Not Quite Twenty Questions - a Beesweb Interview
4/25/2007 (updated 11/11/2013)
1) Richard, you are very well regarded by your peers in the music world. Who do you in turn look up to for their talent, accomplishments, credibility or stature?
Sometimes the most talented people are the most obnoxious; as Grapelli said of Django, 'What's the good of being a genius if everybody hates you? So there are people whose talent one might admire, but one wouldn't pick them for role models. Then there are some who seem to combine ability with a fine human nature - I always love Loudon Wainwright's music, he can be funny or devastating, and he's a great person - and Martin Carthy is such a consummate artist, like some old Samurai swordsman, steadily working away at refining his art.
2) Have you ever (consciously or unconsciously) tried to emulate someone? If so, who?
I think you have to copy at first. I copied all the guitarists I could find, but by the age of 18, I decided I wanted to sound like me. I still copy pianists, pipers, fiddlers, pedal steel players
3) What have you sought to accomplish musically, but thus far have not?
Probably a longer form. Songs are one discipline, you have to get things expressed in a few verses, and I enjoy that challenge. I've started a few longer pieces, musical plays, or song cycles, but I've never got it quite right. That's what I'd like to achieve at some point.
4) Since Teddy and Kamila are now both in the business, do you find yourself giving them navigational advice on how to survive in "the shark filled sea"?
They're both pretty savvy, especially Teddy. I think musicians entering the business now are much more aware of contracts, percentages, all that stuff that we got stitched up on. I'm probably more use as a musical soundboard, but I'm ready and willing to provide all sorts of advice, if needed. hello? anyone there?
5) Your new album, Sweet Warrior, is due in stores the end of May. The next few questions will focus around the album.
Guns are the Tongues - what can you share about this song?
This was a tough song to arrange. To properly set the scene, it requires 4 verses before releasing into a chorus. This is hard on the listener, so we had to build slowly, adding various elements a little at a time. Thematically, it is set in a world of political turmoil, but is not a political song. It's a song about human relations, and what people do to each other and expect from each other.
6) When the Sweet Warrior song titles were posted on the RT Internet Discussion List, someone posed the hypothetical that Francesca could be about the character from Dante's Inferno. Credible comparison?
No. it's not. The name Francesca means freedom, liberty. That's what's at stake in the song.