No one knows how much longer Loren Connors can continue to play the guitar.
The 65-year-old Brooklyn Heights resident was diagnosed in 1992 with Parkinson’s disease, the slow-onset disorder that attacks the nervous system, and he has since been doing everything possible to keep performing and writing as the ailment continues to affect him.
“Doctors haven’t told me anything negative yet,” Connors said. “I just have to stop breaking bones. Parkinson’s tends to make you fall. I broke my wrist, then my hip, and last December, my shoulder got a multiple fracture. Used to be able to throw a baseball real good, but can’t do that anymore. I can still play guitar though, so that’s all that really matters.”
The disease has not dulled his creative spirit one bit. Since the diagnosis, Connors has recorded a wealth of material that includes albums of Irish folk, darkly-colored electric blues, and plenty of experimental works that are more free-form and noisy.
He also tries to perform as much as he is able, either solo, with his partner Suzanne Langille, or collaborating with any number of like-minded artists — including Kim Gordon, the former Sonic Youth co-founder with whom he will play an improvised set at Issue Project Room Downtown on Dec. 3.
“I like playing solo because I go places I don’t expect,” he said. “I like playing with other people because it creates different colors and moods, and sometimes that affects my future solo playing.”
The problem that Connors runs into with live performance is making sure he is physically able to play the way he wants to. The key is the right medication at the right time, he said.
“It’s all about pill timing,” he said. “They have pills that help a lot, but they wear off. I have to time it just right.”
Connors still has plenty of creative juice left in the tank, but he tries to remain pragmatic. When asked about the coming year, he would only mention the promise of new music and reissues of some older recordings.
Beyond that, his outlook is simple.
“I don’t think about the future,” he said. “I just do what I do.”
Loren Connors and Kim Gordon at Issue Project Room [110 Livingston St. between Boerum Place and Court Street in Downtown (718) 330–0313, www.issue