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Home arrow Interviews arrow David Gilmour interviews
March 17th 2000 - MSN Webchat Print E-mail

Welcome online everyone welcome especially to Floydians! from around the world. Ladies and Gentlemen, MSN is proud to welcome online one of the world's greatest rock guitarists alongside of Clapton and Hendrix, he is one the UK’s most influential musicians, and a composer of genuine genius, he recently played a blistering Rock'n'Roll set live on the eve of the 21st Century at the Cavern Club with Paul McCartney to what the world's media hailed as the biggest ever web cast in history, with just under one million people logging on from all over the world and three million visitors for the Archive. David Gilmour joins us online to celebrate the release of the legendary live version of Pink Floyd's The Wall: Is There Anybody Out There?
 
The creativity, energy and furious authority that Gilmour brought to the fragile story of a wounded child building a Wall against the world, gave the album an extraordinary power aimed against war, racism and all forms of cruelty... many of the fan mails spoke of that defining moment of The Wall live, when he stood on top of The Wall itself and let rip one of the world's most memorable guitar solos for Comfortably Numb.

MSNLive: ...David Gilmour....

David Gilmour: Thank you. Good evening.

MSNLive: Forgive the gushy intro David - understandable under the circumstances, :o) You are very welcome online. Do you use the Internet much?

David Gilmour:: I'm not brilliant at it, but I'm using it more and more. I haven’t yet to try other uses for it. Certainly, I haven't chatted online before, I don't believe.

MSNLive: The Most Frequently asked question of all those we recieved in advance. "Will there be Video or DVD to accompany the live album?"

David Gilmour: It's a complicated situation. The shows were recorded on video tape which Roger has in his possession. They weren't great quality as far as I can remember. At some point I expect they will be re-mixed, using enhanced computer technology and hopefully one day that will see the light of day.

MSNLive: What was it like playing Rock and Roll and working with Paul McCartney? Are there any plans to do more work with him?

David Gilmour: I've completed all the stuff that Paul has so far asked me to do with him. I don't know if he's doing anymore but it was really good fun to get back to that kind of music for a change. Getting to be a Beatle for that night at the Cavern was un-forgettable.

MSNLive: What stands out in your memory the most about the Wall tour musically?

David Gilmour: It's very hard to pick out individual moments from a whole that was so complete and so brilliant. Obviously one of my favorites moments was, as you might expect, performing on the top of The Wall.

MSNLive: "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" was recorded at Abbey Road Studio's the same time The Beatles were recording Sergeant Pepper. What influence - good or bad - did producer, Norman Smith and the Beatles have on your creativity in the studio?

David Gilmour: Actually, I wasn't with the band at the time but Norman Smith was our producer for the first few albums after I joined Pink Floyd and he taught us a lot about the use of a studio and record production. But eventually we outgrew him.

MSNLive: Is there an album planned to follow "Division Bell" and/or a tour to follow Pulse? (This has got to take in just about every question about studios and tours for the PF's)

David Gilmour: We have no plans at the moment to make a Pink Floyd record or to do a Pink Floyd tour. But I think I'll be back in the studio before long but whether it's a Pink Floyd project or a solo project I don’t know yet.

MSNLive: A fan is asking, "I am a big fan of Pink Floyd's work. I would like to ask you a question about your guitar style and sound, both of which are very distinctive. What were your influences in developing your style?"

David Gilmour: The guitar players that influenced me are too numerous to mention but there was a point when I started liking my own playing and my style, I suppose, it developed out of that. Like when I abandoned the compulsion to copy other people so much.

MSNLive: What inspired your "Comfortably Numb" Killer solo? Is it your favorite solo?

David Gilmour: I don't know if it's my favourite solo, there are many solos that I love for different reasons. The solo was just inspired by the music.

MSNLive: What made you choose Bob Geldof to play Pink in the film of "The Wall"?

David Gilmour: I didn't. Alan Parker did. It was a good choice. We saw his screen test in which he did the courtroom speech from the movie, Midnight Express and it was brilliant.

MSNLive: Will you be working with Sam Brown again in live shows?

David Gilmour: I have no idea; I don't know what our next live show will be. She is great. I couldn't give you an answer on that, but I did speak to her a couple of weeks ago. :o)

MSNLive: Many of the eMails in advance asked if Pink Floyd would ever produce an Anthology, like the Beatles, filled full of out-takes and demos. What people were thinking of were certain tracks from the Syd-era like 'Vegetable Man’ and 'Scream Thy Last Scream' that most Floyd fans own, will there ever be an official release for these gems?

David Gilmour: There are just one or two tracks like the one you mentioned "scream thy last scream" earlier from before my time with Pink Floyd. I wouldn't be opposed to having them out in better form than they are now. i.e. bootleg.

MSNLive: What are your fondest memories of working/recording/touring with the Floyd and your old friend Roger?

