- Richard Thompson - the king of drizzle returns .
Richard Thompson almost single-handedly invented British folk-rock
with Fairport Convention. He has a reputation as the King of misery,
and is admired by the likes of Neil Finn, Bob Mould, REM and others.
Thompson inspires a legendary following of obsessive fans and
who plays the Bruce Mason Centre tonight.
You are an Englishman but
divide your time between the States and Britain. What percentage
of your time are you in the States?
Probably two-thirds of the time. You go where
the audience is and there are a lot of places to play here. I'll
play anywhere that'll have me but I don't get too many calls from
Ulan Bator. The past 18 months have been the busiest ever. It
was self-inflicted. I had a lot of faith in the last album Mock
Tudor so was determined to tour it to death, and we did three
or four band tours and three or four solo tours. It was intense.
I thought it was a strong record. On a record you are striving
for three things, the songs, performance and production have all
got to be good, and I think on that all were strong. I thought
I had a good shot and was keen to push it hard.
Did it do the business
Well no, it didn't, so I thought to hell with
the world, I'll go and sulk for a few decades. I'm ready to record
again but am just jumping labels and it depends where I land.
The music business, not just record companies but agents and radio,
has become so corporate that until the money people move out I
think I'll keep my head down.
You could have your head
down for a long time.
I don't know, the suits move in and fleece something
for all it's worth, then move on. Perhaps they'll move back to
hamburgers. It's always an exercise in trying to find your audience
and it trying to find you.
You have a very loyal audience.
Isn't self-distribution through the net a possibility?
Yeah, that's something we do but it can never
be the whole picture. Internet sales are only about 3 per cent
of the whole of retail , unless you are a niche artist like me
where it might be 20 per cent. But you still have to deal with
Your audience can be quite
obsessive. Why do you bring that out of people?
I wish I knew, then I could exploit them. I think
people identify with songs sometimes. People can be drawn to you
in different ways, sometimes in some disturbing ways.
You get nutty letters ,
Whoever you are you get a bit of that. Usually
it's something to do with lyrics. You try to write the story of
someone's life, but when you succeed it can have ramifications.
It must be hard to be a high-profile female artist. There are
a lot of cranks out there.
You have been described
as the king of drizzle yet the times we've spoken you have a good
sense of humour.
I'm just trying to write stuff to entertain
myself. To me it's not miserable, it's about life. Also in folk
music, mining disasters, shipwrecks and hideous murders are normal
so I don't think there's anything really strange in writing about
dark things. But I happen to be in the broad area of popular music
where that is uncommon. But lyrically I think anything goes.
Oh, I think so. I'd do records again and tours
again and sign different contracts. I wish I'd been more focused
at various times and been efficient.
What do you listen to
these days when you go on tour or drive around the States?
I don't take anything on tour usually but listen
to music a bit at home. Last thing I bought was Gracie Fields.
In my car I've got the Incredible String Band's 5000 Layers of
the Onion, some Django Reinhardt and Britney Spears. I quite enjoyed
her, listening to the production and that. AndGeorge Shearing.
What will you play in your
solo concert here?
I'll play whatever's appropriate but I have
been playing a lot of that last album. I also trawl back to Fairport
and I may even do some new things.
from the NZ Herald today
05/02/01 - Performance: Richard Thompson
Review: David Lawrence
mild-mannered English guitar hero wondered aloud during the
first of two encores on Saturday night whether there was anything
anyone wanted to hear, there were a dozen or so instant suggestions.
He has been recording for close to 35 years, and the back catalogue
is extensive. He had started with Sights and Sounds of London
Town (the opening words are "Gillian she's" although my kids
insist he sings "jelly and cheese") from his latest album, Mock
Tudor, and much of the show was recent rather than vintage Thompson.
He has a fervent and faithful following and everything was warmly
received. But the older stuff went down best.
for the exuberant Valerie and the haunting Dimming of the Day
(which slightly overstretched the serviceable vocals) were dutifully
answered, although he didn't hark back as far as his Fairport
Convention days. No Tear-stained Letter either, or Shoot Out
the Lights or Hokey-Pokey or Walking On the Wire or Al Bowlly's
in Heaven ... and nothing from his timeless collection of instrumentals,
Strict Tempo. Still, what he played was a treat because he plays
so well. You could swear he had a couple of assistants, but
it was all from his own digits (except for an occasional touch
of reverb) as he coaxed or wrung the full range from an acoustic
Lowden. For someone whose lyrics have their fair share of death
and despair, he comes over as a genial character, and there
were a couple of jokey numbers, one updating Marie's Wedding
to take in Madonna's nuptials and the other satirising Kenny
G's "duet" with Louis Armstrong ("a meeting of great minds,
how nice/like Einstein and Sporty Spice"). No one should have
felt short-changed after a near two-hour set. It is just a pity
he couldn't do a second show and correct the omissions. And
then maybe a third ...
Forwarded from Rob Lake:
Sights and Sounds of London
When The Spell Is Broken >>
Crawl Back Under My Stone >>
Cold Kisses >>
Turning of the Tide >>
Ghost of You Walks >>
My Daddy Is A Mummy >>
Dry My Tears and Move On >>
1952 VBL >>
The Great Valerio >>
I Feel So Good >> Madonna Song
I Agree With Pat Metheny >>
Walking The Long Miles Home
From Galway To Graceland >>
Keep Your Distance >>
Uninhabited Man >>
Cooksferry Queen >>
Encore 1: >>
Words Unspoken, Sight Unseen
Encore 2: >>
Wall of Death >>
Bathsheba Smiles >>
Dimming of the Day .
audience tape exists of this show, quality is excellent.