30 Minutes with David Gilmour Page 2
How did you like the surround mix of The Dark Side of the Moon? I think that one came out really, really well. Fantastically well. James Guthrie and I did "transatlantic mixing." He sent his mixes to me in England from his studio in Lake Tahoe, and I sent back copious notes. Believe me, that thing came back and forth across the Atlantic a number of times.
Pink Floyd was always about surround sound. We were doing live quadraphonic sound live right from when I joined the band in 1968, and a lot of our albums, like Dark Side, were based on elements that were already integrated into our show. Unfortunately, at the time, we weren't able to do the quad mix ourselves, though Alan Parsons [who originally engineered the album at Abbey Road Studios] did do one himself.
Pulse, the live show from the last Pink Floyd tour in 1994, is coming out on DVD later this year. What were your goals for that surround mix? I wanted it to sound like you're right in the hall - which means the band is pretty much upfront, and the noise, room sound, and spill are coming from the rear. I would never put you, the audience, in the middle of the band. That wouldn't feel right. We also incorporated the quad tapes we've always used live to help draw you into the whole experience.
THE NOT-SO-DELICATE SOUND OF LIVE
You're heading out on tour to promote Island. What are your plans for the live show? Would you consider playing the album straight through in its running order? At the moment, I'm leaning toward playing the whole album as a piece, yes.
How will the show unfold? Is there an opening act? I think I'll stick with the well-known Pink Floyd "system" - two halves, with a break in the middle. I don't really like having a support act very much. I've done it on some of my solo tours before. But I tend to think you're better off creating your own atmosphere and sticking to it.
Is there an elaborate stage setup, or is it pretty stark? It's pretty much just me and the band. I've got Mark Brickman, who did the lighting on the past two Pink Floyd tours, out with us, so I'm hoping he'll come up with something that's nice.
I bought my tickets for the first show at Radio City Music Hall in New York [April 4] right away. You've played there before, right? Yes, Pink Floyd did Radio City once, years and years ago. [March 17, 1973, actually.] We did a midnight show, I think. [chuckles]
I'm guessing that, during the second half of the show, you'll pick your favorite Floyd songs to highlight. To be honest, I've got a list of a lot of songs I'm considering. We'll see how much we get rehearsed and what we want to achieve, and how brave I am to branch out into new areas that haven't been done as much. In a way, the best stuff kind of chooses itself, and that's why we've done it. You don't want to do all of the lesser-known stuff; it's lesser known, and deservedly so. You just have to try and strike the right balance between pretty interesting and not quite predictable, but still have a lot of stuff that you enjoy and the people really enjoy.
LIVE 8 POST-OP
I guess you could say that you had the perfect setlist at this past summer's Live 8 event. [On July 2 in Hyde Park, Pink Floyd performed "Speak to Me," "Breathe," "Money," "Wish You Were Here," and "Comfortably Numb."] It was good, yeah.
Were you expecting the type of reaction that people had to your performance? I hadn't really thought about it all that much. Obviously, it was a really newsworthy story that Roger [Waters] was coming to join in with us on that occasion - and I wasn't foolish enough not to expect that sort of "When are they getting back together for good?" stuff, you know? It's what I knew would happen but was hoping wouldn't.
How sad that MTV cut away right in the middle of your performance. I couldn't believe it. I immediately went upstairs to my computer to watch the rest of it on AOL. Were you even aware it had happened? No, no, I had no idea it had happened until days after the event.
How do you feel about the idea that so many people watched you on their computers and not their TVs? They're lucky that it's a possibility these days. But that's typical TV - they've got to cut away to an advert just at the good moments, you know. Nothing much changes there.
How did you feel about your Live 8 performance overall? I think it all went off really well; no complaints. I rehearsed pretty hard. I made myself a CD of the set and practiced it myself at home with a guitar and microphone several times a day for a couple of weeks to get myself up to scratch, because I didn't want to be forgetting words. On show night, there's not much time to relax or enjoy it - for me, particularly, being the main voice and guitar pretty much all the way through. It demanded very high concentration. But I really did enjoy it.
IT'S A WEB, WEB, WEB, WEB WORLD
You have your own Web site now, davidgilmour.com. Do you like it? I do like it. I particularly like the blog thing, which changes every day. I pass messages to the Web masters constantly to change this or do that. I really like it if it keeps moving. I can't stand these sites that stay absolutely static.
How do you feel about having such a degree of "closeness" with your fans? It's interesting to know what they suggest - though it seems like the same small group of people put up the suggestions every day. [laughs] But I do think about them.