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Home arrow Interviews arrow David Gilmour interviews arrow October 20th 2002 - Union Tribune, San Diego
October 20th 2002 - Union Tribune, San Diego Print E-mail

Going solo beats Pink Floyd band reunion; 'David Gilmour in Concert' is what excites musician today

David Gilmour's rift with former Pink Floyd bandmate Roger Waters is intense enough that the estrangement has lasted 17 years. Yet Gilmour can still warm up enough to joke about the frosty relations.

Time may heal all wounds. But Gilmour laughs when, in a malaprop, he's asked whether "time wounds all heals."

"Time wounds all heels?" he repeated with a twist. "I like that. I hope so!"

"We will see," continued the singer-guitarist, who became Pink Floyd's leader after Waters' acrimonious departure in 1985. "I believe Roger has become friendly again with Nick (Mason, the band's drummer), but he hasn't called me up."

And if Waters did phone?

"Well, he's the one who fell out with me," Gilmour said, alluding to Waters' failed 1986 lawsuit to prevent Gilmour, Mason and keyboardist Nick Wright from using the Pink Floyd moniker without him.

"I just carried on doing what I was doing," the guitarist said. "Roger seems to have got irritated with my insistence on carrying on. I have no idea why; it was such a long time ago."

With or without Waters, Gilmour is in no hurry to reactivate Pink Floyd.

The legendary English band has been dormant since 1994, when its "Division Bell" world tour grossed nearly $107 million for 59 North American shows alone.

Gilmour maintains it would take two years to make a new Pink Floyd album and prepare for another stadium tour. And he's far more excited about "David Gilmour in Concert," his 130-minute DVD and home video (due out Nov. 5 on Capitol Records).

"The last thing on my mind is the Pink Floyd thing. I'm just not thinking that way at all," he said from his family's English country home in Sussex. "I'm thinking of making an album under my own name and doing a few shows next year.

"And that means Pink Floyd just doesn't come to the front of my mind. It sits there, lurking, and maybe in a few years we'll see. It's not something I'm thinking about with relish. It would take a two-year chunk out of my life, and I can't see myself wanting to be away from my kids (ages 5 months to 16) the same way I was willing to when I was an ambitious young man."

But what about the many fans who would relish one more chance to catch the band that made such classic albums as "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall?" Or those who have never seen Pink Floyd perform?

"That's painting me into a corner a bit," Gilmour said. "I don't do things for fans. I love the fact we have fans, but artistic achievement is not done by considering other people. That may sound awful, but that's just the way it is. You can't please everyone, so you might as well please yourself."

For Gilmour, whose last solo album was in 1984, the best way to please himself is by jump-starting his career sans Pink Floyd. Enter "David Gilmour Live," which was recorded last January and in June 2001 at London's 2,639-seat Royal Festival Hall.

It features vintage and more-recent Pink Floyd songs ("Comfortably Numb," "Wish You Were Here," "High Hopes"), a new Gilmour number ("Smile") and two obscurities ("Dominoes," "Terrapin") by Syd Barrett, the group's original guitarist (whom Gilmour replaced in 1968). Even more unexpected is "Je Crois Entendre Encore" (from Bizet's opera "The Pearl Fishers") and "Hushabye Mountain" (from the film musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang").

Gilmour, who performs each song with new conviction, is clearly elated to work in an intimate setting without the giant inflated pigs and elaborate laser lighting that typified Floyd shows. He is accompanied by a six-piece acoustic group that includes cello, saxophone and contrabass and a seven-woman, two-man gospel choir.

"The ease and lightness of weight with which I can pick up this outfit, rehearse, and go and do shows and have fun makes it almost something one can say is spontaneous," Gilmour said. "And at at my age, 56, it's nice to lighten one's load in life. That's what I've been trying to do in many areas, and this has been a joy.

"Everything is so spare and there's so little going on (instrumentally) - the lyrics are right out front - that you definitely think more about what you're singing. So it takes on a new form of power.

"And I enjoy bringing it down to a more manageable scale from the vastness of Pink Floyd. The expectations of living up to a band's 'legendary' status does become a bit of a burden, although it's been a great and fantastic ride for which I'm very grateful."

Pink Floyd's members have rarely commented on the urban legend that the band's epic 1973 album, "Dark Side of the Moon," was designed to be played in sync with the film "The Wizard of Oz." Gilmour laughed when he was jokingly asked if the album was in fact designed to be played in sync with the film "The Sound of Music."

"Not even 'The Wizard of Oz,' " he said. "I don't know where that (rumor) came from. I did, one sort-of drunken night, try to play the album and 'Oz' together, and couldn't see any sense in it. It's a complete myth. People are strange - the things they will do."

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