Brain Damage #39

Spotlight: In The Studio

Produced by The Album Network, the In The Studio series has an impeccable history for producing quality radio productions for North America. Host for the series, Redbeard (one name only folks) has held the master of ceremonies chair since the beginning. The series premier hit the airwaves way back in 1988. As radio goes, a seven year run is an awful long time for a show to survive. The first show devoted to Pink Floyd was The Dark Side Of The Moon, featuring an interview with Dave Gilmour back on August 8, 1988. Since then the show has been re-broadcast three times, the last on March 22, 1993 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of The Dark Side Of The Moon. The latter was a remastered production featuring new interviews with Dave and Nick.

Most listeners are familiar with the In The Studio broadcast each week on Album Rock stations. For one hour each show profiles a choice album in the artist's career. To meet the criteria for selection, the album must demonstrate special merit regardless of age. The current popularity of the artist or sales of the album selected do not seem to influence the selection process. The parameters that count most include the timeless nature of the music, the quality of the recording and the passion that went into creating it. Instead of digging up ghosts, analyzing personalities or jumping on the media hype shuttle, Redbeard creates a relaxing atmosphere for his guests. Often these discussions procure revealing information, personal reflection and out-of-character animation.

More recently, Pink Floyd were again given this forum for expression for The Division Bell, awarded as "Album of the Year 1994" by In The Studio. In exclusive interviews, Dave, Nick and Rick talk to Redbeard for a two part, two hour show on the creation and evolution of the album. Often when a recording is lengthy or expansive, two hours are set aside, as was the case for The Division Bell. Plus for the first time in well over 15 years, Rick Wright spoke to the public, reason enough for celebration.

Over the duration of the show, each of the three principle members of Pink Floyd share their enthusiasm, confidence and reflection on the current state of Pink Floyd. Every facet is explored with emphasis placed on the band re-examining their potential to write and play together again. The single goal was to create a new communal work, or as Dave reflected: "We simply try to create magic and to move their hearts a little bit."

In The Studio also examines effective working relationships as part of the communication theme. This communion reveals how important synergy and creative potential are to The Floyd camp. Nick explains that the best way to coax a perfect performance out of Rick was to leave him in the room alone with his piano and a tape recorder. The resulting contribution is often magical and immeasurable, thus creation is much more spontaneous than instructed. Rick has always been the quietest of the quiet members of Pink Floyd, willing to let his music define his character. Here for the first time since dinosaurs (the real ones) he talks candidly about how fulfilling it is to once again write, play and sing with the band. In measured tones he describes the good feelings he had after the MLOR tour and how wonderful it felt to be on the road again.

Radical graphics define Pink Floyd's image more than any other band. Here, a good working relationship with Storm eliminates 70 percent of the wasted effort expended to please the band, since he knows from experience what works and what does not. Storm, Nick explains, is an ideas man rather than one locked into one format; he is open to any form: computer graphics, photography or artwork to create a flow.

As a bonus, In The Studio gives us a live version of Astronomy Domine from opening night in Miami. American radio listeners will remember that The Album Network (the parent company of In The Studio) with Redbeard was present as Pink Floyd began their North American tour in 1994. In the foreground, the show premiered The Division Bell and talked to Dave, Nick and Rick. In the background, live music filtered through, giving listeners the panoramic atmosphere of a Floyd show. Given the band's current decision to veto most encounters with the media, Redbeards unprecedented access to the Floyd inner sanctum has given us a treasure-trove of insight.

Radio has a way of changing your perspective of music, none more poignant than when you are the creator. To hear Keep Talking for the first time on the radio was one such moment for Dave, relating "the interpretations for other listeners are often quite different than your own." That sentiment is universal for all of us, music has a way of throwing you off balance and capturing your imagination. Inciting memories and curious insights once locked away. There is no higher praise for music than to create magic. Creating great radio is also art. In The Studio achieve this goal by combining intelligence and entertainment. The result is always an exhilarating hour of radio defining the state of the art in broadcasting.