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

This may sound like a silly question after all of the erudite ones you probably receive...anyway, here goes. What make of capo does R use? A friend of similar age to me is having a tough time putting his on and off, and getting a good sound, and i would be too if i could actually play guitar. Thanks a lot, Letitia

I use a G7 capo - one hand application, just squeeze it on, and presto!

Re: Death of rock'n'roll
Hi Richard, a while ago on this forum you said, 'rock'n'roll died in 1968' but you didn't leave us any signifiers suggesting your train of thought. All I can remember of that year are the olympics in Mexico and a lot of rioting on the TV (I was small at the time). The surprise for me is that you didn't cite circa1960(Elvis in the army, Holly dead, Pat Boone,etc). Max Cuthbert - Portland OR

I suppose there have been a couple of deaths. The first, as you rightly suggest, was 1960, which was the end of 'Rock and Roll'. I think there was a second around 1968 - 69, when a lot of the possibilities for extending what was now 'Rock' - without the roll - seemed exhausted. That's when I started to see 'Rock lives!' graffiti around the UK, which of course is a sure sign it's dead. Since then, rock really has eaten itself, or disappeared up its own you-know-what, over and over again. There are a few great artists who continue to innovate and break new ground, but on the whole, I hear very little that grabs me as original.

Delighted to see you're returning to Montalvo. It's become a big event at our house, and various family and friends are looking forward to it. As an amateur songwriter, my criteria for great songwriters isn't "how many great songs did X play tonight?".  Rather, it's "how many great songs did X not play tonight?" In your case, the question has morphed into "how many great songs did RT not play in three nights?".  By my count, it's a lot of songs, a total that virtually no living songwriter could match.

I have two questions: (1) How have you remained so prolific over so many years? (2) Who are your own favorite songwriters? Best regards, Stephen Jacobson

Delighted you like the Montalvo shows, hope we'll see you there next January.

I don't feel prolific - in fact right now I haven't written a decent song in months, and am feeling very frustrated. What keeps me wanting to write are the possibilities. I'm excited by the idea of what remains unwritten.

My favourite songwriters are probably Robert Burns, Lal Waterson, Lady Nairn, Richard Farina, Neil Finn, and Shakespeare.

Re: Vincent Black Lightning print
Hello, I've noticed that there was a limited run of a print was for sale at US gigs. Are these available to people in the UK? Best regards, Fiona

I'll try to arrange to have some at upcoming UK shows - can't guarantee it, but the wheels are in motion.



I may ask these next week in camp but anyway two questions: Have you created a Richard Thompson channel on Pandora to see who they pair with you? I found it rather interesting.

When Pandora start paying artists a decent royalty rate, I might get more excited about their service.

Have you ever begun writing a song and stopped because you didn't want to go where it was taking you? Thanks as always. Mike Ile

The answer is probably yes, but I shouldn't do that. However strange it gets, I should stick to it and not censor myself. I can decide later if I want other people to hear it.

Hi Richard,
I've seen a few comments from you on the difficulty of playing traditional tunes on guitar and how alternative turnings provide you with some partial solutions to those problems. I just wondered if you'd ever considered playing the fiddle and, if you have, how you got on? You've mentioned playing the mandolin, which takes you part way there of course. Thanks, Alex

It's nice to be challenged by bringing a new instrument into a tradition, and having to bend it to the existing rules, so if I complain, it's only in the context of really enjoying the process! Barry Dransfield very kindly gave me a fiddle back in the 70s. Because I knew mandolin, the fingering wasn't so bad, but the bowing I found hard. I might get a cello at some point - bowing horizontally seems more logical.