Burton Cummings will turn 65 on New Year's Eve. But retirement isn't even a passing thought for the former Guess Who singer and hitmaking solo artist.
"When I was a kid in Canada, we were raised to know that 65 means you're an old-age pensioner," says Cummings, "but what I am today is not my idea of 65 was when I was a kind in the prairies of Manitoba. I did a show last year with Steve Miller, one of the big California state fairs; this guy's 71 and he came out and just rocked the audience.
"So I have a new set of heroes. It's the guys who have kept going a long time and can still go out and send the crowd home happy. There's a handful of us from that era that are still out doing it -- but not all that many. I'm just proud I can go out and do all those hits I've had."
Cummings says he has enough new songs for another studio album, but his primary focus right now is "Massey Hall," a live album he recorded during November shows in 2010 and 2011 at the famed Toronto theater. He hopes to have the set out soon, and he'll also be publishing a book of his poetry called "The Writings of B.L. Cummings," adopting that name "because it sounds literary."
"The stuff I found easy in school was literature and English, and foreign languages," Cummings explains. "I was writing poetry and short stories and stuff all the time, and my mother, bless her heart, kept all this stuff I wrote and I've been discovering them again, putting some of them up on line. It's interesting, because back then, of course, I didn't know I was going to have gold records and notoriety.
"I just like making the English language dance. I like the cadences and rhythm of the language. I don't think I'd do a big, long story like a novel, but I would love to write a screenplay. I'm not running out of things to do, that's for sure."
Burton Cummings performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Macomb Center, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township. Tickets are $50-$65. Call 586-286-2141 or visit www.macombcenter.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to