Burton Cummings of The Guess Who (INTERVIEW)

Burton Cummings is a storyteller, one of those people who can sit down anytime anywhere and talk about his life and not miss a tiny detail. Whereas we tend to forget small idiosyncrasies like names, dates, the color of the walls in second grade, Cummings remembers everything. So when you stop and have a chat with him about his career as a singer and keyboard player during the glory days of the Guess Who through his long-running solo success, it’s as if everything happened yesterday. Even when he shares happy memories from his childhood, his laugh makes you feel that his whole life’s scrapbook is still vibrantly clear on every page.

Growing up in Canada, raised by his mother and grandmother, playing piano at five and being uncool throughout adolescence because of it, Cummings adored his childhood. As part of the local teen sensations The Deverons, he was whisked up in Beatlemania and the Mersey bands that were scoring top ten hits across the borders. After the band opened for Gerry & The Pacemakers, he was asked to join another popular local band, the Guess Who. From there, it was hit city: “American Woman,” “Undun,” “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Time.” It was a young man’s whirlwind tour de France of touring, recording, partying and popularity.

Cummings would keep those thrilling times with him into a new era of solo work and at sixty-seven, he remains just as enthusiastic about performing and recording as he did when he was a shining new star in Winnipeg, Canada. Glide talked with Cummings a few weeks ago as he was enjoying a beautiful warm California day and not missing the cold back in his hometown. “I grew up in Canada and I know what twenty and thirty below is and I really do enjoy Los Angeles,” he said with a laugh. After mentioning that he was thrilled at seeing that I had interviewed Benmont Tench (“He’s very talented. And from one musician to another, I like what he has done for years and years and years. I’m a big fan.”), Cummings was ready to do some storytelling from his own book of Burton.

So it’s a beautiful day there in LA

Oh yeah, and honestly, I’m not trying to rub it in but today is like Hawaii here. It’s going to be in the low eighties. When I was a kid we played hockey every day up there and it would be twenty-five/thirty below and we never thought about it because all the other kids were out, right. So then 5:30 it gets dark, or 5:00 it gets dark, you come in the house and every kid in the neighborhood, his fingers are frozen, his toes are frozen, your ears, your nose, your cheeks. I mean, literally dozens and dozens of times we all went home and just thawed out in the house. When I think of it now, that’s insane because you can do yourself a lot of harm. My cheeks were frozen so badly one time I had to go to the hospital. I was just a little kid but I think they actually used cortisone. And this was way back in the 1950’s, when it was still kind of more experimental than it is now, and from what I can remember, and I hope I’m not just making up some fantasy tale, but they told me that I could have lost some of the flesh on my cheek. I mean, it’s that bad up there. You don’t realize it cause all the other kids are out playing, you know (laughs). You get on your coat and your gloves and you go out and that’s it. So I don’t miss any of that, believe me.

Do you still go back often?

I still do a lot of work in Toronto because my band members all live in Toronto so we rehearse there and that’s where Universal Canada is based and I’m signed to them up there. So I go back and forth to Toronto a lot, almost like a shuttle every couple of weeks, but it’s not nearly like it is in the Prairies where I grew up in Winnipeg or also the province of Saskatchewan. Those people get buried sometimes. And it’s actually dangerous sometimes. You must have heard about the arctic vortex last year, right? It came down from the north and it hit a point, the two points converged right on my hometown of Winnipeg. So I power up my computer one day here in LA and this particular day it’s not about Putin, it’s not about the unrest in the Ukraine, it’s not about world tension, it’s not about the border in Mexico. The headline was, Winnipeg same temperature as surface of Mars. You know what it was, Leslie? It was seventy-two below zero.

I can’t even imagine that. I have a friend who lives in Chicago and they were as cold as Siberia at one point.

Yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time in Chicago during the years. We cut our biggest records there in the days of the Guess Who – “American Woman,” “No Sugar Tonight,” “No Time,” “Hand Me Down World,” “Share The Land;” all the biggest singles we had we cut in Chicago. So I know about that but it’s still not the same kind of cold. When that artic vortex hit, my friends were emailing me from home, right, and they said their windows were cracking. Now that’s like some kind of science-fiction movie (laughs). I lived there my whole life and I don’t ever remember that.

