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Gilmour, Mason, Wright: The 30 year Technicolor Dream - MOJO Magazine, July 1995

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Gilmour, Mason, Wright: The 30 year Technicolor Dream - MOJO Magazine, July 1995

From the English music magazine MOJO, July 1995, pp. 64-80:


At first it was barely a string of fairy lights. Then it was
something called an Azimuth Converter. And then a giant screen, a
Spitfire, a large flying pig (with and without testicles), and a
symbolically-loaded pile of bricks. And today, whole cities offer
themselves as backdrops to the Pink Floyd extravaganza. In the
exclusive MOJO interview, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
recall those "intimate moments that we share with a million people".

By Phil Sutcliffe

The triumvirate that is Pink Floyd sits knee to knee in a corner of
the lounge at a discreet private club patronized by Soho's media
gentlefolk. Below, the murmurous street occasionally raises its
voice, rattling a sash window. Within, the deco bespeaks that fusty
English exclusivity lately rediscovered by the newer crowd. Gilmour,
perhaps inevitably, occupies a faintly thronelike armchair from which
he must needs incline his head to address Wright and Mason.

Yet, together, they present an appealing picture, one every Pink
Floyd admirer would surely enjoy and like to believe in. Three old
friends in conversation, talking quietly, laughing temperately. The
accents not posh, but modern BBC, the English that comes from nowhere
at all, neither regionally nor socially. They're reminiscing. For a
purpose, though: Mason has begun to write the story of the band and
he wants to check some facts. Back in 1968, where was it that they
first played as a five-piece -- Gilmour newly recruited and Syd
Barrett gone interplanetary? Aston University, Gilmour asserts.
Wright says he doesn't remember, shakes his head, and they all smile

They run over the legend of Barrett's sacking. On their way to a
show, outlandish in a Bentley, turning into Syd's street in Holland
Park, someone says it: "Er, do we really want to pick him up then?"
Roger Waters is the one who answers, "Naaah!" So they didn't and Syd
was gone (except for all the songs they wrote about him and still
write about him). "That was it, nothing planned," says Gilmour. They
all nod agreement re-rehearsed. That must have been how it was. It's
the version that's in all the books.

Of course, these three men, drifting with some grace into the
bedenimed middle age of their generation, have convened for more than
nostalgic chat. They're really not buddies. If they come together
it's to take care of business. In this instance, they're talking it
up on behalf of their new live album, P.U.L.S.E. The product of last
year's The Division Bell Tour, which sold 5.3 million tickets in 77
cities and grossed around #100m from 110 shows, it's a double CD
(triple vinyl coming up soon), proudly overdub-free, spiffily
presented in state-of-the-art Q Sound, and bearing the first ever
(official) full concert recording of The Dark Side Of The Moon. It
should take them comfortably past the 150 million mark in worldwide
album sales, which may be a comforting thought on a windy night.

They chat together, then, but they can't do interviews together.
It's been tried, it failed. An aide vouchsafes that the collective
interview soon stumbles into an overpolite mire of mutual deference
and reserve. So, a plan is evolved. Pink Floyd live being the theme
of the day, in successive sessions Nick Mason will cover the '60s
plus, Rick Wright the '70s (despite the jocularly raised eyebrows of
his associates) and Gilmour the rest. It just might work.

NICK MASON, Drums, born January 27, 1945, Birmingham.

Mason is the only one who's been there on every gig since a yet to
be carbon-dated night late in 1965 at the Countdown Club, Palace Gate,
Knightsbridge, when -- having discarded such momentary monikers as
Sigma 6, T-Set/Tea Set (the spelling is controversial), The Meggadeaths
and The (sometimes Screaming or Architectural) Abdabs -- Pink Floyd
first stepped up to lurch through a few 12-bar standards. He remains,
in spite of it all (or possibly, has become because of it all) the
Pink Floyd you'd love to have living next door -- providing, that is,
he found somewhere else to park his fleet of vintage cars. Cherubic
of cheek, a wattle of flesh bulging beneath his chin, the waistline of
a non-jogger unashamed, he sports the air of a man on cruise-control,
doing a briskly relaxed 70 up hill and down dale no matter what. When
it's his turn to talk, a sharp glance at his guitar-playing colleague
notes that the Gilmour phase of the interview overran into his schedule
by 15 minutes or so. But then he lets the charm flow. Before he
settles to it, someone asks him what he's doing for the rest of the
day. "Talking. What else do I do?" His tone is of relish rather
than complaint.

Mojo: Why have you got a little red flashing light on your new album?

Mason: Essentially, it's a device which we thought was entertaining.
It's an idea of Storm Thorgerson's [Hipgnosis mastermind and regular
Floyd visual imagineer] which related to Dark Side and the pulse, and
it's a live album so the box is "alive". After that, in terms of
seriously deep meanings, one might be struggling a bit.

Mojo: Why a live LP, having done one of the previous tour too?

