G.L.: It’s about 2000, something like that.

CHAR: Oh, similar to Massey.

G.L.: Are you adverse to anything like a Canadian postage stamp being put out like they did with Oscar Peterson?

G.L.: I heard something about that.

CHAR: A Gordon Lightfoot stamp?

G.L.: Yeah, but I just heard about it at this point.

CHAR: Okay.

G.L.: I don’t know when they’re gonna do it.

CHAR: That’s something we’re looking forward to.

G.L.: Well I gotta go out and get myself some for my stamp collection. (laughing)

CHAR: Do you have any hobbies beyond your music? Do you collect things?

G.L.: I collect a whole lot of things I don’t know what to do with.

CHAR: When you lived in Orillia did you ever envision that you would have the life and the homes and the kids and fame and fortune and everything that’s happened to you?

G.L.: No, but I had a goal. I wanted to be in the music business. I really did. I’ve always wanted to be in the music biz.

CHAR: If you had not made the success in the 60’s that led to everything else..

G.L.: A lot of songs got recorded by other artists during those 5 years.

CHAR: Would you have stayed in the music business if that had not occurred?

G.L.: Probably. I had a breakthrough in the mid 60’s. I got a song recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary that became a hit.

CHAR: I just watched a PBS special on them the other night.

G.L.: And that got me goin’. I was talking to Peter the other day on the telephone. I missed them when they were in Toronto because we were in Niagara.

CHAR: Yes that’s right. They were here one of those nights.

G.L.: I called Peter a couple of weeks before and told him that I wasn’t going to be able to make it.

CHAR: That’s unfortunate. It would have been nice for you to be able to see them. I’ve got one last question here....The Toronto Maple Leafs…what are we going to do about the Leafs?! Do they have a hope in hell of even making the playoffs?

G.L.: We’re going to ah……...we’re gonna watch! (laughing)

CHAR: Who’s you’re favourite player of the Leafs of any time you’ve been watching them? From way back when till now?

G.L.: Omigawd I’d have to….I could go back to…..I’ve been watching them since I was about 13 years old so ya know….(laughing)….I don’t know where to start…I guess I could go all the way back to….how about Howie Meeker? He was a good player….How about Frank Mahavolich? He was a wonderful player.

CHAR: My parents are from his hometown of Timmins.

G.L.: And a lot of the new guys, we’ve got great players, we’ve always had great players. We had Salming..

CHAR: Yeah, Salming and Sittler..I named my son after Darryl Sittler..laughing.

G.L.: (laughing)

CHAR: I sure hope they pull it off tomorrow night. (note: they won! Go Leafs Go!)

G.L.: The Leafs have got something the other teams don’t have…they’ve got fans! .. I’ll tell ya!

CHAR: Do you get down to any of the hockey games at all?

G.L.: Once a year maybe.

CHAR: I know – you don’t get out much, you stay at home…(laughing)

G.L.: I watch the games on television.

CHAR: Well the tickets are too expensive!

G.L.: You don’t need the crowd.

CHAR: It doesn’t matter how they do they’re always going to have that place filled, that’s the problem. Maybe that IS the problem, they know that the fans are going to be there.

G.L.: Yep – yeah we care, we care about the Leafs.

CHAR: Yeah and now baseball season is rolling around with the Jays.

G.L.: Yeah and they’re looking pretty good too.

CHAR: I might get down to a game this year. I boycotted them for a couple of years.

G.L.: that Frank Thomas hit a couple of home runs already. I’m glad they got him. He’s a tough player, he’s a tough player that guy. So anyway they’re good and they’ve got a great organization. Let’s see what they’ll do this year. Maybe they’ll surprise us.

CHAR: That would be nice. So the people over in England won’t be expecting you to tour over there will they?

G.L.: No, I don’t think so.

CHAR: That’s quite the haul.

G.L.: I know. I would love to go back but I don’t believe I will.

CHAR: There are a lot of people asking. They make the trek over here! You met someone, Paul, at Massey who has come over for the last three Masseys and he’ll be back next year as well. Some Aussies are wondering if you’ll hit Australia again.

G.L.: No I don’t think we’re gonna do that.

CHAR: You’ll just be doing the North America thing?

G.L.: Yeah – we’re gonna stay in North America.
CHAR: Well Mr. Lightfoot it’s been more than thrilling for me and I hope we can do a little bit of this again.

G.L.: Alright.

CHAR: Take care of yourself and we’ll be in touch.

G.L.: Thank you very much Char.

CHAR: Okay, thanks Gordon. Bye.

G.L.: Bye.

Hang up.

CHAR: omigoodness!!!

