Fred Eaglesmith: "Anyone Can Make a Record -- the Sad Part Is They Do"
Being 56 might seem a bit old to be out bouncing around in a bus with a handful of people half your age and staying up all night, but Canadian songster Fred Eaglesmith flips that on its back.
"You know, at 35 when you're doing this, you look around at your friends and they're lawyers or they're plumbers and their life is a lot different than yours and you maybe question the path you've taken," he observes. "But then when you get to my age, your plumber friend has back pain all the time and he realizes he spent his whole life repairing toilets or unstopping drains and maybe you realize he envies you your life.
"We did 230 dates last year, and I still love doing this rock and roll touring thing."
Eaglesmith notes his is one of the few bands working this hard anymore.
"We used to run into bands on the road all the time all over the place," he says. "Nowadays, we run into some of the country guys on the weekends and of course you run into some of the folkies in the summer, but we've mostly got the highway to ourselves these days."
Eaglesmith, who credits Texan Robert Earl Keen, Jr. with introducing him to American audiences, says his is a happy life in spite of the vagaries of both the road and the music business.
"No matter how much we work and how much we travel, you don't hear anybody on the bus saying, 'Can we quit now?" he explains. "If we stay home a month and just play local shows, I start getting calls: 'When are we going out again?'
"You have to admit that's something to be able to say about what you do for a living, because a lot of people would do anything to do something else than what they do every day," Eaglesmith adds. "So in that way, I'm a very lucky man."
He also counts himself lucky in another way.
"Today, virtually anyone can make a record -- the sad part is, they do," observes Eaglesmith, slyly. "There's just too many records all fighting for attention. I quit even making a big deal about a new album coming out. At the place I am in my career, I look at recordings now as just another part of my overall business.
"I realize too that radio probably isn't going to play me, so records are really for my fans because they actually want them," he continues. "But because there are so many records out all the time, records don't mean what they used to mean to artists. It's all about fame now, not about albums."
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