You might only know him from playing with Pink Floyd, but Tim Renwick has played with them all. His rÃ©sumÃ© is a long list of top selling bands and artists and his reputation among fellow musicians is right up there with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and David Gilmour. I’m very proud to share this interview I recently did with Tim Renwick.
As you all know, Tim is an old friend of David and he was a part of Pink Floydâ€™s touring band in 1987-90 and in â€™94. He was also playing with the band at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park in 2005. Prior to all this, Tim played with Roger Waters on his Pros and Cons tour in 1984.
Tim Renwick recently released a new album, â€œPrivateerâ€. As he talks about in the interview below, itâ€™s a collection of songs heâ€™s written over the years for Audio Network. The album includes 13 instrumentals written and produced by Tim and heâ€™s got some familiar names lending their talentsâ€¦ more on that later.
â€œPrivateerâ€ is a solid guitar album showcasing Timâ€™s different styles and musical background (or influences). What I love about Tim is his ability to master all kinds of techniques, which makes his playing exciting and never boring. Itâ€™s never fair to compare songs with classics, but â€œPrivateerâ€ has it’s Clapton moments (â€œNighthawkâ€), some Santana (â€œBertholletia Excelsaâ€) and my favourite â€œTexas Nexusâ€, which has a bit of Joe Satriani/Billy Gibbons flavour to it. The albums isnâ€™t challenging, neither the production nor the songs, but youâ€™ll get a chance to hear Timâ€™s unique playing and tone. â€œPrivateerâ€ is an excellent album for those long careless summer nights. Absolutely recommended both for the avarage Floyd fan but certainly for the genuine guitar fan! Please visit Timâ€™s website and order your own copy!
So, hereâ€™s the interview!
You’ve known David Gilmour for quite some time, – he also contributed on a couple of Sutherland Brother & Quivers albums in the 70’s. I assume he was the one approaching you prior to Pink Floyd’s tour in 1987?
– I was born and raised in Cambridge and soon became aware of David who played in a group called Jokers Wilde with drummer Willie Wilson. They were the best local group and played largely surfing music with much vocal harmony. When this group disbanded, David formed a three-piece called The Flowers with bass player Rick Wills – later to play with the group Foriegner and Willie also on drums. They worked for a while in France but found little success – David was offered the job with Pink Floyd after his return to the UK. I played with Rick Wills in a band called Little Women for a while. I moved to London, most of my musician friends stayed in touch with each other and I asked Willie if he would join my band Quiver some time later. We used to see David quite a lot in those days, he would occasionally jam with Quiver (nobody recognized him in those days as Floyd were quite a â€œfacelessâ€ band) and we rehearsed in his home studio and recorded a few demos. Around that time we were managed by Floydsâ€™ manager Steve Oâ€™Rourke, so we also found ourselves on various shows opening for the Floyd (and other bands such as T Rex!).
Quiver eventually joined forces with The Sutherland Brothers but we maintained a connection with David, who later produced and played pedal steel guitar on a B-side called â€˜We Get Alongâ€™ for CBS Records. Throughout this time I think I saw every Floyd tour that there was!
David called me, out of the blue, to play with the band – I was completely gob-smacked. I had played some acoustic on the soundtrack of The Wall but apart from that I had no other previous playing experience with the band.
Do you remember on which songs you played guitar on the Wall soundtrack?
– Yes. It was the short instrumental between â€œIs There Anybody Out There?â€ and â€œNobody Homeâ€ (side 3 of the album). It is actually untitled and consists of classical guitar and orchestra. I recorded it at Abbey Road Studio 1; the orchestra was already on tape. Michael Kamen was producing and there were no members of the band present. I attended the premier of the movie and was disappointed to note that I did not receive a credit! Thatâ€™s life!!
In an interview with Guitar World in ’94 you said that you knew the Pink Floyd catalogue fairly well as you had transcribed everything for the Pros and Cons tour with Waters. How did you and Gilmour work out which parts you needed to play and did he advice you on which effects to use?
– Most of the original recordings had involved David playing more than one guitar part, so I took the backing role behind all solos and just laid back during the sections where he was also playing rhythm. At times it allowed him to concentrate on a challenging or high-pitched vocal part. He did suggest specific effects at times although it was usually fairly self-evident!
