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13th January 2023
Cathy Billboard.jpg
Photo by Masanori Naruse

Jefferson Airplane spent the New Year in New Zealand so I opened with that.


Q: New Zealand looked like fun…


CR: Oh my God! Yes! So much fun. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, it’s stunning. It’s different, I like beaches and there were beaches everywhere and so scenic. Then we went down to South Island and there were mountains and ski slopes but of course there was no snow because it’s summer but it was so cool.


Q: I have a cousin who owns a bar there and he tells me I should go but it’s not an easy hike.


CR: It’s not but it’s one of those things you must do - you must go.




Q: Simple fact: you have one of the best voices in the Rock world today.


CR: Thank you.


Q: That’s not just my opinion, many others say it as well. Your performances are never lacklustre, you never just go through the motions and you give 100% whenever you sing in any band. When not on tour, and essentially through the covid years, how do you keep your voice in shape?


CR: I just think that after doing it for all these years, it’s a muscle I’ve built up. I’ve been very lucky and it’s not perfect obviously as it’s just two little pieces of flesh crashing together but I just try to work with whatever I have. I do, as you said, give it everything I have. Knock on wood, I haven’t lost my voice in a while.


Q: In a while?


CR: (laughs) I used to all the time when I was younger. In those days, I was playing in smoky clubs and the cigarette smoke and partying and all that stuff can affect your voice in a bad way but now I try to get a lot of sleep, drink water and I warm up a little before going on stage.


Q: That’s good. A lot of Rock singers don’t.


CR: Yeah, I find that as I get older, it helps to stretch it out…like doing yoga. (laughs)

Q: That’s a very good analogy. You must be exhausted when you come off stage though.


CR: Yeah and these two-in-a-rows are pretty hard because you have two hours after the first show to sit there and think ‘I’m tired’ but as soon as I get out there for the second one, it’s no holds barred because the audience deserves everything and that’s how I approach it. You can’t phone it in.


Q: You also have a very good mic technique. Is that something you worked on?


CR: Yeah it’s a conscious thing. I definitely work the mic because sometimes I need to back off a little bit to be sure I’m going to hit the note. (laughs) I also don’t want to blow the place up. I now certain people put a compressor on the mic and then eat it but I have like a built-in compressor in my voice that when I floor it, it compresses itself.


Q: I watched a couple of the videos of you performing Janis’s songs in Love, Janis. It was quite uncanny.


CR: Oh thank you. I had to work at that. Janis was a belter and she could do a lot of different things with her voice but I didn’t really have that gravelly sound that she had so I had to put an affect on it. Now, it just happens naturally and I don’t even notice I’m doing it. It’s an actual technique called ‘Vocal Grind’ which I didn’t know about at the time so I figured it out by myself but it’s a way that you can put that rasp on your voice without shredding your vocal cords. It’s not like you’re really screaming and I can’t really think how to describe it but when I want it, I can bring it out.


Q: You must have studied an awful lot of Janis footage because you had her movements and mannerisms perfect.


CR: I studied for two years. While I was doing the show, I listened to nothing but Janis Joplin and completely absorbed her into my essence and she has become a part of me now as a singer.


Q: When you were performing that role, mentally, where were you because when I was watching you, there were moments when…call it channelling, immersion or whatever you want, but you seemed to be somewhere else.


CR: I haven’t done it in a while. There’s a video on YouTube when I’m doing Ball and Chain with Jim Peterik’s band and I said something like ‘I can’t just do Janis, I have to become Janis so I’ll see you later’. (laughs) Yeah. It’s something that I literally invited her to sing through my body and that sounds a little woo-woo but that’s what I did.


Q: That doesn’t sound woo-woo too me because that’s how I felt. With Jefferson Starship, you have the two greatest women of Rock of that era and you are now singing their parts.


CR: I know! It’s wild! Never in my dreams did I think I would be doing this. I always covered the songs in my own act but I do have a reverence for both of them. They are the Queens and the rest of us are just here because of them.


Q: I read where Grace said to you just before you sang her parts at the Grammys about her pulling you aside and saying ‘You do know this song don’t you?’ and you replied ‘Yeah and I’m gonna sing the shit out of it for you!’


CR: (laughs)


Q: Of course, you knew the songs but nerves?


CR: Well fortunately I was very well prepared. I had been in the band for about years by that point and sung the songs thousands of time and there was the thing about it being a huge deal with a huge stage but then you walk out and it’s just a stage. A stage like any other stage I had been on. Granted it was the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles…


Q: …and a billion people watching worldwide!


CR: …well yeah but to me it was just you and the audience. We had rehearsed, we had family there and any time I get in front of an audience, it’s my natural place to be.


Q: When you and Grace get together, what do you talk about?


CR: I could talk to Grace forever. She is such an interesting, cool, person. We talk about singing, politics…she doesn’t mind telling stories and is comfortable holding court and knowing that people like me are very interested in what she has to say. She’s very easy to talk to and we hit it off pretty well.

