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Interview with David Gilmour about his new DVD

La Repubblica, October 2002

“David Gilmour in concert” comes out in a DVD including an almost complete coverage of the past year concert held at the Meltdown Festival of London. David Jon Gilmour, 56 years old. has eight sons, a belly by now out of control and a peaceful “contempt mixed to deception” towards those who rule world’s destinity, who constrain “the good sense and the art in an dark angle”. But the blue eyes are still those of the guitar player with angel face who, in January of 1968, joined on stable duty for a band called Pink Floyd.
And the same is his enthusiasm when he admires the miracles of the new software that will allow him “to reproduce the sounds of arches as I always wished: I was never managed to be understanding by any orchestra!”. He speaks Italian even he does not confess it. His older daughter, 26 years old, lives in Rome. Many of his best friends are Italian. We went to meet him in his floating studio: a leggendary barge named Astoria, moored on the Thames river, 40 kilometers from London, that Gilmour bought in 1986. A magic place.
Playing his guitar, he sings us “Smile”, the new DVD song, and then picks out the notes of “Wish you Were Here”.

HAMPTON (LONDON)
“Do you see that little island? That one Is Taggs Island. One time we played there, in the mid-Seventies. Those were the years in which not everybody abdicated. Someone was still believing to be able to change the things”.

Have you abdicated?
“No. I haven’t abdicated, not even now. I would not be here, in the middle of these buttons. There are people with whiter hair than mine that every so often stop me in street and ask me eccentric things, which, in the end, are not really so eccentric. One day ago a guy asked to me: at which point are we? And I: sorry, with regard to what? And he: but the latest Pink Floyd, what a question! Are we going to come out with this blessed disc, or not? We laughed out and we spoke about soccer. He too was an Arsenal fan.”

If you don’t mind my asking, we too would like to ask you the same: when we’ll see a new Pink Floyd album?
“You see, I change idea and feelings about to the question at least once in a year: one year ago, during an interview, I got upset and said that it was useless to hope. Today I think: after all, why couldn’t it happen?”

With Roger Waters, maybe…
“Unfortunately I have not been talking to Roger since 1987, but I do not bear him a grudge. One day he did get angry at me and he never more retraced his steps. I do not know what may have happened.”

For sure Waters does not like he have abdicated.
“A person like him dies, if he abdicates.”

But what do you mean exactly in order to abdicate? Renounce to believe that music can change the world?
“No, to abdicate means stop believing in what we have been conceived for. One is not able to make so many things in the life. As for the music,.. no, music has not changed the world. Neither it will change it tomorrow. However it can inhibit the intentions of reckless people. It can frighten a bit who believes to be omnipotent. In the Sixties we indeed did believe in it. But then you look at what happened, those one from our generation who had to bear more wounds than their enemies. And the world was the same one. A mockery.”

So what ?
“I narrate, I write, I try to never disappoint my woman, I try to educate my sons and I also try to understand something more of me through them. This means not to abdicate. The same of refusing to believe that only one progressive society exists. In such a case, I would be of left like Blair is. And honestly…”

And where did your left end?
“You see, I don’t know. I only know that, if even Bob Dylan has partially gone back on all his words, this means that Blair is not alone, that Bush has some friends also in the houses of his supposed detractors, and this is the reason for a interventionist left to exist and protect the interests of dollars and oil oligarchy and that now lives for september 11.”

Would you write a song for the event?
“If I tried, nothing would come out. Both the parties provoke massacres.”

Why have you recorded just two solo album?
“I’m lazy and now I have also eight sons, therefore a limited available time. Rather than a ‘recording artist’ I’m a ‘recording father’.”

What was music for the David Gilmour that to 22 years joined Pink Floyd?
“20, 22 hours per day of life, entirely lived full-breath.”

Was it scaring to replace your friend Syd Barrett?
“Yes, even if in the beginning it looked like the role should be different. Syd was feelling ill, he was no more able to perform live, so we thought to give him the role of author. He was supposed to stay at home writing, we outside playing. But the plan failed.”

When you wrote the “The dark side of the moon” songs, did you feel that something would be changed forever in the world of rock music?
“We were strong and arrogant. Usually one answers that no, things did not work that way. On the contrary, now I’ll tell you that we immediately realized where we were pushed on. We got the feeling that we have reached a masterpiece, something that would have changed our story first, and that of the world around us, as well.”

Lot of money, any meaningful corruption?
“We were corrupts, to what extent! Corrupt, as for a moment we really thought we could make any thing. Money eat you something inside.”

But the Pink Floyd stood up.
“Until Animals. Then, perhaps for that poison of corruption that I was talking about, we blew up. Indeed everyone blew up in his own way and the period spanning to and including The wall was the worst of our story. We lose the sense of our job.”

And which has been the best?
“From Atom Heart Mother to The Dark Side: those were the years in which Roger become an extraordinary lyrics writer.”

And past year (the concert of the dvd), how was to resume the songs of the Pink Floyd of seven years later?
“Soft. Malleable. Vital. Do you see the water outside there? Pink Floyd inspiration had a watery nature.”

But you choose sort of a folk arrangement to play them again. Not so faithful to the original ones.
“The original may even not matter at all. What matters is if one has abdicated or not.”

You have many Italian friends. Was Antonioni one of them at the time of Zabriskie Point?
“A great person who ask us to make the sound track of a movie, which he did not want music in.
I never understood what he was meaning to make of our job. Actually, to be honest, I never understood what he was talking about.”

What are you doing now?
“Next year an album and this evening I’ll go to see the Arsenal.”

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