Algid Antiphons (Dec/Jan Qs) Part I
2/10/2007 (updated 2/11/2007)

My question is about your blue Ferrington. I love the sound and envy the technique. What pick-ups are installed and is the middle pick-up wound for reverse polarity? What kind of switching pattern was wired into the ax? Tom.

The blue Ferrington has a P90 at the neck, an Alnico Strat in the middle, and a Broadcaster at the bridge. It has a 5 position p/u selector. Each p/u has a volume control, but no tone. In the blend positions, this gives infinite tone combinations between p/us, by backing off the volumes.

Reading that Bert Weedon’s “Play Guitar in a Day” book was initially responsible for your success and accomplishment, I invested in a copy of the esteemed epistle; however, I shall be seeking redress in the Small Claims Court on the basis that Mr Weedon’s claims are entirely unrealistic – 8 months down the line, I am still struggling with the B minor chord… should I give up now? Should I have purchased “Play Guitar in 9 Months” instead? – Vivienne Jones

Few of us have mastered the B minor, so don’t feel too discouraged. I do wonder how many copies of that hallowed text were actually sold, because everybody of a certain generation claims to have started with Bert. Did you know he was a member of the Quintet De Hot Club De France after Django died? Bizarre but true.

Is there any chance that the all-request show might be repeated elsewhere in the world (specifically Atlanta, Georgia, for example).  Or, recognizing the difficulty in putting on such a show, would it be possible to release the one you performed either digitally or on CD?  How did you like performing the show?  How did it come out, in your opinion? – Larry Korn

Like the curate’s egg, it was good in parts. There were a few longuers while I struggled with memory/words/chords, etc., but I think it went well enough on the whole, and I don’t mind repeating it elsewhere, to the right audience….even at the Montalvo show, and the audience having been given fair warning, there were still many in the crowd baffled at the content, who were expecting the more usual live show. I think it would work in a smaller venue, as one of multiple nights.

I was wondering, which of your albums (I own 15 or so, counting the double discs as one) best represents your solo acoustic performances?  I would love to be able to hear you at home the way I've seen you in performance. – Famous John

I would say Celtschmerz, which isn’t strictly solo (it has Danny and Teddy on it) but it is acoustic, and has a reasonable range of solo material. If I have to ask you what you’re famous for, then you’re not famous.

Could you tell me the tuning for "I misunderstood" please. – Steve

It’s just drop D tuning, capo 3.

Okay, enough of these intellectual questions.  What we really want to know is if, say when Nancy's out shopping and the gardener has the day off, is if you tire of plucking around on your Lowden, plug in the Strat and just wail away?  And, if so, to what?  Dick Dale? Hendrix?  Also, what does the great Pete Zorn do between the ever infrequent (sadly) band tours and why doesn't he appear on your more recent albums.  I realize this is a bit brash considering I don't have a musical background but I always thought, for instance, that "I've got No Right To Have It All" from "Kit Bag" was made for a Pete Zorn sax solo!  That said, I'm looking forward to the Bloomington, In. show in February and hoping to see the band sometime soon somewhere in this vicinity.  Thank you. – Mechtild Jordan 

I do wail a bit, but I mostly practice electric guitar unplugged. If I plug in, I’m usually testing a new pedal or the like. I wish I could get Pete on more recordings; it’s mostly too expensive to fly people in these days, with ever-shrinking recording budgets. At one point, Pete was thinking of moving back to his native Arizona, which would have been very convenient for me, but it didn’t happen. Pete also plays with Beth Nilsson Chapman and Barbara Dickson, amongst others. 

I read Joe Boyd's fascinating book "White Bicycles - making music in the 60's" and listened to the eclectic collection of music he produced on the CD released after I heard him speak at the Ilkley Literature festival last year. Do you have any plans to write memoirs of your musical adventures and the hedonistic rock'n'roll lifestyle? Do you have any plans to work with Joe in future, or is he pursuing other projects? Also, when you play a tour do you plan  the gigs to give you time off to holiday in an area or does the costs of moving gear and paying roadies preclude this? If you need to holiday on tour I could always clear out the spare room.... Mark Packer

Danny Thompson is slowly working on his, and that’s the one I want to read. I don’t think my life is that interesting, but I could write one just to piss people off (especially Joe). I loved his book – I particularly enjoyed the early days at college, where he was booking old blues singers, and the whole Boston folk scene. I’m always happy to work with Joe – he’s truly in the John Hammond mold of A&R men, and his focus is unfailingly musical. The last thing I did with Joe was really The Bones Of All Men, with Phil Pickett – still one of the best things I’ve been involved in. Do I get days off? Our days ‘off’ are usually to travel, so I rarely have time to get to know a place very well, except for the 300 yards around the theatre.