But you know, it’s also very spiritual there and beautiful. At Christmas it really does look like Christmas cards. The whole place decorates up and they put lights up, even in the poorest parts of town, regardless of the income level, they still have lights on their houses. It’s a very old-fashioned feeling and it’s kind of nice when I go there at Christmas and see all the lights and the snow. You don’t have to hope for a white Christmas there (laughs). You get a white Christmas alright. In that respect, I miss a bit of that. It doesn’t look the same decorating palm trees over here (laughs). But overall, another thing I realized, I can go to the supermarket today with no socks on, in January.

I just turned sixty-seven on New Year’s Eve and I realized more and more now that I live here, how much of your life you spend just fighting the elements. It’s always an extra five or six minutes to get dressed up to go out in the winter. It’s every time you come back in the house, it’s that extra five or six minutes you take off the galoshes or the scarf and the gloves and the coat (laughs) and you add that up day after day, year after year, that’s a lot of time of your life that you’ll never get back. I’m just going on and on about it but today I feel very grateful to be here cause it’s beautiful out.

What do you love so much about your hometown of Winnipeg?

Well, I learned everything there. I learned about the world through the eyes of the Canadian Prairies. I first heard Elvis there in the fifties. I can even remember, and here’s how old I am, I’m the last cusp of generation that remembers before we had television. We didn’t get television till I was about six years old, six or seven years old, so obviously the world was totally, totally different before that. I’m of the generation where my grandmother, mother and I would sit around the radio and listen to the football games on the radio. It is a remarkable change in the last fifty years, absolutely remarkable. We did an entire tour in the Guess Who days of Europe and Australia and New Zealand and Japan without laptops, without cell phones and one single credit card, the old ancient American Express, the first credit card ever. So I know a different world completely than what we have today.  rush home from Amoeba and load them into my hard drive and I just passed a huge milestone. Last week I passed 250,000 MP3s. So let me tell you what that means – if we started playing my collection tonight, it would be halfway through 2016 before it would reach the first song again.

And I thought I had a lot of vinyl albums but you’ve got me beat by a long shot.

Well, I used to love vinyl but you know we partied too much back in the hippie days (laughs). “Hey, wait till you hear this next cut,” screech! And that’s the end of that. All my vinyl got so scratched so I, for one, was thrilled when CDs came along cause you can’t hurt them. You really can’t hurt them. I remember when they were brand new and people were giving these demonstrations in music stores and they would take a CD and put it on the floor and stomp on it, pick it up and run a Kleenex over it or one of those little record cleaner things, put it in and it would play perfectly. First time I saw that I said, hey, that’s for me (laughs) and I’ve built a monstrous CD collection now and it’s fun going online and getting all the proper artwork for every cut. I’ve built a real Smithsonian. I’ve just always been a collector. I collected comic books until I had them all (laughs) but music, you know what the great thing is, when you collect music you’re never finished. Never, ever, ever. My collection goes back to 1909.

What do you have from 1909?

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band. They were signed by RCA way, way back and these were cylinder records and converted later into MP3s and sold on CDs. But these are from back in the days of cylinders, where the cylinders turned. But of all the music I have, I still go back to The Beatles a lot and a lot to Henry Mancini. I love Mancini. The word genius is just thrown around too readily but in his case it couldn’t be more correct. Mancini was one of the great American composers ever, ever, ever.

Why do you believe that?

Well, I play piano, I write my own songs and I just admire his structures so much, especially all that Peter Gunn stuff. The beatnik music he did from the fifties, man, I used to think, man, I wish I had been born just a little bit earlier (laughs). I could have had a goatee and dark, dark glasses and a beret and get up and recite improv poetry. I like that whole beatnik era, that whole look. And Mancini wrote all that music during the Peter Gunn era and it’s just so fresh and different from anybody else. Then he wrote things like “Moon River,” classic, classic melodies. Shot In The Dark and all the great soundtracks he did, Hatari starring John Wayne. He did African music. Mancini was just way, way too good. He used to just piss me off (laughs). Wow, how does one guy be able to do all that?