Mason: Someone said, "Why not just call it The Inevitable Live Album
and be done with it?" One reason for it was that we did like Dark
Side as an entity. It takes on a slightly different quality when it's
played through as a continuous piece rather than recorded track by
track in the studio. When we were recording it in 1972 I don't think
we were conscious of the fact that the tempo remains so constant
throughout. Live, you perhaps alter the dynamics a bit to get away
with it. In the studio you go for the perfect take. The other reason
for it was that, to forestall bootlegs, we should do our own version
and make a better job of it.

Mojo: Did anyone say to you, "You're milking it?"

Mason: Yes, but I think we'll have to live with that. If you think
it's milking it, don't buy it. It's for people who would like a
souvenir of the show, who are interested in the nuances of Dark Side,
who think it's got something to say.

Mojo: Are these live albums a matter of a band wanting to erect
monuments to itself?

Mason: That's overstating it. But we're bitterly disappointed that
we didn't make a proper record of Dark Side Of The Moon at Earls Court
in '73 or The Wall show. "Monument" sounds too much. It's partly a
reference, partly a milestone. Seeing where we've got to.

Mojo: Looking at where you came from, it's quite a distance from the
huge machine that is Pink Floyd on the road now back to the '60s: The
Spontaneous Underground, UFO, Happenings.

Mason: The thing that's hard to get to grips with now is the general
view of the '60s combined with the specific view of this band. We
weren't loyal supporters of the underground. Even then, we were
occupied with being a band, going the route. The underground was a
launch pad. Yes, there was UFO, but for every UFO there were 20 gigs
up the motorway at the Top Rank Ballroom, Dunstable, or whatever.
Essentially, the underground was a London event. By the time it moved
out to the provinces it was much more a commercial enterprise, much
more to do with the music than, perhaps, the intellectual aspirations.
But for us, the buzz of being involved was enormously helpful. Timing
is very important to any band.

Mojo: You were dead lucky.

Mason: Yeah. Enormously talented and good-looking too, of course.

Mojo: Was it that Syd was the man of the times and the rest of you
tagged along?

Mason: I don't think even Syd was a man of the times. He didn't slot
in with the intellectual likes of John Hopkins and Joe Boyd [UFO co-
founders], Miles [International Times co-founder], Peter Jenner [Pink
Floyd's co-manager], the London Free School people. Probably being
middle-class we could talk our way through, make ourselves sound as
though we were part of it.

Mojo: Bullshitting.

Mason: That's possibly the word I was searching for, Doctor. But Syd
was a great figurehead. He was part of acid culture.

Mojo: The rest of you really didn't do drugs?

Mason: No. Well, possibly a tiny bit of dope smoking but certainly
not tripping on the same scale as... as the management certainly were!

Mojo: What do you make of this now? It's an advert for the
Spontaneous Underground. It says that for 3/- you get "costume, mask,
ethnic, space, Edwardian, Victorian, and hipness generally, face and
body makeup certainly".

Mason: Yeees. There were elements of the underground that we did
tune into. The main one was mixed media. We may not have been into
acid but we certainly understood the idea of a Happening. We supplied
the music while people did creative dance, painted their faces, or
bathed in the giant jelly. If it had been 30 years earlier Rick would
have come out of the floor in front of the cinema screen playing the

Mojo: Some people recall the 14-Hour Technicolor Dream as a magical
Pink Floyd moment of spiritual discovery. You were playing as the
dawn came up over Alexandra Palace.

Mason: The significance for me was we'd played a gig in Holland that
same night and we didn't get to Alexandra Palace till three in the

Mojo: No epiphany then?

Mason: No. More like, "Someone take me home now, please."

Mojo: Apparently, when you played with Soft Machine, you got #2/10s
a night more than them because you had your own light show.

Mason: It was worth all of that. We couldn't afford a "lighting
designer" then. At first our manager operated it, then it was the
bloke who doubled as our truck driver.

Mojo: Legend has it that at UFO, where you were the house band, The
Beatles were regulars.

Mason: The four lovable moptops, grooving about, sitting cross-legged
on the floor, watching our every move. Uh, no, that's all complete
crap. Paul McCartney did come down once (chortle). But, if you'd
prefer, I am prepared to lie through my teeth and tell you that the
place was absolutely crammed with celebrities, The Beatles loved the
Floyd and we taught them everything they knew.

Mojo: Did you think of yourselves as hippies?

Mason: *Absolutely* not. I was a middle-class student until we
turned professional and then the business of the day-to-day running of
a band, it's a bit like running a corner shop. It's not a hippie

Mojo: You were playing pop songs like See Emily Play and free-form
freak-outs like Interstellar Overdrive in the same set. Did they fit?
Did audiences understand?

Mason: We thought they fitted, but audiences quite often turned
hostile, about 20 to 30 minutes into the set. Sometimes it was
expressed by the throwing of objects, sometimes by their leaving the
facility. Therefore, the conclusion must be that either they didn't
fit or the audience didn't understand. But we were not demoralized.
It was very curious. If the public treated us like that now we'd
retire hurt immediately.

Mojo: What was your confidence based on then?

