Q&A June 2012, Part I

Hi there, I am hoping that a visit to Australia might be in the near future for Richard - anything on the horizon? Thanks, Adam Yavner

Not right now. Always trying to get down there, and I'd love to bring a band.

In view of the continuing political uncertainty in the United Kingdom, do you have any plans to dust off your long lost classic "When I'm Prime Minister"? With best wishes, and many thanks for so many years of fabulous music. Mike Chalmers

It wasn't really intended as a political manifesto, but I'm ready to step in if needed.

Re: Mark Heard/Buddy Miller
Your pal/current bandmate Buddy Miller has had a long association with the late American singer/songwriter Mark Heard; he cut an award-winning cover of Mark's song "Worry Too Much," for example. I have been listening to Mark's work a lot lately, especially his final album "Satellite Sky," and would dearly love if you and Buddy paid tribute by performing one or more of Mark's songs. Are you familiar with Mark's work? Although of course there are differences, but when I listen to his work I can't shake the feeling that Mark Heard may have been the closest that this country ever came to producing a Richard Thompson. And when are you returning to these islands? Glenn Gray, Hawaii

This is someone I don't know, and I'll need to check out. No immediate plans for Hawai'i.

Annual hockey question / comment time. So, your Kings finally did it!  Have you recovered yet?? I thought both the regular season & playoffs were pretty wacky this year, especially in the West. St. Louis winning the Central & San Jose & LA just squeaking in the playoffs. Mind you, both teams were also just a couple of points out of first in the Pacific. And I don't think too many saw an LA/NJ final. I was especially surprised at the Kings' regular season. Although I don't like him, I really thought the pickup of Mike Richards was the missing piece for LA. Then both he & the team had mediocre regular seasons, Doughty took time to get on track, etc. etc. And then came the playoffs!  In the end, I think the Kings' 8th place finish was a bigger surprise than their playoff run - for the past couple of seasons they'd played below their level in the post-season & suffered the Kopitar injury last year. On paper they've been an impressive team for some time. Your thoughts? Did you see any of the playoffs live (Mr. Robitaille's box again perhaps?) or did the glitterati suck up all the tickets? (We won't discuss my Red Wings who appear to be at the end of their run & now face life post-Lidstrom.) Brian Hayes - Ottawa ON

Yes, the Red Wings are coming to rebuilding time, but when you have Zetterberg and Datsyuk to build around, you're going to be in contention. The Kings just lined everything up at the right time, and I thought going into the playoffs that if they could get past Vancouver, there was no stopping them. At odds of 20-1, I was going to mortgage the house, but was physically restrained. I went to one playoff game in each round, and twice in the finals, and I was there for the winning game, which was just nuts! Kings also look the best bet for a long time to do a repeat.

I was delighted when I heard of the L.A. Kings' win, because I know you're a fan. How did you celebrate? Have you played the sport of Kings? (Sorry.) If you were to enjoy an alternate life as a hockey player, what would be your position? Pam

We are still celebrating! We have a small shrine of victory in the living room. We pinch ourselves occasionally (this is the Kings we are talking about). I regret not knowing about ice hockey as a kid, I would have loved to have played. I fancy myself as a Kopitar-type two-way centre.

This morning, my six year-old son Sam said, "Mama, I want to hear the best acoustic guitar playing in the world."  I smiled, and played him Vincent Black Lightning. Now, you being a humble guy, I know you will not agree with my choice, and I do admit to taking an opportunity to, err, indoctrinate him a bit... I didn't sit down and do a long, hard think... plus, we were running late for school. My question is: if a six-year old boy asked you this question, what recording would you play him, first? Donna Upton - Maplewood, NJ

I grew up in a house with Django, so I heard gypsy jazz as far back as I can remember. Based on my own experience, I would heartily recommend a diet of the Quintet du Hot Club de France, maybe kick off with 'Running Wild'?

I must ask you for your take on the Stanley Cup Finals (full disclosure: I am a diehard Devils fan). I still recall when, at your show at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on March 18, 2011, you mentioned how close the arts center is to the Devils' home arena. (I almost shouted out "Go Devils!" at the show, but decided against it.) Speaking of hockey, one of my favorite scenes from the "Solitary Life" documentary is you playing street hockey, which I've just started doing with my six-year-old son. Thanks, Chris

See above, and below, for more comments, and apology here for non-hockey people hoping to come to this page for musical wisdom and elucidation! Well done the Devils, a great team, but the Kings had the edge this time. Hope you can hang on to Parise.