Burton Cummings says he's not one to "revel" in anniversaries -- like this year's 45th for his Guess Who hits "These Eyes" and "Laughing." But the group's former frontman says that the passage of time has certainly impacted on his relationship to that material.
To the positive, in fact.
"One thing I do notice is as the years go by and I go out and do my shows, it becomes more special every year," says Cummings, 66, a Winnipeg native who led the Guess Who from 1965-75. "Not only am I getting older and the records are older, but the audience is older, too, and they've gone through some losses. People get divorced. They lose a partner, or a child, and life goes on.
"And yet I come back every year that passes because the memories are stronger, and as we get older we have our memories to hang onto, and me singing those songs is part of those memories, so it means a lot for all of us."
Cummings, meanwhile, is finding other ways to share the music these days. He has a channel as part of Bop.fm that he provides a playlist for every month. Cummings says he "didn't realize how much work it would be" but is in the groove after seven months of programming, mixing his own music with favorites by other artists.
"I'm trying to not put the same songs all the time," says Cummings, who will also be publishing a poetry book, "The Writings of B.L. Cummings," in 2015. "I have a monstrous music collection. I do listen to a lot of different stuff, so I'm trying to make each (playlist) different and unique.
"And I get a tremendous response from people because I'm turning them on to stuff they wouldn't maybe have heard otherwise. I'm not just playing really mainstream stuff people have heard. We've all heard 'Proud Mary' 5,000 times, right? Not that I don't like John Fogerty and Creedence, but I'm trying to turn people on to some stuff that perhaps they aren't as familiar with, 'cause that's what gets the greatest reaction, I find."
Burton Cummings Band
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22
Macomb Center for the Performing Arts on the Macomb Community College Center Campus, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township.
Tickets are $49 and $43, with student, seniors and military discounts available.
Call 586-286-2222 or visit www.MacombCenter.com.
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