Mason: I suppose lust to succeed. We were rejuvenated every time we
came back to London and got that fix of finding that there was an
audience for us.

Mojo: It sounds almost as if you felt you were carrying out an act of
musical war on the provinces.

Mason: That's right. (Wags finger at imaginary front row) One more
word out of you and we play Interstellar Overdrive!

Mojo: The International Times knocked one of your gigs because "there
was no searching for the brain alpha rhythms by chopping the focus of
the images". Might that have been a justified criticism?

Mason: (Deadpan) I think it was. I remember that night and I never
could quite put my finger on where we went wrong. Looking back, I
blame the lighting man.

Mojo: The Record Mirror said you were "excellent and extremely
exciting", but "couldn't help thinking how dangerous this sort of
free-form thing could be in the hands of not such good musicians".

Mason: You *can* fool most of the people most of the time. I am
fascinated by how often people thought we were accomplished musicians.
We must have been quite convincing. It's funny to look back on, but
it is also to do with the fact that if you find an interesting idea
then the technique is not that important.

Mojo: A Financial Times concert review said, "when you add in the
irrepressible Pink Floyd and a free authentic daffodil to take home,
your cup of experience overflows".

Mason: Ah. Talking about the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1967, says
Leslie Welch the memory man. [It was on May 12, to be pedantic, the
show called Games For May -- Ed] Very important show. It wasn't a
Top Rank. It was the beginning of the concept that we ended up
spending the next 20-odd years doing.

Mojo: So you were moving into a new phase, but it was a few months
after that when you did a big package tour with Hendrix, The Move,
The Nice and several other bands.

Mason: The only one we ever did. A 17-minute set limit which was
terrific because we were pretty frazzled at the time, towards the end
of the Syd Barrett period. What was great was that we actually met
some other musicians. We'd led a pretty solitairy life as a band
until then and suddenly we were hanging out with Hendrix. It was an
opportunity to wallow in a bit of all-musos-together. I think it was
the last big tour of that time. After that everyone wanted to go out
on their own with just a support act.

Mojo: At the end of Syd's time, Pink Floyd must have encountered the
experience of being out of control in front of an audience.

Mason: Yeah. I'm not someone who likes being out of control in any
way. Not many people would like the sensation of being on a runaway
bus with a drunk at the wheel. You're quite cross at the same time
as being frightened. Then, after Syd, Dave was the difference
between light and dark. He was absolutely into form and shape and
he introduced that into the wilder numbers we'd created. We became
far less difficult to enjoy, I think. And that made it more fun to
play because you want to entertain, get some rapport going rather than
antagonize. To annoy the audience beyond all reason is *not* my idea
of a good night out.

Mojo: Were the Hyde Park concerts of '68 and '70 very different

Mason: The one in '68 was wonderful because it was much more a picnic
in the park than a mini-Woodstock. A lovely day. It was important
for us too because it reminded us of our, uh, roots -- whether
spurious or not. They *were* our roots -- not personally, but as an
enterprise. We were the house band.

Mojo: And Hyde Park '70?

Mason: By then we had begun real work, consolidating our position.
It led on from there to our current global scorched-earth policy.
Though I think we were underground until Dark Side Of The Moon put the
nail in that coffin.

Mojo: Looking at Dark Side Of The Moon and its place in the
development of your art, if I may use that word...

Mason: Oh, use it! Use it! I'd feel very self-conscious maintaining
anything I'd done was art. But if pressed, and I'll take it that you
*are* pressing me, I think things like Saucerful Of Secrets were naive
art. I mean, 30 years later it would be difficult to do it very much

Mojo: Was there any particular innovation in your stage show which
you saw as a landmark? The circular screen, say?

Mason: Before that: sensurround sound in 1967. The Azimuth Converter.
Because of the way it involved the audience, gathered them in. The
other important development would be when we started creating our own
films in '73. Before Dark Side we had run light shows, slides and so
on, but we'd had ****-all to do with them. Once we started using film
and linking it to the music, then it was our input. Basically we did
a lot of drawings almost like critical paths, graphs of what was
needed at different points in the music -- the aftermath of our
architectural training at Regent Street Polytechnic where Roger, Rick
and I met. We could see almost immediately where the rather dead
periods were going to be in terms of what was happening on the stage.

Mojo: What was the feeling for you playing *inside* that show?
It was so different for the audience, spending a good part of the
evening watching films and other effects while the band played on
in the shadows.

Mason: We were early MTV really. You can't even sense what it looks
like to the audience. The film is just a fuzzy image behind you.
What you're doing is looking for clicks, looking for timing. In a
funny way it's like being backstage. That's at the technical level.
Having said that, you are interacting with the audience and with your
comrades or colleagues. And hopefully getting off on it. I mean,
that's the big buzz. But in terms of the technical business, you're
much more a stage manager than a performer, you're not enjoying the
overall effect of it because you're too busy making it work.

Mojo: Was Dark Side Of The Moon an emotional piece of music to play?

