RT Discussion List Q&A V
1/28/2008 (updated 1/28/2008)
16. How do you choose the names of the women in your songs? Is it something
that just comes as you write the lyrics?
RT: I like to use ones that appear in traditional music - Nancy, Polly,
Kate, Maggie, etc., but you soon run out of those, so I resort to just about
anything. I never, ever, use the real name of the person the song is about.
17. Some of your songs, especially on Mock Tudor, The Old Kit Bag, and Front
Parlour Ballads, provide a window onto the world of British manhood. For
those of us who don't meet those demographic characteristics--especially us
poor Americans--what are the five most important things we need to know to
understand British men?
1) Sense of Humour - always well-versed in Blackadder, Father Ted, and The
Mighty Boosh. Cannot go three sentences without making a joke.
2) Dealing with Issues - the British male is adept at dealing with feelings
and romantic disappointments. He does this by drinking 14 pints of
Spottiswoode's Nuclear Draught Ale, and going to a football match with his
3) Repression - he is socially, sexually, creatively and psychologically
repressed. This is the result of having an Empire, keeping a stiff upper
lip, not blubbing like a girlie, and never showing weakness to the Wily
Pathan. Only cure - endless hours of sex therapy with gorgeous women from
4) Hugh Grant - yes, all British men really are like Hugh Grant.
5) World's Most Macho? - If Rugby is a tougher game than American Football
(no padding, and blood everywhere), and the Aussies are the epitome of
manly, hard-as-nails Rugby players, and if the Brits have trounced the
Aussies at the last two World Rugby Cups, does that mean....??
18. What's the reason you haven't played songs from Front Parlour Ballads
during the recent band tour?
RT: They are quiet, reflective songs on the whole, and the band tours tend
to be raucous. We did rehearse Let it Blow with the band, but it didn't work
out as well as I would have hoped.
19. How do you manage to unwind after a high intensity show, does it take a
long time to come down'?
RT: The energy is up for an hour or two, but then I fade rapidly, and need
my Horlicks and hot water bottle.
20. How do you appreciate the work of French folk great Gabriel Yacoub, from
the Malicorne days and present? I feel yours and his artistry have a lot in
RT: He's a terrific artist, I love his work, and the modern variants on
Breton music, by artists like Dan Ar Bras.
21. If you were invited to take part in a USO tour to Iraq and/or
Afghanistan and perform for the troops, would you go?
RT: If I thought they'd have me, sure. Am I allowed to criticise the
Administration from the stage?
22. In your opinion, which famous guitar riffs deserve to be immortalized:
"Move It" by Cliff Richard
"Wipe Out" by The Surfaris
"Angie" by Davey Graham
"I Feel Fine" by The Beatles
RT: The above are all good, Hank Garland's riffs on Pretty Woman, and Little
Sister? Vic Flick on the James Bond Theme? Grady Martin on El Paso? George
Barnes on Lipstick On Your Collar? Buddy Guy, Messing With The Man/Kid?
Do you have your own favorite riffs from 60s British beat group that you
like to play?
RT: Hm...Esquires version of Dizzy Miss Lizzy....Some Other Guy Now by the
Big Three...You Really Got Me of course...Pirates' Shakin' All Over...
23. How did you go about choosing new material for this year's 1,000 Years
of Popular Music Tour? Were you only looking for more recent songs, or were
all centuries "open"?
RT: Our intention was to swap out about 8 songs, even though I enjoyed the
set from the last tour - mostly to freshen it up for ourselves and the
audience. We looked at all eras, not everything we wanted to include panned
out, and rehearsal time was limited. In the end, we added 5 songs. I wanted
to start with something earlier than 'Sumer Is Icumen In', so we found 'Edi
Be Thu Hevene Quene', which also means I can use the hurdy-gurdy in the
show. We swapped madrigal for madrigal, Gilbert and Sullivan for the same; I
thought with Britney's current woes, the irony in our version might be
misinterpreted, so we swapped that for the more current Nelly Furtado. A
certain amount of book research was needed on the earlier music. I found a
wonderful source of madrigal books in London.