June 1978 "Innerview" Jim Ladd interviews David Gilmour
Part 1 of 2
(transcription by the one and only Dave Ward)
Jim Ladd: "This is Innerview, an inside look at the the people whose
music has changed our lives. [snip- moment missing] --presents
[music just before first verse of "Echoes" plays in background.]
JL: Good evening, everybody. I'm Jim Ladd. Tonight, we present part
one of a very rare and exclusive four part Innerview of one of
rock 'n' roll's most original and progressive bands. Even in
this, one of their earliest recordings done in 1967, their
unmistakable style and approach can be heard. It is merely an
echo of what we have now come to know as Pink Floyd.
["See Emily Play"]
JL: For many years now, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Nick Mason,
Richard Wright and Roger Waters have been creating music that
is completely unique to them and them alone, while at the same
time retaining an almost hermit-like privacy with respect to
any kind of contact with the media. But tonight, Innerview
will bring to national radio for the first time David Gilmour,
lead guitar and vocalist of Pink Floyd.
[the swelling last chord of "Speak To Me", then "Breathe" begins
beneath the interview.]
JL: It's almost a legend how you've maintained privacy in not talking
to people and... Was that a group decision?
David Gilmour: No, it's not a group decision. I mean, it's a conscious
thing that we want to maintain our privacy, and don't want to
spread our individual egos all over the place too widely. As
to talking to people, it's not a group decision. And that's
really a question of knowing who to talk to, and if there is
someone who wants to talk to you about something you might be
interested in talking about. It's more a question of not
knowing about who is worth talking to, and having met some
real Bozos around in the business over the years who we have
talked to. Kinda got to seem like it wasn't worth it. I mean,
there's certainly no need for us to do the volume of
interviews and that sort of stuff that we used to do at one
stage. We don't need it, simply.
["Free Four"; Ladd continues over it after "may find it hard to get
JL: In the beginning, Pink Floyd's albums were so progressive and so
non-commercial that their audience remained for many years a
small but highly loyal following. However, with the release of
the album Dark Side of the Moon things began to change
JL: Did you feel when Dark Side hit that all of a sudden you were
being swept now into the big machine, and all of a sudden it
was like, "Well, hey! Pink Floyd! Hey, how are you guys? You
know? Welcome to Money!"
[A single cash register from "Money" and immediately "Have A Cigar"
begins as DG answers.]
DG: We did get that at that point, yes. And it's always been there,
especially when you come to cities like this one [presumably
Los Angeles] where it's more prevalent. But we've always tried
to avoid it, we've always tried to keep out of those people...
We needed to be nice to those people when in our earlier days
much more. Now, of course, we try not to be nasty to them or
nice to them, we just try to avoid getting close to them.
["Have A Cigar" continues until outro solo begins.]
JL: Have you ever had one of those cigar-smoking executives listen to
Wish You Were Here and come up later and say, "God, I really
wish I hadn't asked that ques--"
DG: Luckily enough, we really don't get to see any of those people
anymore. And a lot of them have gone, of course. They've got a
lot of younger people here, actually *into* the music and
stuff, working at record companies these days. It's changed
quite a lot. [Ladd starts to interrupt but DG finishes] --
right off the top sometimes that you don't really care to
JL: There's been so much industry in people's lives and jobs ____ a
song that you would write.
DG: Mm hmm.
JL: It's almost gotten out of hand. Would you agree with that?
DG: Absolutely, yes.
JL: Would you prefer it not to be so big?
JL: Would you be ensconced in wherever you live now if it were not
that way though?
DG: Who knows? It's all in the laps of the gods. I really don't know.
I mean, there was a time it seems to me where one had a far
greater chance that your record would happen if it was a good
record.... Now all the chances seem to be held by various
other people throughout the industry, and it depends on
whether they like you. Not whether the people like you, but
whether the people at the record company like you. _____ the
people like you.
JL: You're talking about down to the level of, do you party well, and
if they just like--
DG: Well, if you're nice to them and--
JL: But does it have to do with the music?
DG: No, it doesn't have a lot to do with the music, but if the record
company people don't like you, sure as hell your record won't
[The end of the "Have A Cigar" solo compresses to tinny monophonic
JL: My name is Jim Ladd and we're gonna be back with David Gilmour
when our Innerview of Pink Floyd returns.