Mason: In a way we didn't play it enough the first time 'round. We
only did the whole thing for a year. I found it more powerfully
emotional on the last tour. Perhaps because we've got better at
running the show. Now it reminds me of our history, the way we were
then, all of that.

Mojo: It transformed your career commercially.

Mason: We reached a new plateau. And immediately suffered for it
through not knowing what to do next. Probably, the band disagreements
which never existed before started then.

Mojo: The shows got bigger, the venues got bigger. What's your
perspective on the Spinal Tap versus Art question in regard to
crashing Spitfires onstage, giant inflatable pigs and so on?

Mason: I very rarely regretted any staging that we've tried. Only
when it didn't work. Like the giant pyramid. (splutters) We had it
in America for about five shows in the mid-'70s. It was okay in
winds of up to about 25 miles an hour. When it got up to 40 it
exploded. A disaster. But it's inevitable that some things prove
to be not feasible. However, as to whether they're art or, uh...

Mojo: Bollocks?

Mason: Yes. I'm not worried about that. I mean, I do know that
there is no way a big inflatable pig can be mentioned in the same
breath as Van Gogh's yellow chair. I wish to make that quite clear.
(chortle) I'm worried about whether it enhances the show. Does it
focus people's attention on the music and the event onstage? I think,
in stadiums, the more the merrier, the sound surrounding you,
fireworks, anything that stops them playing frisbee at the back is
A Good Thing.

Mojo: The whole show is about attracting people's attention then?

Mason: Maybe it's a way of going (claps his hands together). "Oi!
Over here! This is a special occasion." That feels right to me.
Though I know there's always this conundrum about how film can devalue
music because it doesn't allow people's imagination full freedom. The
classic example is The Sorcerer's Apprentice where you can't hear that
music without seeing those bloody silly brooms carrying their buckets.
I don't have an answer.

Mojo: Do you have any view on how the audience respond to your music?

Mason: Oh. I want them to be moved by it, to come away saying, "That
was the best evening of my life". It's curious now because, although
there are new songs, the fact of the matter is that to some extent we
are dealing in nostalgia, so, in a way, it becomes more powerful. We
were talking yesterday about how the Italian audience reacted to Wish
You Were Here, singing along. It was a wonderful sound, they knew all
the words. Without wishing to sound too philosophical about it, that
is the nature of pop music, it's love songs, it's particular girls,
Cheryl or Laura or whatever, they're intimate moments that we share
with... a million people. There is something special about these big
gigs. You're all there because you feel something for the band.
You're like-minded people.

Mojo: You like the "sharing" idea, but onstage you've always traded
in anonymity, removing yourselves from view.

Mason: Originally, it was down to a basic shyness in us, which we
then realized had enabled us to create a powerful formula. I'd like
to think it's self-effacing, but I fear it's cowardice.

RICK WRIGHT, Keyboards, born July 28, 1945, London.

Wright was a founding member of Pink Floyd, but missing from the
end of The Wall tour in 1981 until the post-Waters recording of
A Momentary Lapse Of Reason six years later. Don't ask him about
dates, though, because he's the one with the bad memory. It's a band
in-joke that even strangers are invited to share. He laughs about it
himself, as a troubled creasing of the brow and the phrase, "You'd
better check with Nick on that one" become the punctuation and refrain
of his replies. Stick-slim, he wears a set of interesting facial
wrinkles and hollows that suggest a boxer drained down to the last
ounce to make the weight. But, aside from absent-minded professorial
moments when straining after a zephyr of recollection forever just out
of reach, this is Rick Wright in the pink (so to speak).

Mojo: Are you game to do the '70s?

Wright: The '70s? Mm, yes, why not? The later the better, I think.

Mojo: There's an old quote from Nick about the transition period when
Dave Gilmour was establishing himself in the band. He said, "And for
the next 12 years, it was Dave's desire to make music versus Roger's
desire to make a show"...

Wright: I think there's a lot of truth in that. I was with Dave.
He was much more of a straight blues guitarist than Syd, of course.
And very good. That changed the direction. Although he did try to
reproduce Syd's style live -- in fact, it was a lot of fun playing
Astronomy Domine on this last tour because Dave was trying to play it
the way Syd would have done.

Mojo: Did it work?

Wright: It worked. I loved doing it. But back then... I think Roger
would freely admit now he wasn't the world's greatest bass player. He
was much more interested in the grand plan if you like. He did have
vision and, right from the beginning when we just had strobes and oil
lights, all of us were pushing for that. From the earliest days, when
we used oil slides projected onto the band which hid us, we were
always faceless musicians, and that idea developed and developed.
But, yes, mainly because of Roger each tour we did the show got bigger.

Mojo: Around 1970 Pink Floyd was waving goodbye to all the hippiness,
the freedom and the freak-outs.

Wright: I think so. I'd say the transition was between Ummagumma
and Atom Heart Mother. Like a lot of bands, we got interested in
the concept album. At the time I thought we were making the most
incredible music in the world, but looking back it wasn't so good.
Now we have become a lot more professional and we don't take risks
like we used to. For me, one day I'd like to go full circle.
However, back then we formulated a sound and we stuck to it, because
of the way Nick, me and Dave play together.

