The knock on the door about 10 minutes ago let us know we need to wrap this up, time soon for Simon to be heading for the Kennedy Center and tonight’s show. He seems in no rush, though, to see me off the premises and as I get my things together and he checks his itinerary, I ask if there are plans to reschedule the tour with Art Garfunkel that was cancelled last year because of Garfunkel’s vocal-cord paresis. “Well, his voice hasn’t come back yet,” he says. “But if it’s still appropriate at some future time to sing a couple of shows with Artie, I’d do that. The last time we went out I think we did 15 or 17 shows and that was fine. I was happy with that. That was enough.”
Do you spend much time together on tour, or do you just meet up when you go onstage?
“Not too much time together, no. Once or twice we’ll have a long evening together and talk. Our friendship goes way back, to before we started singing. And when we leave the place of the singing and go back into the friendship and who we are and where we came from then it’s really pleasant. I’ve known Artie since age of 11. There’s no-one else I’ve known that long.”
Are those reunion shows more fun for the audience than you?
“I end up getting enjoyment out of them,” he says. “I like to reinvent the old material, take the songs somewhere they maybe haven’t been. I try to imagine what people’s memory is of that time, hearing a particular song and to recreate that. And that’s interesting to make a thing sound like it’s a memory of something. It examines nostalgia rather than being merely nostalgic. It takes the kitsch out of nostalgia. Otherwise it would be really hard to go out and do those songs. But to do that and for say 15 shows, that worked, and it was fun to hang out with Artie, but I couldn’t have done more. That was about the most I could have done.
“I go out in April, touring So Beautiful Or So What. After that, we’ll see. But this album is all that matters to me right now.”