Answers to Jan/Feb Questions, Part III
3/7/2010 (updated 3/7/2010)

The first time I was aware of you was in 1975 on the front cover of 'Guitarist' magazine in the UK,with an interview inside given at your Hampstead flat,just after a 'comeback' concert at the QEH. It's a long time since I laid eyes on my issue, but one question that came up was,'Is your style based on triads?' To which the short answer was 'yes'.I was wondering if you could expand on this a little; I can see how your music is harmonically/structurally very different to, say, Bill Evans and the polychords he used, but couldn't help wondering if you and the interviewer were simply referring to your right hand techniques for chording/arpeggios, etc? thank you, Max Cuthbert

It’s a long time ago, and I don’t really  know what the question referred to. Everybody uses triads, everybody uses scales. There’s that jazz thing where you pile triads from different keys and modes on top of each other, but I don’t think he was referring to that. Bill Evans used tight 'inside' chords, and I suppose there is a folky modal equivalent of that…sorry, can't answer.          

Must youth be served?...and by "youth" I of course mean the Chicago Blackhawks...Tom Morrissey, Riverside, Illinois

Well, I’m not going to serve them, they can get their own drinks. The Kings are just as young, of course, and I’d rather be a slave to their vicissitudes. I do fancy the Blackhawks for a good run in the cup this year.

Richard, I have just finished reading Daniel J. Levitin's "The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature". As you are a musician that I admire greatly and you have yourself recorded and toured "1,000 Years of Popular Music"; I am interested to know if you 1) have read this book (or "This Is Your Brain on Music" for that matter) and 2) what you may think of his reduction over 1,000 years of music into six song types? Are there song types that you think he has overlooked? Thank you. David Langdon

I enjoyed ‘This Is Your Brain On Music’ but have not read ‘The World In Six Songs’, which sounds very interesting. To employ cheap Psychology, one could argue that there are only two songs, one’s about mum and one’s about dad. It might be a depressing read, as one realizes that one has only managed to write one or two songs in one’s whole career.

Dear Richard, I was recently reminded (through a book I was reading) that you and Fairport played in Rome as far back as 1968. Do you have any recollections about  that particular gig? Was it a very chaotic rock festival (as I read)? Where did it take place, an indoor arena or an open air venue? Thank you very much, see you soon. Alfredo Marziano

It was called The Rome Pop Festival, and was probably 1968, May, I think…Iain Matthews had joined the band, It was held in the Palazzo Dello Sport, and was vastly under-attended – probably only 2,000 people a day in a stadium that held 20,000? The Association, The Nice, The Move, The Byrds, all played, as well as some incredibly corny local groups like I Roboti, who were truly from another era. When The Move started letting off smoke bombs and chopping up TV sets, the riot police (who seemed ominously well-prepared) stormed the stage, used as much violence as possible, and dragged everyone off to jail. They moved the next night’s performance to the Piper club, where we watched a great set from the Byrds (with Gram Parsons). After the usual bribes, musicians and organizers were freed from prison. It was strange to be in Rome at that time, probably the first longhairs ever seen there, We would be followed up the street by gangs of teenage boys, mostly to taunt us (although possibly hoping we were girls – all the local crumpet was locked up at home by 9:30PM). When we checked into the hotel, we had come from another festival (I forget where) and I’d had no sleep. I was standing in the lobby with a suitcase and two guitars, bleary-eyed, and looking for a bellman to help me. I spied a fellow in uniform. “Excuse me”, I said through a haze of exhaustion, “could you help me with my bags?” The man looked at me incredulously. After a bit of huffing and puffing, he said, “Just who do you think you’re talking to? I’m a Colonel in the United States Army!”

What do you think of sponge cakes with ginger? I only ask because I "accidentally" named one after you when a friend asked for the name of the cake we were eating and I thought she was interested in the music playing at the time. Ever since, my ginger sponge cake has been known as "Richard Thompson" among my friends and I was always wondering what you would think of it if you knew. Thanks, Jens

Sounds delicious, but a boring name. ‘Human Fly Cakes’ sounds a bit more exciting, and you could emphasise the ‘fly’ part by adding currants, caraway seeds, or anything else small and black to the mix, to confuse the eyes and palates of guests.

Re: Damn those Dano's! That Dano your pictured with on the site looks like one of the "Convertible" models - Hard to tell from the way your standing. If it is, any tips on keeping it tuned/intonated from one second to the next? Those darn cheesy "floating bridges" a la Danelectro...I love my Covertible but for this....any awesome luthier to the star mods being done? Thanks! Michael Krebs

Being in tune is not a virtue of the Dano range. New tuning pegs help a lot, and I have yet to modify the bridge, but it must be done by someone.

Re: Loud and Rich. I was lucky enough to see this show here in Baton Rouge.  It was excellent!  What I would like to know is whether there will be an album or a DVD of this concert?  Thanks, Tim

No plans for this.