2005 Answers to Your Questions I
1/13/2005 (updated 1/13/2005)

Mecki Jordan: First of all congratulations on your very nicely done DVD "Live at Lupo's." It really captures what a RT Band show is which, of course, is exceptional! I would like to ask a couple of questions which I hope you find not too tedious to answer. I thought your performance on "Prarie Home Companion" a while back was great and wondered if you cared for American bluegrass music and, if so, who were your favorites? Would you ever consider releasing an album of "twisted Scottish" bluegrass? RT on guitar, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Danny (of course) stand up bass, whoever you want on fiddle? Also, have you ever considered dedicating a portion of your shows to cover versions? I realise that this is somewhat ridiculous considering you just came off the road from doing "1,000 Years" but I'm thinking of more along the lines of the band doing "Mystery Train'', "Rave On" and the like. Of course we all come to hear YOUR songs but then again I go to Dave Alvin shows and it's great fun when he tears into surf music. Thanks in advance from a dedicated fan and please visit us again in Bloomington, In!

I love the Osborne Brothers, Bill Monroe, Seldom Scene, etc…too many to name. I would feel redundant playing Bluegrass because there are so many fantastic performers who do it better than I ever could, so I’ll generally leave Americana to the Americans. Jerry Douglas is the Wayne Gretsky of the Dobro – twice as good as anybody else!

ajbal: Dear Richard, Since Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks have played with both you and Ian Anderson, has a collaboration with Anderson ever been considered? Apart from havin a rhythm section in common, the two of you seem to live in the same musical neighborhood and I think it would be a wonderful matchup. Thanks for all your music and return soon to Petaluma...your biggest fans are in Sonoma County.

Interesting that you think we live in the same musical neighbourhood – I’m not so sure about that…Ian’s music is very exactly composed, and doesn’t leave a lot of room for jamming – so this would not be a casual meeting. I can see ways that common ground could be achieved – who knows? I would never rule it out.

Philmus: I enjoyed your previous appearances on Later with Jools Holland, I feel his show has lost abit of the spark it used to have. How about persuading Jools production team to let you do a 1000 years special?

For your records, I have appeared on the Jools Holland Show more than any other performer….but I doubt they would change their format for me. Nice idea, but…

popovijm: Hey, KEXP ( playing "For Sake of Mary" off *Mirror Blue." It's been out of concert rotation for x number of years. How and why do you decide to bring a song that's not a standard out of retirement?

I’ll try to look through a list of everything before a tour, and see how I feel about some older stuff – to see if time has been cruel or kind to some of those wrinkly chestnuts. Sometimes I’ll play a song that I think merits revival, and it goes down like a lead balloon, so I’ll drop it hastily. I really like For The Sake Of Mary, in fact I’m fond of Mirror Blue, and stand by the production, which got rather slagged off at the time. There are a couple of duff songs, but that’s true of most records, isn’t it?

Julian Peace: I've recently come accross a reference to 'The New Acoustic Trio', which toured in Germany in 1983. There was a Richard Thompson, Steve Morse and one other. Firstly, was this 'our' RT, was it ever recorded and what are his memories of the time?

This was a tour with myself, Steve Morse, and David Lindley in Germany in 1983. There were no official recordings, but I’m sure there must be a bootleg or two out there. I found it hard work to keep up with Steve Morse, who could play exactly twice as fast as me! I got a bit depressed with those ‘guitar fan’ audiences, too, who preferred the flash stuff. Not my favourite tour.

dfeinstein: 1. After you left Fairport did any other English bands ever contact you about being their lead guitarist? 2. Love the Chrono show CD. Excellent sound! Beautiful engineering! Hats off to Mssrs. Haber, Tassano and Wilson. That said, and knowing Richard's penchant for perfection, why was the particular take of "Hand of Kindness" included on the CD, considering RT omits the second verse, sings the third verse in place of the second verse, and repeats the first verse in lieu of the third verse. I would think this would be unacceptable to RT, on par with certain performances on "Small Town Romance" he disliked enough to want to pull the record from print.

Apparently, there were inquiries from Traffic and the Eagles. I did play in Iain Matthews’ band, and Sandy Denny’s band. It was the only acceptable version of Hand of Kindness that we managed to record, and we felt that the spirit was sufficient to warrant inclusion.

srose: Is there any particular reason you rarely play down here in Houston or in the state of Texas? You seem to make it down here maybe once every three years and you usually only get to Austin then. Most of the times you've made it down here, you've played solo (I've seen you with your band twice, solo maybe five times). I got excited when I saw you were doing a "1000 Years" tour but it turns out you came nowhere near Texas. This is usually the case. Any reason why? Judith Owen is playing here in Houston Sunday night. I'll be there but it would be great if you could be there too.

I shall be touring Texas solo in the Spring, and I’m sorry if I don’t get there more often. I have underplayed the South for the past couple of years, and it’s just not good enough! On band tours, there are sometimes economic considerations – it’s harder for us to cross the continent across the South because the towns are more spread out, and we can’t play dates in Lubbock and Amarillo because we aren’t Willie Nelson.