Q&A November 2012, Part IV
12/1/2012 (updated 12/3/2012)

Speaking of Django, has "Django Placebo" ever jammed with Derek Smalls?  : ) As always, thank you, Richard for your thoughtful As to my Qs. Cheers, Doug, NY, NY

Not sure we really have, although I have crossed plectrums with Nigel Tufnell.


Bobby Icon CD

Re: Cayamo
Richard… Looking forward to seeing you and the band again on the cruise. Any chance you'll have some tour apparel for sale? I need a new shirt! Must we wait for February to get the new CD or will it be available onboard? Thanks….. Sean Hennessy, Waterloo, Wisconsin

Really not sure what we'll have on the merch table at Cayamo. Getting a record pre-release for the cruise is up to the record label.

I believe I have read past reference to your use of homeopathic remedies. Can you please tell us about that, including any routine practices in which you engage and how you became interested in alternative medicine? Have you found it to be beneficial?

Just like the Queen and Prince Charles, I've used homeopathy for most of my life. I also use acupuncture sometimes. Fool! I hear you cry - don't you know homeopathy can't possibly work, because there is no trace of the original substance in the remedy, after all that dilution? If you get any benefit at all, it is clearly just the placebo effect. Well, we know from studies that about a third of patients respond well to placebos…but here's a thing…homeopaths use placebos all the time. A common way of giving treatment for a chronic illness is to prepare a month's daily doses of the chosen remedy, and number them, say 1 to 30. Only the remedies in #s 3, 14, and 21, say, will be potentised - the rest will be placebos, unknown to the patient. The practitioner will ask the patient to call if there are any changes, and will be expecting calls on the 4th, 15th and 22nd of the month.

I got interested in homeopathy when I was about 16. Western drugs seemed a clumsy way of dealing with illness, basically attacking the disease, which will then become more resistant, and all those side effects too. Homeopathy and acupuncture are energy medicines that stimulate the body to heal itself. I think modern surgery is fantastic, and I've used allopathic drugs occasionally when I couldn't get to anything else, and probably the rosiest future of all would be all these disciplines working together for the good of mankind. I currently use a slightly controversial form of homeopathy, as pioneered by Dr. Sankaran, which I find extremely effective.

Turning to your upcoming CD and your songwriting process:  1) Is the song titled 'Sally B' a reference to BBC reporter, Sally Boazman, dubbed the 'sexiest voice on the radio'?  2) Are the songs on the upcoming CD cultivated from new ideas, or do you accumulate notes of day-to-day occurrences and use them as the backbone of your writing at a later time? 3) John Hiatt's newest release contains a song entitled 'Wood Chipper' that's written in the first person, by a murder victim. Traditionally it seems that ballads are written in the third person, with a narrator telling the story of the victim. Have you ever written a song from the POV of the deceased describing his own demise?

'Sally B' is just a name pulled out of the ether. It's easy to sing.

It's impossible to say whether new songs are from new ideas. Stuff swims around my brain and gurgles out at some point, and I don't know how long it's been in there - a bit like a backed-up sewage system. Songwriting as a mental roto-rooter?

I've never written a song from the victim's viewpoint, as far as I remember. It takes a writer of great skill like Mr. Hiatt to pull off something like that.

Lastly, how did you hook up with Techonomy? What did you learn? Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer. This monthly feature on your website is extremely enjoyable. Kay Brown

The organizer of Techonomy, David Kirkpatrick, seems to be deluded enough to be something of a fan. This was an invitation-only event, with CEOs of some very large and important tech companies, all discussing the future of the planet, and it was extremely interesting. I was the light relief, if you can imagine. At dinner, I was sitting next to the Undersecretary of State and Ray Kurzweil! I learned  about the Swedish police using data files, and cutting crime by a staggering percentage, and communications technology in Africa empowering the poor, and Bridges To Freedom International, reducing torture in prisons around the world, amongst other things.



This might be a long shot, but i was wondering if there's any chance of your songs being made into a songbook for the banjo? I'm getting one for Christmas and would love (after much practice) to be able to play some of your tunes. Also, very unrelated, what do you think of tattoos? Thinking of getting an RT tattoo in the near future. if I ever had the chance to meet you, and lifted up my shirt sleeve (after getting it done) would you grimace and shake your head or would you think it was cool? Just curious. See you next time you hit the Egg. sincerly,  tyler Wilhelm

A banjo songbook is probably not a viable option for me at this point - sorry! It's not too hard to read guitar charts and transcribe them for banjo, in your head, with a little practice.

Tattoos are like puppies - for life! If you tattoo a girl's name on your body, make sure it's one that can be added to or changed when the flame of love sadly dies and is replaced by another. Short names, like Jo or Ann are best. If you must put me there, better to just put RIC - then you can change it to ERIC later when I cruelly disappoint you.


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