HIT CHANNEL INTERVIEW: April 2011. We had the great honour to talk with one of the greatest guitarists of our times,Dave Kilminster. Dave is known for his incredible skills in guitar and his collaborations with legends like Roger Waters (Pink Floyd’s main songwriter) and Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer-keyboards pioneer).Read below the interesting things Dave told us two months before his Athens shows with Roger Waters!! He just released a new album called ‘Closer To Earth’ with Murray Hockridge.
You just released an album with Murray Hockridge called ‘Closer To Earth’. Are you happy with its result and the feedback you ‘ve already received from fans and press for this album? The title (not the music) reminds me Yes…
Well, firstly you have to understand that I’m highly critical of everything that I do… and I always think that I can do better!!! But actually I’m extremely happy with this album… and very, very proud of it!!! It’s definitely the best thing I’ve ever done… And all the comments, feedback and reactions I’ve heard so far have been pretty amazing!! As far as the title goes though, it’s just a way of trying to describe what we’re doing… i.e. taking these tunes right back to the basics… to the heart and essence of what these songs are all about… and it has NOTHING to do with Yes!!!!
I know you spent some years working this stuff with Murray. It was difficult process to complete this album? How much disadvantage was your touring schedule for the recordings,as you are a perfectionist..
Right from the very first time Murray and I played together there was this instant magical connection… and so actually most of the recording happened very, very quickly… The only difficulty really was ensuring that the desk, mics, compressors etc were set up as best as possible, so that we could just hit ‘record’, and try to capture the best performances… those perfect ‘moments’, that only happen when you’re performing live…
Actually I have no idea, as this is an album of other people’s songs!!! We really didn’t set out to do that though… it was just because we wanted to experiment with how best to capture what we were doing… i.e. was it best for Murray to do his guitar parts first… or should we record the two guitars together… or maybe I could play guitar first, possibly with a guide vocal track… etc, etc… so we tried some cover tunes that we knew (and actually quite a few that we didn’t know!!!), and set about experimenting…
And as we tried these different methodologies though, it quickly became clear to us that the absolute best way of recording us was totally live… but what we ended up with was eleven amazing sounding interpretations of other peoples tunes… and we decided that it sounded so good, that why not release it as our first album together!!!
We will of course record an album of our own songs too.. and I’m sure I’ll record another solo album at some point… but for this project with Murray I am more than happy to sit back and let him sing all the lead vocals…
I love his voice… he’s a truly incredible singer!!!!
Recently,you did some more recording for your masterpiece ‘Scarlet’ album..How strange was evolving your own material after 5 years? Did at any stage, your songs on ‘Scarlet’ seemed to you ‘old’?
Well, ever since it first came out I’ve never been happy with it… and I found it difficult to move on to something else, as this was always nagging in the back of my mind… saying ‘I’m not really finished yet’!!! So in the end I had to go back and fix it, to the point where it’s as good as it should have been!!!
Was it strange to go back? Absolutely!!! Did it seem old? Yeah, a little I guess… I have loads of new songs and ideas in me, which I’m dying to record!!!! But I felt like ‘Scarlet’ deserved a better send off then the one she originally got… and so now I’m finally happy with her, and can move on to recording the next one!!!!!
You contributed in Heather Findlay’s (Mostly Autumn singer) EP and you ‘ll do some summer festivals with her. How was working with such an excellent female voice? Were you familiar you her Renaissance infleunces, as you had stated in the past ‘I’m not Ritchie Blackmore kind of person’? (I’m a HUGE fan of yours, as you can assume).
Heather is wonderful to work with!!! We were sort of aware of each other before, but it wasn’t until a Roger Waters concert in Malta a few years back where we finally got a chance to chat… and I knew then that it would be fun to work together!!! And yeah, I don’t mind some renaissance music… but I draw the line at wearing a doublet and hose… and definitely no cod pieces!!!!
Do you enjoy being on tour for so much time? Do you miss home?
I LOVE touring!!! To travel and to play music… it’s what I’ve always dreamed of!!! And I just live on my own in England… so in a weird way wherever I am is sort of my home anyway… because it’s always just me, and some guitars!!!
I know you’ve answered this question, but I should ask: How is the feeling playing the ‘Comfortably Numb’ solo above the 30 feet wall? Did you feel at any point terrified by the height or by comparisons with Gilmour as well?
I think it’s nearer forty feet actually!! And yes, it does feel very wobbly and precarious up there… but when I go up there on the Wall to play ‘that’ solo on ‘that’ song, I’m not really thinking about the height, or how shaky the whole thing feels… I’m just aware of 20,000 or so people watching… feeling their energy and expectations… It’s a HUGE thing actually, and pretty indescribable…
Your version in Steve Vai’s classic ‘For The Love of God’ leaves even the most irrelevant with the guitar, SPEECHLESS!! How did you choose this song and how difficult was playing it better than the original version? Did you see it as a kind of challenge with yourself?
Thank you… you’re very kind!! :O) I really didn’t chose to play that tune though… in fact I didn’t chose ANY of the transcriptions and recordings I did for Guitar Techniques and Lick Library!!! They would just call me up and say ‘can you do this’? And of course my ego would always say ‘yes’!!!!
So then I just go and figure out a way of doing it. I guess I’ve written out and played some other pretty scary stuff though… ‘Black Star’ (Yngwie Malmsteen), ‘Eruption’ and ‘Spanish Fly’ (Van Halen), ‘Nadia’ (Jeff Beck), ‘In The Dead Of Night’ (UK, with Allan Holdsworth), ‘Shy Boy’ (David Lee Roth)… I remember having to record Steve Vai’s guitar AND Billy Sheehan’s bass parts for that too, as none of my bass player friends fancied doing it!!
Plus all the other stuff I did… Michael Hedges (‘The Happy Couple’), Robben Ford tunes, Michael Lee Firkins, Paul Gilbert licks, jazz lessons, fusion lessons, bottleneck lessons, bluegrass lessons!!!!!! I guess in a way I see all of them as a challenge…. and I felt like I was putting my reputation on the line every time I recorded…
Have you taken in your baggages this tour,your fantastic green Telecaster? It has broken many hearts…
Unfortunately that wasn’t my guitar… and so I had to give it back!!! It actually belongs to Richie Kotzen!!! But if Fender want to send me one then I’ll happily use it again!!!!
What memories do you have from Athens 2006 show? Send a message to fans who are waiting for your next visit…
I remember that gig very clearly… it was outdoors, and behind the audience was a large mountain range… the view from the stage was just incredible, and the audience reaction was amazing!!!
I also went sightseeing with (our sax player at the time) Ian Richie, and we toured the Acropolis!! It also looks like we’re finishing up our European tour in Athens too, and we’re hoping to be filming those shows for a live DVD!!! I’m really looking forward to JULY!!!!
Special thanks to Dave Kilminster for his great answers and for the music!!!
Please check http://www.closertoearth.com/