Questions and Answers I
3/23/2004 (updated 3/23/2004)

Something i have been rather concerned about - did James remember to sign over the title & registration to Red Molly before he died?

I thought the song was getting a little bulky at four verses, so I cut the two extras, one of which was mostly workshop manual techspeak, and the other, which contained the the more mundane aspects of James' demise, funeral arrangements, outstanding HP payments, etc. - and of course, the registration. There were a couple of ugly rhymes with defenestration and Reading Station, but I think I got away with it.

Are you a Tommy Cooper fan?

Oh, he was the greatest, side-splittingly funny just doing next to nothing. For those who aren't familiar with his work, suffice to say that when he died on stage, the audience assumed that it was part of the act, and were laughing hysterically for another five minutes after the curtain came down.

Hey, what was it like to play with Rory Gallagher. The guy was incredible, and by all accounts an all around nice guy. I just saw that you played a couple of gigs with him in '84 along with David Lindley and Juan Martin. any recollections of those times?

Rory was a smashing bloke, and a real gentleman to boot. I knew him a bit from Taste days, starting around 1967. We did that short Guitar MiniHeroes tour in the early 80s(?), which was slightly bizarre but fun. He seemed to me a fine Blues player, particularly good slide guitarist.

We were happy to see Richard back in Mad Town on Saturday night but are wondering if the "new venue" (Luther's Blues Club) might have proven to be a bit of distraction for him, given that his past Madison shows (solo and "with band") have taken place at the Barrymore Theatre in the working class East Side neighborhood on Atwood Avenue.

The "environment" at Luther's (much more the typical bar scene than the Barrymore) seemed to be less than ideal for Richard, as he had several occasions to deal with stupid comments from one of the drunks on hand.

We noticed much less of the usually lengthy and friendly "conversation" between artist and audience than seems to happen during his engagements at the Barrymore, and attributed this to the locale. I hope we are correct in this assumption, and that it is NOT a sign that Richard is getting tired of playing to the local yokels in America's Dairyland.

He did express his sympathy for those of us who had been standing for several hours in front of the stage for his show. At the Barrymore we enjoy sipping cold beers in real seats while waiting for him to begin. There, the seats are part of the cost of the ticket, unlike Luther's Blues Club, where you have to pay an extra $100 for a table for four in addition to having to buy a ticket for each person.

But hey, the show was terrific, as is always the case with the bereted one. Wow, we got to hear "Red Molly" (as I like to refer to "1952 Vincent Black Lightning") AND "Bees Wing" on the same night!

All of this is to say that we love you in Madison, Wisconsin, Richard, and we can't wait for your next tour of the Midwest of the USA. Maybe you will consider returning to your "regular" stage at the Barrymore Theatre, but wherever you are, we'll be there.

You know, I don't mind playing bars, up to a point. The point is probably somewhere like Tommy Allsup's place in Texas, which has 2 long bars running down the side and back of the room - a bit too much clinking and background chitchat; but generally if a room is noisy, i figure it's my job to make it quieter on the songs that need it. I also don't mind comments and requests - I feel it helps to break down the barrier between audience and stage. I'm also happy to play acoustic to a standing audience, in fact I prefer it, because there's so much more energy in the room, although I know the crowd would much rather be seated...perhaps hard seats are better than soft! having said all that, a concert settting with a quiet audience that's really listening can also be a treat for me...but really, I must say I enjoy the contrast of going from club to concert hall to festivall - to hell with those stadium tours.