David Gilmore: Getting To The Point
DG:I'd hope you're right. But just testing that out is a problem. I know Steve and Andy Milne (http://users.tellurian.net/amilne/) have gone out to the west coast previously and lost money. I wouldn't even mind that as long as I could pay the band.
AAJ: Oh you have to pay the band, Dave?
DG:The other thing is to get some young, hungry cats who would do the road thing for less money. But it's very hard to find other guys who can play this music well. I can get the band from New York to Boston, but that's as far as I've gone with it. I really want to focus more on Europe because the chances there of making it happen are better. Plus, the gigs pay more there.
AAJ: So, basically bands get treated better there on some semi-established circuit of clubs?
AAJ: So finishing up your current project? Did all the tunes you had make it onto the record?
DG:Well, I had sort of an African 12:8 thing written that we didn't finish up.
AAJ: I hear a lot of that in your chordal work. Do you have a direct influence from African guitar players?
DG:No, you mean guys like Papa Wembe? I listen to it and have a couple of recordings, but I have yet to really check it out. Better to go there and absorb it. I've played with some African guys...I played with Francis M'Bappe, from Cameroon (www.francismbappe.com) for a number of years. Rodney was in that band, too, for a while. Francis has got some funk in his music too. He can groove his ass off.
AAJ: Is he related to Etienne M'Bappe, from Zawinul's band?
DG:No relation. There's another guy named Hilaire Penda that my brother and I played with. He played with Trilok. I'd like to get over to France and check that out a bit more, too. There are quite a few guys in France from Cameroon, West Africa and Bali that are great, but you only hear about a few. I like African, Brazilian and Indian music, and consciously or unconsciously, those ethnic feels make it into my music.
AAJ: In terms of your record, what do you think of the indie thing?
DG:It's been a lot of work. Recently, Lian Amber and Dave Fiuczynski responded to Jazz Times with a great letter to the editor. I guess a review for his cd said something to the effect that they decided to start their own label due to a lack of major label interest. They responded that the lack of interest was on their part, with a laundry list of reasons why. Like, artists don't own their stuff, they barely get enough money to record, pay musicians and put it out, they don't see a dime after it's done, and on and on. In fact they've reacquired the rights to the first two releases, own it and distribute it, and get all the profits. Amen to that.
But it's been tough, I'm basically doing this on my own. I have management, but they don't handle the record company stuff. It's been a serious learning experience. I went to school and studied music and business, but I've learned more this past year than I learned in four years in school
AAJ: How come you and your buddies, like Matt Garrison, Dave Fiuczynski, Gene Lake, Ravi and Ralph Alessi go to some distributor and get a joint European deal.
DG:Actually, that's something we're looking at.
AAJ: It certainly seems like the labels and distributors figure out more ways to squash than help the independent artist. A lot of it's just the history. For that statement to appear in Fuze's review is just an example of how the media buys into the whole label thing.
DG:For sure. But having said all that though, I still wish I was signed to a Warner Brothers or a Universal. There's tradeoff, no doubt. But with whatever price you pay for it, you get a certain level of prestige, it gives you certain attention as far as festivals and clubs, and you will get advertisements in some major publications. It makes hooking up tours easier too. Whatever happens from there happens. But at least you have that initial push.
AAJ: When did you start playing?
DG: I started when I was fifteen. After high school I went to Clark University in Worcester Mass. I went for two years as a business major with hopes of minoring in music, but the music program was not geared to jazz or a minor. I transferred to NYU and graduated from there in '87. That was a great move, just to get to New York. Joe Lovano was teaching there, and pianist Jim McNeeley. Originally I wanted to go to Berklee but my father talked me out of it. He wanted me to go to school where I could study something else. He wanted me to check out other things as well.
AAJ: Not surprising considering who he is.