Session Bassist Reflects on His Work in Pink Floyd, Explains Importance of the ’Pulse’ Live Album

While Roger Waters was, obviously, one of the creative leaders of Pink Floyd, he wasn’t the only bassist to play in the band. Although never an official member of the legendary band, bassist Guy Pratt spent years with David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason, playing live shows and was even a part of “The Division Bell” and “The Endless River” albums.

While you won’t often hear Pratt’s name, the bass session legend appeared recently in a podcast by No Treble. Among many other things, Pratt looked back on his work with Pink Floyd. However, he noted that he doesn’t see them as a rock band. He said (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):

“The funny thing is, when you play for a band like Pink Floyd, people think you’re in the rock world. And you’re just not. At all. None of the people are. We don’t look rock and roll, we don’t do rock and roll things.

“So I’ve never really been in that ‘rock’ world. I felt like I was a bit of a tourist, a bit of a voyeur.”

Nonetheless, this seemed to have worked well for Pratt’s career since he later got a gig with Whitesnake, playing bass for the 1997 album “Restless Heart.” Pratt continued:

“But it clearly worked because David [Coverdale] then asked me to go and play on a Whitesnake, our level of musicianship and everything. That’s what I mean. Denny Carmassi is still one of the most impressive drummers I’ve ever worked with.”

Going back to Pink Floyd, Pratt was there not only for “The Division Bell” studio sessions but also for live performances and the legendary live record “Pulse.” And not only that — Pratt later also worked with David Gilmour, doing the legendary “Live in Pompeii” album. When the interviewer reminded him of his work in Pink Floyd and how it shouldn’t be overlooked, he replied:

“I played with David Gilmour at Pompeii in 2016. And there’s that live album. What I really love about that is, if you look at that tracklisting, more than half of that is mine. There’s his solo stuff as well.”

David Gilmour - Comfortably Numb Live in Pompeii 2016

While looking back at the legacy of the “Pulse” album, Pratt also pointed out how, for younger people or new fans, it’s often the first contact with the band. Same could also be said about “The Division Bell” record. He said:

“And also the fact, in terms of filming, most people who come to Pink Floyd late, or younger people, the visual representation they’re gonna know of Pink Floyd is ‘Pulse.’ Or maybe ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder.’

Another thing that Pratt reflected on was that, according to him, the band was incredible at the time and what we can hear on “Pulse” is how they sounded pretty much all the time. He concluded:

“It’s us. It’s us that they’ll see, which is great. [Laughs] So yeah, I’m still kind of in awe of ‘Pulse’ as a piece of work. And not so much as an album. What I’m in awe of is the fact of that’s actually what we sounded like every night. That is literally what we were. And that is astounding.”

Pink Floyd - Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5 & 7) [PULSE Restored & Re-Edited]

In an interview from a few years ago, Pratt also recalled how he got the Pink Floyd gig in the first place. He said:

“I knew David [Gilmour] because I was playing for Dream Academy, who he was producing. The first time I ever met David was when this band Television Personalities were supporting him on his [1984] solo tour and they were doing ‘Arnold Layne‘ in their set. That was fine. Then they started doing a song called ‘I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives.‘ David was like, ‘Right, that’s it.‘ [Laughs]

“He asked Dream Academy to go support him at a show in Birmingham. And so I went up and had the most excruciating meeting with David in a dressing room backstage. We just both stood there with nothing to say until David walked away. I thought, ‘Well done, Guy.‘”

Pink Floyd - High Hopes (PULSE Restored & Re-Edited)

“Then he came in to play on the Bryan Ferry album, which was amazing. Chester and I were there in the studio and everyone else came and went. I spent a bit of time with David then. But then I went to holiday in Thailand and when I came back, there were messages on my answering machine from David asking if I’d play with him and Kate Bush at an Amnesty International gig, which happened when I was away. ‘Noooooooo!‘”

“You’d think I learned my lesson, but I went on holiday to Thailand last year. And I fucking came back to all these messages from Zak Starkey asking me to do a day in the studio with the Who! I really should stop going on holiday to Thailand.

“When I got back, I read an article in the then-new magazine Q about Pink Floyd getting back together, finishing an album, and going on the road. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s interesting.‘ Then sometime in the next week I got a call from David.

Pink Floyd - Coming Back To Life (PULSE Restored & Re-Edited)

“He said, ‘I don’t know if you heard that Pink Floyd are touring?‘ I said, ‘Yeah, I might have heard something about that.‘ He goes, ‘Are you interested, and are you available?‘ I said, ‘Well, it’s possible I can muster some sort of interest.‘”

“I said, ‘Yeah, I’m available.‘ He goes, ‘Then you’re not working?‘ I said, ‘Well, no. I’d have to move some things around…‘ [Laughs] That was it. It’s become the defining gig of my life.

Photos: Raph_PH (NickMasonDWalls200518-20 (27371525527)), Jimmy Baikovicius (David Gilmour Argentina 2015 (cropped))

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.