Mojo: And that formulation was taking place in the early '70s?

Wright: Yes. The big influence when we formed the band was Syd's
writing, but I'd also put a word in for my keyboards and Nick's
drumming -- he was fanatical about Ginger Baker and his style was
nothing like today's heavy kick drum and tight snare, it was all very
free and rolling, much more jazz influenced. We did get better as
musicians. If we hadn't gone through our experimental phase we
wouldn't be here today, though. I'm so glad we did it.

Mojo: At that stage, building up to Dark Side Of The Moon, was Pink
Floyd starting to get walled off as an artistic entity very separate
from its fans?

Wright: Pink Floyd is bigger than the three of us and it was bigger
than the four of us. Back in the '70s people came to hear the music
and see the show, not to see Dave or me as personalities jumping
around onstage. Even in UFO days they came for the experience, the
lights plus the music. We were happy not to be in the limelight.
But, I mean, today we could put a show on, pretend we were there and
not be and probably no one would know.

Mojo: What was your experience of playing Dark Side Of The Moon live?

Wright: Now it's comfortable, then it was a bit scary. We'd have
lots of problems with cue-tracks to keep in synch with the film.
We were one of the first bands to do that, click-tracks they call
them now. It was a massive headache because the equipment was pretty
unreliable. The film would snap or the projector would break down or
the click would suddenly come blasting out of the PA in the middle of
the piece because someone had turned the wrong knob. There was a lot
of missing cues and trying to get back in time, whereas today with
everything digital it works like clockwork.

Mojo: The technology problems must have created a lot of strain
onstage. Were you all pals together still?

Wright: We were snappy sometimes. Not like it became later, though.
I mean I had a personality clash with Roger ever since we met in
Regent Street Polytech. The two of us didn't really get on. Being
the kind of person he is, Roger would try to... rile you, if you like,
try to make you crack. Definitely mental things going on between us
and big political disagreements. Him being an armchair socialist.
Not that I was right-wing at all. After Dark Side Of The Moon we had
a bit of money and I bought a house in the country -- I had two young
children. Roger sat down and said to me, "I can't believe you've done
this, you've sold out, I think it's disgusting." Six months later he
went and bought a much bigger house in the country. I said, "Remember
what you said?" He said, "Ah yes, but that's because my wife wanted
it, not me." Absolute bullshit. I found him rather hypocritical.
That's what angered me about him.

Mojo: Did that conflict come out onstage?

Wright: Never. The only time I'd get angry with Roger onstage was
when he'd be playing out of tune; we'd be in D and he was still
banging away in E because he couldn't hear it. I had to tune his bass
onstage, you know. In those days there were no strobe tuners, so
after every number he'd stick the head of his bass guitar over my
keyboards and I'd tune it up for him.

Mojo: Did you ever feel the show was a distraction from the music?

Wright: Not at all. I sometimes felt we were taking on more than we
could handle, but that was all. Glad we did it. I was never against
it. Oh, except one time, and then I was proved wrong. That was
following Roger's Toronto incident where somebody in the front row was
screaming and shouting and it drove Roger crazy and he spat at him.
He came to us afterwards and said he wanted to start the set with us
playing as normal, then build a wall across in front of us. I complete-
ly disagreed. I said I couldn't believe it would work, people would
hate it. Which I think was part of the idea, he wanted people to hate
it. I have to say it only worked in the end because the wall became
not just a wall to block off the audience, it was a very exciting part
of the show with all the projections, holes appearing in it, the hotel
room scene and the wall tumbling down. Then, it was brilliant.

Mojo: Was that Toronto incident the start of the phase when your
relationship with Roger went critical?

Wright: Animals: for me it started to come to a head then. Roger
was changing, he really did believe that he was the leader of the
band, really did believe that it was only because of him that the band
was still going. And, obviously, when he started developing his ego
trips, the person he would have his conflicts with would be me. Plus
I was going through... my personal life wasn't that happy, my marriage
was breaking up. Recording Animals he started rejecting what I came
up with. But it was partly my fault, I can see that now, because I
didn't push my material. Or I was too lazy to write anything. I
suppose he thought, what was the point of having this man in the band?
In fact, that was the time I was threatening to leave too; I remember
flying off, saying I didn't want any more of it. On the Animals tour
that was, and Steve O'Rourke [Pink Floyd's manager, then and now]
said, "You can't, you mustn't."

But, when we were recording The Wall, it all came down to Roger's
bluff or threat where, because he'd written the material and he had
the right to say the album couldn't be recorded or released, he said,
"If you don't leave the band then we won't release an album." Which
was serious because we were nearly bankrupt at the time [investment
managers Norton Warburg having misspent millions on their behalf]. I
think Dave and Nick felt really bad about all this, but because of
their terrible financial predicament his bluff worked. I said, "OK,
I'm leaving." However, I was angry and upset about it and I said I
wanted full royalties on the album and I wanted to carry on playing

I liked playing live. I was quite prepared to swallow my pride to
go out and play with Dave and Nick. And, strangely enough, there
wasn't any animosity onstage. I think it's the nature of my character.
I accept what's happened and make the best of it. Maybe it's one of
my faults too. My therapist might tell you that, you know. (laughs)
Don't just go along with it, fight back! Well, the good thing about
playing The Wall tour was I made money and the others lost, ha-ha.