Spring has sprung !!
And like years ago when Lightfoot played Massey around March 21st (and not May) it heralded the arrival of was a time I looked forward to every year, knowing that a spring concert or two at the House of Gord was the real beginning of my New Year..

So with this amazing event last night, spring arrived once again with Lightfoot.

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Old 03-30-2007, 10:08 AM   #2
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The most fun part for me in reading this, was that I could actually "hear" both yours and GL's voice in my head. How amazing that he offered to do this, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving fan.

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Old 03-30-2007, 11:26 AM   #3
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Lucky, lucky Char! Lucky, lucky us that we get to share in this! Thanks sooo much! It's almost as good as being the one talking to him (but not quite). He just sounds so upbeat & in such a good place in his life! How great that is!
Char, I also have to give you kudos because you carried an intelligible conversation with him. I think, had it been me, it would have been complete & total gibberish & he would have hung up in dismay! Again, thanks for letting us be part of your special time with The Man!
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:44 AM   #4
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WOW!!!! wow!!! WOW!!!
Enjoyed every word. You must still be ga ga over this, heck I don't think I'd ever get over it or want to...
Great job!
paperback dreams
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:47 AM   #5
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Hey Char, Your so lucky!!!

Great interview, with a great man. Once again he's proven what a down to earth person he is.

What a guy!! Poet Genius...

And like Jenney said it could have not happen to a nicer person.

Really happy for you, and what a thrill for me to see that you asked him about Jessi-Jo. We finally have the answer.

It was a bit edgy for me as well, reading it all. Guess you could say I was nervous for you, but you handled it like the real pro you are.

All the best to you and your new

Your computer friend, Jesse-Joe...

[ April 15, 2007, 10:41: Message edited by: Jesse-Joe. ]
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:09 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Jenney:
it couldn't have happened to a more deserving fan.
I certainly echo that.

Before all the superlatives in the English language are taken, I'll toss out an INCREDIBLE !

It reads like it was a free flowing conversation. Is that correct ?

Thanks for asking about "Inspiration Lady".

I found his remarks about the isolation that accompanies songwriting to be fascinating.

I'm delighted for you.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:13 PM   #7
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Well I'm sitting here picking my jaw up off the keyboard - THANK YOU CHAR! How wonderful for you, and for us. Great interview - of course now you're going to need weights to keep you from floating off into space from the sheer euphoria.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:22 PM   #8
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Wow, that was fantastic! What a great treat for you. Nicely done!

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Old 03-30-2007, 12:32 PM   #9
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That is absolutely the best interview with Gordon -- the best artist interview period -- I have ever read. It pays to have a deep knowledge and appreciation for the person you are talking to.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:33 PM   #10
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PS -- he obviously was at ease with you and that makes all the difference in a gaurded celebrity world. You got candor from him that he never gave before.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:34 PM   #11
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Nice one, Char! Really good, personal 'interview'. Nice and relaxed.
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:30 PM   #12
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I haven't even read the whole interview yet, and I had to stop and do a post. I about FELL OVER when GORDON LIGHTFOOT begins speaking of Mr. Nelson--MR. WILLIE NELSON! Because Willie's my OTHER GUY! Holy Buckets!!
"There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run. When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun. Long before the white man, and long before the wheel. When the green dark forest was too silent to be real."
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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OK I've finished reading now. What an absolute dream come true for you Charlene! Thank you so much! I'm wondering, what are you going to do with the interview? Will you publish it somewhere? It was awesome, and so smart of Gordon to offer to do this with you, being the long-time, devoted fan that you are.

I can now understand and accept the fact that future albumns are unlikely. I know that in raising teenagers, you must be accessible, and evidentally writing songs and producing albums has a lot more to it than I ever realized.

I'm so happy for him and pray that he will be able to continue doing what he's doing for many more years to come.

Thanks again Char! And when I see you someday at a future GL concert, can I have YOUR autograph???
"There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run. When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun. Long before the white man, and long before the wheel. When the green dark forest was too silent to be real."
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:51 PM   #14
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Unbelievable! Superb Char. I agree Bill, the best interview with Gordon I have read. You struck up a great rapport and asked superb questions - even the Inspiration Lady one! I'm thrilled for you! Congratulations on a truly brilliant interview.

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Old 03-30-2007, 02:23 PM   #15
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I have to add I feel like such a piker mumbling about my legs aching after a one-hour walk this morning - good golly the man has discipline. Guess I've got to gear up my exercise routine.
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Old 03-30-2007, 02:47 PM   #16
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AWESOME! You have a gift, Char, in more ways than one.

Thanks so much for sharing!

