RT Discussion List Q&A - Four
1/11/2007 (updated 1/12/2007)

Mike Andrews:
- "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 did)?

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 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 way. The sleevenotes to those early records were an attempt to fill 288 square inches of sleeve with something (double on the gatefold).

Luc Luyten:
- 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...

Dave Hughes:
- 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.

David Jackson:
- 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 well. 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 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.

Nigel Wheatley:
- Have you been asked and would you like to appear on Never Mind the Buzzcocks...?

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).

Pam Winters:
- 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.