Mojo: Really?

Wright: I was on a wage. The Wall cost a fortune to put on and I
wasn't involved in the risk.

Mojo: Was it an enjoyable experience, playing The Wall live?

Wright: Amazing. I loved the idea of the other band appearing in
masks and not being us. You go to see a show, you think, Oh there's
Pink Floyd onstage, there's Dave, there's Rick, there's Roger. Then a
curtain opens and there's another Pink Floyd behind them. I think it
was a very good concept once he had decided to make the wall a feature
of the show rather than just a statement to the audience, **** you, I
don't want to know about you. On the other hand, it wasn't much fun
to play because we were hidden half the time. While you were playing,
you had lots of roadies running around, putting things up, taking
things down. Very impersonal.

Mojo: What do you make of Pink Floyd's relationship with concert

Wright: I like it. I always try to make contact with people in the
front row. It's nice to see people with big grins on their faces. I
look at them and if I see a person looking miserable it affects me.

DAVE GILMOUR, Guitar/vocals, born March 6, 1947, Cambridge.

The story of Pink Floyd's survival and renaissance since Roger
Waters's departure would seem to express, above all, the juggernaut
willpower of Dave Gilmour. He was chiefly responsible for pulling
Pink Floyd back together to record and tour A Momentary Lapse of
Reason. He defended the group name against their former leader's
strenuous attempts to kill off the band both legally and via a media
onslaught of moralistic denunciation. He, along with Mason, invested
(at least) hundreds of thousands of his own money to relaunch the band
as a concert phenomenon in the style to which their followers had
become accustomed. Lately, not the least of his contributions has
been to involve his second wife, former Jonathan Cape {publishing
house} publicist and Sunday Times journalist Polly Samson, in writing
lyrics. Suddenly, in the band's late middle age, Pink Floyd's songs
have acquired appreciably greater clarity of expression, and perhaps a
more personal, emotional openness to offset the earlier paeans to
separation, alienation, madness and all-round awfulness. Now -- this
only days after the birth of his first child with Ms. Samson, admittedly
-- quite often he does look like the cat who got the cream. Smooth of
aspect, his expression in repose sleek, the signs of wear largely
deferred by that degree of overweight which can prove cosmetic at a
certain age. Always of monolithic build, impressively tall and broad,
he now has a solid dome of belly. He can carry it off, as they say.
But if this suggests a degree of complacency, his interview manner
qualifies that impression.

Initially, he fences like a diplomat, parrying, feinting, retreating.
In his lap, his hands constantly knot and tangle. Frequently, he
offers set answers to questions which are not quite the ones that have
been asked, as if he thinks he has nothing to hide, yet, at the same
time, that if he gave anything away it might all go horribly wrong.
Eventually there's a sense of getting somewhere. When an aide looks
in to say it's time to stop, he says carry on, finish this, perhaps
hoping that even if no startling revelations emerge, at least
something substantial might be set down.

Mojo: How does The Wall's symbolism reflect on Pink Floyd's
relationship with its fans?

Gilmour: The meaning of it was Roger's story. He was the one who
strongly felt that wall between himself and our audience. I have
never entirely gone along with that. Obviously, one knows one is
in a pop group and the audience are down there listening. But
hopefully you are sharing a lot of the emotions as you go along and I
don't really... I was doing my best to help Roger fulfill his vision.

Mojo: Although it was Roger's idea, it asked basic questions for all
of you, didn't it?

Gilmour: Absolutely. "Are you truly relating to your audience?"

Mojo: What was your answer?

Gilmour: I think I relate to the audience a lot more than Roger
thinks he does. That's the accurate way to put it.

Mojo: Your show says you are these little anonymous people in the
midst of all this hugeness. How do you experience that relationship?

Gilmour: I obviously experience it as part of the band that's
performing. But I sense an empathy.

Mojo: Can you see them?

Gilmour: Oh yes, you can see the first 50 rows or so. But you're
concentrating on what you're doing. Your eyes wander across people,
but you're not really seeing them.

Mojo: When it came to putting a live show back together after a break
of six years and without Roger, what did you miss from his input, and
what did you find you'd got that you didn't know you had before?

Gilmour: Roger was a person of great drive and authority. It's
always nice to have someone like that around. You just had to pick
it up as best you could. We decided on more or less a greatest hits
approach rather than a conceptual show. From then on it was a matter
of designing the show around a broader concept.

Mojo: But did you find a shortfall on the visual imagination side
with Roger gone?

Gilmour: You just have to pick a team. For months, even before we
finished the album, we were talking with experts, many of whom we'd
worked with before, about visual ideas. Not wanting to break entirely
with tradition, we retained the circular screen, but with new film for
the Momentary Lapse Of Reason songs. We rehearsed the show for about
a month in Toronto and it was a nightmare. It needed half a dozen of
me to juggle everything.

