Few bands conjure as much goose-bump excitement among the classic rock faithful as the legendary Pink Floyd. Guitarist David Gilmour was a driving force for the band throughout most of its career, taking over for longtime friend Syd Barrett as Barrett's mental condition deteriorated in the late Sixties. He shared vocal duties with bassist Roger Waters as the band released classic albums like "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here," and took over as front man after the band's acrimonious break with Waters in the Eighties.
All along, Gilmour has kept up with a productive solo career as the recent release of the CD/DVD "David Gilmour: Live in Gdansk" illustrates. Recorded during his 2006 solo tour, the songs are from his solo releases and Floyd's lengthy career. Sadly, it also represents his last recorded collaboration with Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright, who died on Sept. 15 last year.
Bankrate spoke with Gilmour several weeks before Wright's death about the new record, his Floyd bandmates and his life as a rock legend.
Bankrate: Do you think Rick Wright got short shrift for what he actually contributed to Pink Floyd?
David Gilmour: I do, really. He and Nick's (drummer Nick Mason) roles were fantastically important. It's a strange sort of compulsion by many people to have to classify people within something in terms of their importance or dominance, when every part is as vital as every other part.
Bankrate: So many classic Floyd songs were inspired by the fate of the late Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett. Now that you're older and Syd has passed on, has the meaning of those songs changed for you at all?
David Gilmour: I have always felt Syd's presence when I've been singing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" or "Wish You Were Here," or any of those things. That was doubled in the period after Syd died, the last part of my tour in 2006. The last few shows, that feeling was much, much stronger, much more poignant, although you could say that we lost Syd an awfully long time before he actually died.
Bankrate: During the last several decades, did you have any contact with him at all?
David Gilmour: No, I didn't. I had some contact with some of his family, and they thought it better that people from that part of his past shouldn't really see him.
Bankrate: You were once voted Best Fender Guitar Player ever, beating out Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. What's your take on that?
David Gilmour: Well, they're right, aren't they? No, listen, these polls come across all the time, and every year, whoever's been in the news that year is the one that gets up on top. Best ever Fender player will come around again, and it will be Eric or Jimi or someone. You can't believe that stuff. Much as I'd love to believe I'm the best ever Fender guitar player, it just doesn't really make sense.