How was it to be asked again in 1994?
– David and Nick wanted to keep the continuity going and so the same musicians were asked once more – we had all got on so well on the previous extensive touring. The only changes were with the backing vocalists and also having Dick Parry on saxophone (who had played a lot of the original parts). He was the obvious choice really. It was great to be back!
You were using one of David’s old Pete Cornish boards for the ’94 tour. A second smaller board is also seen in your rig at the time. Do you remember the effects setup in these boards? Did you have them modified in any way?
– I used the same Cornish board throughout all my work with The Floyd – it was not modified at all. It was the board originally used by David and was probably one of the first made by Pete Cornish – certainly the largest at the time of construction. It had several send and return sockets for external effects and pedals, but I didnâ€™t require them. Most of the components were from conventional stomp pedals, mainly MXR and Electro Harmonixâ€™, but Pete had made his own fuzz box and vibrato effects – the latter most noticeable on “Money”, the former on “Brick in the Wall”. The smaller board had controls (on/off) for the Tubeworks reverb, Yamaha SPX 90 fx and Roland SDE 3000 Digital Delay unit.
Note: The board was made by Cornish for the Wall recording sessions. Some pictures from around About Face suggests that it was slightly modified to include additional effects and pictures from â€™94 (when Tim used it) shows the board without the familiar customized Cry Baby volume pedal on top. â€“ read more about the board here.
You were once again playing with the band at Live 8. It must have been a treat to participate in both such an event and the reunion of Pink Floyd!
– I was very surprised to be asked to take part in the Hyde Park concert because I had met David a few weeks earlier and he told me that he had been asked to perform but had categorically turned it down! Two weeks before the event, it seems, he had a change of heart, and called me up to play, saying that it would be a laugh to play once more with Roger in the band. It didnâ€™t turn out to be much of a laugh! Roger appeared to want to be “group leader” from the start of rehearsals and it made for an uncomfortable atmosphere all round. He did not seem to credit the fact that most of the musicians and crew had worked together on and off for 17 years without him being there! It was, however, a great honour to have been involved – especially as I had been playing in Eric Claptonâ€™s band on the original Live Aid concert from Philadelphia twenty years before!
How did you feel being in the middle of the whole Gilmour VS Waters thing?
– I remember a distinct sense of everyone involved keeping their heads down and attending to their own departments! I had, in fact gone to same school as Roger and played in his band on his Pros and Cons of Hitch-hiking world tour, so I had some previous experience of his band-leading style. David is generally much more fun to work for than Roger, who likes everything to be exactly the same night after night! I trusted that David knew what he was doing when he agreed to the reunion!
Have you listened to David’s latest album and did you get to see him on the tour?
– I have a copy of the album (which I bought) and I enjoy. I didnâ€™t see the tour – but I was there at Davidâ€™s 60th birthday party at Londonâ€™s Porchester Hall, when he and his band performed the whole of the new album collection. A great evening.
What people may not know is that youâ€™ve actually played on some of the biggest selling albums and tours of all time, – Dionne Warwick’s “Heartbreaker”, Kenny Roger’s “Eyes That See in the Dark” (including “Islands in the Stream”), two Pink Floyd tours (with album releases) and you’ve worked with huge stars like Elton John, David Bowie Celine Dion (to name but a few)… How does it feel to have been apart of all this? Is there one thing that stands out that you’re especially proud of?
– I suppose that the Al Stewart hit single â€˜Year of the Catâ€™ is probably the best-known solo of mine. I played both the acoustic and electric parts. Playing with Pink Floyd has been the pinnacle for me – I donâ€™t think there have been many artists that could surpass the scale of stage production or sheer size of audiences that we experienced on our tours together. Apart from Earlâ€™s Court and one or two other shows (Moscow comes to mind) all the Floyd concerts were stadiums and were almost all sold out. I was involved in well over 300 of these shows – a unique job! My studio work has been very varied indeed. My musical taste is broad and Iâ€™ve made it a policy never to turn down a studio recording date out of hand. There is always something to be learned (even if it is how NOT to work!) and new friends to be made.
