Q&A October 2012, Part III
11/3/2012 (updated 2/11/2013)

A cursory glance at your marvellous website suggests this is a mined area already, so, to be specific and brief, I've been trying to learn hybrid picking for ever with limited success. Despite studying videos of your playing for hours I still can't work out if you use the little finger of your right hand when hybrid picking or simply the middle and index. Personally, I have found learning to use the little finger incredibly difficult, and yet if I don't the effect I can produce seems to be limited (I can reach strings five and six with middle and index but what do I use to hit string four if I'm using the pick to play the bass notes?) Do you have any advice for getting the little finger up to speed, or alternatively playing hybrid style without using it and still covering all six strings? Thanks! Ed Tobin

In hybrid picking, I don't use the little finger, although I know others who do. So I'm just using the thumb and 2 fingers, and covering all strings that way. You have to learn to 'string-hop' - use any available finger for any string. Hard to describe or give examples here - you'll have to come to guitar camp next year!


You have many 'incarnations' in your musical portfolio:
-       RT Solo
-       RT Band (various personnel)
-       RT Trio (with Michael Jerome & Taras Prodaniuk)
-       1,000 Years of Popular Music (with Judith Owen & Debra Dobkin)
-       Loud & Rich (with Loudon Wainwright III)
-       Musicians of the Globe (with Phil Pickett)
-       RT/DT Duo
-       Cabaret of Souls
Are all of these still viable options for future touring/projects? If not, which ones have run their course? Kay Brown

All of these are still possibilities. I don't see a slot to do much with Loudon in the next couple of years, and it's hard to find time slots with Musicians Of The Globe, much as I would love to. 1,000 Years will happen at some point, but not in 2013, and the band will probably expand again after the Trio shows next year. Solo happens all the time. Cabaret takes some planning and financing, but we hope to do more.


How slow am I ? It's only just occurred to me that 'French' of 'French Frith Kaiser Thompson' is John French (aka Drumbo) of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. Sorry if it's been asked before, but how did you get involved with him ? Were you a fan of the Captain and his Band ? How did you rate his various guitar players, but especially Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo)? James Howard

FFKT was built around Henry Kaiser - we were all previous musical associates of Mr. K. (who is currently under the ice in Antarctica). John's an amazing drummer, who likes to give equal emphasis to every part of the drum kit. He was largely responsible for the arrangements of the Magic Band. I thought the guitarists were great. We saw them at the Cannes Music Festival in 1967 - quite amazing. That was before they played all night on the beach.



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