What’s sad to me is there is so much sampling. We played with Rick Springfield at an outdoor festival a couple of years ago and I’ve got nothing against Rick Springfield. He’s had a decent career, “Jessie’s Girl” was a big record and a few of those things, but half the stuff his band was doing was sampled. And it took a lot of the respect away for me. My band is totally organic. There is nothing sampled. Everything we play and sing is done at the moment live on stage. And all my guys sing, including the drummer, so I’m a stickler for vocals. We’re a live band and we’re proud of it. We just went back to Vegas for the second time headlining at the Orleans a couple weeks ago and they want me back in May again. So I’m becoming a regular in Vegas and that’s something that a lot of bands would kill for.

You played a big show on New Year’s Eve in Canada.

Summerside, Prince Edward Island and oh my God was it cold! (laughs) It was a pretty big crowd for Prince Edward Island. I think half the island came to the show (laughs). It was great but there were two other bands and basically the thing started about 8:00 and we didn’t finish playing till almost 2:00 in the morning. It was a marathon night for folks and we had a great time. But it was a long, long way. It’s as far away from LA as you can be and still be in North America. It took me about eighteen hours to get there and about eighteen to get back. But it was great and I don’t play every year on my birthday so this year I figured I would take the chance. Why not.

Since it’s a new year, what do you have planned?

I’ve got a book of poetry coming out. I put a lot of my poems up on Facebook and I’ve gotten an amazing response. So I’ve gathered my favorite fifty or sixty and I’ve got the poetry coming out soon. My videographer has followed me for twelve years with a camera. We have finally converted a lot of that to a series that is going to be called Ruff and volumes I, II and III are coming out hopefully in the spring. We’ve got everything kind of sequenced, we just have to tweak it up a little bit. I have more than enough songs for another album, although a lot of people aren’t doing albums anymore, but I’m old-school and want to do at least one more album. I have all my own songs written and we’ve already got about twenty-five shows booked for this year so here we go again (laughs). I’m going to have another busy year.


That should make you feel good

I’m thrilled, are you kidding me. A lot of people a lot younger than me would love to have the career I still have.

Do you know when the new album will be coming out?

It wouldn’t be till the summer cause we haven’t even started recording yet. But the main thing is I’ve got the songs written so that’s just on the backburner. Before all that though, the video series Ruff and the poetry book.

What’s going to be on the DVDs?

Ruff is basically shenanigans on the airplanes and in the airports, there’s rehearsal footage, there’s live footage, all kinds of stuff. She followed me with a camera since about 2000 and we’ve just culled all the best stuff and put pieces back-to-back and rehearsal footage where I’m losing my temper with the guys and screaming at them like a Tasmanian devil. A lot of stuff that the real fans would never see and we want to give them that fly on the wall look. So they’re going to love this stuff.

Fans always love getting a glimpse behind the scenes. The DVD of the Stones that just came out has some of that on it and that’s what really makes it special.

People love to see that because they don’t get to go where you go or where I go or where the roadies go. When we played the big SARS concert a few years back, the Stones were there and that was quite a show. The real Guess Who, we got back together for that – not that Guess Who group that tours now, I don’t even know who’s in that group – but that was a big day. The Stones, AC/DC, Rush, ourselves, five or six hundred thousand people and they filmed it and it’s captured very well. I spoke to Mick a little bit and Keith and they were pretty ordinary guys. Some people think that they might be up on a big throne in their own head but they were pretty down-to-earth guys considering who they are and how much of that they’ve gone through for fifty years. It was nice to see because, and I’m not going to mention any names, but I have met people that you just don’t want to be around. They just think too much of themselves. Now pleasantly, that was not the case with the Stones. Keith is a pretty interesting guy and the fact of the matter is that those two guys have written so many songs and the hardest songs to write are the ones with two or three chords and they’ve written tons of them. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is a masterpiece. It’s all of three chords but you know, they’re wonderful. I really think the most of those two as songwriters.

