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Toronto: Paul Simon Talks Hearing Loss, New Song at ‘In Restless Dreams’ Doc Premiere

Paul Simon talked about his hearing loss in his left ear and his ability to continue playing, and even performed his music live, at a post-screening Q&A for In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon, the Alex Gibney documentary that had a world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday.

“I haven’t accepted it entirely, but I’m beginning to,” Simon told the Princess of Wales Theatre audience as he spoke on stage alongside director Gibney. In May, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter first revealed his hearing loss. 

“I play the guitar every day. It’s the instrument that allows me to express myself creatively. But it’s also where I go for solace. If I’m feeling … ‘whatever.’ So it’s a very crucial thing to me. You know, something happens to you when you have some sort of disability that changes your awareness or changes how you interact with life,” Simon added while opening up to the TIFF audience.

He pointed to no recovery of hearing in his left ear, which has made returning to performing live a challenge. “Usually, when I finished an album I went out and toured with it, and then I have the opportunity to really investigate the piece. And then it evolves to another standard, and goes further,” Simon insisted.

“Although a week from now I’m going to try and work with two guitarists who will play the parts that I played on the record, and see if I can sing the piece. I’m not sure how I can integrate my voice with the guitars,” the famed one-half of the iconic ’60s duo Simon & Garfunkel added.

Gibney’s documentary shows Simon in his home studio in Wimberly, Texas, tinkering with the sound on his latest album, Seven Psalms. In Toronto, Simon said he hasn’t listened to Seven Psalms in some time, but has completed a new song.

“I wrote a new song called ‘When I Learned to Play Guitar,’ but I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with it,” he told the audience at the TIFF premiere. The Toronto Film Festival continues through Sept. 17.



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