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April 1984 - source unknown Print E-mail

Kindly transcribed by Murray Singleton - thanks Murray!

We're not exactly sure just where this interview came from, but reference is made to 'issue 63' of a publication. The interview appears on the back cover of the vinyl ROIO Mihalis by David Gilmour which was recorded while he was on the Scandinavian leg of the About Face tour. This would have been on April 24 1984 at the Isstadion, Stockholm, Sweden. From the tone of the interview it appears that it took place immediately prior to the tour.

In 1981, biographer Miles described Pink Floyd as "the most commercially successful group on the planet", but despite this accolade, Pink Floyd as individuals have long retained an air of quiet anonymity, shadowy figures moodily evading the gaudy fanfare surrounding their peers in the rock aristocracy. Perhaps the only bracket David Gilmour shares with comparably successful musicians – Sting, Jagger, Townshend – is his income bracket.

Yet, echoing a comment of Jagger's in 1980 (when questioned as to his motivations for continuing to tour, Jagger said: "Well we all need to make a few bob, you know"), David Gilmour is now embarking on a solo career that he regards as a very serious business enterprise. The March release of a solo album, 'About Face' (reviewed issue 63), and a single, 'Blue Light', prefaced the start of a lengthy European tour this month, to be followed by a visit to the States in May.

In order to build a successful career, one has to, in Gilmour's own words 'make a splash at the beginning'. To make that splash, he has had to step out of the shadows and, while not moving into the full beam of the spotlight, he has at least walked out into the comparative glare of the daylight. Aside from rehearsing his group, and making two videos in two weeks, he is being introduced to the joys of meeting the press. A chaotic schedule of personal and telephone interviews by reporters from a variety of European papers and radio stations is being undertaken in a salubrious hotel in Reading, and Gilmour looks wretched.

The unshaven look, as on the album cover, is matched by tired eyes, and a yawn never far from the surface, while his stocky frame clothed in neutral coloured shirt and blue jeans, completes the picture of a weary brickie contemplating the hours till it's time to knock off for lunch. The image is bellied by the cultured intonation of his voice, as he explains the current Pink Floyd situation and his feelings about his solo career, while declining an invitation from our photographer, the comely Erica, to go down to the swimming pool for some 'snaps' (he agreed in the end).

Q: Was "The Final Cut", in fact, a requiem for Pink Floyd?

David Gilmour: Not that I'm aware of – that's not the way I saw it. The 'final cut' in film terminology is that phrase used for the finished article. When you stock all the rushes together basically in the right order – all the right shots and all the right takes in more or less the right order – you call it the 'rough cut'. And, when you've cleaned it up and got it perfect, you call it the "final cut". It's also an expression for a stab in the back, which I think is rather the way Roger sees the film industry.

Q: So what exactly is the situation with Pink Floyd?

David Gilmour: Ah (mock surprise) – that's what you were getting at. Well no-one has said they're leaving Pink Floyd, no-one has said the group has packed up. But we don't have any plans to do anything. Although I've read on a number of occasions certain 'exclusive' reports that we have packed up, those reports have been made up.

Q: How close are you and Roger Waters these days?

David Gilmour: About as close as we've ever been, which is not terribly close. We're not close personal friends, we never have been. We get on alright, really, we have our ups and downs, we fight, but we've always fought.

Q: How much has what remains of Pink Floyd become a vehicle for Roger's vision?

David Gilmour: Largely. It's always been a vehicle for Roger's vision more than anyone else's. Lyrically, it's been his vision completely for the last few years, but the musical contributions have been more shared. Not so much on 'The Final Cut', though. 'The Final Cut' is completely Roger's thing really.

Q: How is Roger's solo album (The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking) coming along?

David Gilmour: He's finished it. He finished it before I finished mine. I haven't heard it yet, but it's due out in May I think.

Q: Is there any point continuing with Pink Floyd?