Does it ever bother you how the classic rock radio stations, or the rock stations in general, don’t play a lot of the newer music by guys like yourself?

Radio has changed and the whole industry has changed. Once Napster let the genie out of the bottle, that was it for record sales. I mean, Paul McCartney’s last album, I don’t think it even sold a hundred thousand units. Back in the day, big artists were selling a hundred thousand copies a day. So it’s changed because, and I can tell you in twenty seconds a microcosmic example of how it is. People ask me, what is the big difference? Here’s the difference: back in the days before iTunes and Napster and all of that, let’s pick any neighborhood. There would be a hundred kids in that neighborhood. A record comes out that they all like. A hundred kids go out and buy that record. Same neighborhood today. A hundred kids, they all love that record. One kid buys the record and makes ninety-nine copies for his friends. That’s the big difference. That is what has happened. And there is nothing we can do about it.

Now, I’m starting to see a turnaround on iTunes where people are starting to pay their ninety-nine cents or a buck twenty-nine for a song. Really, music is still the best bargain going. A vanilla latte at Starbucks is five bucks (laughs). You can get five songs for that that you’ll have for the rest of your life for that same five bucks. I think it’s a bargain. But it will never be what it was and that’s unfortunate. It will never be back to what it was.

You started playing piano when you were very, very young.

I was about five or six when my mom forced me to take lessons. And I’ve been in a band since I was fourteen. So basically I have fifty-three years now of experience onstage.

What was your first real memory of music?

Even before I went to kindergarten, my mother collected 78’s and before she would go to work in the mornings she would play some of her 78’s and I heard people like Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Guy Mitchell, Teresa Brewer, Jo Stafford, she really liked Jo Stafford. These were the singers of her day, the crooners, she liked a lot of the crooners, so I was very aware of music by the time I was about four. Before I ever went to kindergarten, I learned how to crank up the old gramophone. It was one of those ones where you had to put new needles in and crank it up. I loved the fact that the records froze time. Even as a tiny kid I realized when that record finished, I could put the needle back to the beginning and hear the whole thing over again exactly the same. So that hit me very young. Before I ever went to school I was already fascinated by records and that’s totally 100% to do with my mother. So she’s up there looking down and I’m sure she knows the effect she had on my life. But it was very, very early, before kindergarten.

Were you uncool in school?

I was kind of uncool because I’m born on December 31st, but my mother taught me to read and write before I ever went to school. So I finished kindergarten and they put you in grade one and grade one was all reading and writing and I knew how to do that already so they stuck me in grade two and that made me a year younger forever. I was a year younger than everybody else in my class. I had a little bit of an inferiority complex but it eventually worked out okay (laughs).

In the Life & Times Special a few years back, you talked about having to stand out in the hall because you had been kicked out of music class. What did you do because you seemed like such a well-behaved boy? How did you get kicked out of class?

(laughs) Just goofing around, talking and making jokes. I was never a bad guy; never, ever a bad guy. There were enough of those guys around and I was scared of them all. I used to get picked on, “Oh look, there’s the sissy with the piano books,” cause I was taking lessons and they would point at me and say, “Look at the sissy with the piano books.” But now they wish they had taken those lessons (laughs). I wasn’t a geek or anything but I wasn’t cool. I just lived in my own little world in my own head most of the time.


You were saying earlier how secluded Winnipeg is. Was it up to you and the other kids to make the music because not many of the big bands were coming through or was it the opposite and a lot of the big bands were coming through your area and you wanted to be like them?

