More Answers to Your Questions - Part I
1/24/2004 (updated 1/24/2004)

With thanks to Flip Feij and the RT Discussion List

What is an issue in today's US foreign policy that will be unable to become a reference in a new RT song & why?

This is like one of those exam questions I used to sweat over at school..I'm not sure exactly what it means, so excuse me while I stare out of the window for 20 minutes...there, that's better. It would be nice to think that any old thing could be subject matter for a song; indeed, if you were willing to stretch the quality somewhat, we could have ripsnorting classics about nostril hair, reinforced concrete, and the price of haddock on the open market. Without giving it too much thought, it seems to me that US foreign policy is a ripe topic for satire - I mean, will they ever get it right? I feel a song coming on...

What are plans for releases in 2004?

The DVD of Lupo's should be ready soon - we are waiting for some additional footage from the BBC. I would hope to have at least one vintage live band recording available - we have some bits and pieces in the archives we're looking at. I hope we shall have more items to download on iTunes - they did a nice job on our featured page. If we manage a little more live recording, also a "Retro" show recording. My next studio CD should be a solo acoustic record, songs are written. I won't be at Cropredy this year...we're hoping for a 1000 Years tour at selected venues this autumn. with the girls I hope.

On Henry Kaiser's web site there's a mention he'll be exploring a Fiji-Islands Music Project with you (like ones he did with David Lindley for Madagaskar & Norway). What could you tell about this project, is it still actual? What's an example of great Fuji-music?

I'll be stopping in Fiji for a week on my way to Oz, perhaps Henry and I will have time to hear some music and see if a project is workable.

How much say do you have in choosing the venues where you play? What factors make a good venue for you? Are there towns you get to simply because they offer particularly appealing settings in which to play? (I'm thinking, for example, of the Lime Kiln outdoor theater in Lexington, Virginia.) What's the worst place you ever played in your post-Fairport, post-Linda career--you needn't name names, just describe. And am I wrong in my suspicion that, with a band, you might enjoy clubs more than seated theaters, all other things being equal?

I have the ultimate say in where we play, but there are many considerations; routing, potential audience, fees, etc. Typically, our agent contacts the promoter in a town, giving him a timeframe. The promoter selects what he thinks is the right venue, in terms of size and standing/seating options. In some towns, there may only be one choice; if it's a club, the process is simpler. If it is a town or venue we don't know, then we have to trust local knowledge. If it's a room we don't like for some reason, we may veto that one and ask for another choice. There are rooms we hate and don't want to go back to. There are rooms we hate but still play because the crowd is great, and there are no other choices. The main reason for hating a room is the sound, we'll put up with most other things. The Lime Kiln is a fabulous place, it's just a pleasure to perform in such a magical space, I hope they ask me back!! The worst? Well, the worst backstage I think was the old Lupo's in Providence RI, a truly hideous, smelly, damp, filthy hole, thank Heavens they moved. I must be forgetting something, I can't really think of an awful venue though - I mean awful through and through, backstage, frontstage, audience, everything. The crowd is usually such a redeeming factor that we put up with the crap. We have played in cramped tiny holes, that have turned into the greatest gigs, again saved by the audience. I should say that 2 out of 3 dressing rooms are not nice places to pass the time, but venues tend to remember that they need one as final thought, after they've built the broom closet (I have changed in a few broom closets). But really, there are very few awful gigs, I'm happy to say.