FIRST U.S. PAPERBACK EDITION OF ART’S BOOK
“WHAT IS IT ALL BUT LUMINOUS: NOTES FROM AN UNDERGROUND MAN” SET FOR SEPTEMBER 10, 2019
Tuesday, September 10 will mark the release of the trade paperback edition of Art’s acclaimed autobiography (of sorts) What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From An Underground Man (Vintage Books). It’s artful, moving, lyrical; the making of a musician; the evolution of a man, a portrait of a life-long friendship and collaboration that became one of the most successful singing duos of their time.
First published in hardcover in 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf (available everywhere books are sold), in What Is It All But Luminous, Art writes about his life before, during, and after Simon & Garfunkel…about their folk-rock music in the roiling age that embraced and was defined by their groundbreaking sound. He writes about growing up in the 1940s and ’50s (son of a traveling salesman), a middle class boy, living in a red brick semi-attached house in Kew Gardens, Queens, a kid who was different – from the age of five feeling his vocal cords “vibrating with the love of sound”…meeting Paul Simon in school, the funny guy who made Art laugh; their going on to junior high school together, of being 12 at the birth of rock ‘n roll, both of them “captured” by it; going to Manhattan to make a demo of their song, “Hey Schoolgirl” (for $7!) and the actual record (with Paul’s father on bass) going to #40 on the national charts, selling 150,000 copies. He writes about their becoming Simon & Garfunkel, taking the world by storm, ruling the pop charts from the time he was sixteen, about not being a natural performer, but more a thinker . . . touring; sex-for-thrills on the road; reading or walking to calm it down (walking across two continents – the USA and Europe). He writes of being an actor working with directors Nicolas Roeg (Bad Timing) and Mike Nichols (“the greatest of them all”)… getting his masters in mathematics at Columbia; choosing music over a PhD; his slow unfolding split with Paul and its aftermath; learning to perform on his own, giving a thousand concerts worldwide, his voice going south (a stiffening of one vocal cord) and working to get it back . . . about being a husband to Kim and father to sons Arthur Jr. and Beau.
In an exclusive excerpt in BILLBOARD magazine, Art talked about being captivated and inspired by the early rock disk jockeys of the 1950’s: “I was captured. So was Paul. We followed WINS radio. Paul bought a guitar. We used my father’s wire recorder, then Paul’s Webcor tape machine. Holding rehearsals in our basements, we were little perfectionists. We put sound on sound (stacking two layers of our singing). With the courage to listen and cringe about how not right it was yet, we began to record.”