I didn’t see a lot of acts live but the radio was tremendous in Winnipeg. Even for a little place like Winnipeg, we had a station that was 50,000 watts clear channel. On a cold winter night, it was going out over hundreds and hundreds of miles and there were tremendous songs being played in Winnipeg. We heard all the R&B stuff, we heard all the great New Orleans music, we heard all the American hits. So the radio was really great but we didn’t see too many live shows. I did see Fats Domino live at the old auditorium when I was quite young and that just blew me away forever. One of the best shows I ever saw in my life. Peter & Gordon and Manfred Mann came during the British Invasion. Gerry & The Pacemakers. By the time I was sixteen, we got to open for them, and this was at the height of Beatlemania. People were fainting, you know; girls were fainting. It was insane and I was just sixteen and I really liked the idea of the attention and the screaming (laughs). So I got into it pretty young and I never really looked back.

When you were in the Deverons, you got a taste of that craziness.

Sure because they treated us like we were The Beatles. Some of the girls stole a birdbath out of my mother’s yard one time and they stole the numbers off our house. I was still living at home going to school but this sounded like Liverpool/Beatlemania stuff to me. We were really treated like stars from a very early age, so I learned about all of that.

What do you think was that band’s shining moment?

You know, it’s funny, when we played with Gerry & The Pacemakers, the Guess Who were on that show too. We were on first, the Deverons, and then the Guess Who without me and then Gerry & The Pacemakers. That was the first time they had ever seen me perform, the Guess Who. I think that was the night that encouraged them to ask me to join their band, cause the Deverons were coming up pretty fast in Winnipeg but nobody was as good as the Guess Who. Then they found out Chad Allan, their singer, the guy that sang “Shakin’ All Over,” he was going back to university. As soon as they found that out, they asked me. So maybe it was that night when we all opened for Gerry & The Pacemakers. That was when they determined they were going to ask me. So that was probably the biggest night of my life, as far as being pivotal and changing my life.

Did you hesitate about leaving them to go into the Guess Who?

I actually didn’t. It may sound crass and cold but I was only seventeen when they asked me. They were already huge. They had toured with Dion and the Turtles and they had a hit record, “Shakin’ All Over.” I couldn’t believe it. I was still living at home with my mother and grandmother so I didn’t hesitate for a second. I knew that chances like that only come once or twice in your life.

What do you remember most about recording your first album with the Guess Who?

I wasn’t really in the foreground on that album. I was the keyboard player and background singer. I only got to sing lead on about two out of the twelve songs. Chad Allan was still singing. But it was stupid. He shouldn’t have ever stayed that long because the minute we finished that album he left the group about a month later. So why did we do that? I don’t know. It’s all hindsight now but it all worked out for the best because Randy Bachman and I ended up being a pretty good songwriting team. We wrote “These Eyes” and “Laughing” and “No Time” and “American Woman.” We wrote some very big songs together so that would never have happened had I not joined the Guess Who.

There’s a very interesting song on Wheatfield Soul called “Pink Wine Sparkles In The Glass.” What can you tell us about that song?

Wow, that’s pretty obscure (laughs). Back in the day I was so enamored with Bob Dylan and I just wanted to have some lyrics that were more like poetry. So that’s all that was. I think there’s a chorus in there that goes, “How small can the world be as seen through Cleveland.” It wasn’t a knock on Cleveland. It was the fact that there used to be a TV show called Upbeat that came out of Cleveland and this was way before MTV and the only place you ever saw rock & roll was the Ed Sullivan Show or American Bandstand. Upbeat had all the stars on lip syncing their hits. We went and did that a couple times. Somehow we were able to get on there and that was a big deal to me to go to Cleveland and that’s where that came from. But I was just trying to be Bob Dylan in those early days, trying to make some more clever lyrics. Randy was never that good at lyrics. His lyrics always sounded so belabored and pushed, and the guys all liked my lyrics better.

I didn’t realize Randy wrote “Undun” by himself.

Yeah, he wrote “Undun.” I changed a few of the lyrics but basically it’s his song. That’s a great song and it was Randy that encouraged me to play flute on that. That’s me playing flute on the record. I think one of the reasons “Undun” caught on, it was totally different than anything else at the time, anything else on the radio, nothing sounded like that record. We still do that live and I pull out the flute and people go nuts. There’s always a big ovation when I pull out the flute (laughs). I walk out front and get away from the keyboard and it’s a pretty neat show we have, actually. I’m not tied to the keyboard all night. I’ll strap on a guitar for a while for songs like “No Time.” I’ll pick up a harmonica, play a little blues harp for a while, and then I’ll go back to the keyboard for a while. I get to move around a bit.