Mojo: And the visual side isn't even something you're particularly
interested in.

Gilmour: I am! I was quite ready to pick up that mantle.

Mojo: There's a story about the band agreeing to pay Roger Waters
$800 a night to use the inflatable pig. Is that right?

Gilmour: We agreed to pay him to clear us in regard to any rights
he may or may not have had in various effects including the pig and
odd bits of animation by Gerald Scarfe. Roger had gone 'round these
people buying these rights and placing them with a company he owned.
However, we never agreed that he owned the rights. Pink Floyd, all of
us, had commissioned those pieces of work and paid for them. In order
to save ourselves a huge amount of extra aggravation and lawsuit pos-
sibilities we agreed to pay him a fee for any right... that he may or
may not have had. I did not and do not believe he had a leg to stand
on, and on the tour we've just done no such money was paid to him.

Mojo: The further yarn about the pig's balls, is that truth or

Gilmour: Someone did suggest that if we altered the design of the
pig then Roger couldn't claim it. A pig's a pig, for Christ's sake.
How do you alter its design? You add testicles. Well, it was amusing
for us.

Mojo: Is it also right that you can't do The Wall under this

Gilmour: No, I think we can. We certainly couldn't do a film of it
as Roger has the synchronization license rights, like every writer of
every song. But then we wouldn't do it without Roger, that would be
ludicrous. On the other hand we're about to release The Dark Side Of
The Moon on video which we couldn't have done without Roger's
permission. Obviously a financial deal has been struck.

Mojo: What about the extraordinary venues you played on the comeback
tour, Versailles and Venice? Was that to make a big splash?

Gilmour: No, it's not a publicity thing. It's because we thought
it would be lovely, beautiful. Us, on the day, we'd have a grand
occasion. Versailles was gorgeous. Thoroughly enjoyed playing that.
Same with Venice. It was lovely. I was nervous. Playing live to
100 million people. It gets to you at times. And the fact that the
city council made so much stupid adverse publicity out of it, none of
which was true.

Mojo: You didn't damage the place with the volume of sound?

Gilmour: Ludicrous -- a PA sitting a quarter of a mile out in a lake
is going to damage buildings that have been there for 700 years? Give
me a break! As we finished, the council's own firework display
started and the volume was ten times anything we put out. Mega
explosions. If anything caused a problem it was that. Bass
frequencies from a huge stack on land could maybe shake things up a
bit, but we were on water and water is a very effective insulator.

Mojo: Do you get municipalities chasing you as if you were the
Olympics, saying, "Come and play our city?"

Gilmour: Yeah. Not just municipalities. France invited us. We'd
had lunch with Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture, and he asked us to
play more or less anywhere we liked. That's when we chose Versailles.

Mojo: Where would you most like to play?

Gilmour: What we've tried to do on this last tour and the one before
is the Pyramids. We'd love to play there. But the Egyptian
government is not particularly interested, and more recently there's
been a lot of fundamentalist terrorism in that area.

Mojo: The Grateful Dead got there first [in 1978].

Gilmour: You can't worry about whether other bands have done it
before. It's about lots of people coming away thinking they will
never forget it, it'll be a joyous memory for the rest of their lives.

Mojo: On the musical level, how did the reintegration of the three of
you go? You've been quoted as saying that the Momentary Lapse Of
Reason tour "brought Rick and Nick back to being functioning musicians.
In my view they had been destroyed by Roger."

Gilmour: I stand by that. It was a gradual rebuilding that started
the moment we went out. You might be correct in assuming that, right
at the beginning, our second keyboard player and our percussion player
were fairly essential in keeping us all going. But within the first
month, Nick and Rick took over their proper parts. In fact, having a
second keyboard player to take some of the burden off Rick's back has
enabled him to become much freer and better in his playing on our old
standards. His Hammond playing and his piano playing have been just

Mojo: Recalling Pink Floyd's origins in the '60s, and its survival
into the era of Thatcher and Reagan, with the band itself becoming a
huge industrial machine, do you think it has become part of what's
been called the "Greed Tour" syndrome?

Gilmour: I see no reason to apologize for wanting to make music and
earn money. That's what we do. We always were intent on achieving
success and everything that goes with it. I personally think that our
music is suited to larger venues. I've never been a supporter of
Reagan or of Thatcher. But I'm not so left-leaning or socialist that
I think I'm not allowed to earn money. Particularly before the 1987
post-Roger tour, we had been through a lot of financial troubles and
we did want to earn some money. Myself and Nick had to dig very
deeply into our resources to put it on. All sorts of reasons and
emotions drove us into doing it the way we did. We did want it to be
world-conquering. We wanted to leave no one in any doubts that we
meant business and we intended to carry on with our chosen careers. I
don't think there's anyone who cuts less corners than us or spends
more of the potential profits on making it as good as we could
possibly get it. Our earnings are large, but I bet you our profit
margins are smaller than anyone else's.