[Middle instrumental from "Welcome To The Machine" plays]
JL: We don't need to run down what Dark Side of the Moon is *still*
doing on the record charts, but the next abum, big change of
attitude it seemed to me, and the album after that even
moreso. So let's just start with -- Was it the notoriety that
turned you guys?
DG: I think that Wish You Were Here and Animals are both in the same
direction that Dark Side of the Moon was. I think there was a
specific change of direction at the time of making Dark Side
of the Moon. There is a great difference between Dark Side of
the Moon and Wish You Were Here because we were completely
different people at the two times, so it's been a radical
change in our lives between -- the time that we made Dark Side
of the Moon we were a band that hadn't made it, and we were
making a change from the music being the dominant thing in
what we did and the lyrical and idea content being
subservient. Dark Side of the Moon was the first time where we
tried to bring them up to par so that they were both integral
and a vital part of what was going on, so there's a specific
idea. And we had a big feeling going at the time of making
Dark Side of the Moon. We were trying very hard. We'd never
reached any great pinnacle of success. Our curve was slow and
secure and upward all the time and we weren't unhappy with it,
but we knew at a certain point that we were on to something
with that album. That change of the importance of the lyrical
content idea being equal with the music is something we've
carried on into Wish You Were Here. But when it came to making
Wish You Were Here we were four people who had made it in
terms of all one's normal goals in rock 'n' roll, and weren't
too sure what our motives were for being there and doing it.
It was simple before. When we made Dark Side of the Moon the
motive was simple -- we were gonna make it. Once you've made
it, what do you do then? That's a very difficult thing to
know, and to varying different degrees each one of us had a
problem with knowing within ourselves what we were in it for.
["Money" edited down to about two minutes with strange edits. "Us and
JL: When you look at a song--or honestly, when I look at a song like
"Us and Them", which I like a lot--
DG: That was an outtake from Zabriskie Point. [chuckles]
JL: Yeah? ... I always see Pink Floyd as instead of trying to bring
some kind of outside theory as a message, more of a group
consciousness saying, "Hey, look what's here. Let's, like,
learn to live in--"
DG: Holding up a mirror.
JL: 'S that basically how you see it?
DG: Yeah. I'd say so.
JL: Do you think that follows with Wish You Were Here and Animals too?
DG: Yeah, absolutely.
JL: Where does the image then start to go askew with the attitude of
"Us and Them", "After all we're only ordinary men" to, um,
"Pigs" for example?
DG: Well, I can't really talk to you in depth about specific
philosophies on those things because I don't write those
words, Roger writes them. But he's describing, I guess,
various different types of people that he and we meet in this
world and, uh, they could use a mirror. [chuckles]
["Us and Them" lyrics begin. Plays until Ladd comes in at the piano
JL: Since the release and overwhelming public acceptance of Dark Side
of the Moon the man who engineered the album has started a
recording career of his own and is now doing quite well. And
of course his involvement with such a monumental album as Dark
Side helped considerably. His name is Alan Parsons.
DG: He's a good engineer. He was a regular studio engineer at EMI.
Could have been anyone. And he engineered the album, but he
tends to go around intimating that he produced it, and stuff
like that. And it's not so, and we have got slightly annoyed
about that at times. But he is a nice guy basically.
JL: I think he's also been a little bit done in by all of a sudden
finding himself in the spotlight by the record companies
because in the bios they lay on pretty heavy about he was
engineering on Abbey Road which, in point of fact, he was the
guy getting the coffee loading tapes.
DG: It's a (face off?), yeah. Well, he graduated up. I mean, I can
remember when he was like a young, very young lad came into
the studio as a tea boy, ___, gradually moved up to assistant
engineering and then engineering and that was the point he was
at when we did Dark Side of the Moon. He engineered that
record with us, and meanwhile he was, he also came on the road
with us as a road engineer, the sound on our live gigs. And
then he moved on after that into production and getting into
all that side of things. He's a good, a quite talented guy.
But he was moving up that ladder when we did Dark Side of the
Moon. And I don't personally think that it made any difference
to Dark Side of the Moon. We could have done it with any other
engineer and the same thing would have come out.
["Us and Them" continues until "Any Colour" begins.]
