April/May Q&A, Part II
7/1/2009 (updated 7/1/2009)

On a more prosaic note.... as a woman with both glasses and a PhD, I'd love to have Mr. Thompson autograph one of my glasses' cases. If I sent one, do you think he would? Thanks for your patience, Judith Reymond

Send it right along.

I was wondering how many songs are in Richard Thompson's performing repertoire, solo and with the band. I always marvel at how he is able to juggle songs spanning such a long career into one coherent set. Also, any chance that a live solo CD will be released soon? Thanks for the wonderful music. David Zipkowitz

For a band tour, we might have about 26, for a solo tour, I'd probably draw on around 40, and be able to do some requests off the cuff as well. I should know all of them, and some fans think I absolutely must know them all, but it's hard to keep more than that in my noggin. We may release something from the Montalvo shows last year, pending clearances of cover songs.

I love your melancholy ballad 'How Will I Ever Be Simple Again', and identify with the lyrics having been through some traumatic experiences recently and in the past. What was your inspiration? The words "teach me to see with your innocent eyes love" are especially touching. I wish that I could see through my son's "innocent eyes" and want to protect his innocence at the same time.

I enjoyed your live performance in NC last month; your sardonic sense of humour is right on and yours was the best one-man show I've ever seen! I hope you live a long life and keep writing incredible songs. Best to you, Alison Brown - 3/4 Scotch (and frugal)

I just wrote it as a story, and don't remember any sources that inspired it.

I've been a fan since I saw you with the Fairports at the Bath Festival in 1970 ( I think? ) Was it true you and the rest of the band were transported there on the back of Hell's Angells morercycles? By the way I think I am one of the few people who bought 'Henry the Humam Fly' at the time and have the album to prove it. Anyway my real questions are;

1. Following on from an earlier question do you think that the success of a gig depends on the interaction between band/artist and the audience rather than simply the artist's performance? This certainly seems to be the case for someone like Springsteen I wonder what your views are?

For a rock show, and for me, an acoustic show, it feels better with a little interaction from the crowd. For classical music, it would be hard to know a good audience from a bad one while you were playing. For me, the audience is part of the musical process.

2. I recently came across Buddy Miller's version of ' Keep Your Distance' which was a full on Country interpretation. Was this near your concept of the song? It seems to me many of your songs can be given a country make over because they are about 'real' human issues which country at its best is all about!

My concept of the song was the way I recorded it. Buddy Miller's, and Patty Loveless', translate well into the country idiom, I believe, because the Scots/Irish roots are still close, lyrically and musically.

3. Was it true that you were made an offer to join the Eagles back when Bernie Leadon left? If you had joined what do you think a 'Hotel California' minus Joe Walsh but plus Richard Thompson would have sounded like? ( just a bit of fun! ) Alan Jones ( London )

I believe there were some feelers at the time. It would not have been an appropriate stylistic choice for me.

Re: "Quiet Joys of Brotherhood"
I would be grateful if I could find out the story behind the lyrics as my daughter has been asked to perform the same and wants to get a feel for the words. Kerrie Clare

This song was written by Richard Farina, and originally performed by Richard and Mimi Farina. The tune is borrowed from the Lagan Love Song (Irish traditional). I can only speculate as to the intentions of the author, but the song seems to describe a perfect natural world, an Eden, which in the last verse is compromised by the presence of Mankind.

Has Richard ever considered collaborating with Pete Townshend? That would be an interesting pairing. Craig Held

Might be fun. There was a vague rumour of doing something in the 80s. One of my faves.

Greetings. I'm sorry if you've answered this before, but I couldn't find it anywhere on your site. I would love to know the tuning for "Tim & the Bears" from "Grizzly Man." Michael Colin, Santa Barbara, CA

The tuning is CGDGBE. This is just a short improvised piece.

Richard, i once asked if you would see it happen in your lifetime to be on the same stage at the same time with Neil Young - to which you answered that you do not move around in the same cirlcles - which to me is really sad as I consider the two of you as some (maybe two out of three) of the most original guitarists of our time - but I should have asked this: what's your opinion on his guitar playing. To my ears, there is a really big similarity in your guitar playing: emotion is what it's all about, while at the same time there is a big difference in technique. This is really a big fascination for me.