The critically acclaimed singer and songwriter, Burton Cummings, will be open up the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts new season. An original member of the The Guess Who, Cummings will perform a special solo concert on Saturday, October 6th, his first appearance in the Detroit area in over two years.
“The general area of Detroit has a very soft spot in my heart,” says Cummings. “The Guess Who’s first big record, These Eyes, broke wide open there and in Windsor, so that area has always been special to me."
The Canadian musician is a founding member of The Guess Who, the legendary rock and roll group that formed in the late 1960s. The band went on to have countless hit songs including These Eyes, American Woman, She’s Come Undone, and Laughing. His career with the band is one for the record books and started when they earned their first gold record for These Eyes. “Dick Clarke actually gave us our first one on American Bandstand,” he says, “and being so young at the time, it was just mind blowing for me.”
The band went one to achieve all sorts of awards and fame while performing for huge crowds and having life altering experiences. The Seattle Pop Festival in 1969 stands out to Cummings because, at the time, it was one of the biggest festivals that lasted for three days with around 80,000 people in attendance. “We got to play all three days and I was still very young, only about 21, and we were playing all these incredible artists like The Doors, Led Zepplin, Ike and Tina Turner, Bo Diddley, Frank Zappa, Mothers of Invention, Alice Cooper, and more,” he says. “It was definitely one of the highlights that will always stand out for me.”
In 1976, Cummings set out on his own, while reuniting periodically with The Guess Who, and has never stopped performing. “I’m very happy with the career I’ve had. When you are in your first band when you are 14 years old, you are never thinking a head far enough to expect it to be one of the lucky ones,” he says, “but I am. I’m in my 60s and very happy with how it has turned out for me."
He knows how fortunate he is to still be performing. “I know a lot of people from my era that don’t have a career anymore,” he says. “I don’t take it lightly. I’m very happy to have the loyal fans that I’ve had through the years.”
Cummings tours with a five-piece band that he has been working with for over ten years. All six of them sing, including the drummer. They also work very hard to sound like the music people hear on the radio and albums “It’s a very, very good band,” he says, “we have a lot of vocal power and from working together so long, it is a very tight show.”
His distinctive voice is one that he hopes will let his fans remember times that have past. He also has one goal he is determined to achieve while performing: to make the crowd happy. “We take people on an emotional roller coaster at a show because that’s the magic of songs and hit records, they become sign posts of people’s lives,” he says. “What we do is just try and remind people of times gone by and try to sounds like the records, let them have a good time, and send them home happy.”
Cummings wants to invite his fans to connect with him on Facebook, which he is on almost daily. He performs at the Macomb Center for the Performing on Saturday, October 6th. For tickets, visit www.MacombCenter.com or call 586.286.2222.