Q&A JANUARY 2013, Part IV
2/12/2013 (updated 2/17/2013)

Do you devote much of your practice time to noodling on the guitar, particularly while watching TV? Do you find that good musical ideas come to you as readily when you're letting your fingers simply wander on the fretboard (as opposed to purposeful composing)?

Yes to all of the above. I love to do scales and such while watching TV, to the annoyance of family and friends, and then that can turn into semi-conscious noodling, which can take you to uncharted waters. Recommended!

It's generally acknowledged that the first lineup of Fairport bore some similarity to the Jefferson Airplane, which would make you Jorma Kaukonen's counterpart. Have you crossed paths with Jorma over the years? You both run guitar camps in the Catskills!

I don't know Jorma. He invited me to teach at one of his camps, but I have my own brand now! Always loved the Airplane.

After all these years of touring, do you still enjoy being out on the road? I'm sure some musicians live for the road, get energized by gigging frequently - while others see being on tour as a necessary evil, something you have to do to earn a living. Where do you reside on this broad spectrum? Doug Feinstein

I try to tour in a way that isn't going to kill me. If you overdid it, you could grow to hate it very quickly. I love to be on the road, and I love to play live, but I also appreciate time off, and writing time. I hear of musicians who want to be out there all the time, and I know musicians who hate the road. I suppose I'm in the middle somewhere.

Thank you again, Doug, for your thoughtful questions.

Re: Telecaster and first cover version?
Firstly best of luck for the next album and tour - really looking forward to the Symphony Hall gig in Birmingham!  I've noticed on some of the promo stuff and reported recent guitar acquisitions that you've been doing that you're seeming to veer towards Teles over Strats at the moment - any particular observations on the pros and cons of each of these and how you decide which particular axe to use would be most appreciated. I've got cheapy versions of each and I love them both but my level of playing really isn't good enough to truly appreciate the differences.

I use modified strats as first choice guitars right now, but I have a couple of 'stratified' teles, with 3 p/us and contoured bodies. The sound is a little different, but not greatly so - perhaps a bit more twang on the bridge p/u. I'd say that generally, the strat is a more versatile guitar. A tele can have a broader range of use with a humbucker added in the neck position, a la Keith Richards.

On a totally separate subject you may or may not be aware that BBC4 concentrates on broadcasting generally jolly good music on a Friday night. I know Fairport have been covered as have Slade.  Firstly I would love to know whether or not you were a fan of Noddy and the lads and whether or not your paths crossed in the 60's or 70's?  A new genre of folkglamrock possibly!  Also were they the first band to cover a Fairport/Richard Thompson track? I've got a copy of Slade Live at the BBC which includes a cover of "It's Alright Ma It's Only Witchcraft". It was from a BBC session they did before they hit the big time in the UK. Not sure if you've heard it but they do put it in a jolly good turn.  Perhaps at Symphony Hall you could return the favour and do a version of Gudbuy T'Jane! Martin Durnin

I'm a big Slade fan, and I just love Noddy. No one else on the planet has tonsils like that! They are a tough band to cover because no one can get close to that vocal sound. Very flattered that they would have covered a Fairport song, I'll have to hear that.