Q&A November 2012, Part I
12/4/2012 (updated 2/11/2013)

Nice to see Roger Chapman's Family getting back together after 40 years for a couple of reunion shows in London on February 2013. Do you have any recollections about sharing the stage with them when Family and Fairport were both up and coming bands on the London's underground scene of the late Sixties? And did you appreciate their music? Thank you. Alfredo Marziano

Thank God for socialism! In the 60s, every educational institution - university, teachers training college, polytechnic - had an entertainment budget from good old taxpayers' money, which basically subsidized psychedelic music, and those who clung to its coattails (like Fairport). Probably half of all the shows we played were colleges in those days, and most shows featured multiple bands. Most college social secretaries (many of whom went on to run record companies) would rather lazily phone one of the agencies and say, "Send me eight bands", and if it were the Brian Morrison Agency, or later NEMS, they might send Fairport, Blossom Toes and Family as part of the package. So we ended up doing a lot of bills with Family, and they really were a great band at that time - solid rhythm section, good arrangements, and the distinctive vocal stylings of Chappo. Everyone thought they would go on to be as big as the Floyd or Deep Purple, or at least Traffic. I think when it didn't happen quickly enough, they started to second guess themselves, and tinker with what was a unique and original sound.

Greetings from Chicago. Your September 19 show here at the City Winery was excellent. I treated my girlfriend to her first RT show that night so she could hear what all my fuss was about. She really enjoyed it and afterward said: "I feel like I saw a rare treat, something special that one should see at least once in their life."

A few years ago at the Park West, in between songs, you told a really funny joke about a meeting in heaven between a bunch of musicians, among them Howling Wolf, Screaming Jaw Hawkins, Prince (I think), etc. All of them had nicknames like that and someone in the story is introducing them all to each other, like: "Screaming, meet Howling. Howling, Screaming." It went something like that, but there were other musicians. I can't recall it, could you retell it?

This joke originated, I believe, with guitarist Billy Bremner (not the Leeds and Scotland midfielder). The basic idea is that you have to do the introductions at the Blues-singers' party, hence "Howling, meet Screaming, Screaming, this is Howling, Blind, this is Cripple…" etc. No real script to it, you just grab the names as they occur.

There is also the intros at the music 'royalty' party - "Duke, meet Prince, Prince, this is Earl, Earl, meet King" etc. etc.

I think that same show was a duo one with Danny on bass. Any shows with him in the future? Best wishes for the upcoming album and tour. Jeff VanDenBussche - Chicago

We just played with Danny on Cabaret Of Souls, but no upcoming plans for duo dates.



Re: Football (real version)
Did you catch the Celtic victory over Barcelona? Even Rod Stewart was in tears at end, caught on camera. What did you think of it? Thanks for releasing the Celtic Connections Blu-ray, my Wife and I are front row. Fame at last. And well done on receiving the J200, is it the pure acoustic or the model with the electrics? Moving from a dreadnought shape background, I found the sound took a bit of getting used to. You mentioned Pete Townshend plays one, quite brilliantly of course, most famously it's on the Who Are You album. How do you decide which acoustic for which song, and why?

Glasgow visit on the agenda? Michael

I did watch in disbelief as Celtic put one over on Barca, quite amazing. Not sure they'd win a best of five series, but we'll enjoy the glow for now. Rod Stewart had me in tears with his PBS Christmas Special... I think the J200 has a pickup, haven't tried that yet. Mostly I use my walnut and cedar Lowden on stage, because the electronic output is fairly flat. In the studio I use the Lowden RT Signature for most things, but I'll use different guitars for other tasks like rhythm, or if I need a smaller sound.

Edinburgh Usher Hall, not Glasgow, on the upcoming band tour.