A lot of guitarists tend to stick to one style but you seem to be able to do all sorts of stuff on your guitar, – traditional blues, some Van Halen-ish tapping and even some amazing wammy-bar stuff thatâ€™s quite unique. Can you try to describe your style?
– I like to try and turn my hand to different approaches to playing the guitar – but for me, the melodic content is the most important factor.
You recently released a new album “Privateer”. It strikes me as a record reflecting on your influences, your musical preferences and your love for playing the guitar. Why a new album and how was it making it?
– â€œPrivateerâ€ is a collection of pieces that I have written over the last few years. The music has been used as background (or â€œunderscoreâ€) for many recent productions and is published by Audio Network Plc. who commissioned the works for their music library. Library music is something that Iâ€™ve been involved with for a long time now, having recorded some 15 albums of it! It is usually anonymous – sometimes that is a relief! With these tunes I was given a free rein to do what I wanted and it occurred to me that they sounded like a band. I asked permission to repackage some of them into album form. The tracks have been, where necessary, edited, overdubbed and compiled to make them more easily listenable and then remastered. So this CD was actually an accident, but I hope, a happy one!
Guy Pratt is playing bass on a couple of tracks and even your old band mate from the Quiver days, Willie Wilson (drummer on Gilmour’s first solo album and part of the Surrogate Band) is playing percussion. How did you put together the band?
– When I recorded this material it was done with a guide electronic drum part to begin with and instruments added one by one, initially all played by me. Later I replace my guide parts with better performances from other musicians, finally replacing the drum parts with a â€œrealâ€ drummer – in this case Henry Spinetti or Steve Jackson. Willie is an old friend from way back who now lives in the same Cornish village as me and plays in my band The Bucket Boys as does the excellent Steve Turner (National slide guitar). Martin Bell (fiddle) used to play with The Wonderstuff and lives just down the road, he also helped me with building the website and engineering the album. Guy was visiting between duties with Brian Ferry and David Gilmour.
The album says to be a collection of songs written for Audio Network. Can you shed some light on what Audio Network is all about?
– Music publishers Audio Network Plc are a fairly new production music library that operates mainly direct from their website – www.audiolicense.net – where you can listen to their 100 or so writers (in many different styles) and download anything for commercial OR personal use, including me!
You’re mostly associated with the Stratocaster. The guitar you’re using now appears to be a 60’s model with a humbucker bridge pickup. Can you tell us a little more about it?
– Yes. I bought it new, from Chandlers shop in Kew, in London about twelve years ago. It is sea-foam green having American electronics (Seymour Duncan Alnico Two pick-ups – single coil except for bridge position which is a dual tapped humbucker) and Japanese wooden parts. It has a pearlised scratchplate and was assembled by my friend Brinsley Schwartz for Chandler Guitars. It actually looks turquoise to me, but Iâ€™m a bit colour-blind!
What kind of effects are you using now?
– Iâ€™m pretty much semi-retired these days apart from the odd session in London or outing with The Bucket Boys. I live in Cornwall, which is a fairly remote location with its own special charm. I use a very simple set-up based around a reissue Fender Bassman (4 tens) and a few basic Boss stomp pedals. I do keep a small collection of guitars and amps that have been gathered over the years.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be touring with the new album? Are you planning on recording a follow up?
– I hope to carry on strumming until I drop with a bit of luck! Touring is unlikely at this point, but you never know what might come up! I hope to have more recorded music available from my website in the future – I shall certainly be producing more production music. For more detailed information on my discography and historical details check my website www.timrenwick.com. There you can also hear some extracts from my album and even order it if you wish!!
A big thanks to Tim Renwick for answering all these questions and for sharing many great stories!
33 thoughts on “Interview with Tim Renwick!”
We need more…
Is just got my cd today…..he’s a pretty cool guy haha I love his lead tones did he tell you what he used?…that cant be just plain old boss pedals he’s using
[We didn’t really talk much about that but I got the impression that his setup is very basic with only a Strat, amp and a couple of pedal (and he does mention Boss). – Bjorn]
Very good interview. He really seems to get the Gilmourish playing. Hey how about some Pete Cornish interviews?
