David Gilmour

Rock's electric virtuoso

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By Gary Graff  

It's been a busy time for David Gilmour -- a solo album, On An Island (his third, and first since 1984) and brief but critically lauded tours of North America and Europe. But still everybody wants to know... When is Pink Floyd going to get together again?

Q: What was your approach to On an Island?

Gilmour: I think the whole album hangs together as something, which doesn't happen very often these days. I don't hear many albums that are made and intended to be played from the beginning to the end, and my album is unapologetically that way. I want people to sit and enjoy the experience and the mood of the whole album, all the way through.

Q: You wrote songs for On An Island with your wife, Polly Samson. Isn't that dangerous?

Gilmour: (laughs) No. We haven't really had too many major arguments about it. Obviously we feel differently about things at times. Polly's just a great person to work with, and having been a professional writer most of her adult life, she's extremely good with words, much more articulate than I am. Her influence goes as far as which pieces of music go on the album, to some extent. If there's something she wants that she really likes and wants to write to, then obviously it stands a better chance of being on an album.

Q: Will we have to wait another twenty-two years for your next solo album?

Gilmour: Well, who knows, really. (laughs) I doubt twenty, but I don't make any plans far into the future. I don't have a huge ambition anymore. In past years there was a lot of thinking about the career and wanting to achieve success. It's sort of turned into something more calm and less ambitious in my later years. I'll get 'round to doing something again before too long, I hope, but I have no idea. I haven't planned anything.

Q: Did playing Live 8 with Pink Floyd close the book on a certain chapter in the band's history?

Gilmour: Well, you know, that whole bitterness and bile thing that was going on for so many years is a negative thing. It's good to get rid of those negative things in your life if you can. Roger (Waters) and I are at least on speaking terms now, so hopefully those negative vibes are sort of now put to rest, and we have a bit of closure, 'cause they can niggle at you for life.

Q: Is Pink Floyd a closed book, then?

Gilmour: It's just not something that is big in my mind at all at the moment. I've kind of left that behind. I've been working with a different group of people. I'm very happy and satisfied with the little team I've got around me these days, and I don't see myself going back into the Pink Floyd thing. We had a lot of offers to go and tour and so on and so forth, but I'm in this selfishly lucky position of having more than enough money and having had more than enough fame. I just don't need that stuff these days. I wouldn't want anyone to get the impression that I am not a hundred percent happy and satisfied with the work I've done with Pink Floyd over the years. It's fantastic. But my focus is different right now.

Gary Graff writes extensively about music. His work has appeared widely in such publications as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Detroit Free Press, and Billboard.