RT Discussion List Q&A - Four
1/11/2007 (updated 1/12/2007)
- "How much input do you have to the specific artwork/design of your CD/Album
inlays & covers (thinking specifically of 'Amnesia'), and just how
spontaneous were the 'Full House' and 'Henry' notes, which remain
........urm....seriously (but delightfully) unearthly a quarter of a century
on" (that is to say I still smile when reading them as much as I always
RT: The digital age has made artwork a better process for me. In the
previous age, the art was the last thing to do, up against the release
deadline, and the budget had been spent. I/we would come up with some
concept with a designer, and would then disappear on the road for a month.
Upon return, the concept had usually drifted far from it's original
perimeters, and looked tacky, but the print deadline was yesterday, and to
rework it would hold up the release date...so we went with the tacky one. On
Capitol, I had a good relationship with Art Director Tommy Steele, and
things followed through much better. Now I am my Own Man, and get to do
WHATEVER I WANT!!! So if they're crap now, it's because I planned it that
The sleevenotes to those early records were an attempt to fill 288 square
inches of sleeve with something (double on the gatefold).
- In one of the interviews I saw on youtube you say that writing songs
is writing fiction, and that there's a skill in writing fiction. I
also think that a song only really exists when it 's being sung with
or to other people, just as a novel is a novel when it's being read
by someone. So, when you write a song, do you picture an audience and
the effect of your music on that audience or do you satisfy your own
imagination and skill and share the result with us in the form of a
record or concert?
RT: That damned YouTube again...I knew nothing good would come of it.
At the compositional stage, it may help to imagine various things.
Sometimes, I think you are singing to yourself, sometimes to an audience,
sometimes to one person. I find it a good exercise to imagine myself on
stage, and I'm imagining the perfect song for a certain point in the set -
the rhythm is the easest place to start, and flesh it out from there. As the
song becomes more real, it never sounds quite as good as it did in your
imagination, but heck...
- Richard, while I know that the next CD will be a band CD, will that CD and
the next band tour also include Michael Jerome on drums, as well as Pete
Zorn, Danny Thompson, and, of course, you?
Also, when will that CD come out, may we know the title, and when will the
band tour begin?
RT: You are correct as to the proposed lineup of the band for '07. The CD
has more people on it, as these things tend to, and I'll withhold a name or
two for now, to enhance the thrill of anticipation. I'll also sit on the
title, just in case it changes at the last minute. We will select from 16
completed tracks. We are hoping for a release around May.
- This ones slightly off the wall, but why not give it a go anyway, as I know
RT is a train enthusiast, and that normally means an interest in buses as
London Transport buses. RT or RM? TD or RF? And did you have an ABC book
and collect the numbers?
RT: Sir, you take me for a bus nerd?? I was a fan, and still am, of London
Transport design - Beck's Tube map, Frank Pick's masterly overseeing of the
posters and typefaces, the classic station designs of Leslie Green and
Stephen Holden...When I left school, I worked briefly for Hans Unger, who
designed a couple of great posters for LT. On the subject of buses, I
recently visited a studio near Pitsligo in Aberdeenshire...in an old quarry,
there is a guards' van, and a couple of eccentric buildings, leading to a
large shed; in the shed are two double-decker buses, converted to
accomodation; at the back of the shed, up a flight of stairs, is a ship's
bridge - this is the studio's control room; from here, the producer looks
out onto the studio floor, also on the upper level. An extraordinary place.
I believe the studio is called The Last Bus.
- Have you been asked and would you like to appear on Never Mind the
RT: I've never seen this - I asssume it's a pop quiz show? I'd be crap after
about 1977 - I could tell you who the Buzzcocks were, and that's about where
I get off (the bus).
- Moving perilously close to if-you-were-a-tree territory: You have been
selected as a representative to another culture--let's make it a humanoid
culture on another planet, to keep things interesting. You're not going to
be able to communicate with the inhabitants verbally, so you've been asked
to bring three tangible objects with you that will best represent who you
are. What objects would you bring?
RT: A tennis racket, a bottle of ketchup, and a vacuum pump penis enlarger.
I think I'd rather be a tree.