Q&A June 2013, Part I
7/5/2013 (updated 7/5/2013)

I've had the pleasure of seeing you in Dallas, Texas, four or five times in the last half dozen years, (you signed my Taylor, thank you!) I've read you readily claim to be a fan of Squeeze (in the Beesweb Q & A), and it made me wonder about your thoughts regarding XTC? (I know there's the Dave Mattacks connection, at least). I feel like Andy Partridge is a much-overlooked singer/songwriter/guitarist - much like yourself in too much of the world - and I wondered if you might possibly feel some kinship, or whatever, on that level, or if you at least have an appreciation for the band. (Also, as you have Scottish roots, I'm curious if you are familiar with the two fabulous records from Forever More?) Thanks, and I'll be watching for your next tour through Texas. ("White Room" was amazing, by the way!) Thanks, Scott Schenkel

I'm very fond of XTC. Andy Partridge is hugely underrated, a real original thinker. It's a shame that he had to stop performing, because there's no career left in just making records. If you're not out there on stage, you become invisible.

I agree, Forever More were deeply interesting - so hard to get their records now.

I just picked up the new vinyl edition of Richard (+ Linda's) 'I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight' and was knocked out by the sound. I was wondering if Richard would consider re-issuing some of his later records on vinyl such as 'Mock Tudor', 'Rumour & Sigh', and 'Amnesia'?  I realize they are from his Capitol era, but with Universal now controlling those masters, maybe they could be convinced to do a limited vinyl run (especially of 'Mock Tudor' which, after 14 years still blows my mind)? much thanks, Ralph Chapman - Toronto, ON

I own none of these records. These kinds of decisions are up to Universal, but more and more I see re-releases of older albums on vinyl, so I think this will probably happen.

It's annual hockey commentary/question time…once again. I'm earlier his year as our respective teams, your Kings & my Wings, have fallen by the wayside. By the time this (hopefully) appears in your Q&A, we will know the actual Cup winner - but, why wait. I'll dispense quickly with the Wings (your #2 team I believe). I actually wanted them to miss the playoffs & rebuild but did enjoy the unexpected run to round 2. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the East next year.

As for the Kings, I really thought the shortened season would favour a possible repeat. As you know, repeats are rare but I figured the longer layoff could only help. Alas, they ran into much the same issues that cost the Wings their repeat shot in 2009 - namely, too tough a road and too many injuries. The Kings were largely, IMHO, done in by two tough series. Even if they'd pulled off a comeback vs. the Hawks, I don't think they would have beaten Boston who had a relative cakewalk to the finals. And then there's the additional travel required of Western Conference teams.

Bottom line, you need some good luck to win the Cup - mostly in the form of staying healthy. Still, the Kings remain a young team & I believe the lineup is intact for next year so the immediate future still bodes well. Your thoughts? Were you able to keep up with things while touring? See any games live - home or on the road? Brian Hayes - Ottawa ON

I thought the Kings went as far, or further, than they deserved. They were definitely banged up, and not playing to their potential. As you say, it's a young team, and should stay mostly intact for next year. I thought Chicago were worthy winners. I got to go to at least one game from each round - I'm not quite at the point of refusing to work from October to June, just to take in the whole season + playoffs. And then there's cricket from April to September…

I managed to grab a quick word with Martin Simpson recently after a terrific show in New Brighton, and asked him if he ever used 'standard' tuning any more - he quite definitely doesn't. Do you still use it at all? And there seem so many different tunings, which comes first - does a song idea suggest a tuning, or are you in the tuning already and then see what comes to you? Do you find that some tunings 'don't work' on electric guitar? I'm sure this is a clumsy way of putting it, but hope you know what I mean! Jim Howard

I rarely use standard tuning on acoustic, but I try not to use more than 3 or 4 tunings, otherwise I'm taking too much time between songs. On electric, I'm only in standard or drop D - it's too crazy and time-consuming to attempt more in a band context.