New RT Discussion List Q&A II
1/14/2005 (updated 1/14/2005)

Is there a chance we'll be seeing the full Grizzly Man sessions on DVD?

RT: The studio sessions were videotaped for a possible documentary on the 'making of'. We also have enough music for a CD, if that is everyone's wish.

Bonn Macy: I was really pleased to see "Shoot Out the Lights" released on SACD (Super Audio CD). I was even more pleased when I heard it. It sounds fantastic and you can hear quite a bit more of the detail in the performance. Are there any plans to release any more of your catalog, or any forthcoming recordings on SACD Hybrid discs? If not, would you be open to SACD releases in the future?

RT: I do like SACD, and it's important to keep advancing digital technology
in the musical field, because it's still not perfect. The problem is the
time lag waiting for the industry and the consumers to catch up.but if the
players are the same, it's less of a problem. I'll look into the pros and
cons of hybrid releases in the future, and I would like to do it if it's
cost effective.

Martin Oosthuizen (Durban, South Africa): Richard, the efforts of Mr Zimmerman did not prompt this question as it sat with me long before his recent opus. Can a case be made to persuade you to write about your early days in London, particularly the 1960's and 70's, or any other topic for that matter? Whether the answer is yes or no, please comment on any interest you which may have in writing fiction or non-fiction?"

RT: Perhaps when I'm really old, but not now. I don't mind a bit of
non-fiction - my 'News From Home' column is just straight reportage - but I
don't get time for much else.

Brian: Have you ever considered writing a full-blown musical? I have often seen you as being England's natural successor to Lionel Bart. Many of your existing
songs would adapt to a certain style of musical and your countrymen seek
deliverance from the joke that is Lloyd-Webber. And how about 'I'm Reviewing
the Situation' for 1000 Years?

RT: I've started a couple of Musical attempts, and realized my inadequacies
pretty quickly. I need more knowledge, unless I'm going to cheat and get the
orchestrators and ghost writers in. It's an interesting form, sadly
dominated by Cameron Macintosh and A.L. Webber. It's almost impossible to
get anything staged unless you are one of the above.

Mal: Obviously you have enjoyed working with Martin Carthy but I was wondering if you'd ever had any contact with the great Nic Jones whose back catalogue is criminally still envaulted (I believe) or whether you had any thoughts about this great 'lost' player.

RT: I know Nic a little from the folk scene of the 70s, but not well enough.
I love his records, and he was a terrific talent.

Bob Dubery - Johannesburg, South Africa: Richard, I've read a quote by you in which you talk about music's potential to be a healing force and to counter things like racism. As a South African who finds South Africa now a more fundamentally decent place than it once was I am very interested in that comment (I also heard Eric Burdon saying something similar in a BBC documentary recently). However whilst I LIKE that idea I'm not sure I totally agree with it because it seems to me (and maybe it is just me) that there are people who use music as a means to identify with some group or another, to assert their uniqueness and thus use music as to differentiate and to draw distinctions. Is that just them? And would you like to expand a little on music's power to bridge gaps and to heal wounds?

RT: Well, the Ku Klux Klan has songs of course, as does the John Birch
Society. But they have LOUSY songs. Music was a rallying cry for the Civil
Rights Movement in the 60s, black and white joining hands to sing We Shall
Overcome - and we did. If you went to a UB40 concert in the 70s, you would
have seen an audience half black and half white, dancing as one body to the
music. R&B, Rock and Roll, made huge strides in breaking down racial
barriers - Ray Charles refusing to play for a segregated audience, Louis
Armstrong taking demeaning roles in bad films that opened the door for those
who followed - I think music has been the single most important factor in
breaking down racial barriers in the US and the UK.

Richard Condon: If Sandy Denny were alive today (aged 58) what sort of music do you think she would be performing (impossible question, I know, but your speculative guesswork and the reasoning behind it would be fascinating).

RT: Can't answer that

Robert Renton: Which other songwriter(s) who were coming up at the same time as you do you wish were more widely appreciated?"

RT: I wish John Martin were a bit better known. And Willie Nile.

Brian Miller (NH, USA): In 2004 you performed the new song "Mr. Stupid's Back In Town" both during a solo tour in March and with the band in June. Some songs you only play solo, and others only with a band. What makes a song suitable for performance in a solo context, or with an electric/rock band, or both?

RT: It's usually just an instinctive process. Some things translate and some
don't. Sometimes I can be wrong.

Scott Demayo: My question concerns Gypsies. You have mentioned and written about Gypsies in several songs. Did you know Gypsy families in your youth? Was there a Gypsy presence in your neighborhood?

RT: There were gypsies around when I was growing up, but I didn't meet
gypsies until the 70s, in Scotland. They are the great repositories of
traditional music. Most of them seem to be settled now, but in the 70s they
were still on the road.