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Old 10-13-2012, 12:13 AM   #1
charlene
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Default Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

http://www.orilliapacket.com/2012/10...owing-him-down


When asked if there is any truth to the rumour he plans to play his last show in his hometown of Orillia, Gordon Lightfoot started to laugh.

“That’s in one of my songs! Oh, my goodness gracious...” the soft-spoken iconic Canadian singer and songwriter said with a laugh. “In the last verse of Couchiching, I say, ‘When I get my final slumber, when I pawn my diamond ring, I will do my final number by Lake Couchiching.’”

Ironically, Lightfoot debuted the song at the Orillia Opera House in 2002, the night before he collapsed with a potentially fatal abdominal aneurysm.

“I was on the floor there by four o’clock in the afternoon that day,” said Lightfoot, who had been in the dressing room preparing to take the stage for a second show in his native stomping ground. “I don’t remember anything much after that until about six weeks later when I woke up.”

It took Lightfoot 28 months to get back onstage, and fortunately for his fans, the spry 73-year-old — who does about 70 concerts per year — has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

“I’m not stopping,” he said, his voice filled with the same defiant determination that got him to where he is today. “I’m not stopping.”

Lightfoot, a small-town boy with big ambitions, has built his career on going against the grain.

When Lightfoot’s father, Gordon Sr. — a former president of the Couchiching Golf and Country Club — first heard his son was going to study music theory in Los Angeles after high school, he was out on the links with some buddies.

“They were laughing about it,” Lightfoot said with mock indignation. “The people in Orillia thought that was the most outlandish thing they had ever heard of.”

Although Lightfoot had performed throughout his childhood, when he began composing his songs and lyrics as a teenager, he found he wasn’t really able to write them down.

He can still remember the first one he came up with.

“It was called The Hula Hoop Song,” Lightfoot said. “It was about when the hula hoop fad hit back in about 1952. It was after the Korean War... They had a huge article in Life magazine... where they showed 150 people in a vacant lot and they were all hula hooping all at once.”

While Lightfoot’s parents may not have always understood his choices, they always supported him, which is one of the reasons he had the courage to take the risks for music that he did early on.

Although Lightfoot’s father didn’t have a lot of money, he paid for his son to travel to Hollywood to live and study at a music school on Sunset Boulevard.

“It was right in the middle of everything in a very genteel time in Hollywood, too, I might add, very genteel, very lovely, quiet... My mind wanders in flights of fancies just to think about all this stuff because it was such a wonderful time,” Lightfoot said.

Not long after returning home the next year, he took a bank job in Toronto.

“They didn’t want me to leave. They really didn’t,” said Lightfoot, who resigned 14 months later when an opportunity arose at CBC. “They wondered what I was doing quitting my bank job to become a choral singer on a television show.”

As his career began to take off, Lightfoot — a newlywed young father — found himself torn between two worlds: Life at home and life on the road.

“The real partying stuff really took place between 1970 and 1980,” he said. “We were young, we drank.”

But by the early ’80s, it had become a problem. Lightfoot — always under contract — was using booze to fuel his music and even the record label had begun to worry.

“It was going to kill me,” said Lightfoot, who has been sober since 1982. “It was going to ruin my career. It was going to ruin everything. I began to do irrational things. I had to stop.”

Through everything he’s managed to accomplish, combining his two worlds hasn’t been one of them.

It cost him more than one marriage.

While Lightfoot doesn’t deny the temptations of life on the road, he makes no bones he’s struggled in relationships built on mistrust.

“You’re not going to hire another bus to bring your family, so they can’t travel with (you) on the road. You now have seeds of doubt,” he said.

These days, Lightfoot, who has six kids from two marriages and one engagement and four grandkids, sees things the same, but in a different light.

“When I’m dealing with my family, I’m not thinking too much about the music. Where I practise, I practise alone. I write alone,” he said. “When I interact with them, I chuck the music aside for a few hours and think about my family.”

Lightfoot is looking forward to taking the stage for two benefit concerts Nov. 11 at the Orillia Opera House. Half of the proceeds will go to the Opera House, and the other half will go to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.

“It’s so easy for me to go out there and let it go because I love doing it and I feel a communication with an audience that almost makes me feel like I’m larger than life there for a moment or two,” he said. “It’s thrilling.”

While he loves playing in front of any crowd, the hometown one is extra special.

“There’s so many of them I do know and I run into my old school chums and relatives from the area,” he said.

“It’s got a great sound,” he said of the Opera House. “It sounds really good in there.”

roberta.bell@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @roberta__bell
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:30 AM   #2
redhead
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

Quote:
“I’m not stopping,” he said, his voice filled with the same defiant determination that got him to where he is today. “I’m not stopping.”

Please, don't...and thank you, sir.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:43 AM   #3
charlene
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

he better not stop!! - I'll be sitting there waiting @ 3 and 7 pm!
lol
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:17 AM   #4
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he better not stop!! - I'll be sitting there waiting @ 3 and 7 pm!
lol
Yes.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
charlene
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

Yes indeedy!!
6 shows in 7 nights in November...oh my.

Sun.Nov.11 - 2 shows
I get a break on Mon.nov.12 and tues.nov.13..lol
then
Wed.Nov.14,Thur.Nov.15, Frid.Nov.16 and Sat.Nov.17. 1 show each.

(plus 6 more concerts since April and one CD signing...equals 12 concerts and one personal appearance in 7 months in 7 cities)

yep - a 12 step programme may be in my future...
lolol
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
redhead
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

I'm truly excited for you, Char. Enjoy EVERY second of it. And with regard to the 12th and the 13th, we all need to recoup at some point!

I anticipate reading your detailed review, of the "Church of Gord" convention.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:26 PM   #7
Melissa
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

Great article, with some interesting facts I hadn't read before. Always good to see/read new things. Also always good to hear Gord say that he has no intention of stopping.
That's always music to our ears. (no pun intended)

Just saw Wayne's site, with the new 2013 page, saying that a "Landmark Tour for 2013" is in the works. BRING......IT.........ON!!!!!!

Melissa
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:50 PM   #8
redhead
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

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Just saw Wayne's site, with the new 2013 page, saying that a "Landmark Tour for 2013" is in the works. BRING......IT.........ON!!!!!!
Thanks so much for the "heads up", Melissa. This absolutely makes my day!

(Looks like Char is going to be doing some traveling next year!)
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:01 PM   #9
charlene
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

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Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Thanks so much for the "heads up", Melissa. This absolutely makes my day!

(Looks like Char is going to be doing some traveling next year!)
If what I was told is true for 2013 and there's no Canadian dates I will be 'en route' quite a bit!
lol

People get ready!!
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:43 PM   #10
niffer
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

Hey Char, since it looks like we'll be roomies, we can travel together
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:59 PM   #11
charlene
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Originally Posted by niffer View Post
Hey Char, since it looks like we'll be roomies, we can travel together
fer sure eh???

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Old 10-16-2012, 08:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: Orillia Packet LIGHTFOOT interview

Sounds like a good time to resurrect "Somewhere USA".
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