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Ginger Gilmour is a multifaceted woman: former model, sculptor, author, and in addition to this was the first wife of David Gilmour, Pink Floyd‘s guitarist. With the English guitarist he shared almost 20 years of life, including 15 years of marriage, from 1971 to 1990, year of their divorce. They also had four children: Alice, Clare, Sara and Mattew.
These and other memories are enclosed in a book called Memoirs from the Bright Side of the Moon.
We contacted Ginger for a long interview about her years with David and the band and about her career as an artist, which also gave rise to unpublished details about those years.
Let’s start from the beginning of your story with David and Pink Floyd. All happened after a concert in Michigan in 1971.
Silent Dreams of the heart awaken to guide our lives. The dream of Prince Charming was to happen to me on October 28, 1971. I was standing back stage at a Pink Floyd concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA when David approached me and said, “Hello, I am David.” Our hearts met in that moment which was to change my Life forever. The band was to stay over for a few days before continuing on their American tour which gave us time to be together.
At the time I had no idea of what led me from one moment to the next except to trust a feeling deep within. So it came to pass that I decided to dare to go into my future-to follow my dream to be with my Prince Charming for how ever long that would be. Our time together, that is David and I, has become a mythological story of romance which is told in my book ‘Memoirs of the Bright Side of the Moon.’
In Nick Mason’s biography there’s written that the day that Syd Barrett appeared at the Abbey Road Studios was the day of your wedding with David. Is that correct? Do you have memories of that? And, if Nick was wrong, what David told you about that “appearance”?
I have read many versions of that day. I can only say that it was definitely on the same day that we married. The Floyd had just returned from their American tour of 1974 when David asked me to marry him on the way home from the airport. They had a gig at Knebworth on July 5 and on July 7, 1975 we were married. Our best friends were with us and we went to celebrate (a small affair) in our local pub as the Floyd were recording ‘Wish You were Here’ and David had to go Abbey Rd Studios. I went with him so that we could share the day together. There always seem to be stories within stories in order to know the tapestry of how our lives were inter-connected, certainly regarding the Floyd.
My memory of the day was…. as we walked into the control room Roger approached David pulling him aside whispering, “Look who is sitting on the sofa.” They both went slowly over to the place Roger was referring, Nick and Rick following on discreetly. There is a huge sofa in front of the mixing desk in that EMI recording room. David looked and his face clouded over with the reality of what he saw. I don’t think any of them were completely certain who was sitting there until David confirmed it. Under his breath, he said, “It’s Syd.” The atmosphere in the room went silent as they digested the moment. Roger, especially, who is quoted, had many mixed emotions as the past came flooding back paired with the synchronicity of the moment.
There was Sid pear shape, hairless and overweight. They stood silently in disbelief. Old memories rushed into their hearts. What happened? His timing was uncanny! Their lost love and the tragedy of Syd inspired the creation of “Shine On.” And there they were in the middle of recording it when Syd appeared weather worn and without hair. They stumbled to have a conversation, inviting him to listen to a track. Sid just sat there lost, on the sofa, wondering why? What a day to ponder. What a day to Remember.
Was it difficult to protect the privacy of the family after the boom of popularity the band had with The Dark Side of The Moon?
The Floyd always maintained a lo-profile about us, their families. In fact, they had a lo-profile as individuals. It was the music not the personalities that they stood for until ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ went viral especially in the States. The gigs were no longer in intimate halls where the silence of listening to their music could be experienced. They took us on a journey into the depths of Life through creating Beauty through the transformation of Chaos. At that moment with the success of the single ‘Money’ things changed. I, personally, being of an intuitive nature, found that from then on as soon as a album or a tour happened and still happens to this day, the voices of the many come energetically into our home. Fortunately, I have had support from a great spiritual master to guide me of how to work with this; of how to understand and protect our family on the subtler levels and yet accept our path to inspire many.
What gave you the idea to write a book about those years?
As one becomes closer to discover Who You Are and know your soul purpose, One comes closer to the Divine. God planted a spark of such Beauty within our Hearts many have yet to discover it. I was awakened to my second dream after a near death experience while carrying our second child. I was stung by a wasp and the poison created a crystal that blocked my kidney valve while we were in France during the recording of the ‘Wall’. I had to fly home to be cared for by our Homeopathic doctor, Dr Sharma, in London. He saved my life, my kidney and our baby. Through this I was to discover what my soul purpose was….I discovered I was born with ‘soul of the artist’. Thence forth, my life was focused on being more conscious of what maintains good health from what I ate, thought and did. Thus, I began to meditate and listen within and create artwork from that point of listening.
