2 - RT Answers Internet Discussion List
8/27/2006 (updated 8/29/2006)

10. I don't mean to cast unfair aspersions on your veracity. I understand the concept of "taking the piss." You're awfully good at it. In North Carolina in 2000, I witnessed your convincing a young male fan that you had appeared in American Pie. I do believe you may have been having me on, several years before that, when you told me about Bob Dylan's owning a delicatessen. And then there's the whole Wolfgang Schwarzenegger thing...What's the biggest lie you've ever told a journalist or fan? And--this is maybe a slightly more serious inquiry, a chance to set the record straight--what's the biggest, or most frequent, lie that has been told about you by the press? Pam Winters

RT: I have selectively forgotten the American Pie incident to which you refer. I think I said that Dylan ran a coffee shop, boxing gym and synagogue in Santa Monica (which is true). Everything about young Wolfie is true, sure as eggs is eggs (which they may be, or not). I am guilty of elaborating when bored by the same old journalistic questions (I once did 95 phone interviews in three days from a desk at Polygram Records, NY). One enduring myth which has come back to haunt me are the dogs. I've never owned dogs, being more of a cat person, but once, when my sanity was under threat, I mentioned, in replying to a question about lifestyle, that I owned two German Shepherds, Rex and Sheba. This made the interviewer very happy, and so I went into some detail. To this day, people still come up to me and inquire after their health, and I can't let them down, so I have to say that they are perky / a bit arthritic / off their food / cuddly/ or something...or like Mr. Bunbury, they are quite exploded. The biggest myths about me are mostly divorce stuff, and Islam stuff. I don't want to go into that here.

11. You have said that music is very powerful. I am hoping that you will remind me of the substance of a long-ago magazine piece in which you talked about some form of music that contained tones that were thought to heal or harm--was it Andalusian music? I wonder whether you believe that there are harmful musics, or pieces of music, around right now--and what they are, and what they might be doing to people.

RT: I don't know what harmful music is. Some of my favourite music would not be called harmonious, but it doesn't seem to do people any harm. Death Metal? Teens are spotty and monosyllabic long before they hear that stuff, and a few years later, they wear Brooks Brothers suits and work for Morgan Stanley. It's easier to look at the healing qualities of music. Music is used in therapies all over the world, for the physically and the mentally ill, and it seems, on balance, to have a positive effect, hard as that is to substantiate. In Andalusia, under the Moors, they used a science of music derived from the Persian science (another branch of which influenced Indian classical music). Thirteen of the twenty four modes are still known, and form the basis of Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian classical musics. Mental institutions in Moorish Spain were like palaces, patients were well-fed and treated, and this science of music was considered a key component to healing. There are three volumes on the science of Andalusian music by Ehrlanger (in French).

12. I recently read about a musician who came up with a song during a long car trip, after she got a certain musical motif stuck in her head. Do you have a story about one of your songs that had a particularly mundane origin--in, say, the repetitive gurgle of your dishwasher, a line some neighbor uttered, the melody of a bird outside your window?

RT: Sorry, good question but I can't remember.

13. If there's a lesser-explored sensory territory in your lyrics, it's taste. Do you cook? What sorts of food do you like?

RT: I'm not a great cook, probably because I'm not passionate about food. I can eat to survive for long periods, but enjoy something really well cooked. Seafood is probably my favourite general category...Italian food in Italy, French food in France, the usual stuff.

14. A hypothetical question: You've been given an unlimited budget and access to the talents of any performers, producers, and other artisans of your choice. You are to make an album. The only catch: You are unable (forbidden, perhaps) to play the guitar on this album. What sort of album would you make?

RT: Write 12 songs, get a female artist with a great voice to sing them, arrange them for orchestra, press record button. Downside, could be a year -eighteen months work.

15. Out of all the musicians I've seen, you seem to reach the "zone" (I think that's what I've read you refer to it as) more than any other. This must take a tremendous amount of energy. Especially night after night on long tours. Do you have any special routines that you use to help you keep up your energy, that you would feel comfortable sharing? Any special diet, exorcise, spiritual practice? (After having Lyme disease this summer, my energy is still lagging, and I'm always amazed at how energetic you are on stage, and even after at your 'meet and greet' sessions). Celia Mackinnon

RT: I have energy for performance, primarily because music is energising, and the audience gives you energy. I've also cleaned up my act lately, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugar. I do aerobics in the hotel room, and resistance training, and stretches before shows, based on soccer and kendo warmups, and a few specific exercises for wrists and elbows, taught by Dr. Reza at Chelsea Harbour Club. I meditate daily.

16. "Have you watched any music clips on What do you think of YouTube?" Scott Miller

RT: Haven't seen it.