[Thanks Brendan! Tim is a great guy! There’s lot’s of great Cornish info over at The Tone From Heaven. – Bjorn]
But where are you going to stop ? You’re impressive !
Now, we want an interview with God Almighty, David Gilmour !
[Thanks! Well, give me his address and I’ll try to do an interview :) – Bjorn]
This has been one crazy night… a friend of mine died today, and I needed something to lift me up. I went to David Gilmour’s playing. He has helped out so much. I just thought I’d share that with you.
[My condolences. Pink Floyd and David Gilmour touches the deepest feelings and like all music, it can be a needed comfort and escape when times are hard. Thanks for sharing. – Bjorn]
I would love to read something about Snowy White… thnx
just incase u were itrested i found this pic of dave with his pomeii strat sometime in 1984 pre about face: link.
[Thanks for the picture. That’s not the Pompeii guitar tho… This is actually a very early shot of the red Strat sometime in 1984. Probably a session shoot for About Face. David bought this guitar prior to the About Face tour, although he didn’t use it on the tour… however, he did use the blonde Strat and a red ’62 reissue. The guitar pictured was first seen at the Live Aid show in ’85, then with the EMGs. Please read more here.
I wish you a nice long Weekend Holliday (well, in Europe), to all of you out there!
…Bjorn, any new guitar-hardware upgrades yet?
How about a nice little interview with, perhaps, Bill Callaham?
Just an idea…
[Thanks Ernest! I just came home after a couple of relaxing days in London… I didn’t get any new gear I’m afraid… – Bjorn]
Those Callaham Retrofit parts seem promising. I would like some new saddles on my Strat, just because the Standard ones on a two pivot bridge look too modern. I’ll probably jump on some, along with the DE-7 and Electric Mistress, whenever I get my paycheck!
Thank you for this interview, very good job!
After reading this, the bad news are that there will probably never be any new Pink Floyd stuff with Roger Waters and David Gilmour together…
On the other hand, David Gilmour have changed his mind about playing with Roger Waters at Live 8, he could change his mind and record a new Floyd album, at least without Roger, could’nt he?
[I think no matter what any of them say I think that we – the fans – will always find a reason for a reunion. One in a gazillion is definitely hope… – Bjorn]
Great job Bjorn! Who’s next? Phil Taylor?
[Well… who knows? Thanks Frails! – Bjorn]
oh almost forgot…you should make a wallpaper with that 1Â° photo…
[He he! I’ll try, but the original file is only as you see it so I have to make something new…. – Bjorn]
What an Amazing Interview Bjorn!
Anyway Im a little surprised with his words about Roger vs Gilmour…about the LIVE 8 and Gilmour be more fun to work with…
[Thanks! – Bjorn]
It’s always a pleasant surprise to find a brand new article sitting there at the top of the Home Page. And it is an especially pleasant suprise when this article is an interview!
I, too, find that Tim is a much better second Floyd guitarist than Snowy or Kilminster. This interview was definitely appreciated. I love having an insider’s view of bands.
[Thanks a lot Collin! – Bjorn]
Grat job man! I really enjoyed this.
I too think that Tim enhanced the PF sound in the period he was with them. I didn’t like very much the combination of his guitar (such as the color of the body and the rosewood neck) but of course that’s only my personal taste. I particularly love the second solo of Another Brick, in Pulse, great performance indeed.
I didn’t know he played with other top artists and I’m very happy to understand that he played with Eric Clapton, my second hero! Guess who’s first…….. :-)
Thank you very much my friend for this article!!
[Thanks Matteo! Tim is definitely right up there with the biggest names. Always been one of my favourites and I think his playing on Richard Wright’s Broken China is very classy. – Bjorn]
awesome interview. I always wondered who the guy playing in the back was! thnx!
Yeah, I suppose I did not recognize him because of the different look (and hair cut) he had in PULSE tour… so I thought the guy who played in 87 wasn’t Renwick at all :)
Bjorn, did you notice that in the earlier days as Floyd member (I mean september ’68 just after Syd’s departure) David used to play a Gibson (I guess) ES model…here’s a link of a video in which you can check: You Tube.