Mojo: What's your view of tour sponsorship?

Gilmour: We took sponsorship by Volkswagen for the first time on this
last tour. I confess to not having thought it through entirely and I
was uncomfortable with it. Meeting and greeting Volkswagen people. I
was not a popular chappy with Volkswagen. I don't want them to be
able to say they have a connection with Pink Floyd, that they're part
of our success. We will not do it again. I didn't like it, and any
money I made from it went to charity. We should remain proudly
independent, that's my view, and we will in the future.

Mojo: Why did you allow Great Gig In The Sky to be used in a Nurofen

Gilmour: Rick wrote that music. He remade it for them. It's down to
the writer. If my name had been on that track too it wouldn't have
happened. I wouldn't do it. But that's Rick's business. I didn't
approve of it, but I have no control over it.

Mojo: On a slightly more abstruse aspect of Pink Floyd and money, is
it true that you were paid in timber for your gigs in Moscow?

Gilmour: I don't think so. When we played there in 1989, the Russian
government did provide us with a huge transporter plane to take our
equipment from Athens, and they gave us hotel rooms and suchlike. But
they could only offer us a small fee in dollars, so there was
discussion of them paying in caviar and so on. We were joking! We
lost money, that's all. We paid for the event. We thought if we were
going to play in Russia, we would rather do it properly. We steamed
in, the full mega-show for a week. But no payment in timber. Other
shows, like Venice, we lost money. You see, when we planned the tour
we knew we were going to lose money on certain shows. Venice, Moscow,
they're just part of the books. It would be easy to dump the ones
that make a loss, but we don't want to do that. Tie it all in. Let's
do the gig. Not everything is done for profit. I'm sorry to sound
self-justifying about this, but we do take a certain amount of flak in
this area.

Mojo: Amid all the big deals and the grand effects, when it comes
down to just you, singing, playing guitar, what are you putting into
it, what are you getting out of it?

Gilmour: I'm putting my life's blood into it. But Pink Floyd is
not only me. I am bound by other people's desires and choices and
politics and needs. The whole thing is a constant compromise of
ideals and art all the way through. These days I have more say than
anyone else because it's a sort of meritocratic organization, if you
like, and I'm the one who produces most -- songs, music, direction.
I'm the person to whom that position has fallen. Not through choice.

Mojo: OK, we know you're a team player. But can you characterize
this "life's blood" input any further? Or are you the middle-class
Englishman not wanting to talk about these things?

Gilmour: I don't know what you want me to tell you... it's not that
I don't want to talk about it. Maybe I'm not that verbal. My best
form of expression is playing the guitar and singing.

Mojo: Back to onstage, then, the melting pot...

Gilmour: Well, you say so. The process in the recording studio is
just as important. Or more. That is a very... frustrating and
satisfying process at different times. When you get something and it
sounds just how you heard it in your head and you think, "That's going
to get across to people." There are moments when something happens
quickly and wonderfully. High Hopes on the last record. I wrote it
very quickly, the words with my now wife Polly. I went into the
studio on my own and demoed the whole thing, played everything. Did
it in a day. Came out of the studio at the end of the day {quiet
whisper} feeling ****ing fantastic. That moment. That joy, the pride
at having got to that point was absolute magic. And the obverse is
when you just can't... but I'm not going to name tracks.

Mojo: Then look at High Hopes in the live setting. You've described
the intimacy of creating it, but then you take it into a setting
that's anything but intimate, maybe 50,000 people in a stadium."

Gilmour: I *am* aiming at intimacy believe it or not. How that gets
across... we've got the best PA system in the world, we've got wrap-
around sound, but no it's not a club, the audience isn't seeing me up
close like you are now. It's not that kind of intimacy, I know. I'm
not terribly attracted to the idea of tiny venues. I find them more
frightening than huge venues. My ideal is to mix them up to quite a
degree, 10,000-seaters and 100,000-seaters. On this last tour, for
some reason, perhaps me not listening because of concentration on
the record, it seemed that we played pretty much exclusively outdoor
stadiums. I didn't like it. Playing in the small intimate atmosphere
of Earls Court was a great way to close it.

Mojo: You're talking about Earls Court as if it were The Marquee.

Gilmour: For us it was, and it was terrific.

Mojo: Playing High Hopes at Earls Court, a song of unusual intimacy
in that it was written with your wife to be, where were you when you
were playing it?

Gilmour: I'm in a cocoon. Entirely locked in a cocoon. If you do it
the best way you can for yourself then it will get across to other
people. But I'm not aiming it at one person in that audience. I'm
not thinking about the audience at all when I'm singing it. I'm doing
it entirely in my own head. Most of the time I shut my eyes and
concentrate on speaking the words so that they mean what they're
supposed to. It's very easy when you're on tour for months to be
singing and not meaning every word, every syllable. With songs like
that -- no, when I'm singing Roger's words too -- it seems to me that
it's vitally important that I do sing every syllable with meaning.
You've got to believe it.

Mark Brown,
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