What about “Proper Stranger”?

I love that guitar riff. Randy had the guitar riff and he actually had the title, because there was a movie with, I think, Steve McQueen and Natalie Wood called Love With The Proper Stranger. It ran one night before rehearsals, the next day we were rehearsing and Randy happened to watch it with his wife that night and he came to me with that title and that guitar riff and the rest was me. I put the whole thing together. That was supposed to be the A side of the single but “No Time” was on the other side and thankfully the record company realized that “No Time” was a lot more commercial, cause “No Time” was a huge hit record for us.

I just ran into Steve Perry the other night in a restaurant here that I like very much. I was there picking up some food and Steve Perry was having dinner. I went over to say hello and the first thing he mentioned was “No Time.” It was his favorite of all the records we did. I’m a big fan of his. What a singer. And you know what, he looks exactly the same too. I heard he was sick but I didn’t want to ask about it but he seemed to be fine and he looked great.

When Randy left, you started writing with Kurt Winter. How did your songwriting process change?

It was totally different because Kurt and I partied together and Randy was a Mormon who wouldn’t even drink coffee or tea or take an aspirin. So suddenly I had a guy that was like me. Randy and I wrote together but we weren’t really friends. Kurt and I were friends. Kurt and I were great friends. Traveled the world together in our early twenties, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii a few times, all over Europe, Germany, Belgium, France, England. Kurt and I really bonded where Randy and I, it was more business, all business. Randy was a brilliant player but very, very un-rock & roll. He was already having kids when he was like twenty-two, twenty-one, and that’s really hard when you’re in a rock & roll band. You go away for four months, you come home, the kids are walking and talking. So Randy and I were never the closest of friends but Kurt and I, absolutely, buddies till the end. That was the big difference.

You said you made a lot of your big recordings in Chicago. Why did you pick Chicago?

Because we were contracted to RCA and we had to record in RCA Studios and they had a wonderful studio in downtown Chicago. Right on North Wacker Drive across from the opera house. It was a wonderful studio and we spent a lot of time there. We did the American Woman album there, we did Share The Land album there, we did So Long, Bannatyne; all those singles came out of there – “No Time,” “American Woman,” “No Sugar Tonight,” “Hand Me Down World,” “Share The Land,” “Rain Dance.” It was great. We felt very comfortable there.

How important was producer Jack Richardson to the Guess Who?

Oh very much, very much. He arranged a lot of the vocals. He gave us great suggestions all along. Had he not been the right guy, we would have made a move to get somebody else. But as it was, he did all sixteen albums we did for RCA. Same engineer and the same producer. And you know sixteen albums, good God, that’s like four careers these days. You don’t see people hanging around long enough to do sixteen albums anymore. I mean, in my life, I’ve done over thirty. There’s only a handful of us who have done over thirty albums.

Who was the first real rock star you ever met?

Oh my goodness, let me see now. Yikes, you know you might have me stumped here. Oh no, no, no, I think it was Roy Orbison. The Deverons got to open for Roy Orbison when I was about sixteen and I got to sit after the show and talk to him for about twenty-five minutes, just one on one. I was still a kid and it was a thrill and what blew me away was he was a chain smoker and he smoked red box Marlboros, the strongest cigarette on the market at the time. And yet this is Roy Orbison, the guy who sang like a canary, like a songbird. I sat and talked to him for about twenty minutes and he chain smoked the whole time. It was a surprise.

When you got famous and all the money started coming in, what was your first big splurge?

I bought an XKE 2+2, chocolate brown with a cinnamon interior. I bought it out of the showroom and paid cash and that car was a rocket ship (laughs). Nobody else in my whole end of town had ever even seen one, never mind owned one. So that was the first big deal. I was still living at home with my mother and grandmother but I had the car of the neighborhood. It was beautiful. It was 1969 and it was a Jaguar XKE 2+2.