JL: Our Innerview of Pink Floyd returns in just a moment.
["Mihalis" plays as Ladd talks.]
JL: Welcome back everybody to our Innerview of Pink Floyd. Now in this
part of the show, were gonna discuss David Gilmour's first
solo album. Would you consider this a concept album?
DG: Um, no, I wouldn't. I mean, I didn't consider it in any way a
concept album but there is a kind of train of thought running
JL: Yeah, train of thought may even be a better word for it, but, it
DG: It's not deliberate, anyway, I think.
JL: So it just happened to be that those songs fell in that order
DG: Well, I mean, I did the songs and they were the songs that came
out of me, and -- one of them is a song that I chose from
someone else's that I really like and wanted to do for some
time, but it fitted in with my general mood at the time.
JL: "There's No Way Out of Here." Is that the song that--
DG: That's right, yeah.
JL: Great song.
["There's No Way Out of Here" plays until solo starts.]
JL: Now if you recall, in the beginning of tonight's show, I stressed
the fact that up until now neither David Gilmour nor any
member of Pink Floyd would talk to the press. In my case, it
is taken literally. Well over a year and a half of flat
refusals before we ever got this Innerview on tape, and the
reason that David Gilmour did finally agree to do this is as
obvious as his answer was honest.
JL: Now that you have a solo album out, we're sittin' here talkin'.
JL: So why is that?
DG: That's because I need it. My name is -- it's just the simple fact
that my name doesn't carry the weight that Pink Floyd's name
does. I want people to listen to what I've done, and damned if
I'm gonna sit round in a few months' time and say, "Well,
didn't make it, and I didn't go and do any publicity for it,
and no one heard it. It was still a good album but no one
heard it." You know? I'm not gonna give myself that excuse.
["There's No Way Out of Here" continues.]
JL: When an artist decides to step out and make his first solo album,
it is -- and especially in this case--a giant undertaking. It
involves putting his name on the line directly, and without
the support or umbrella of the group. Now for this reason,
it's sometimes nice to include old friends for the first
venture. And for David Gilmour that meant Rick Wills and
DG: Rick and Willie are friends of mine who I was in a band with when
I was eighteen, nineteen, I dunno. Pretty young. And they've
been friends of mine since I was about fourteen or fifteen I
guess. They were part of the motivation, and actually got me
together into the studio to work on it.
JL: Oh yeah?
DG: And I knew that I'd be working with them...
JL: You sound like you had to be talked into this. Was this...?
DG: In theory I wanted to do it. I wanted to get down to doing it at
some point, but I put it off a few times. There were
opportunities that I could have taken to start it up in the
last two years, but this is the first time I've actually done
it. And it took a little nudging from my wife and Rick and
Willie and various other people to get me to actually go in
and start. It was quite silly on my part, really. I could have
and probably should have done it a bit earlier, but our first
day I got in there and I started to work on it with these
guys, and I realised it was silly and the whole thing
evaporated, all the nervousness and that stuff evaporated
JL: Where's the nervousness come from when you say, "I want to do--"
DG: Well, I suppose it's because one is in a protected situation in a
group. There's four of you to take the blame and credit and
you can lean on other people a little bit.
["So Far Away" until instrumental.]
JL: "So Far Away."
JL: Did you write that?
JL: I thought that was a very touching song.
DG: It's a short moment in my life that I felt pretty desperate, I
suppose, and I had doubt as to whether or not to put it on or
to use it, 'cos it felt a little too close to me and too
personal, and that's a nervy thing to do. I mean that's one of
the things I found it hard to do. But I had other--I know I've
worked with other people and they've played me their demo
songs for example and there's been one or two of these songs
that have been like that, very close, personal, and I said,
"We should do this," and they said, "No, I can't do it. We
haven't done it." And the whole album at the end just felt
like they left something out that they should have put in
there. And it's not anything for them to worry about, and no
one else is going to think the worse of you for it.
JL: I always appreciate the sort of people that can do it. I think
that John Lennon's "Bless You" is a great example.
DG: Yes, and John Lennon's a great example of someone who does do it,
and Paul McCartney's a great example of someone who doesn't.
Paul McCartney always seemed like a guy who is frightened of
exactly that, of letting anything of his true self out, which
is a shame, 'cos there probably is a true self in there
["So Far Away" continues.]
