Q&A October, Part I
11/13/2010 (updated 1/3/2011)

I went with some friends to see your great creation of Cabaret of Souls at the South Bank in London. It was fantastic. Will there a release of this in the near future in DVD and CD format? If you know what I mean by this, when you go through life there is always something that you would put in a treasure box and take out and see or hear it that bring back wonderful memories and this one of those things. I am a great fan of yours, you never end surprising people in what you create. Best Wishes, John Slade London, UK

I don’t feel we have a good enough recording of COS yet, but we will record the upcoming Royce Hall show, and I’d be glad to see that released if it’s up to par. It will most likely be audio only.

Richard, after listening to "A Brother Slips Away," I'm curious as to your thoughts about the afterlife. I hope this isn't too personal a question, but I so rarely see a discussion of this topic. People so often use dodges based on "my religious beliefs are private." Can you share yours? Warmest regards., Ken Merrill

The one paragraph answer:

I believe in a creator of the Universe, which in this context I would prefer to call the Great Spirit, to avoid clichés and preconceptions. We are separated from the Great Spirit as little pieces of light and consciousness, and begin a journey which some have described as being like the arc of a fish leaping out of the ocean – we believe ourselves at first to be separate entities, and gradually return to being part of the sea. This process involves a pre-life, a life, and a post-life, and the post-life is about deeper knowledge and purification. If the world we inhabit is composed of dualities, then the next world would be higher and lower dimensions of things manifested on Earth – ‘fires’ and ‘gardens’. I believe life is about the search for knowledge, and love of The Great Spirit and its creatures and creation.

I read elsewhere that you have no plans to record the upcoming Elizabethan shows with Phil Pickett. This is a big problem amongst your North American fans, particularly those of us who also love early music (i.e. me,) as we (I) have no opportunity to make it to the live performances. Would you consider filming/recording excerpts and posting them on your website? Also, I was looking over the last monthly Q&A page, and I remember you saying something to the effect of "Questions regarding the reissue of Sunnyvista, First Light, and Strict Tempo crop up almost every month." I acknowledge that am being blatantly obnoxious by making sure that they get a mention this month. I hope the US tour gets off to a great start, and I can't wait to see you and the band in Boston on the 29th! Best, Niles Krieger

There are no plans as yet to record the shows with Phil Pickett, but I hope that might happen at some point. I note your interest in Sunnyvista, First Light, Strict Tempo.

We used to live in Salt Lake City and have seen Richard several times, and would be there again tomorrow except that we live in New Zealand now. I heard you haven't been down here in many, many years, although you have been to stinking Australia - who are trying to steal The Hobbit (bastards). What about a tour to (the real) Middle-earth sometime - WELLINGTON especially (& DUNEDIN). Cheers, BARRY CARTER

P.S. You could even hire me to follow you around and make an on the road documentary about your trip.

Always trying to get to NZ – maybe when the economy picks up a little.

I've noticed a few mentions in your Q&A about your garden in California. You're obviously keen. Like you, I garden in a region with a Mediterranean climate - cool wet winters and hot dry summers - and I'd guess that we grow many similar types of plants.

I look with undiluted envy at photographs of English cottage gardens, perennial borders, etc, but can only dream about them in this climate. I might be able to get a display for a week in spring before everything fried.

Do you miss that sort of garden? Or have you grown to prefer the Mediterranean/Californian style? I suppose I have, sort of. I think it's more challenging but the rewards can be greater. I find South African species are very good for variety.

I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts (and hear a bit more about your own garden). Peter Farrell, Adelaide, Australia

You can grow something that looks like an English garden here in California if you work very hard on using your microclimates and irrigate a lot. We just had our sprinkler usage cut back to twice a week in LA (a great idea that saves millions of gallons), so the only choice is really to go for xeriscape gardening. I grow the usual natives, Mediterraneans and sub-tropicals (including, like you, a lot of South Africans), and an increasing number of architectural succulents, and that gives a pretty wide palette. Being near the California coast, we get a fair amount of fog rolling in at night, and lingering in the morning, which helps with things like Fuschia and some of the more tender plants. August and September are very hot, and plants, especially those in pots, will fry very quickly, so shade and placement become important. There are reasons why houses in inland Spain and Italy just seem to grow Lavandula and Pelargonium – they can take it!