One day during meditation, a guiding voice which often planted seeds of what I was to create spoke to me. In this case, God said to me, “Ginger you must write your journey of Love”. It took a few years to do this but once I started, I knew that this was not to be a book just about the Floyd. I was to share my journey from personal Love to then discover a greater Love. A Love that is always there within our hearts. Today, Mankind is calling; is longing; is yearning to find Happiness….I understand now that God wanted me to share my true story. It was so that others would Remember the Beauty they were born to Be. To awaken to the extraordinary of the Beauty of Life even within the challenges. So that Peace could be restored on Earth.
Do you approve the fact that Matt is trying to follow his father’s steps in the music world? Do you think it will be more difficult for him with that “heavy” surname?
Of course I approve but he is not trying to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He is born with the soul purpose to create music. I remember one day David and I were in the kitchen when we heard someone tinkering on our grand piano in another room. It was special sounds which motivated us to go and see. There was Matthew, aged three, sitting on the piano stool silently playing, discovering the sound of each key.
As years passed I now realise he had been listening to everything he heard around him from Eastern to Western music. And then it happened. The way this would be born, was to be through a guitar, composing and singing. He brought me a recording of ‘Rain’ (which can be found on You Tube and on his first album ‘The Grey’). I was so moved that I shared it with Danny Johnson, the lead guitarist of Steppenwolf. He loved it and said , “I want to record this boy!” And so it began. Matthew went to Danny’s ranch near Austin, Texas and his life took a clear creation to BE a musician. I will always say Thank You for this.
Honestly, being the son of David Gilmour is a double edge sword. It can be a blessing or a curse. I have told all my children it is a gift from God to use providing you are genuine in what you do….I feel Matthew is earning his dues from his own talent. And I support his journey to create.
You were an ocular witness of David’s creative process. How was his way to afford song-writing?
It seemed it was born from within his heart. Carl Jung has a book within the Jungian Encyclopedia ‘Art and the Unconscious’. It touches on the truth of the process and purpose of creativity. Firstly, for the individual it links one to our higher self which brings forth balance and harmony. Secondly, art born from this process touches and inspires others to touch that within themselves. I feel that David’s music is born from this deep place. Hence why his music is loved by so many. It touches the archetypal beauty in each of our hearts.
Is there a Floyd or David’s solo songs/album that you often listen to?
My favourite began with ‘Echoes’ and ‘One of these Days’. As we sat in the audience and the music swirled around the audience we were one united….this was so special for me. There are so many concerts where this happened. ‘Wish you Were Here’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’. But it is hard to really pick them out for it is my life. They live within my being and has inspired my own experience of the development of my art….to seek release from the box most live within….I dance and rejoice for I am grateful for those times….Let us make a thing of Beauty; whether it be marble, music, dance or poetry; Let us make a thing of Beauty; so that the bound souls of humanity are set free!
You are an artist, a sculptor, an author. Do you think that almost 20 years of life with David and Pink Floyd have influenced your creativity and your work?
Certainly, as I have mentioned previously but most of all our daily lives were full of creativity. Being surrounded with friends, artists, philosophers and good people of many cultures, plus nature has a way to fill your day, your life, your art with inspiration. Once I discovered that beyond being a wife and a mother that I was born to be a artist things took off. I find this is the centre point from which my life radiates out to reach seeking to uplift others.
I’ve read in other interviews that you relate often your work as artist with God. What connection do you think there’s between the two things?
Within each of us there is a place of such deep silence and love that some call this God, others call it by many other names. It is a place that is beyond mind and judgement and fuels our being. Once one has this as the point of seeing life many things start to be clear and at peace. This is where true creativity is born and is the place where my work is born. It is truly wonderful to feel the rainbow everyday.
In January you’ll be 70. Which are your plans for the future?
Isn’t that amazing? I find it truly amazing! 70? Gosh I feel I am just beginning a new cycle of living such Beauty. I trust the hints and I know it will appear. What, where and with whom my future will become I wait, I listen, I respond. And even in the challenges I love Life.
To purchase copy of Memoirs of the Bright Side of the Moon signed by Ginger click here.
Thanks to Veronica Waters for the collaboration.