IN THE MID 80s when I repaired guitars for Fender in London, many top players would come down to try stuff out, including Hank Marvin, Alan Murphy and David Gilmour. So David ‘vaguely’ knew who I was. Move on a year or so and I was with a very formative Guitarist magazine and found myself driving off to Henley to interview Mick Ralphs of Bad Company. When I arrived at his house it was in upheaval due to building works. Mick said, “Sorry about this, but I have arranged with a mate that we can do it at his house. It’s a bit of a complicated journey so follow me carefully.”
I dutifully tailgated him through hilly lanes across the border into Berkshire, until we arrived at a huge house hidden in acres of woodland. Mick led us into an old coaching yard and up to the back door of the vast pile. I had no idea who his ‘mate’ was but as I got out of my car David Gilmour came out, handed me Fender Strat serial number 0001 and said, “What do you think of that then?” Or words to that effect. Mick and I did the interview and then David showed me his guitar room, with all those famous instruments dating back to early Floyd days. He also had one of the big leather Pink Floyd mascots in his studio. What a wholly surreal but thoroughly enjoyable day for this young buck. Mick was a lovely guy too and a huge guitar nut.
Years later when Paul McCartney did his album Run Devil Run with David and Mick Green on guitars, I was editor of Guitarist and put in for an interview. In the throes of moving house at the time I kept getting calls from estate agents, solicitors and the like. One especially hassled morning the phone went and this cultured voice said, “May I speak to Neville Marten please?” Thinking it was yet another of these I snapped, “Yes!” And he said, “It’s David Gilmour; I believe you wanted a chat.” Having not expected a response, let alone a personal call, I had nothing prepared and so was utterly flummoxed. Ever the gent, he completely understood. Do enjoy Jon Bishop’s fascinating ‘Genius of David Gilmour’ feature, even though I’m sure David would shrug off such silly hyberbole.
Have fun, and I’ll see you next month!