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

17. Have you read Joe Boyd's book? I was quite struck by his definition of when the sixties were and why they were what they were. Boyd named you (also Danny Thompson and Norma Waterson) as an who'd continued in the spirit of the sixties. From your point of view how is the spirit in which music is created and performed different now, if at all, from what it was forty odd years ago? Bob Dubery

RT: It was a fresher field to plough in the sixties. So many of the possibilities of popular music have now been hammered to death. People began writing 'Rock and Roll Lives' on the walls in about 1969 - that was when it died. It was one of those times when the business lagged behind the music - now the business dominates the music, and to be successful, you have to fit the existing perimeters, which kills creativity. There are great bands and great ideas, but if they aren't megalomaniacs, they won't last long. In Britain, in 1967, there was the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Incredible String Band, Watersons, Arthur Brown, Indo-Jazz Fusions, Searchers, Hollies, Pink Floyd. Etc. All of whom sounded totally different from each other. There is very little music now that sounds distinct, unique and original.

18. Do you have any thoughts on how the increased airline security measures will affect your ability to tour? Will this make band tours less likely? Martin Fioretti

RT: We'll get through somehow!! For a while there, someone with a Stradivarius was not able to take it in the cabin, and they certainly weren't going to check it. If this rule had remained in place, it would have meant the end of touring string quartets and orchestras. As it is, the airlines now refuse to carry double basses - orchestras have to rent them when they travel abroad (meanwhile golfers don't even pay excess). This means that Danny's lovely Victoria will no longer travel, and he will be using a more portable instrument. The International Society of Bassists is in negotiation with Federal Express to transport the basses of the world at a reasonable rate (and with kinder handling - Victoria's neck was broken last year by airport security in the US - do they take responsibility? Dream on...). We have to ship most of our instruments for touring internationally, and aside from the bass, there should be no problem apart from some increased costs.

19. A number of the speakers in your songs share similar characteristics, but are any of them in your mind the same evolving character, or the same character resurfacing and acquiring a narrative? For instance, I insist on hearing the speaker in "A Love You Can't Survive" as an older, sadder (maybe wiser?) version of the character in "I Feel So Good", after he's lived out his recklessness and seen where it got him... and finally tries to reconcile his past with the plea in Miss Patsy. Louisa Mallet

RT: I really think of all these as separate characters, but I can see how you would arrive at your conclusions.

20. My question is very simple, but I need to know as I've a couple of side bets going with some buddies. It's this: With the success of the 1000 Years shows and all the solo tours of recent times, when are we going to see you in the UK again with an electric band? If this is in the pipeline, can you please ensure Cardiff is included, as the last band show there at the Coal Exchange was probably the best 'stand-up' gig of yours I've ever been to (and like many on this list, I've been to a few). O yes, and please bring the strat! Mike Andrews

RT: We plan to take the band to the UK in 2007, and I hope Cardiff Corn Exchange is on the list - that truly was a great show last time.

21. Would you consider releasing fewer CDs and DVDs for the next year or two? What with official releases, soundtracks, DVDs and your own live releases, I just can't keep up. Or do you just have a master plan to release so much stuff that no-one can keep up, so we all have to go cold turkey from being sad completists and go get a life instead? Kevin

RT: A life is a nice thing, but not essential. I don't think much is coming out next year - just a band record, with luck. So you could start saving for the next creative peak.

22. Any news on your Lowden signature model? Luc Luyten

RT: We're talking about having it ready for the NAMM show in Anaheim in January. It may be two models offered - basic one with walnut and cedar, more expensive one with redwood and zircote.

23. 'Why did you choose to record the 'Mingulay Boat Song' apart from the fact that the words are terrific and the tune almost impossibly gorgeous? Malcolm Alsop

RT: Hal Willner sent out a short list of about 60 songs. I also recorded 'General Taylor' which may appear on volume two. I've always loved this song, which is often associated with the cornier, fisherman's sweater-wearing types of entertainer in Scotland, and I saw this as an opportunity to rescue the song from that world and re-validate it.

24. I got to know the work of Hank Williams via a cover of "Move it on Over" that you did in Toronto in the 1980s. I think he's one of the 2 or 3 finest American songwriters of the 20th century. Do you have any thoughts on Hank's work, and can we expect any Hank covers in a 1000 years show? Amir Hussain

RT: I did a Hank song in earlier incarnations of '1000 Years', and if the show were honest, which it is not, he would always be included as one of the greatest of his time. However, we like to be a little more fickle with the song selection, and sometimes choose second tier material for its obscurity value. I know we do a Beatles song, and an Abba song, etc., so this policy is not consistent, but I feel most people have 'found' Hank Williams at this point, and we should be opening their minds to other joys from the country music world.