David Gilmour: There are too numerous to mention. We had many years, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Doing the concerts - I always enjoyed them. I know Roger had more difficulty than the rest of us, it's well documented that he had problems with the huge shows, when there was sometimes a feeling that some of them were "only there for the beer", so to speak. But I always felt that I was there for the ones who were there for the music, as well.

MSNLive: Almost everybody on eMail asked if you still keep in touch with Syd? How is he?

David Gilmour: I don't keep in touch on a regular basis. I have spoken with his sister a couple times, but I don't really know at the moment. I hope he's happy.

MSNLive: Roger described your recordings for the BBC as awful. Have you heard the recordings, and what is you opinion? Would you be opposed to releasing them as a CD?

David Gilmour: I haven't heard them in so long. My memories of them were the same of Roger's, that they were not great. I don't remember our performances being particularly good and the technology as used by the BBC at that time was already antiquated.

MSNLive: Have Pink Floyd considered the production of a new concept using multimedia, Internet eMobile phones and whatever?

David Gilmour: So far I find it hard to get used to the scale of a tiny computer screen I confess that my preference is for a real live show.

MSNLive: What's your opinion to "Absolutely Ambient" Pink Floyd Remix CD? Do you like unofficial Floyd remixes? What’s your opinion to them? Do you like unofficial Floyd remixes?

David Gilmour: (Chuckles) I haven't heard any.

MSNLive: People have compared Pink Floyd to Radiohead and Bush and Manson and others - are there any bands that you think carry on your tradition?

David Gilmour: I think some of those bands are creating their own tradition. I think Radiohead are great but I don't think they need us, for their own path.

MSNLive: Is it true that before joining the Floyd you contributed to the soundtrack of the '60s sci-fi movie Barbarella?

David Gilmour: No, it's not true. I'm so glad to put that notion to bed.

MSNLive: The Pink Floyd cover bands? Have you heard any?

David Gilmour: I've heard one of them. I went to see them for fun and then I had them play, along with the Bootleg Beatles, at my 50th birthday party. They were great but... it's not quite the same.

MSNLive: Do you see many parallels between Pink Floyd and the Beatles? Like the song writing partnership with Lennon and McCartney? In particular that they grew to do concept albums, split up and reformed.

David Gilmour: You can make that comparison with a number of different bands, I'm a huge fan of the Beatles, but I don't know what parallels are between us except we were both pretty good at what we did.

MSNLive: Many who asked that question were really asking about you maybe reforming.

David Gilmour: I think I can safely say there is no desire by me or Roger to do that kind of performing.

MSNLive: Okay here's a crucial question: What ever happened to the inflatable pig?

David Gilmour: There are several inflatable pigs that I'm sorry to say it but, they are sitting gently rotting in various warehouses. I wish I could say there was just one but there were many.

MSNLive: ( Did they any have donor cards ) What was the earliest music you can recollect as having an effect on you, and would you still listen to it now?

David Gilmour: An awful lot of music had an effect on me from a very young age but I can remember 1956 when I was 10 years old things like 'Rock around the Clock' and 'Jailhouse Rock' which knocked me sideways, made be think about picking up and playing the guitar.

MSNLive: What was your favourite single of the ‘90s?

David Gilmour: Hmmm; "Closing Time" by Leonard Cohen.

MSNLive: Woo, I know it: "Everyone here gets born twice once for the devil and once for Christ -- it's closing time".

David Gilmour: I spent a lot of nerd time trying to analyse those lyrics.

MSNLive: Can you explain some of the writing process you go through when writing a conceptual album?

David Gilmour: I don't know if I'm qualified to answer a question like that, better ask Roger; though - hey, it's too late if you already interviewed him Monday. :o) I'm really more of a musician-type musician rather than a conceptual writer.

MSNLive: Please tell how you managed to persuade Stephen Hawking to feature "Keep Talking" on the Division Bell album. Are you both members of the same secret Hermetic society?

David Gilmour: We first had to contact the ad agency; they had used his voice on a BT computer ad. Of course, it's really not his voice because he no longer has one. But I think he was thrilled to be asked and he did come to our show in 1994.

MSNLive: What was he like?

David Gilmour: He was very nice. It's slow chatting to him. He came backstage afterwards and told us how much he enjoyed himself.

MSNLive: Is there anybody you'd like to produce?

David Gilmour: No. It's a thankless task.

MSNLive: Why did you stop performing with the "improvisation material" like "Saucerful of Secrets" and "Careful With That Axe, Eugene?" Or have you?

David Gilmour: I think the realities of the sort of touring that we started during the 70's precluded much of that sort of thing. Anyway I think our tastes changed as time went on.

MSNLive: What exactly happened to Nick's book "Pink Floyd: The Official History"? Why wasn't it released? Will it ever see the light of day?

David Gilmour: I got rather grumpy about it because I didn't really think that, what I saw of it, conveyed enough of the artistic process. He could't do it, so I asked him to can it. Which he did :o) - so far.

MSNLive: What do you think about MP3 and the impact on the recording industry and do you feel that it is a bad or good thing to see bootlegs being distributed in that manner?

