Crash haunts Cum­mings

Mu­si­cian says he’s con­sid­er­ing psy­chother­apy for first time in his life

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - ENTERTAINMENT - DAVID FRIEND

Bur­ton Cum­mings says he may con­sult a ther­a­pist for the first time to help over­come the psy­cho­log­i­cal fall­out of his re­cent car ac­ci­dent.

The for­mer Guess Who front­man says a month af­ter the ex­pe­ri­ence he’s still un­able to shake the mo­ment of the col­li­sion that to­talled his car and left him with sev­eral in­juries.

“Six or seven times it’s come back to me when I’m try­ing to sleep — I re­live the sound of that crash. Man, I don’t want to sound like a lit­tle girl,” Cum­mings said. “I’m 70, and for the first time in my life I think I’m go­ing to have to get some work done men­tally.”

The Win­nipeg rocker, who will be hon­oured with a SOCAN life­time achieve­ment award on June 18, insists he has “never liked that idea” of pay­ing for a psy­chother­a­pist, but would “gladly go” if it helped treat the hall­marks of post trau­matic stress.

The mu­si­cian posted a num­ber of pho­tos of the Los An­ge­les car ac­ci­dent — and his in­juries — on Face­book last month.

The in­ci­dent hasn’t changed Cum­mings’ per­spec­tive on life much, he insists, but it was one of the rea­sons he has largely sworn off us­ing Face­book. The so­cial me­dia plat­form was a place where he fre­quently shared mem­o­ries of his ca­reer and pho­tos of rare an­i­mals.

But he said a bar­rage of nasty com­ments from anony­mous users crit­i­ciz­ing his posts has left him dis­il­lu­sioned with the plat­form.

“I’m a pretty laid back guy on­line,” he said, “But I can’t do it any­more.”

In­stead he’s fo­cus­ing more time on read­ing books and his ca­reer highs, like the upcoming SOCAN award, which hon­ours song­writ­ers and com­posers. Cum­mings is known for his song­writ­ing cred­its on the Guess Who’s Amer­i­can Woman and These Eyes, as well as hit solo ef­forts like Stand Tall.

“I’ve got a pile of awards, but the writ­ing — that was al­ways some­thing I val­ued right at the top of the list ca­reer-wise,” he said.

“Ev­ery­body can sing, but peo­ple like Elvis Pres­ley, Kenny Rogers, they never wrote any of their own stuff. The minute the song­writ­ing around them started to sput­ter and fail, they fell from grace.”

Cum­mings hopes to de­liver a new al­bum of ma­te­rial soon that’s com­prised of songs he has saved for sev­eral years. He has be­come dis­il­lu­sioned with the con­cept of sell­ing al­bums, point­ing out that “not even Paul McCart­ney” can score a gold record any­more.

But it was a re­cent en­counter with his old friend Myles Good­wyn at an air­port that rein­vig­o­rated his pas­sion.

The April Wine front­man re­leased a solo al­bum in March that re­minded Cum­mings that he, too, could still put out some­thing fresh.

The lat­est batch of songs will fol­low a sim­i­lar path of his past work, in­clud­ing his most re­cent ef­fort, 2008’s Above the Ground, which mused on grow­ing older and the greater mean­ing of life.

“The new songs are more cu­ri­ous,” he said.

Other hon­ourees at this year’s SOCAN awards in­clude Sarah McLach­lan, Our Lady Peace, Daniel Cae­sar and Frank Dukes, a song­writer who has worked with the likes of the Weeknd and Camila Ca­bello.


Bur­ton Cum­mings says he may con­sult a ther­a­pist for the first time to help over­come the psy­cho­log­i­cal fall­out of his re­cent car ac­ci­dent.

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