Here’s the story (in the Hollywood Reporter, no less):
Slightly overwhelmed with emotion and fighting back tears, Archie, as he’s affectionately known, explained to an audience of over 2,000 at Abravanel Hall why he felt a two-year mission was his calling at this juncture in his life. “It’s not because someone told me I was supposed to do it and not because I no longer want to do music anymore,” he said. “It’s because it’s what I feel I need to do next in my life. It’s the same feeling that I’ve always tried to follow in my life — the feeling that’s allowed me to have the opportunities I’ve had, the challenges and the blessings, too. And I’ve learned to trust that feeling and answer when it calls. That’s the reason why I know I have to do this in my life. ”
Good for him, all the more so because there is no guarantee he’ll have much of a music career waiting for him when he returns. (Yes, there are those who will argue he doesn’t have much of one now, but, hey, he is on tour, isn’t he?) Plus, it’s hard to think of a better innoculation against the unrealities and distortions of the showbiz industry than two years of hearing about the real problems of ordinary people.