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Interview:
Pink Floyd reissues "The Delicate Sound of Thunder," 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Pink Floyd's "The Delicate Sound of Thunder" came from a time that was more thunderous than delicate for the iconic British group.



The live album and film -- restored, re-edited and remixed for a new package coming out Friday, Nov. 20 -- documents the group's 1987-88 world tour. It was the group's first outing after an acrimonious split with bassist Roger Waters earlier in the decade, with guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason taking charge and bringing back keyboardist Rick Wright, who'd been fired prior to Waters' departure.



The gambit played out well. The group's 1987 studio album, "A Momentary Lapse of Reason," debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and was certified four-times platinum. The tour, with is characteristically barrier-pushing production, did sell-out business around the world, grossing $135 million over 198 shows. The group also settled legal issues with Waters and went on to do one more album and tour, "The Division Bell" in 1994, before relaxing into primarily an archival concern.



"The Delicate Sound..." days are worth remembering, however -- which is just what Mason does, by phone, from his home in the English countryside...



Mason, 76, remembers the 1987-88 tour as one of the band's most pleasurable. "I really enjoyed it. I loved touring in a way that we had never done previously with the Floyd. We always did these piecemeal tours, and they were always too short -- three or four weeks and there's be a break just when we'd settled in. The great thing about being on tour for a year was the ability to actually develop the show and just do it better and better."



Mason acknowledges he, Gilmour and Wright (who died in 2008) "were very nervous" about the new album and tour, without Waters in the fold and with a long gap (six years) since the last time Pink Floyd had been on the road. "It's always true; However good you think your new album is or the (musician) lined is, it is possible you're going to be rejected by your audience and end up having your tail between your legs. But it came off really well, country to country. People were happy to see us again."



As for "A Momentary Lapse of Reason," Mason was happy to have had a chance to go back into the studio and redo some of the drum parts for the version of the album included in last year's "The Later Years" box set. "I always thought we'd over-worked the music. We'd brought in other drummers -- really good people but you ended up with something that was so full of sounds and effects and instruments. Too much. I really enjoyed just going back in and putting a much simpler drum part down. We were going to rework some of Rock's parts as well, but sadly we never had the opportunity."



As for future archival releases, Mason notes that, "I think we're rather running out of projects." But he does say there's still a desire to do something with 1977's "Animals," the lone Pink Floyd album remaining to be given an archival overhaul. "That seems to have got sort of stuck in the system at the moment. I think for technical reasons it really lends itself to bit of rework. It was fun to make and it was interesting and good way of tackling it to do it in our own studio, but the technical side of it was really not as good as Abbey Road or AIR or wherever else we worked over the years. I'm sure we'll get there eventually. It's the one thing out there that clearly still has to be done."



Mason is also looking forward to getting back on the road with Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets, the band he launched two years ago to play material Pink Floyd released before 1973's "The Dark Side of the Moon." The group has won rave reviews in North America and the U.K. and released its own concert souvenir, "Live at the Roundhouse" this year. "We do have a plan -- whether it will actually ever be enacted, who knows. The tour this year was completely canceled and we have rebooked it for next year, so we aim to try to get out there. And if it doesn't work we'll push it again. But I've loved every minute of it so far, and I think we're all committed to the idea that we want to carry on, we want to get out there and play and carry on doing what we're doing -- and actually add some more material."

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