JL: Why is this such an important thing, not just for you, but I mean
it seems like almost every musician wants to do his definitive
solo album. Is it pure ego, or is there a structure you can't
really emote in when you're in a band?
DG: Yeah, it's ego largely. I mean, everyone in the world wants to at
some point stand up and say "this is me" and in a business, if
you like, where you're doing that, where I've been standing up
for ten years saying "this is me but it's not all me", you
know? When you actually do stand up and be that
partly and never change into that position where once in a
while you take it entirely on yourself, it's kind of hard.
JL: You've always stood up and said "this is me and--" or "this is me
DG: Yes, yes. You take the protection and you use that protection.
It's nice to have it and to have other people to lean on and
work with, and I think it's a very good thing. It works very
well for us as Pink Floyd, but it's largely ego, yeah. I had a
kind of desire to just get right in there and put the whole
thing on my shoulders alone and do it just for once 'cos I've
never done that, you know. The last ten years I've been
working within the framework of Pink Floyd. It's been great
and I haven't got anything against that and I think it is a
system that I want to continue doing and that I think
works, but every once in a while--
JL: We all need to say "hey, this is me."
DG: Yeah, you want to stand up and say... In a way you could say it's
self-indulgent or being dictatorial about the whole thing, but
I did want to make it me and all me, really.
JL: We're gonna be back with the conclusion of tonight's Innerview of
Pink Floyd in just a moment.
[The last seconds of "On the Run" plays.]
JL: The song "Time" with the bells and the clock that follows and so
forth, how did you do that? How did you physically come up
with that stuff?
DG: EMI had just done--I mean they've got a library of sound effects
which we raid regularly to get these things out, which is--we
don't care where they come from as long as they sound right.
And they had just gone to a shop which dealt with clocks and
done a sound effects tape in this shop, and we just used it.
We were thinking of what to do at the beginning of that thing
and how to take one [song] to the other, and someone there
said, "Well, we've just done this thing. We just did it two
weeks ago in a shop full of clocks. Shall we get the tape and
listen?" So we got it and listened and, yeah, it was there.
The musical intro with the rototoms, you know, drums and
things was worked out all before that.
JL: But then this piece just fell in and--
JL: An amazing piece 'cause you guys have... you use dynamics better
than almost any group I've heard, being able to draw people
out and lull them into that real quiet place--
DG: And then hit 'em over the head.
["Time" begins. They talk over the opening instrumental section.]
DG: I've always been very surprised that other people haven't picked
up on the effectiveness of that sort of thing, how lacking in
dynamics so much that goes on is. It's not terribly clever,
it's not... I don't sit around thinking, "Gosh, aren't we
clever at doing that, being able to do that?" I surprised that
other people don't think of this. Such a simple idea, and
certainly other people that I've talked to like you have
spotted it and realized what it is, you know?
JL: It's almost using silence like another instrument, to create that
space, and I just think people don't see it, but I mean, you
have to write in quiet as you write in other things--
JL: It's just that important.
DG: Absolutely. It's making those contrasts that really gives
something colour and spice.
["Time" continues at the first verse.]
JL: When Pink Floyd sets out to do an album, is it totally a
collective decision when you get even down as
far as packaging and so forth? And covers?
DG: Usually it is a collective decision, yes. And, well, we all have
to agree on something there. Usually the guys who make covers
for us come up with ideas and we say "yea" or "nay" and we put
in opinions. Now this particular album you've got there,
Animals, is--Roger had that idea, had that specific idea and
wanted to do it. I'd say that's slightly different from the
JL: I mean it's like you're picking up an entire work. It's like
you're just--you really get a feeling for what you're going to
DG: Yes, and we do try, and the people who usually do the covers do
try to connect the whole thing together very closely. When we
got the cover for Dark Side of the Moon, when we first got the
prints up and decided, we looked at that and we thought that
was really going to put the whole thing together as a unit,
and we were really pleased with it.
["Time" continues, seguing to "Breathe" which Ladd speaks over.]
JL: I hope you've enjoyed meeting David Gilmour, and that you'll join
us next week, same time and same frequency for part two of our
exclusive four-part Innerview of Pink Floyd. I'm Jim Ladd.
["Breathe" plays out.]