Teddy Thompson On the Forthcoming Thompson Family Album, Touring With His Dad and More
Your last album, Bella, came out in 2011. That's been a little while, but you've been pretty busy and taken part in quite a few tribute projects since then. The Nick Drake tribute, the Kate McGarrigle tribute and you had a cut on the Paul McCartney Americana tribute album. Can you tell me about getting involved in all that, especially the Nick Drake tribute?
It was fun. I'd love to tell you that it's all about the art and the music and doing something you care deeply about. But there's also something to be said, especially these days, for having something to do between records. The Nick Drake show came around when I had the time to do it. It was nice to be doing something musical that wasn't me, and I love all those Nick Drake records. It was interesting music, and it was good to do something different for a couple of months to stay busy, to keep working. You know, to do a Paul McCartney song for a day, that's fun.
So it's not a way to put off your own recordings?
You do have to watch it a little bit. You can turn around and then three years have passed and you haven't put out a record. And, hah, that's where I'm at! [Laughs] I'm not someone who works too much. I can be a bit lazy, a bit apathetic about things. So for me it's useful to have any kind of project that keeps me thinking about music, otherwise I might put the guitars away and start watching TV. For the most part it helps with your own music when you get back to it.
Is touring with your dad work or is it a time to bond and do father-son things? You know, go fishing with Dad.
Yeah, metaphorical fishing. It's both. Having a family playing songs together is special. From an audience perspective it's interesting for them to see. I don't think it's gratuitous for us to be doing it. Aside from that it is nice. Anyone who came from a divorced family, and whose father left, you get to see him on weekends maybe, and you grow up and then don't get to see your dad very much. And all kids grow up and don't get to see their parents as much if they don't live near by. So it's nice that you get to spend time with your dad as an adult because he just doesn't come up very often.
When you see your dad play are there things that still surprise you?
He always plays something that's surprising. That's something special about him -- and not very many other people. He's always doing something new, even if you don't register it. Even on a minute level he's always trying to get better at something. That's a mark of a really good musician. I'm not surprised by that; I would be surprised if for once he was resting on his laurels, but nope! He's remarkable in that sense. I expect that. He's always been very driven. And he just gets better and better.