David Gilmour: I don't know. There may or may not be a point in it. What can be achieved when Roger and I work together and put our minds to it and want to work together, could still be good. There are still things which could be done which could be great. So from that point of view it is possible that one might want to do something again; and if we did we could do something great. I'm certain of it.

Q: Would that include Nick Mason?

David Gilmour: Yup. I should think so. Who knows?

Q: Your solo album seems more concerned with songs and certain musical variations that would be unlikely to appear on a Floyd LP. How important has it been for you to find an outlet for your own ideas?

David Gilmour: It's not really so much finding an outlet for my own ideas as finding an outlet for me to be able to work. Pink Floyd don't always work when I want to. It's hard to get everyone organized and agreeing to do something at the same time. So it's very nice to have a career where I can make the decisions about what I want to do and when I want to do it. I've always got tunes around that I can start working on when I've got the time. I've been wanting to make a solo album since I did the last one ('David Gilmour' 1978).

Be that as it may, for David Gilmour it is still a big step to go from making a solo album during an interregnum in Floyd activities to the current operation which involves getting his own band together and mounting a full scale tour in the light of the possible demise of Pink Floyd. How does he view the prospect?

David Gilmour: Well it's quite nerve racking, quite frightening, but we'll go ahead and do it and see what it's like. I don’t know what it's going to be like. I haven't done that sort of thing for so long, or on this sort of a scale, but I'm sure I'll bluff it out.

In assembling his musicians Gilmour has been helped by another member of the Thames Valley rock aristocracy, Mick Ralphs, formerly with Bad Company (another band that died because nobody could be bothered to pick up a phone). About a year ago Ralphs set about forming his own solo group and after protracted research and auditions, recruited among others bassist Mickey Feat (ex Van Morrison, Alvin Lee) and drummer Chris Slade (ex-Manfred Mann, Frankie Miller). Gilmour has taken the nucleus of Ralphs, Feat and Slade, and added Greg Dechart on keyboards, percussionist Jodi Linscott and celebrated session sax player Raff ("Baker Street") Ravenscroft to complete the band.

David Gilmour: In choosing musicians you pick up the best of what you can find. There are a lot of reasons for picking the people you do. Their availability is one that's very relevant when it comes to touring. And their price is also very relevant.

Q: Even to you?

David Gilmour: Yes.

Q: You haven't got unlimited funds then?

David Gilmour: Absolutely not. Making an album and doing a tour... there's no point in doing them if you can't make a profit out of it.

Q: What are the terms of your contract with EMI?

David Gilmour: We all have solo career clauses built into our contracts, so we can put out solo records. There are obviously tons of provisos and things written in. We can't just keep whacking hundreds of them out and not sell any. We wont keep getting advances if we make bad records that don't sell. It's like any other normal business situation. Albums come out, and if they do well it's quite alright to go on doing more.

Q: There's a wide variety of styles on 'About Face'. What are your sources of inspiration, what do you listen to?

David Gilmour: I don't know, I just make up tunes and they come out and that's what I carry on with. I never worry about whether there's going to be a consistency of style. In fact, a lot of albums bug me because they're the same all the way through. People used to vary things like mad, but now they're all too consistent. People think there's a formula which they ought to stick to and I don't like doing that.

Q: Do you feel that, given the dubious position of Pink Floyd, 'About Face' is a more ambitious project than your previous solo album?

David Gilmour: Yes definitely. I do intend with this project to make some sort of career that I can follow. You have to go for broke on these things, particularly at the beginning. You have to put everything into trying to get the original splash noticed so you can carry on doing something.

Q: Some of your lyrics seem a bit cynical. Are you a cynical person?

David Gilmour: I suppose I must be if the lyrics seem cynical. Or perhaps its just the way I write lyrics.

Q: Do you worry about the way the world is going?

David Gilmour: Yes, don't you? I'm not very experienced at writing lyrics. I think I have reasonably high standards, but its very difficult to try and write good lyrics. They’ve got to do something. There's no point in having them unless they do something.

 
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