Dave Kilminster 
'The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth: The Dave Kilminster Story'
Guitar Virtuoso Dave Kilminster's radical techniques and mesmerizing sounds have captivated fans and fellow musicians alike for years now. In fact, his super-charged career as a multi-faceted guitarist, vocalist, engineer, producer, writer and instructor has made Dave a rather familiar figure worldwide to fans of progressive rock.
He has played with the likes of John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson, UK), Carl Palmer (ELP), Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) and even toured with one of his musical heroes, Keith Emerson.
In 2006 Dave was asked to join Roger Waters (ex Pink Floyd) band as lead guitarist and vocalist on the extraordinary global staging of 'Dark Side of the Moon - Live' and the subsequent (and even more successful) 'The Wall - Live' tour. In fact 'The Wall - Live' is the highest grossing tour by a solo artist, and the third highest grossing tour OF ALL TIME!!!
Having released solo albums along the way also, after 'The Wall' tour Dave went straight back into the studio and the result is a brand new solo album entitled, ...and THE TRUTH will set you free ....
I recently caught up with Dave Kilminster via email, and first wondered even though he was a renowned guitarist, if it was actually true that he had spent time in his youth as part of a barbershop quartet? "Yeah, when I was still at school ... I never actually took music, as a subject, at school, as the teacher was pretty hopeless!! But I joined some of the vocal groups, as I love to sing ... and the Barbershop quartet was really great for ear training too!!"
Having initially begun playing the piano at an early age, when was it that the guitar took ahold of you? And what was it about the guitar back then that swayed you away from the piano as your go-to instrument to learn? "It was mainly just the convenience ... we didn't have a piano at home, so I'd always have to go somewhere to practice ... and of course the guitar is incredibly portable too!! There really wasn't any guitarists that I saw and thought 'I want to do that' though!! I just knew that I wanted to make music ... the type of instrument wasn't so important to me, as I figured I could probably make music on most things."
Talking about playing the guitar, you must be one of the only (successful) guitarists to have been playing left handed all your life until an accident that damaged your wrist, causing you to become a right
handed guitarist! How easy, or hard was it to make the transition? "It was a pain in the ass!!! Hahaha ... it's bad enough having to learn the instrument once, without going through all that pain, discomfort and frustration AGAIN!!! But I found I could turn the chord shapes and stuff around in my head pretty easily, so at least those early years weren't a total loss."
I know you use various guitars, but it's been said that your favorite is a Suhr "Rose" guitar. Can you explain more about this guitar, why you love it so much, and how you first came across it. "Well, 'Rose' is unique ... the 'rose' design was carved into the wood by an ex girlfriend of mine ... and the guitar just sings. She was up on top of the Wall every night with me, playing 'Comfortably Numb' and she never let me down once ... the body is bare wood, and so my blood, sweat and tears are all in there ... literally ... she shares my DNA!!!"
You have taught how to play the guitar for many years now, so if I were to ask you what the Top 3 points were to learning to play from scratch, what would you say to those would be to all the novices reading this interview?
"#1 - I never had a guitar teacher ... I walked out on my one and only guitar lesson!!! ... but I think that finding a really good teacher would be a good thing to start you on the right path, with regards to basic technique and stuff. Just to avoid any really bad habits."
"#2 - I'd also strongly recommend working stuff out from CDs, rather than looking at tab. Transcribing by ear, no matter how frustrating it is initially, is just the very best way to improve that connection between your ears and your fingers ... which you obviously need if you're going to improvise and play the music in your head. I think that reading tab, no matter how convenient, is ultimately detrimental to your progress as a musician."
"#3 - Finally, keep it fun!! Playing music should be fun ... if you don't enjoy practicing scales or whatever, then don't practice scales!! If reading music doesn't interest you, then don't read music!!! I didn't teach myself how to read and write music, until I was about 32 ... I didn't need it, and wasn't interested in it ... that is until someone offered me a job that involved writing out music, and I had some incentive to do it i.e. money!! ;O)"
"The reason I walked out of my first, and only guitar lesson was because the guy wanted me to play this crappy little waltz thing ... I said 'if I have to practice something for a week, can it at least be something that I actually want to play'? He said 'no', so I packed up my guitar and walked out ... if he'd said 'ok, let's have a look at this Led Zeppelin tune' then he wouldn't have instantly lost a student!!!"
"You have to play music that makes you happy."
Your new solo album, ... and THE TRUTH will set you free is out now, so please explain it's title for us - including why it starts with the "dots" and why THE TRUTH is capitalized? "The 'dots' (ellipses) are something I use far too much ... as you'll no doubt notice from my interview answers!! Hahaha ... I used to enjoy writing letters, journals, etc ... and I had great handwriting!! But now everyone just types stuff, and as a result I think important elements of a persons personality have been lost in translation ... so I struggle with the 'typed' word, and try and inject my own wacky personality in there in whatever way that I can."
"For example, I love going to the British museum and looking at all original, hand written manuscripts by composers such
as Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc, etc ... their music is obviously radically different to each other, but you can actually see their different personalities in how they've scored the music, too ... I find that totally fascinating. Nowadays, everyone just uses 'Finale' or whatever and so everyone's scores look exactly the same!!"
