One of the things I want to do with this new format is post short interviews with people I work with and/or appreciate. I figured the best person to start off with is Sir Richard Bishop as we have a bit of a history of interviewing each other. I asked him some questions back in 2006 for Fretboard Journal (which can be read on SRB’s site) and he asked me some questions for a recent interview for Bomb magazine. Considering he’s been pretty quiet the last year (by SRB standards) I thought we should figure out what the hell he’s been up to. As always, the views of SRB do not necessarily reflect the views of this website, organization, or dimension.
First off, you’ve been pretty quiet as of 2013. What have you been up to? I heard you moved. Is that why my letters keep getting returned?
Yeah, I’ve been hiding out a little bit, taking some time off from touring. Since June I have been here in Geneva, Switzerland for a residency, staying in an old renovated sheep house (La Moutonniere) which is on the grounds of a pretty fancy estate built in 1722. Nice view of the Lake Geneva shoreline. Have been working with a dance company here, who I have worked with a few times before, trying to come up with music for their latest creation. I am failing miserably. I’m also working on my book, trying to get that finished. It’s a shit ton of work but I am determined. I started working on the book in Thailand in 2009 and will be heading back there in a few weeks and plan on staying as long as possible. So I am hoping to finish it while over there. I am enjoying being away from the states and have no intention of going back any time soon. Have I missed any Rangda shows? And yes, your letters are probably getting returned but how the fuck did you get my old mailing address!!!
I got it using the freedom of information act. Easy. Do you have any releases coming out? It looked like Stephen O’Malley posted a detail of some art that looked like your beard. Is this a record?
You are referring to the Intermezzo LP which O’Malley released last year on his label. Now, if you look on your record shelves you should find at least one copy of this because I know I gave you one or more. Did you sell it? What did you get for it? Oh, I bet you traded it for some Kratom! Regardless, in August I finished recording a new solo acoustic record which will be released in March or April on VDSQ Records. It’s a good one – my best yet. It will head straight to number one.
Oh OK, I see now that it is the same record. Hey, I wanted to ask you about Persian tuned piano. I know you play piano and have recorded some tracks but have you ever fooled around with that tuning? What do you know about it? I used to listen to RadioDarvish (which unfortunately seems to be down now) and they would play some very beautiful songs. Do you have any favorite musicians in that genre?
Is that where the Iranians remove all the zionist notes from the keyboard so that their music will be more enriching? Yeah, I love that music. I have never had a chance to play a piano that was tuned like that but I hope to at some point. Seems like there are a lot of possibilities with that. I don’t really know many artists by name who play Persian tuned piano, but I will say that you are my favorite musician in every genre!!!! – What you are doing with didgeridoo and rain stick right now is really amazing! Oh, and I love the last record you did – you really captured the essence of Cher in her heyday before all the surgery. I’m not sure what genre you would call that but I do hope you have your own variety show someday.
Thanks. That reminds me, what happened to that youtube channel you had up of other musicians? I can’t find it anymore.
Oh yeah, The Freak of Araby Youtube channel. That had a lot of potential. Youtube/Google took it down because they got a lot of complaints about it (so they said). I guess sharing videos of Oum Kalthoum, Farid al-Atrache, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, and other Arabs making High Art is just not acceptable for some people. My Klezmer channel is still up.
I’m waiting for your early morning talk show. Last question – Do you give guitar lessons? How much do you charge?
Nobody should take guitar lessons, ever! It ruins everything. That being said, I will gladly give lessons for $750 an hour. No need to bring a guitar, a simple first aid kit should be enough. Or, one can just buy my book when it is available. That way I won’t have to drive anybody to the hospital.