MTV David Gilmour Interview with Ray Cokes December 1992
Transcribed from VHS by Zombiezee
Interview begins with MTV’s Ray Cokes and David Gilmour chatting about U2.
RC …getting bored at the U2 gig at Earls Court.
DG That’s right.
RC We can talk about U2 later. At the moment, in the shops…
DG Do we have to?
RC No, I thought I might sort of equate their show with your show. We don’t have to do that.
DG Whatever you like.
RC I’ll probably forget that by then. Anyway, out in the shops at the moment is this Pink Floyd, very heavy, SHINE ON box set, 8 CDs and a collection of the early singles, the rare stuff and a few postcards and a bit of origami actually [opens box set]. It’s beautifully designed…I’m not quite sure what you do with this David…there’s a frame is there?
DG Yep – you stick…
RC It’s got a book in it as well…to give you the history of…you do it because I might break it.
DG I don’t know either [reaches for box set frame] but the point of this is that you make it into a little…thingy…
RC It’s origami isn’t it?
DG …so that you can stick…pin that one down…stick it into there and you…
RC Oh you’ve got a CD collection?
DG …and you put all your CDs in it on your shelf, you see and you’ll notice on the ends…
RC Yes I noticed that.
DG …it’s clever you see..you make that thing on Dark Side of the Moon…
RC It makes the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon thing, yes…
RC Now, how much did you have to do with this, I mean was the record company saying “It’s time we remastered them and put them out…” or was it your choice?
DG Um, no, the record company wanted to do one but we insisted on all the other stuff and how it was going to be and the remastering, hunting down all the old tapes…
RC Mmmm…what about finding the old tapes – where do you have to go for them then, someone’s basement?
DG Yeah, well at Abbey Road – near Abbey Road – there’s a place they call the Squash Courts where they store old tapes…we had a look round…and Britannia Row…God they were all over the place.
RC Are there lots of out-takes on the tapes – stuff you haven’t heard for years?
DG Um, well I haven’t listened to some of the albums for years…
RC Haven’t you?
DG There’s not many out-takes, we don’t sort of work that way, we tend to discard things very early on and if it seems like they’re helping, we carry on with them.
RC And why the particular choice of these 8 CDs in this box set – was it difficult?
DG It’s very difficult to know exactly how to do it, I mean I would’ve preferred to put all the albums in it, but there’s 12, and then there’d be even more of a stink about how expensive it is.
RC It’s not that expensive though I must say, I mean there’s 8 CDs in there and…
DG 8 CDs and the singles…it’s a lot of money.
RC Because CDs are very expensive…
DG I don’t know – well it may not be expensive for what it is, but it is a lot of money.
RC What’s your particular favourite album?
DG Um, I think usually, usually my favourite is Wish You Were Here, mmmm.
RC Depending on the mood?
RC Why’s that?
DG Uh, because I like it better than the others.
RC Ah, exactly, of course – silly of me [both laugh].
DG It’s got the feel and the mood to it that I like particularly.
RC Dark Side of the Moon is the one that everyone still keeps talking about, because 20 years on it’s still selling, and to a new audience as well. Does that still amaze you?
DG Yep, totally. Totally amazing. Very nice. Very nice that all the sort of new generations keep popping up and buying it.
RC It is amazing – I mean we heard someone talking about Jimi Hendrix a few weeks ago and that Jimi still sells 3 million albums a year.
DG Doesn’t do him a lot of good [laughs].
RC No. It does someone else a lot of good – his estate, probably. When you went to digitally remaster them, I mean obviously Pink Floyd music should be digitally remastered and it should be…do you think that having the technology that we have now, would the records have been different then?
DG Um, I’ve no idea if they’d be different then – they’re different. I mean this remastering…with the latest technology and the latest expertise is…they are significantly better I think.
RC Some people sort of get lost with all that though “digitally remastering” – I mean it’s about the music first and then the technology…
DG Well in the early ’70s and late ’60s we didn’t really know anything about the regular mastering then, what you used to do to get a piece of tape onto a piece of vinyl, and those processes have changed fairly radically, um…and the expertise of the people doing it has changed, and I think even if we were remastering for vinyl now from the original tapes we’d make them a lot better than we did then.
RC Do you have to be a sort of master of all trades then? Because Pink Floyd have accomplished you know, great art work, great stage performances – great music – I mean can you be in control of all of that? Can you know about all these things?
DG Well a certain amount of skilful delegation comes into it, but um, you have to know a fair bit about every stage of it yeah, I mean I like to know a bit about every stage of it.
RC Now on Monday evening we’ll be able to see you on MTV, talking…
DG [points to own mouth] What, like this? [laughs]
RC Yes, talking sort of a bit more of a medium close-up probably, and interspersed with videos, and that’s on Rock Block on Monday evening – 2 hours…
DG What time is that?
RC Midnight on Monday…
DG Midnight on Monday!
RC …midnight in Europe, central European time, 11:00pm in the UK, which of course is Europe…different continents. Do you still enjoy going on TV? I mean you know, you’re one of the old seasoned veterans…people like me have done it all before…
DG Not especially seasoned.
RC Alright – one of the skilful veterans, David.
DG Ah, do I enjoy going on TV? Well it’s…no [both laugh]. I prefer playing the guitar.
RC Okay, well let’s have a look at you playing guitar – I like playing guitar too, but not quite in the same way you do. Um, we’ll have a look at you playing Time now. This was recorded in 1988?
RC Some rare footage of Pink Floyd, and don’t forget that if you want to see more of this, you can at midnight on Monday evening on Rock Block, but we’ll be back with David for some more chat, even though he doesn’t like it, after this track.