"Is that progress? I'm not sure ... but I can't really see people queueing up to see a bunch of photocopied computer print outs in the future."
You have said that it is your "best solo work" that you've ever done, so what is it about this album that makes you believe that statement? "I just seem to be finding my own musical 'voice' I guess ... I have very eclectic tastes, and I could just as easily write a Reggae album, or a whole CD of Country music!!! Actually, my very first album, Playing with Fire, was played entirely on classical guitar!!! But my biggest musical influence has always been rock, and so it feels like I'm actually on the right path to creating 'my' music now ... and also I'm singing and playing better than ever right now!!"
"This may seem totally off topic to your question, but to me it's all related. I'm just trying to find the truth in everything I guess, and in this modern age of photoshop, autotune, spin doctors, lies, cover ups, corruption and propaganda it's getting harder and harder to find the truth in ANYTHING!!!"
Taking three of the song titles, please explain their thought process origins to us?
'Messiah' - "I wanted an epic 'Kashmir' type track, which would slowly build as it progressed ... I knew it would be loads of work though, so I didn't originally intend to record it ... that is until I woke up on the second day of recording, with that riff playing in my head!!! I just couldn't get rid of it, so I went into the studio and showed the song to Pete and Phil (they'd never heard it before!!), and we knocked it out in about two or three takes ... then I just scored a bunch of different string parts for the end :O)"
'Save Me' - "This track was originally inspired by my battle with depression ... although I added the religious overtones, when it occurred to me that sometimes people discover 'God' when they're at their absolute lowest."
'Cassiopeia' - "I was excited when I originally came up with the riff, because it really didn't remind me of anyone ... except maybe a little Jeff Buckley in there, which is never a bad thing!! :O) I had great fun with the 'Queen' type harmonies in there too ... it's my managers favourite!!"
You're also known as having worked with Pink Floyd legend, Roger Waters, a legend to us here at Exclusive Magazine. So, with that in mind, do you have a funny behind-the-scenes tour story that includes the two of you that you can tell us today, perhaps? "Wow, so many to chose from!!! Ok, I've just thought of something that happened on the first leg of the 'Dark Side of the Moon' tour, in 2006 ... we were having a band dinner in a restaurant in Moscow called Cafe Pushkin, and discussing music (as we often did) and some old hits from the sixties ... Andy Fairweather mentioned this one tune which we didn't remember, and so he started (quite quietly) to sing it to us."
"Immediately the waitress came rushing over and asked him to stop singing!!! So with that, Roger stood up and, at the top of his voice started singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'!!! So we all stood up and sang it with him, much to the chagrin of the waiters and waitresses!!! He carried on singing, and proceeded to march out of the restaurant ... and so we all followed his lead ... singing, and marching ... and watching the bemused looks on the other diners faces as we left the restaurant!!!!",p>
"Pretty Rock 'n' Roll :O))"
I have also heard that, to get the touring gig in the first place, you played 'Money' in an audition for Roger Waters - and that it wasn't exactly your most comfortable of moments! "The whole audition was a total nightmare to be honest ... I thought I was ready, but I was hopelessly unprepared ... I'd been told that Roger wanted someone to sing the Gilmour parts, but not being a Floyd fan (sorry!!) I didn't actually know that was David singing 'Money'!!"
"So I'd prepared all the guitar parts, and learnt all the guitar solos ... and the first thing Roger says was 'are you ok with the lyrics'? And I'm thinking 'shit, I'm supposed to sing this song too'?!!! I think some lyrics turned up, and so I muddled my way through ... singing and playing the slightly 'reggae' type guitar part ... and it wasn't very good!!!"
"The song is in an odd time signature, and so there were some cross rhythms going on in there between the vocals and the guitar ... it's not incredibly difficult, but definitely something you'd want to go through a few times before trying it out in front of the guy that actually wrote the tune!!!"
"Anyway, I walked away from that audition thinking 'Dave, you've just blown the biggest opportunity of your career ... but mysteriously, they liked me!!!! :O)"
Having been the featured lead guitarist with Roger Waters on his last two record breaking world tours - The Dark Side of The Moon Live and The Wall Live - you jumped right into making this solo album,
and are now back on tour with Steve Wilson! Are you addicted to playing live, no matter what cost to your social life?! "I don't really have a social life!!! No, seriously ... I live on my own, and if I'm not touring/recording/playing/practising, then I'm probably thinking about touring/recording/playing/practising!!! It's what makes me happy."
Finally, we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins (the birds), so we were wondering if you did also, and/or if you had a story about one you might have encountered, perhaps? "I love them too, actually ... my ex girlfriend flew out to join me during the Wall tour in Auckland, New Zealand (in 2012) and we went to Kelly Tarlton's Sealife Aquarium ... which houses the world's largest Antarctic penguin colony exhibit!! You get on this little monorail, and it slowly takes you around their habitat ... very cool ... cool as a penguin's chuff in fact!!! :O)"
Dave, thank you for doing this for us today and we wish you all things good for the future "Absolutely, my pleasure!!!! :O)))"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Dave Kilminister @ Twitter
Back To Archives