MUSIC

Paul Simon On Toronto Radio, Talks Baseball, 'Graceland,' Bieber

08/27/2013 01:37 EDT
AP
New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, left, smiles along with singer Paul Simon after Simon threw out the first pitch prior to the Yankees' spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Paul Simon's love affair with baseball is well-known, having recorded "Night Game" for his 1975 solo album "Still Crazy After All These Years" and referencing Yankees great Joe DiMaggio in the Simon and Garfunkel classic "Mrs. Robinson." But Monday night he appeared on Toronto sports radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan to talk baseball, music and even Justin Bieber with host Mike Wilner

As heard during the roughly 20-minute interview, Simon saw the Monday game between the host Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. Wilner saw Simon on camera and "sent an envoy" to bring him to their booth.

The music icon explained he and his son Gabe are on a six-day, six game "baseball odyssey"

"So we started off at Wrigley and saw the Cubs, the next day the White Sox were in town so we saw that," Simon said. "Then we went to Cleveland and stopped off at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then we went to see the Indians play. Yesterday we were in St. Louis, two first place teams playing, Braves and Cards, and that was fun. And today we're here to see the Yankees and see your stadium [Rogers Centre] for the first time. It's really an impressive stadium with the tower and from where we were sitting it really was great especially at twilight."

Although the conversation at times turned towards the current woes of the Blue Jays and how Simon's favorite team the Yankees are doing, Simon spoke of his five times appearing on "Saturday Night Live," recalling he met Canadian "SNL" founder Lorne Michaels the summer before "SNL" began and how now "we literally live right next to each other."

"I like to do comedy, it's fun, it's like playing baseball, I still like to play baseball," he said, citing Mickey Mantle, John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley and Lenny Bruce as being his four "heroes."

After briefly touching on the origins of his 1985 hit album "Graceland" which he called "one of the major teaching experiences of my musical career and my life," Simon -- who said growing up his interests was baseball first followed by music and girls -- also recalled an incident while walking along New York's Central Park West. A mother with her young toddler stopped him to tell Simon the son's favorite song: "The Boxer."

"I said, 'Really, The Boxer?'" Simon said. "She said, 'Yeah but when we get to the line where you say the whores on Seventh Avenue, we change the lyrics to the toy stores on Seventh Avenue. I said, 'Hey, those lines might be better than the lines I wrote.'"

Near the end of conversation Simon recalled his memories of Toronto, a city he always felt comfortable in. "It used to be a very conservative town in terms of audience reaction, very subdued," he said, adding "people would say don't get thrown if the audience doesn't really react with great enthusiasm."

Finally, he also revealed attending a Justin Bieber concert at New York's Madison Square Garden with his family.

"I thought he sings well and the music is too loud," Simon said. "He's got a really good voice. I can't hear what the words are because the music is so loud and his voice is on top of it, it's on top of the band, too, it's not like it's buried. But it didn't matter because it's just a different kind of act. It wasn't about me liking it or not. My daughter, she was the fan and the rest of us all just sort of went to see what a Justin Bieber concert would be like."

Wilner seemed pleasantly shocked to have Simon with him after the game.

Simon released his last studio album "So Beautiful Or So What" in 2011. The singer is currently off the road having played Australia earlier in the year.

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