When I was part of CKLN Radio in Toronto many moons ago, one of the highlights was being asked to be the master of ceremony for a concert by Gil Scott-Heron onstage. That really meant announcing him onstage. When the time came, I had to announce to the full house at the Bamboo club that Gil was delayed at the airport. Rumours started buzzing around the place that he was held up because of drugs, which turned out not to be the case, but I supposed one could forgive sections of the audience for believing so.
After many a year in the wilderness, he returns with a new album, out from Monday.
You can read about his trials and tribulations in an interview for The Guardian, with Sean O’Hagan, (not the Sean O’Hagan I once confused with the Sean O’Hagan of the band Microdisney)
“People keep saying I disappeared,” the singer tells me, laughing heartily, when I speak to him. “Well, that’s a gift I didn’t know I had. You ever see someone disappear? That makes me a superhero, right?”