David Gilmour: I have an MP3 player which I can see part of now hanging from the end of a hook, off a curtain rod. I don't understand it, I have no idea of what impact it will have on the recording industry, but time usually sorts those things out.

MSNLive: When did you stop feeling like the 'new kid' when you joined Pink Floyd? How difficult was it to get your ideas taken on board at first?

David Gilmour: I'm still working on it. Because I'm sort of two to three years younger than the rest of them I never stop feeling like the new kid. But they did start taking my ideas seriously at an early stage.

MSNLive: We got thousands of e-mails from teenage fans - why do you think The Wall and Pink Floyd albums are still so hugely popular?

David Gilmour: I'm surprised you do hear from any teenage fans, maybe they'd let me know why we are so still popular. I don't know. I think we always tried to explore and pushed boundaries with the music that we made and maybe there's not enough of that now and I think some of the themes that were explored then, will never be out of date.

MSNLive: What is your Floyd favourite album?

David Gilmour: The last one, usually. But I don't really have a favourite.

MSNLive: I’ve read that you were a model before you joined Pink Floyd. What was the strangest thing you ever had to model for?

David Gilmour: I had many jobs... when the music business wasn't doing so well for me and I did do one or two photographic jobs and the money was very good, and it was only to help pay for musical equipment that I needed, and to survive...ish.

MSNLive: Is there anyone that you would like to perform with?

David Gilmour: There are many that I dreamed of performing with but right at the moment there is no one that I particularly need to perform with.

MSNLive: Isn't there a documentary to accompany the release of "The Wall"?

David Gilmour: Well actually yes, there is a documentary to accompany the release of the Wall but I don't think it's quite finished yet. I do know there are some snippets of video footage from The Wall performances.

MSNLive: What do your children think of Pink Floyd?

David Gilmour: We don't really discuss what they think about Pink Floyd. Some of the older ones came to some of the shows on the last tour, but they were a bit too young for most of our tours. I think they're all fans, but possibly they prefer the Beatles.

MSNLive: Will the "Live at Pompeii" movie be released on DVD?

David Gilmour: I couldn't tell you, but I would not be at all surprised. I don't know I haven't discussed it with anyone.

MSNLive: Your guitar setups for playing live in the studio - what sort of equipment do you like to use? Are they different? The same from live to studio? They particularly wanted to know about the effects.

David Gilmour: It's so hard to say what they are from track to track. It depends on how you feel. They change all the time, usually some sort of distortion unit, echo delay unit, bit of volume. It's nice to have the best equipment but not essential.

MSNLive: David, what makes you laugh?

David Gilmour: My children, constantly.

MSNLive: David what is the main source of inspiration for you?

David Gilmour: Inspiration comes at you from all around, from life and love and children. It's hard to be more specific than that.

MSNLive: Hi David, I would like to ask you what you think of the Hawkwind version of a particular Pink Floyd track as commissioned for the Pink Floyd Encyclopedia.

David Gilmour: I haven’t heard of it. By the way are you sure there is an Encyclopedia? I hope they’ve done their research. Typically, they haven’t.

MSNLive: Pink Floyd has many fans in Egypt. You’ve performed at the Berlin Wall and in Pompeii. Would you ever consider performing at the Pyramids?

David Gilmour: We always wanted to play in Egypt at the Pyramids. We tried to organise it on the last tour and we hoped to play in Israel and Egypt on consecutive days but the political situation wasn't condusive so we had to abandon it.

MSNLive: What was the atmosphere when you worked on the album "Run Devil Run"?

David Gilmour: That was brilliant, we worked so fast that we never spent more than an hour and a half on a track. It was five very fast and furious days of recording at Abbey Road. It was a treat for me not having to carry the burden of responsibility and to just plug in my guitar and play.

MSNLive: Do your children ever shout at you to turn the music down? If so what tracks do you still like to listen to loud?

David Gilmour: I more often have to tell them to turn the music down.

MSNLive: Okay, I have to ask, what are they listening to?

David Gilmour: I never *know* what they're listening to, that's the problem.

MSNLive: Are their any kinds of messages behind your live set lists, like leaving songs out or including them?

David Gilmour: On the last couple of tours it hadn't felt appropriate to do concerts they way we used to do them. We usually just try to play a good smattering of our new music along with a lot of the old favorites, which is mostly dictated by the ones we enjoy playing.

MSNLive: Have you seen the tribute websites?

David Gilmour: I've looked at a couple of them but not very much. I haven't spent a lot of time investigating the web as of yet.

MSNLive: One last question for you. A fan wondered what did Roger bring out in you creatively?

David Gilmour: It's hard for me to say... what influence he had on me. I know that some of the musical moments that I plucked out of the air, helped to inspire feelings in Roger that he could write about.

MSNLive: A great quote. Thanks for joining us online, David.

David Gilmour: Good, I've enjoyed it.

MSNLive: Thanks everyone!

 
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