Ron Sexsmith interview

interview with ron sexsmith2 I caught up with Ron Sexsmith recently, before the release of his new CD, Retriever. Sexsmith is a very down to earth individual and it was a pleasure to talk with him about music, his future plans, touring and life in general.
Yorg: Do you have o­ne favourite album that you’ve released?
Ron: I don’t know, I’m generally pretty happy with whatever comes out, there’s always little things that bother me. I’m really excited with the new record (Retriever).
Yorg: Any talk of collaborating with Elvis Costello or any other artists?
Ron: Well, there was talk a few years ago. I haven’t even seen him lately. The last time I saw him was last fall. I did a show with him in Belgium, but we didn’t talk very much. A few years ago around the time that I was making my second or third album we were talking o­n the phone and he had this idea of us doing a song and there was talk of coming to England but it didn’t happen. I would love to see him again; I don’t know whether or not it’s in the cards, if we will collaborate. He’s been really good to me; I try not to wear out my welcome.
Yorg; What are some of the negative aspects of being o­n tour?
Ron: I’ve been touring solidly for the past ten years and as you get older and do more, there’s little things that bother you. Sometimes you get to a venue and there’s no dressing room or the dressing room is really small or the dressing room is a washroom, dumb things like that. You want to get to a place where you play nice venues because it can make all the difference. And sometimes the various labels will work you into the ground. You get there and you just want to sleep and they have stuff lined up for you that you didn’t know about. When I started I was so excited just to be doing it, I was eager to do every little thing and as I go o­n, I can see why some of the people that I idolized all those years; like you’d hear stories of Elton John having tantrums, but in general I know that it’s all part of my job so I try to go out and do everything they need me to do because it’s obviously for my benefit.
Yorg: You must get tired of touring and feel like getting back to your friends and family?
Ron: This tour’s been so long and I just feel I really need to stop living out of a bag for a while and be home. We just moved to a new place and I want to get back there and that’s what I’m really looking forward to. We’ve also been run down because of the schedule this last week. We had to get up to do a stupid TV show in the morning and we had to get up at five in the morning and right after the show we had to drive to Kingston and drive home and we got home at 4 in the morning, and then that day we had a show in Toronto, and then today this morning we had to get up bright and early and drive to Montreal and it breaks down your resistance so I think as a result today I got this fever. I would like to do things differently in the future. I gotta start putting my foot down a bit more, just for my own health. I’m not old but I’m not young anymore, I turned 40 in January.
Yorg: What’s it like being Ron Sexsmith and dealing with fame?
Ron: Well, today in Montreal I was walking through the park and I saw a guy o­n a park bench o­n his cell phone and he doesn’t see me, he’s got his head turned away from me and just as I’m coming close to him I hear him say, “Yeah, I’m going to Ron Sexsmith tonight” and he was saying these nice things about me, so I just went, “Thank You” and he turned around, and it was just o­ne of those surreal moments and it felt nice. It was a good thing I wasn’t walking by and he was going, “That asshole”.
Yorg: When you’re o­n stage and you’re playing your tunes, what’s going through your mind?
Ron: Different things cross your mind. Some songs require your attention a bit more, especially the piano songs because I’m not very good o­n the piano. I don’t think about it too much, you kind of drift off, you’re in the zone. Sometimes some songs that you’ve done a million times will touch you some nights in a different way. Sometimes you’re playing a song and all you think about is the song you’re gonna do next, because sometimes you have a set list and as you’re playing you think, “I don’t want to do that o­ne, I want to do this o­ne” because all of the sudden, you have this vision of where the set can go. But in general I try to focus o­n the singing because I want to sing in key. Today I’ve got kind of a fever, I’m feeling under the weather but I gotta go out there. I wouldn’t cancel a show. I’ve o­nly cancelled o­ne show due to a snow storm and I couldn’t get there, but I’ve never cancelled because I don’t feel well. I’ve always gone o­n stage, with a sprained ankle or laryngitis, band aids o­n my fingers. You just go out and you do it and hopefully by the end of the night everyone’s happy.
Yorg: You’ve visited Montreal quite a few times now, are there any places you return to when you come to town?
Ron: No, because I never get to spend much time here. Every time we come to Montreal we come straight to the venue and often times we have to leave right after the show. So, I really don’t feel like I know Montreal and I’d really love to because we’ve had people take us out to different bars. I remember o­ne time I played here and Rufus Wainwright, just before he had a record out, took me around to all these cool places, some of them were gay bars actually, he took me out to an open stage somewhere and he got up and sang. I had no idea; although, I had a feeling he was musical. Last time we were here someone took us to this really cool Indian buffet, we tried to look for it today, but we couldn’t find it. I don’t know the city that well.

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