What is your favorite memory of playing with Ringo?

Oh how about the whole ten months (laughs). It was great. You know what the wonderful thing about that was? What a band we had. On guitar we had Todd Rundgren, Nils Lofgren, Dave Edmonds and Joe Walsh; on bass we had Timothy Schmit from the Eagles; on drums we had Ringo and his son Zak; and on keyboards we had me. We had eight singers, two drummers, four guitar players. That was just remarkable. Ringo was very nice. Timothy B Schmit and I were the two young guys and we turned into like eight-year-old girls meeting ‘NSync, you know (laughs). We were full of questions, “Hey Ringo, can you tell us more about the Abbey Road album? Hey Ringo, what about the Sgt Pepper album? Hey Ringo, Hey Ringo” (laughs). And he never ever told us to shut up or get lost. He was always very patient with us, especially Timothy and me, cause we were the two young guys and maybe we were a little more enamored by being with a Beatle.

Oh and I’ll tell you my favorite memory of that whole tour. We spent Ringo’s fiftieth birthday with him in London, England. At the Dorchester he had a huge party across from Hyde Park and George Harrison showed up at the party and for a brief six or eight minutes, I actually sat with Ringo and George, just the three of us. And there I was with half of The Beatles. So definitely that’s my big memory from that tour.

It sounds like you’ve had a great time in your career.

Absolutely, I’ve lived fifty lifetimes by most people’s standards.

So what still excites you about playing music?

I still love being onstage and watching the reaction. People cry and they react emotionally when I sing “These Eyes” or “American Woman” or “Stand Tall;” some of the big records that really got through to them. I still love being able to invoke that reaction with people. That’s something that shouldn’t be messed with. It really should be honored. And that’s what I try and do.

Check out Glide’s recent interview with Guess Who legend Randy Bachman.

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7 Responses

  1. I love Burton’s music and how he shares with his fans. I love learning about him and the stories he tells.

    This has to be the best interview that I have been fortunate to see.

    Thanks very much! (I got to see Burton on News Years Eve (10th time I’ve been fortunate enough to see him)! But now I see the real time and effort he had to make it to play before us. Just so blessed and fortunate I have been.

    Thanks again for a great interview!


  2. Glide magazine featured a beautifully narrative interview about Burton Cummings, who so recently I am aware of interview is of an experience, a renewed ambition discovered, and a process re-explored and currently active in his career for what he is known for many years: a musician who achieves to work with the right people that bring out the best and good times ahead in a man’s life when sensitive and understanding nature is often tender and unheard until love in a world when volume and amplified significance that may have not initially promoted the voice, the chord options, the line and direction and the content of his message-the traveler in a time that from one place to another searching for his home away from home to eventually find his purpose in the overall universe and the meaning of life and answers to most wondered questions beyond genius of all time, one himself and defined by co-league artists all over the world that indentify with his established and classically framework “ability to stop time and suspend” before landing feet first of superhero quality on the stage of future political platform I would predict he can prepare for in the days to come. His music I have experienced myself an unknown resilience of “science untouched and a character intensely in restoration of the mind body and spirit”. A man with a compass, a map, a blueprint of success even, he is set out for a journey that Burton will present himself an enhancement to his place in the music industry of constant flux and change: “Burton is about energetic stability found. Burton is about constintuancy in motion and then possibilities endless time for breathes life in a world that would miss Burton when longevity desired by this man and lets find out what who is Burton Cummings of tomorrow. I think everyone is in for a surprise. Heartfelt admiration within reach of the stars and to touch the greatness and say “I did it” is what Burton is like as a person. A man who would not expect “a person like me?” And the audience responds so brave with reverence astounding.

    1. What the heck have you been smoking?
      You make no sense whatsoever.
      Susan, get back on your meds. Please.
      Burton Cummings has spent 50 years on the stage performing, and it has been time well spent.
      Burton Cummings is a musical genius.
      Visit his FB page, and prepare to be impressed with his knowledge about music and collectibles!

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