[TIME video from DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER is played]
RC Isn’t that brilliant…that feedback at the end, should turn your guitar down David. You guitarists, you always turn it up so loud – feedback! One of the most beautiful lead guitar solos of all time in my opinion, and the man responsible for it in the studio with us.
DG Oh, you’re making me blush now.
RC Well I mean it, I mean it, I mean it sincerely. Funny, I mean I was 14 when I listened to that record, and now here I am, you know…
DG I was 14 when I played it.
RC [laughs] Obviously! Would you agree with Keith Richards, I think he once said that songs are just out there in the air and you just sort of grab them? I mean are you a man…that guitar solo for example, did you work for hours or did it just sort of flow, does it come to you?
DG I can’t remember on the original record, no…I think uh, he’s right, they sort of appear as if they are out there in the air, they just sort of appear to you, in bits sometimes, but I don’t know how they get there.
RC It just happens?
DG Yeah – hopefully, the best ones, the best ones do…I mean sometimes you…often you work very hard, and struggle over them, trying to write things for months and months and months, and they’re still not very good at the end of it [laughs]. But the great ones just come out of thin air.
RC Yeah. Of course when it stops happening…
DG Big butterfly net.
RC …yeah, you have to get someone to catch one – ooh, there’s one. Now seeing you there on stage there – I think that was in America…
DG Yeah, Nassau Coliseum.
RC …Americans are particularly, you know…they stand up and they’re shouting all of the time. Is that quite disconcerting for you when you’re trying to get through a song?
DG It’s um, oh you get used to it, you get very used to it. When you come back over to Europe or to England, you think, first sort of day or two, first few gigs you think “God, what’s gone wrong! They’re so quiet.” But after a while you get to like it quieter, and then of course when you get back over there, first couple of gigs you think, “God this is great!” – and then after a while you start to think, “Oh Christ couldn’t they just shut up a bit during the quiet bits!”
RC Is it something that still gives you an immense buzz, going on stage?
DG Absolutely, yeah – it’s terrific.
RC Now Pink Floyd – I said this earlier on, I think I did, I can’t remember – Pink Floyd were very famous and are still very famous for their wonderful stage shows. Now, this year we saw, you know, U2 take it a step further, having the technology of televisions, projected film and projected satellite images – and then Genesis were on a live into-your-living-room concert, which is like a TV concert. Do you think it’s probably a bad thing?
DG God, I don’t know. I mean, I went to the Genesis one and I have my reservations about doing it that way, because you find yourself watching the screens all the time rather than getting into what’s actually going on, and I know that people look rather tiny at times, but…that’s why we do all the other stuff, to bring people into our experience, but I don’t…I mean we don’t use our screen – we use that big circular screen – but we don’t use that with images of ourself transmitted onto it, we put other things onto it. Um, I’m afraid I’ve got no idea what we’ll do next.
RC No, no. It must be a pain to really come up with something new…you know everyone says, “Pink Floyd, the next tour – that’s going to be better than everyone else once again.” It must be a big pain to live with that all the time.
DG Um, nope, nope…[laughs]
RC [laughs] An honest and diplomat here – with David Gilmour.
DG I always look forward to it.
RC So it’s Christmas time, what are you up to at Christmas?
DG Um, I’ll spend Christmas Day with the kids and then take them all skiing. Slide down a few mountains.
RC Hmmm, sounds very relaxed. Have you sent a Christmas Card to Roger this year?
DG I must’ve forgotten.
RC Oh no – not again! What do you hope to achieve David, still in the business and still making music – what do you hope to achieve?
DG Um, I think…just a few more seasons, before I’m put out to grass.
RC I don’t think that’s going to happen, is it?
DG I’ve no idea – I’m not in a hurry to retire, put it like that!
RC Are you working at the moment? When’s your new material coming out?
DG Oh, we’re sort of…we have been in the studio together doing some stuff. We’re going back into the studio in January to do some stuff, but it’s all a sort of rather strange process where I have really not got any great idea what’s going on myself yet, but um, it’s getting slightly clearer, but it’ll be a while before I know exactly what way we’re going. But it’s been great fun.
RC And in the meantime of course people can check out the box set.
DG They can indeed.
RC New, digitally remastered and as I said earlier, there’s a…oh, which camera…that camera over there…as I said earlier there’s a Rock Block on Monday evening midnight central European time. You can win yourself one of these box sets, just in time for Christmas, and you’ll also see lots of rare Pink Floyd footage, and David Gilmour speaking again – just like he’s done here. David, thank you very much for joining us.
DG Now see if you can put it all back together again [indicating box set].
RC Yes…origami – very nicely presented box set, but you wouldn’t want to open it after you’ve had too much to drink one evening – oh, there we go – I had too much to drink last evening and I can’t close it. Thank you very much for coming in.
DG Thank you.
RC SHINE ON, in the shops now…
DG I will.
RC [laughs] There it is now. SHINE ON in the shops – thank you David for your time, and I think we’ll now have to announce that the competition lines are now open David, so I’ll have to ignore you and be really rude…
DG Carry on.
RC …I’m a television presenter, uh – the competition this evening is to win a trip for 2 people to New York, all expenses paid by MTV. You’ll stay in the Plaza Hotel [Ray Cokes pronounces it PLARTZA] featured in Home Alone 2 with Macaulay Culkin, couple of questions, all you have to do…
RC …what did you say?
RC What is it – the Plartza?
DG The Plaza.
RC The Plaza. Well I haven’t stayed there before, I don’t know!
RC I thought you said something else then for a minute…you b’stard I thought you said…
DG I was describing your state last night – plastered.