MARCH 2012
By Adriana Rubio

Interview-Photographs: By Adriana Rubio
Gigs Photographs: By Fernando Serani

Guitar Virtuoso Dave Kilminster is currently touring with Roger Waters’ “The Wall” in South America. The first two gigs from the S.A leg took place in Santiago, Chile at The National Stadium on March 2nd and 3rd. And after these two successful performances, the entire crew travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina for nine gigs.

After almost two months of being in fluent contact through e-mails with Dave, we finally met in person for the interview! 

Dave Kilminster has a vast trajectory both as a skillful guitar teacher and as an exceptional performer in the techniques of tapping, pull-off, sweep-picking and hammer-on. He has also played for Keith Emerson Band, Carl Palmer and John Wetton -former King Crimson- among a long list of fabulous artists and bands such as “Qango” and “Guthrie Govan”.

His musical talent and determination led to an astonishing career as a professional and respected guitarist. Although he says he’s been lucky, there’s also a belief that nothing happens just by chance or miracle. You have to put on the effort.

“I wanted to play piano…”

“My story is a bit odd as I never actually wanted to play guitar. I wanted to play piano… ha, ha. I never had any desires of playing guitar. I really wanted to play piano, and the bad thing was that we never had one at home. I used to play piano at school, and it was really a pain to get back home with loads of things and ideas sounding nice in my head without a piano to perform them, and you have to face that frustration”.

“I was introduced to play guitar or should I say with the thought of maybe playing guitar by a school mate who was sat next to me. He was looking at a guitar catalogue and I just thought about the possibility of getting one of those until things were better to get the instrument I wanted to play… ha, ha…”

His first guitar was a no-name classical guitar that he bought from school. Dave Kilminster is a self-taught guitarist and started playing left-handed, but he broke his wrist in an accident. He now plays right-handed.

“I was a Van Halen fan when I bought my first guitar… it was a classical guitar. I painted it white with black stripes, took the frets out to make it into a fretless classical one. And, YES! I'm totally self-taught. It takes a lot longer to learn that way, but it really helps you if you are serious about it.  You have to just sit there and figure it all out for yourself. And when I thought it was all done, I had to learn play guitar right-handed…”

Dave Kilminster was always a Van Halen fan and amongst his musical likes from when he was a teen -surprisingly Pink Floyd is not included - Queen is at the top of the list. He never bought a Pink Floyd record. He watched The Wall movie for the first time a couple of years ago. So how this skillful guitarist got in touch with Roger Waters and became his touring guitarist?

“Well, my manager Martin Darvill received a phone call from Snowy White. They were basically
putting out calls to colleagues looking for a guitarist. Around that time, I was supposed to go on tour with Keith Emerson, so I didn’t feel the enthusiasm of trying. But a few days later Keith's manager e-mailed me saying that the tour was cancelled! And I thought that was a sign… I believe in signs sometimes”.

“I put myself to work and recorded a demo CD of me playing and singing some Pink Floyd tunes. I then met Roger for the first time at the audition. I was horrible! (Laughs)”

“Nothing happens on stage by chance; it's all down to Roger’s incredible imagination and boundless energy. Roger sees the whole picture in his head, you know what I mean? The music, lights, images… everything!”

“I'm basically Gilmour “stunt” playing note for note the stuff he wrote. And at the end of the night, I realize that I’m being paid for playing someone else’s notes. (Laughs) But, I’m very happy and really enjoying the tour. It feels good to make Floyd fans happy, but if you make a mistake… ha, ha, you know… they know the songs so well. If you play the songs exactly the same as Dave Gilmour, fans say "It's not as good as Gilmour." If you put your own slant on it, they say "It doesn't sound like Gilmour." It’s not that I’m worried about it, but it’s certainly something that you have to deal with”.  

“Roger likes to hear the parts played as close as possible to the original recordings and the same happens with Floyd fans… they want to hear the songs exactly as they are. But there’s something maybe fans don’t understand… and this is when you read comments on YouTube like “Three guitarists to play what Gilmour did alone”… And the reason for that is that WE are covering all the multiple overdubs to sound as close as possible to the original recordings. Floyd’s never been a band known as a live performing act, even though they toured and made The Wall live in the 1980-81, there’s loads of studio work. For example for the Dark Side Of The Moon Tour, the song Money has THREE rhythm guitar parts all played at the same time… which is actually something one guitarist can play in a studio, but then you have to reproduce the same stuff on stage! You know what I mean? (Laughs) And for example Mother… I play Roger’s bass while he plays the acoustic guitar and sings!”

“Comfortably Numb is people’s favourite tune, and I do my best to make it sound as much like the original recording as possible. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a no-win situation… (Laughs) Everyone knows what the solo’s supposed to sound like!” (Laughs).

There’s more from Dave Kilminster to upload here. It will be posted soon!

“I’m a rock guitarist and have my own style too

To be continued… Stay tuned..!