RT Discussion List Q&A V
1/28/2008 (updated 1/28/2008)

Alicia Russel:
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.

Pam Winters:
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 mates.

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 hot-blooded countries.

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....??

Tom Lantink:
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.

Max Cuthbert:
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.

Luc Luyten:
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 common.

RT: He's a terrific artist, I love his work, and the modern variants on Breton music, by artists like Dan Ar Bras.

Andrew Waller:
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?

TJ McGrath:
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...

Scott Miller: 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.