He's forsaken cheap nostalgia for a new album, and is playing in small theaters.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Aidin Vaziri - San Francisco Chronicle

David Gilmour could have taken the easy way out. After last year's once-in-a-lifetime Pink Floyd reunion with drummer Nick Mason, keyboard player Richard Wright and bass player Roger Waters at the global charity event Live 8, he could have spent a few weeks on the road with the old gang and watched his bank account swell even larger.

Instead, Gilmour, 59, has forsaken cheap nostalgia for a new solo album, "On an Island," his first since "About Face" in 1984, and decided to play small theaters on his own.

Q: It must be a little weird playing venues where you can actually see the back of the room.

A: It's a bit odd. They're sitting comfortably very close and they're looking right at you. It's slightly unnerving. You just shut your eyes or try to focus on the middle distance and get into that space you need to be in. But it's fantastic. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Q: Are you sticking to material from your solo albums with these shows?

A: No, no. I'm doing the new album as the first half and then in the second half it's mostly Pink Floyd stuff. I don't have any reason to not play the Pink Floyd stuff.

Q: Everyone says "On an Island" sounds exactly like Pink Floyd anyway. Were you trying to get away from that?

A: I think I've taken that route before, on the other solo albums, to some extent. On this one I just thought I would be myself. I let it organically grow around me, and if it came out sounding like Pink Floyd, then fine. There was no effort to make it sound like Pink Floyd and there was no effort to make it not sound like Pink Floyd. I really tried hard to let it all flow in a natural way.

Q: How did you know not to round up the other guys into the studio?

A: This is something one doesn't know on any term except how you feel at that particular time, and I didn't feel like doing it with anyone else. I felt like doing it alone. That's just the way it is. There's no difference. Songs are songs. Any of these songs would have fit in with a Pink Floyd setting, or not. I don't have any precious views on that.

Q: When you reunited with Roger Waters for Live 8, who made the first phone call?

A: Well, (organizer Bob) Geldof called me and I said no. So he came down on the train to my house to see me and I said no. And then there were some conversations between him and Nick Mason and Roger Waters, and eventually Roger called me up at home and asked if I would do it. I had a think about it and I eventually changed my mind, although I knew it would divert me from my path for a while.

Q: When was the last time you checked out a Pink Floyd cover band?

A: I booked one of them for my 50th birthday party, just for fun. I had them and the Bootleg Beatles.

Q: Were they all right?

A: Yeah, not too bad. It was like expensive karaoke.

Q: Have you ever been tempted to make a two-minute punk-rock record?

A: No. I think a lot of things do influence me, but the influence mechanism is as such that these things dive into your brain and bury themselves into your subconscious and you're never quite sure where and how they're going to emerge. I don't think I really take direct influence.

Q: "Dark Side of the Moon" is one of the best-selling and most loved albums of all time. What would you change about it?

A: Oh, there's nothing I would change about it.

Q: What, you don't have George Lucas syndrome?

A: Nope. We worked on it until we thought it was pretty well perfect. If one were to go change it, whatever you might add would be something you take away as well.

Q: It's like going back in time to the era of dinosaurs and stepping on a butterfly. The world would be totally different. There would be no laser light shows.

A: Exactly.

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