Q: Grace by name, grace by nature.


CR: Yeah.




Q: Were you the child in the bedroom who sang into the mirror with a hairbrush?


CR: One million percent. Maybe a broomstick. Mic moves, stance…(laughs)


Q: Where you a big concert goer in your teens?


CR: The first concert that I wanted to go to and bought a ticket for was Heart because they were my absolute heroes.


Q: Very few kids grow up and eventually perform with the band that they love. You’ve done it twice with Jefferson Starship and Big Brother and the Holding Company. You now walk amongst the Gods and Goddesses of your youth; do you still get starstruck?


CR: Well not by the guys because we are in the band together…


Q: No, I mean like when you spot someone at the Grammys for instance.


CR: Oh totally, yes. There are a few people. Ann Wilson is the one that just makes me bow down. When I was in my early twenties, I got a chance to sing with Mickey Thomas and his band as my band opened for them. We sang Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Good Time Music and at the end of the song, the band broke it down and we were just trading licks. He has got an incredibly souring high voice and I have a belting voice but it’s not that high. I am not a soprano by any means and he is far more of a soprano than I am and at a certain point and I just thought ‘Forget it’. (laughs)


Q: You are a singer but also a Mum. Never an easy balancing act but you appear to have been very successful at it.


CR: So far so good.


Q: Being a Mum and a singer in a famous Rock band, teacher and parent nights must be quite interesting…


CR: Yes. I am always getting roped into doing concerts for the kids. My wife. Racheal, will say ‘You’re going to be doing a little Christmas concert for the fourth-graders’ and I’m like ‘Oh ok’. (laughs) It’s fun and all the teachers seem to be more starstruck by me but I tell them I’m just their mum and honestly, I’m on the road so much that I’m not really the No. 1 parent in the house. I’m sort of this mythical figure that floats in and out. (laughs) I do love having kids and when I brought them to New Zealand, that was the first time they had come out on the road. They come to a few shows nearby, around Chicago but they are typical kids you know. They would rather be playing video games than watch the show and I know that will eventually change because they are still pretty young but when I am away, I am constantly missing them so I decided I couldn’t go to the other side of the world this time and not bring them. The last time we went to New Zealand it was so hard because they were younger and it was for them because you can’t really hook up to talk on the phone because you are different sides of the earth. I think it’s such a cool thing for them to get the opportunity to travel and see the world and I’d like to keep doing that and bring them out more often.


Q: Do you see your kids following in Mum’s footsteps.


CR: No. (smiles) They have no interest whatsoever. My daughter likes to dance and has a little performing streak. She’s a cheerleader and does competitive cheerleading and can do all the flips and dance moves and everything and my son, the jury is out on what he’s going to be into but he’s only nine so there’s plenty of time. I have big plans for him to be in a Rolling Stones tribute band because he looks like Mick Jagger. (laughs)


Q: Have you seen any of the Jefferson Airplane/Starship tribute bands?


CR: Only on YouTube and it’s hard to get a feel. There’s nothing like being in the room; you can’t really capture it. One video camera in a room doesn’t do it.


Q: I agree.


CR: There are different kind of tribute bands and some of them are amazing. I used to be against them but some of them are so good. I went to see a The Who tribute band  - sorry I can’t think of their name but they are out of California – and they do the costumes and everything and I was standing there watching them and it brought tears to my eyes because I thought I will never, ever get the chance to see The Who live in their heyday. They were pulling it off so spectacularly and I was thinking ‘I’m being fooled right now’.


Q: Well, that’s exactly how I felt watching you do Janis.


CR: Oh cool! Thank you! (laughs)


One for the road…


Q: Want to give us an update on the Cathy Richardson Band and any other projects? What does 2023 hold in store other than shows with Jefferson Starship?


CR: I don’t really have another project happening right now because this band has become a full-time job and we are on this trajectory of getting bigger and bigger. When I first joined the band, we were playing small clubs and Folk music that Paul Kentner wanted to play and it was a very different version of the band. When Paul passed away, we all sort of became the boss and set goals of where we wanted to take this iconic brand and band and music and get it back to where it should be. There is a lot of Classic Rock bands like Journey and Toto who are out there in their current version drawing the crowds and we’ve had the challenge of all the years where we were not playing the songs that the people wanted to hear and also that Mickey Thomas has a band playing the same circuit we are. So there is a lot of confusion but I think we have done a great job - and this is meant as no offence to Mickey because he is my second-favourite singer to Ann Wilson – but a great job of getting this band back to where it should be and we’ve been having tremendous success with it. It’s taken some sacrifice on our part, taking less money and being opening acts and other stuff but we are very excited about where things are going now. This year we have this Bret Michaels tour which we were wondering if it was right for us but we’ve been going out there and playing with all kinds of different bands (we just did a great tour across Europe supporting Deep Purple) and we realised that it doesn’t matter who they as long as they are in the same era. They are songs that people of a certain age know and it’s great for us to be out there with Bret because he is going to draw a huge crowd, we are going to go out there and play and everyone is going to go ‘Jefferson Starship?! I didn’t even know you guys were still around!’


