Article Originally Published at The Calgary Herald
Life for a travelling band doesn't have to be all about eating fast food while getting crammed in the back of a van with all your equipment. For 71-year-old singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, it's a steady diet of good food and plenty of gym time. The legendary writer of "Up Where We Belong" and "Universal Soldier" chatted with Jon Roe about life on the road, the Internet and recently hitting the studio with Randy Bachman. Visit swervecalgary. com for the full interview.
Are you working on a new album with Randy Bachman? We don't even know what it is. We just really like each other's music, and Randy and I both have a lot of songs that we love that have been overshadowed by our hits. There are a lot of songs that are-oh god, they're all different. Big rockers, some are like bossa nova. All kinds of stuff. We're doing it for ourselves, we don't know if anybody else is going to like it. But we're going to see what we're going to get. We recorded eight songs and we're very happy with them. We don't know what to do next.
You have this history being part of the '60s and the folk music of that time. What do you think is the lasting legacy of that period? It's kind of funny. It's not a lasting legacy so much as a reinvention of the most wonderful things of the '60s. I would say independent thinking. The Internet right now is very much like the streets were in the '60s when students ruled and people were standing up to unfairness in politics and business and corporations.
Do you find it easier to make a living as an artist now that a lot of distribution channels are through the Internet, or is it harder? I'll tell you what's really killing us is baggage charges for touring bands and for sports teams. Sports teams and the arts, we're right on the edge of not being able to continue. Sports teams and high-school bands and professional touring bands-it just costs me a freaking fortune everytime I get on a plane with my equipment and my band's equipment. In Australia, I think it was Virgin Airlines who were the first ones to address this and start giving touring bands a break on their stuff. Recently in the U.S., somebody came up with at least the idea of homogenizing and standardizing what the airlines can charge. Right now they can charge anything they want.
Have you lost the appetite for touring at all? I usually have a good time where I go. The hard part is the day before you fly and having to pack. You know you're going to forget something and you're wondering what the heck it is. The flying itself is long. But I work out all the time and I dance and I move and I eat like a champion. I have sashimi every morning for breakfast. I feed my brain first and I work out so my body's real healthy. I think I'm in better shape than I was in my 20s. All the band works out in a gym, and we eat real good. I don't think it's harder.
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Saturday, March 10. At Grace Presbyterian Church, 1009 15th Ave. S.W. Doors 7p.m. $35 -$40. 403-233-0904, calgaryfolkfest.com.
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