Q&A December 2012, Part II
1/12/2013 (updated 1/12/2013)

In the BBC documentary, "Solitary Life," you quipped that Swarb liked to push the tempo to the point where it was "to me... unplayable" and "turbocharged." Watching the band's performance of "Jenny's Chickens and The Mason's Apron" in this video from Maidstone,


I get the impression that Swarb is fun-loving and a bit mischievous. Accurate assessment? Do you have any humorous Swarb anecdotes that you'd care to share?

Swarb is truly fun-loving and mischievous, as you suggest, although the tempos may have been down to the slimming pills Swarb was taking at the time - actually for slimming, although the active ingredient was amphetamine (no longer on the market, for those of you thinking of jamming along with 'Live At The LA Troubadour').

Anecdotes? We were in the States (with Fairport) in 1970, and had gotten to the hotel by mid-afternoon in preparation for a gig that night somewhere in the Midwest. I was taking a nap that had turned into a deep sleep, when there was a knock at the door. In something of a daze, I got up and answered it, and there was Swarb. He said, "All right?" I mumbled something. "Yeah? Everything OK?" Through the haze of interrupted sleep, I saw him keep thrusting his face very close to mine, but I was too befogged to process this in any rational way that would give meaning to this strange encounter. After a couple of minutes more of aimless repartee and bizarre facial posturing, all of it totally lost on me, he gave up, and with a sigh of disappointment, moved down the hallway to knock up somebody else. He told me later that he had shaved off exactly half his beard, and thought he would share the joke with his chums before removing the other half. I felt quite bad that I had failed to notice, but actually that was probably funnier.

As an ardent fan of NHL hockey, how you feel about fighting in the sport? A necessary part of a fast, often violent sport? Or gratuitous? Sorry about the lost NHL season!

I think in five years time, fighting in hockey will be gone. The medical reports are ever more conclusive that concussion has serious long term effects on health, so they are cutting down on hits to the head, and of course fist-fighting is mostly hits to the head. Personally, I'll be glad to see it go.

The season is back! Hope I can make a few games. Kings at 9-1 to repeat seems like good odds…

Typically, what temperature is your on-stage beverage (e.g., Vitamin Water, etc)?

Like most singers, I like the water at room temperature - keeps the throat relaxed.

Some of the leading British invasion musicians, including Lennon, McCartney and Jimmy Page, have stated that they were influenced by skiffle musicians such as Lonnie Donegan. Was any skiffle played in the Thompson household when you were a lad? Richard, thank you for answering! Best wishes to you and your family for a happy new year! Looking forward to F&R 2013! Doug, NYC.

We all loved skiffle, and Lonnie was the king. He nearly invented rock and roll… I was probably more influenced by straight rock and roll, and then the Shadows.

I was listening to a 30 year old interview with you and Simon Nicol sitting in your hotel room in the early 80s (1982?)  During the interview you mentioned that you were working on a musical interpretation of the Burdah (Cloak in arabic).  Did anything ever come of this?  Did I miss something? Has it come and gone (on cassette)? All the best for 2013. Tony O'Rourke, Bristol England

This was never finished - quite a long and difficult project.

This may have already been addressed but are there any plans to produce and release a DVD of Cabaret of Souls? Thanks. Fiona Gibson, Loveland, Colorado

We filmed the recent performances fairly basically, with a mind mostly to having something to play for potential promoters. I haven't seen the footage yet. When I do, I'll know if it's something we can offer to a wider audience.

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