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The Rhinestone Cowboy retires: Glen Campbell on farewell tour

Courtesy photo
Legendary country singer Glen Campbell comes to Huntington's Keith Albee Theater Thursday, after having to reschedule his planned Dec. 11 concert due to laryngitis. The singer is out on his final tour.

WANT TO GO?

Glen Campbell's Goodbye Tour

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Keith Albee Theater, 925 Fourth Ave., Huntington

COST: $25, $40 and $69

INFO: 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com

NOTE: Tickets from originally scheduled Dec. 11 show will be honored.CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Singer Glen Campbell doesn't have any real plans for 2012.

"We're just taking it as it comes," he said.

Campbell is focusing his attention on the here and now, and right now he's on a Goodbye Tour, a sort of victory lap before he retires from performing. The tour comes to the Keith Albee Theater in Huntington Thursday as part of the Marshall Artist Series. It's a makeup date for a show scheduled last month that was postponed due to a bout of laryngitis for the Country Music Hall of Famer and multi-Grammy Award winner.

At 75, Campbell's health is something everyone around him guards carefully, especially since he announced in June of last year that he had Alzheimer's disease. It's something he downplays and jokes about.

On the phone from his home in Malibu, he called to his wife, Kim, "Honey, what's Alzheimer's?"

Before she could answer, he laughed and added, "Oh, it's where you forget things. I've been doing that all of my life."

To him, the diagnosis is much ado about nothing. He feels fine.

"It hasn't changed anything with me. I think they blowed<co > up a big balloon over nothing."

Campbell can still remember a lot of things, like working with John Wayne on the original "True Grit" film in 1969. 

"I got the role because of his daughter," he said. "I was doing the television show ['The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour'], and John Wayne's daughter said she wanted to meet Glen Campbell.

"She was just 6 or 7 years old."

The film legend brought his daughter (or possibly granddaughter, Campbell's wife believed) to the set of the show. Wayne was impressed with the singer and asked him, "Hey, do you want to do a movie?"

Campbell said he told him, "I've never acted before."

"My record is still clean," he joked.

Wayne was good to work with and only got frustrated with Campbell's lack of dramatic training once.

"There was never any harsh words," Campbell said. "I told him I'd kick his butt if there were."

Campbell doesn't think much of the idea of retirement, even though he is officially on a "goodbye" tour. Retirement to him seemed unlikely, even if his agent doesn't agree.

At the moment, Campbell said he's having too much fun touring with his kids. His three children from his fourth and current marriage are part of his band. His sons, Cal and Shannon, play drums and guitar while his daughter, Ashley, plays banjo.

"They're just wonderful," he said. "They've got their own band, too: Instant People. Having them along, it's a family thing."

Campbell is very proud of them.

"They all play so good," he said. "I started them out young, at zero, when they were in their diapers. They were always beating on drums or blowing on horns.

"I really have a good time with them."

"Retirement might mean cutting down a little bit," he acknowledged, but he's not sure he should just yet.

The Beach Boys recently announced plans for a full-scale reunion tour in 2012 that would include all the surviving members of the band. Campbell was a member from 1964 to 1965, filling in for Brian Wilson. He performed on several albums, including "Pet Sounds."

Campbell said his time with The Beach Boys was a real learning experience for him.

"Brian Wilson is just a genius," he said.

He said he'd love to see the reunion happen and go back out on the road with them.

"If Dennis and the whole band was back together that would be wonderful," he added.

Dennis Wilson was a founding member of The Beach Boys. He died in 1983.   

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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