Q&A March 2013, Part II

Re: electric
Hello yall. I just love this last record, great songs, great guitarplaying, great sound etc. Thanks. Love from northern Norway. Come to Tromsø, please. Truls Verlo

We'd love to - hassle your local promoter!

Re: Alvin Lee
I'd be interested in Richard's thoughts on the passing of Alvin Lee. Did he know Alvin and what he thought of his playing. Thanks, Joe Carter - Glenside, PA

I didn't know Alvin Lee. We did some shows with Ten Years After back in the 60s with Fairport. He was certainly an agile player, but I never listened enough to him to make a considered comment on his playing.

I wouldn't dare ask you to comment on other artist's songs but what's your thought about The Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" and it's use as ... Um ... a certain hockey team's post goal celebration? I write as I watch the Kings play the Blackhawks. Tom Morrissey - Riverside, Illinois

I'm a big Fratellis fan. This song, of course, is catchy as hell, and has been appropriated by the Blackhawks, and seems to have upset some away teams. It is only upsetting if you LOSE to the Blackhawks, whereas the Kings…

Considering how much it costs to take a band on the road, how did Hannibal manage to fund the RT Big Band tour for Hand of Kindness in 1982? Factoring in your crew, you must have had at least 10 people on that tour.

I think there was a shortfall on that tour - as far as I remember, I picked it up myself. I have very rarely taken record company tour support. We traveled in a club wagon, stayed at the Motel 6, did two shows a night - we were younger then!

The Electric tour had many more dates in England compared to previous band tours. Does this represent a more aggressive plan by you and your management to support the new record in the UK? Is the size of your fan base in Britain growing relative to your US fan base?

There was a good buzz about this record, so we had a lot of good offers from promoters. Record company and management both worked very hard to make this happen. I'd say the UK has been stronger for the last ten years or so, for reasons I don't fully understand - maybe just the renewed interest in folk music generally?

I notice that for Electric gigs, Michael Jerome is using a small kit and he plays off a low riser (or no riser?), which seems to be different from his set-up for previous tours. Is this indeed a different set-up for MJ, something you, Michael and Buddy worked out recording Electric?

Here's Michael's reply:

'Still playing a basic four-piece predominantly over the years. 'Electric' brought on the addition of a second snare, 18" floor tom, and two extra cymbals for effects during the recording. Kept everything but the 18" floor tom for the 'Electric' tour.

Always played on a low riser unless in the smaller venues. Riser has been a bit higher in recent years.'

How many hours before going on stage do you have a meal? What is a typical pre-performance meal? Do you find that certain food groups provide the optimum nourishment to maintain your energy level for a performance, e.g., carbs, protein shakes? Richard, as always, thank you for taking the time to answer my queries! Cheers, Doug from NYC

I don't have it down scientifically, although after all these years I probably should. Perhaps the ingredients don't seem to make much difference. I try to eat lunch day of show, and then eat a snack before, and maybe a snack after the show. Sometimes I'll skip the before, sometimes I'll skip the after.

Re: Best tracks?
Hi Richard, Greetings from Oxford. Lately I have been having some success exposing some younger friends to music they don't hear on the radio or from their peers. A long collection of blues tracks with many pages of written notes was well received (and I know they aren't just being polite, as they have actually gone out and bought quite a few CD's and tracks). As a first question, how do you feel about people giving away single tracks in the hope of seeding future purchases? Meanwhile, I am now assembling another collection of tracks by the great guitar players. Each player gets one track which is supposed to showcase their virtuosity, demonstrate their own style and sound, and above all just be a great track. Of course in many cases I have struggled to pick the tracks, but in your case I have found it impossible. I am cheating a bit by my own rules by saying you get one acoustic and one electric. The acoustic choice was hard, but I decided on "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" because it is such a signature track.  For the electric track I have floundered to a halt like Buridan's ass. Could you offer a view on what you would select as your best single electric track to wow the uninitiated and create a new generation of fans (and, of course, your best acoustic track if you don't agree with my choice)? I think I have most of your stuff, but will gladly buy anything I don't have that you select! Cheers, Dave Wark, Oxford UK

Thank you for including me in you samplers. I'm happy at that level to see individual tracks as 'promotional'.

For an electric choice - how about 'Hard On Me', live version from the Semi-Detached Mock Tudor album?

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