[Hi Rick! The clip just appeared from the archives and it answered a question I’ve had for years, – what kind of guitar is that? The clip is from a French TV show “Samedi et Compagnieâ€, recorded on September 28 1968. As you can see, it’s all playback and actually none of the Floyds are using their own equipment. Everything is borrowed and the guitar, which appears to be a hybrid of a Gretsch and an Levin, looks very homemade. It’s not David’s at all… They did a similar session in Febuary 1969, where David used a borrowed Gibson ES. More info on both guitars here.
I didn’t know Tim Renwick was the second guitars also in 87/90 tours…great interview!
[He was! He’s playing on both the Delicate CD and VHS. Listen to Learning to Fly and Anothe Brick (2nd solo) – Bjorn]
Wow!! Cool Interview! It sure was neat to get the “inside story” on the Live 8 appearance.
[Yeah, I think that pretty much confirms why David won’t be doing any more Floyd stuff. – Bjorn]
I was notified via newsletter….this is Excellent! A VERY informative and enjoyable read. Thank you!
[Thanks Brian! – Bjorn]
good read but persoanlly i would have been more intrested in asking him more depth about his gear
Great interview…nice surprise this…..an essential visit every morning with breakfast this website of yours…..
[Thanks a lot Martin! – Bjorn]
Very nice BjÃ¸rn, very nice indeed!
Great interview with a very much loved guitarist.
[Thanks! – Bjorn]
Good idea to interview Mr Renwick, Bjorn. A great “thank you” for both of you, and especially for him who took time to write long and interesting answers.
Did Tim Renwick confirmed to you that he used EMG pickups during the Pulse tour ? I have always thought they were Lace Sensors pickups.
[Thanks Deck! Well, I also thought he used Lace but I found it in an older interview that it was EMGs… I never got to ask him tho. – Bjorn]
Nice one Bjorn this is a brilliant interview, very informative. Tim seems a great guy and is very talented, I love his playing on Rick Wright’s last album Breaking water. There isn’t enough info on him out there, this really helps will check out his website too.
One question, did his custom shop strat have EMGs in it, I always thought they were Lace Sensors? Cool!
[Thanks Alex! Yes, the guitar had EMGs… at least so I read in an interview. – Bjorn]
Great interview Bjorn!
You’re a good reporter as well!
[Thanks Ernest! – Bjorn]
BJÃ˜RN – THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!
Thank you very much for this awesome article!! I love Tim and his music.
[Thanks Thomas! Hope all is well… send meg gjerne en mail en dag, sÃ¥ kan vi prates :-) – Bjorn]
Great interview! Tim is a good guy and a great guitarist, certainly added a cool element to Floyd 87-94.
[Definitely! I must say that he seems to “get” the Floyd sound more than any guitarist that’s ever worked with either Floyd or Waters. – Bjorn]
WOWW! You really made it with this one Bjorn! first of all, congratulations for meeting Tim Renwick (in my opinion better wingman than Manzanera).
Really nice interview! there was a bunch of things I didn’t know.
It seems you always have something to impress us! hehe
[Tim’s a really great guy! I think he added a nice touch to the Floyd sound during the two tours… I was a little disappointed that he didn’t play with David on the last tour, but then again I got to see El Magnifico, who has always been a hero of mine. – Bjorn]
Great stuff BjÃ¸rn!
Great Sunday night reading!
Did you meet up with him or via email or what?
[Thanks! We did it via e-mails. – Bjorn]
I forgot to say – AMAZING PICTURE!!! Bjorn, you are very very creative. Shine on!
[Thanks Chris! – Bjorn]
Thank you Bjorn so much for this! Great article. I read in Inside Out that David Gilmour was searching for some additional sound that covers his ideas and then he found Tim to play Pink Floyd sound. David really like his playing because his stile is let’s say unpredictable so Tim always manage to play interesting solo parts – just listen to Pulse concert both versions DVD and CD – cool sound :). Once again – thank you Bjorn! Great piece of work!
P.S. At last I am first ;)
[I think Tim is an outstanding guitarist… not only based on the work he’s done with Floyd, but he certainly was in his prime during those tours. – Bjorn]
Great Interview! How did you get to interview Tim?
[Thanks! We did the interview via e-mails. – Bjorn]
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