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Old 03-30-2007, 02:53 PM   #17
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Amazing! Such a wonderful interview. You're so lucky. Thank you so much for sharing.
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Old 03-30-2007, 03:48 PM   #18
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Awesome!!!! I can't put any other word too it but that,just awasome!!

Wouldn't you know the library woul be closed for Cesar Chavez day! I'm at my former hotel next door on their PC,so good thing I decided to come here!

I have to give this to someone else now but Char,you & I and anone else of us who have been in his company this year...2007 should be declared The Grand Corfid Year Of Gordon Lightfoot!

Back tomorrow!! Wow!!!
"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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Old 03-30-2007, 06:53 PM   #19
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havent got time to read the whole thing now, but looking forward top it this afternoon... looks like a good one!
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Old 03-30-2007, 07:50 PM   #20
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for once I'm speechless ! Nice job Char.

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Old 03-30-2007, 08:17 PM   #21
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Originally posted by BILLW:
for once I'm speechless ! Nice job Char.

oh oh !! a speechless Bill!

the good thing is I didn't have to get all tarted up for the CHat!
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:51 PM   #22
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Char, you have missed your calling. It seems like it was just a "chat" between friends. A CHarming CHar CHat! I would image that you are still floating above the clouds over this....I must agree with the masses - it couldn't have happened to a more deserving person or a nicer one. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. You obviously made him feel so at ease.
You are a natural!!!!
Is there really going to be a Gordon Lightfoot stamp?

[ March 30, 2007, 22:36: Message edited by: brink- ]
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:50 PM   #23
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Oh Char!!!
I mean "CHar", can just HEAR him saying your name like that!! Am SO HAPPY for you and for us, and for Gord (that he is enjoying his life so much right now.) THANK YOU for doing the interview, and for keeping your whits about you, and asking such coherant questions. (Even if you didn't feel like you might have been.) It was JUST AWESOME!!!

It's SO good to hear also, that he does feel our feedback and our presence and togetherness when he is doing a show. Will you have the interview published??

Again Thank you...Bravo!! Kudos!! Awesome!!
"Rainy day people don't talk, they just listen, till they've heard it all." - GL
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Old 03-31-2007, 09:16 AM   #24
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Charlene, how happy you must be. thank you for sharing this wonderful experience! I really enjoyed reading your interview with Gordon.
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Old 03-31-2007, 09:30 AM   #25
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While I did miss speaking face to face with him I could see him in my mind, recalling his head movements, hand gestures etc. from the few times I have talked with him in person and watching him onstage.

He was more than gracious and patient with me, as a fan and not a professional writer or journalist, and I loved when he said he'd "help me along."..

He fully understood what a huge thrill it was for me and that I could possibly need some help!

He was very soft spoken and thoughtful in his answers. It was lovely to hear him laugh and recall past events of his life. His love and pride in his children was very clear in his voice and a tinge of sadness was heard when he spoke of his music playing havoc with his relationships. At least that's how I heard it.

He's a focused, driven man who is happy and healthy and loving every moment of life these days. From the drudgery of keeping fit to the satisfaction of performing for his fans I think he's at a wonderful place in his life and I can't express how greatful I am to be asked to take a small glimpse into it.

His gesture and words to me were not necessary yet he thought differently and I am more than happy to be able to share this with all of you 'out there' as he says!

30+ years ago I was a kid in Toronto listening to 1050 CHUM on my transistor radio and a beautiful voice was singing the most incredible song, "If You Could Read My Mind" and it was then that a lifelong love of Lightfoot music began for me. It's never wavered, it's never been set aside as life changed for me over the years. It's always just been a part of who I am. The concerts, the albums, the photos I'd take, the reviews and the interviews I'd read and keep - over the years I was just a fan, one of so many I never even knew about, and one that I was sure Lightfoot would surely never know as a singular entity sitting there at Massey all those times. I was completely content to sit and listen and then go home to patiently wait for the next time I was graced with the good fortune to do it all again. Many times over the yearsI did write thankyou letters to him, a birthday card, a letter to the paper would be published...sent and forgotten..A quick meeting at Mariposa,then I was delivering hundreds of pages of birthday wishes to his office, being interviewed by a Toronto paper about internet fans, meeting him backstage and handing him his birthday wishes from all of us and helping raise funds in his name...and always being thankful to have his music in my life.

The greatest gift in this wonderful experience I've just had is his acknowledgement of all of those times and that The Man himself is greatful and said Thank You in such a way.

He recognizes that there is a fan base 'out there' and he appreciates all of us. That's why he wanted to have this give a little of himself beyond the concerts and music and say "thank you."

You're welcome Gordon.
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