Q: Well this is the thing isn’t it? Nowadays you have Metal festivals, Jazz festivals, or whatever and everything is so fragmented but the era you are talking about, when you listened to the radio, Jefferson Starship was followed by Poison and then a Rolling Stones song, Shakatak, etc. There was no division. We loved everything and the genre didn’t matter.


CR: Yeah. We did a show with The Commodores which seems like such a weird match but it was incredible. The crowd loved both bands, totally different music and the thing with music is that it’s like a time machine and when you grow up with the soundtrack of your life, it just transports you back to the best years when everything was new and music meant everything to you. Look…I’m getting choked up! (laughs)


Q: Cathy, I shall look forward to you transporting me back in time in a couple of hours. Thank you very much.


CR: I hope so. Thank you Glenn and great meeting you.

Anchor 1


































Q:『Love, Janis』でジャニスの曲を歌っているビデオを何本か観ました。凄く痺れました。







CR:久しぶりにやったわね。YouTubeに、ジム・ピータリックのバンドと「Ball and Chain」をやっている時の映像があるわ。「ジャニスのように、じゃダメなの。ジャニスにならなきゃいけないのよ。だからまた後でね。」みたいなことを言ったのよ(笑)。これは、文字通り、私の体を通して彼女に歌ってもらうもので、ちょっとウキウキするようなことなんだけど、それが私のやったことなのよ。






























CR:ええ、そうね。何人かいるわよ。アン・ウィルソンは、ただただ頭が下がる思いだったわ。20代前半の頃、私のバンドがミッキー・トーマスと彼のバンドのオープニングを務めた時に、一緒に歌う機会を得たの。「Rock 'n' Roll Is Good Time Music」を歌ったんだけど、曲の最後にバンドが入り乱れて、共演したのよ。彼は凄くキュンとくる高い声をしていて、私はベルティングボイスなんだけど、そんなに高くないの。私は決してソプラノではなくて、彼は私よりもずっとソプラノだったから、ある時、「もういいや」と思ってしまったの(笑)。









CR:いいえ(笑)。子供たちは何の興味もないわ。私の娘はダンスが好きで、少しパフォーマー向きなところがあるわ。彼女はチアリーダーで、競技チアリーディングをやっていて、フリップやダンスなど何でもできるの。私の息子は、何に夢中になるかはまだ分からないけど、まだ9歳だから時間はたっぷりあるし。 ミック・ジャガーに似ているので、ローリング・ストーンズのトリビュートバンドに参加させるという大計画もあるわ(笑)。


Q:ジェファーソン・エアプレイン / スターシップのトリビュートバンドを観たことがありますか?










CR:このバンドがフルタイムの仕事になり、どんどん大きくなっていく軌道に乗っているので、今は他のプロジェクトは特にないのよ。私がバンドに参加した当初は、小さなクラブで、ポール・カントナーがやりたがっていたフォーク・ミュージックを演奏していた。バンドなりにアレンジしたバージョンをね。ポールが亡くなった時、私たち全員がボスになって、この象徴的なブランドとバンドと音楽を、あるべき姿に戻したいという目標を立てたの。ジャーニーやトトのようなクラシック・ロック・バンドは、現在のバージョンで観客を集めている。私たちは、観客が聴きたい曲を演奏していないという課題をずっと抱えていたし、ミッキー・トーマスも私たちと同じサーキットで演奏するバンドを持っている。そのため、多くの混乱があるけど、私たちは素晴らしい仕事をしたと思っている。ミッキーはアン・ウィルソンの次に好きなシンガーなので悪気はないんだけど、このバンドをあるべき姿に戻すという素晴らしい仕事をし、私たちはそれで大きな成功を収めている。ギャラを減らしたり、オープニングアクトを務めたり、いろいろと犠牲を払ってきたけど、今の状況にとても興奮しているわ。今年はブレット・マイケルズのツアーがあり、それが私たちに合っているかどうか疑問だったんだけど、いろんなバンドと一緒に演奏してきたわ(ディープ・パープルのサポートでヨーロッパを回る素晴らしいツアーをやったばかりだし)。同じ時代であれば、誰がやっても同じなのよ。ある年代の人たちが知っている曲だし、ブレットと一緒に出られるのは素晴らしいことよ。彼は大勢の観客を集めてくれるし、私たちが演奏して、みんなが『ジェファーソン・スターシップ?! 君たちがまだいたなんて知らなかったよ!』ってなるから。



CR:そうね。コモドアーズと一緒にショーをやったんだけど、変な組み合わせに見えるけど、凄かったのよ。観客は両方のバンド、全く異なる音楽を、そして音楽というものを愛していたわ。音楽はタイムマシンのようなもので、自分の人生のサウンドトラックを聴いて成長すると、すべてが新しく、音楽がすべてを意味していた最高の時代に連れて行ってくれるの。ほら...息が詰まってきた! (笑)




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