Learning to Fly (Pink Floyd cover) 6/365



6/365  When Roger Waters left Pink Floyd David Gilmour took charge but in a sense he was "learning to fly".  This song deals with that  sudden leadership and decision making he had to face but also with his love of flying. You can read across the web how he and Nick Mason were both afraid to fly and so they actually learned to fly planes and began collecting them.

This songs means a lot to me personally. I first saw Pink Floyd live in NYC in 1987 when they were touring for the post-Roger Waters album A Momentary Lapse of Reason (love the album cover btw). I didn't know it then but I would wind up seeing them live again the next summer in Lille, France.
I was already a somewhat fan of Pink Floyd but basically just of The Wall, an album which had been lent to me by my next door neighbor Carlos in NYC when I was a kid. I remember him asking me if the album had scared me, and me telling him that Side 4 kinda freaked me out.

Cut to 1988 in Paris. I meet this kid Emil Vega whom I had met briefly in L'Alliance Francaise in Santo Domingo, DR where I had moved in late 1987. We were both in Paris for the summer immersion program. I think I went to class like a total of 4 times. But Emil was a huge Pink Floyd fan and we went to see The Wall together in some small cinema in Montparnasse. We also bought cheap, twin acoustics and started playing in the lunch room of the Hostel we were staying at and even played on the steps of Montmartre. He taught me the chords to "Mother" and  "Wish You Were Here". I basically started to sing and play guitar at the same time on this trip. Before then I'd played metal and could strum some chords but was hesitant to sing at the same time. I only knew a couple of tunes. When we got back to DR it was like a whole different world for me. I began to write songs like crazy. I started working with Tony Almont and writing tunes and we would eventually wind up forming, along with my cousin and his friend, the still going Dominican rock band, Toque Profundo.

Now, Pink Floyd taught me (along with Simon and Garfunkel, Silvio Rodriguez, Cat Stevens and many others) what could be done with just a few chords and how to open up and arrangement based on a simple chord progression.

"Learning to Fly" came out in 1987 and was in heavy rotation on MTV so I saw the video tons of times. I loved the song because I also love David Gilmour's guitar and voice. When I eventually got the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason and the live album, Delicate Sound of Thunder there were many songs I liked. "Dogs of War", "On The Turning Away", the instrumental "Signs of Life". My one beef with that Pink Floyd is that it was heavily sequenced and the rhythms, on the live album for example didn't feel loose. It felt to machine like. Maybe that was the intention.
My favorite Pink Floyd album, btw, is The Final Cut which is an odd choice cause that's almost a Roger Waters solo album.
Pink Floyd has been a heavy influence on me, both the way David and Roger sing, and their songwriting. When Emil told me about his idea to form a dominican Pink Floyd he used the name "Deep Touch"... Toque Profundo. Originally he was to participate in that project but eventually  he didn't and that's kinda of how I wound up sharing lead vocals duties with my friend Tony Almont.

David Gilmour wrote "Learning to Fly" with lots of help. The music was from some demo the keyboard player for PF at the time recorded, Jon Carin. Producer Bob Ezrin (who was huge on The Wall) also worked on it as well as lyricist Anthony Moore. Here's the wikipedia link to the entry on the song -Learning to Fly 

For this video recording straight to Photo Booth I plugged my guitar, tuned down half a step, into a Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble and a BF-3 Flanger. The mic is a Shure SM7b. Both go into the Mackie Onyx 820i and get a bit of reverb from the Boss RV-2 Digital Reverb stompbox.

Had a bit of trouble with the initial recording as the audio was out of sync. Don't know if maybe I was recording the return audio or something.  Anyway, this was my 2nd complete take.

For the next recording think I'll try a different set up and not use headphones. Enjoy!

6/365 Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly ( appears on the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason - 1987)

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