Interview with Ian Davies – London ON

December 4, 2000

in News,Press

On Sunday, December 17th at 7:30 pm, Garnet Rogers returns to London for his annual concert in support of the London & Area Food Bank. As the Victoria Times puts it, “Garnet Rogers is a national treasure.” Below is an abbreviated interview with Garnet that I did last year.


Ian Davies – The concert that you’re doing in London is in support of the London and Area Food Bank. How did you come to be so supportive of the Food Bank?

Garnet Rogers – It’s kind of a non-denominational thing and it’s kind of a no-brainer. It goes across party lines kind of stuff: everyone gets hungry. It’s an enormous privilege for me to stand up and be able to sing my own songs. I always say I’d do it for free, I just get paid for the driving. That’s pretty much the way it is for me. But I would like to be able to build something else into the concerts and have something left behind after the smoke and dust is cleared away where people are actually benefiting from the concert at some level.

ID – You’ve been coming to London for a lot of years. Do you have some favourite memories of London?

GR – Part of the reason I’m doing this is because of how seductive the folk club scene was when I was young. When I was 15 years old I was taking the bus pretty much every weekend from Hamilton to be with my brother (Stan). He was living on Maitland Street at the time. I would spend the weekend going to Smale’s Pace Coffeehouse every night and listening to people play music for fun all weekend in the apartment. There was a lot of social life around that…it was pretty seductive and heady stuff for a 15-year- old kid. So I think that’s really where the harpoon got stuck in me and I got hauled in.

ID – There was quite a gap between your “Night Drive” CD (1996) and the latest one “Sparrow’s Wing”.

GR – “For over a year, I wrote nothing, feeling pretty much at times that I’d finally said my piece and exorcised a few demons in the process. So again, I felt I had to find a new way to write, and a different sound. I couldn’t simply repeat what I’d just done. And having, at least in my own mind, publicly reclaimed my connection with Stan (there being so many fans who came to his music after his death that some don’t know that we played together), I found myself writing about the Maritimes and drifting back to the elements of the sound we created together 25 years ago – my own sound. I’ve come to recognize over the years that the writing process for me is one of trying to make sense of my life, of what goes on in the world around me. But the songs on “Sparrow’s Wing” are for the most part, far more personal and revelatory than what I’ve written in the past.”

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