That time Roy Buchanan told me that Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour was just a bluesman at heart

By Steve Newton

I’ve been getting quite a few hits lately for a blog I posted about Danny Gatton, which included an audio excerpt from the interview I did with the underrated guitar genius back in 1993.

So I figured maybe it was time to treat that particular group of Ear of Newt readers–the ones who really know their stuff when it comes to mindboggling but relatively overlooked players –to a similar blast from the past.

Back in April of 1988 I did my second and final interview with the great Roy Buchanan, who had actually been a huge influence on Gatton–as well as another of my other fave pickers, Jeff Beck, who dedicated “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” to him on Blow By Blow.

Like Gatton, Buchanan was a master of the Telecaster, technically scary and soulful as hell, effortlessly blending blues, jazz, country, rock, and rockabilly stylings.

And also like Gatton–who committed suicide at 49–he lived with a lot of demons. Buchanan only made it to 48, dying in a Virginia jail cell after a domestic dispute and arrest for public drunkenness. He was found hanged by his own shirt, although bruising on his body caused family and friends to suspect police brutality rather than suicide as the cause of death.

Whatever happened in Fairfax County lockup that awful night, just four months earlier, when I called him at his Virginia home, Roy sounded quite positive. He’d just gotten back from shooting a video at the Crossroads Nightclub in Maryland to promote his new Bluesmaster signature guitar, which he was excited about.

At one point in the interview I asked him about his recent tour in Australia, which saw him jamming with David Gilmour and other members of Pink Floyd at a bar one night.

David Gilmour and Roy Buchanan trading licks? Now that I’d like to see.

Have a listen:

To hear the full audio of my 1988 interview with Roy Buchanan–and my interview with him from ’86 as well–subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:

Bill Payne of Little Feat, 2002
Robbin Crosby of Ratt, 1989
Tommy Shannon of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, 1998
Alejandro Escovedo, 1997
Billy Duffy of the Cult, 1989
Dave Martone, 2020
Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, 2006
Joss Stone, 2012
Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, 2005
Jack Blades of Night Ranger, 1984
Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard, 1992
Colin James, 1995
Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown, 1998
Tom Cochrane of Red Rider, 1983
Ed Roland of Collective Soul, 1995
Taj Mahal, 2001
Tom Wilson of Junkhouse, 1995
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, 2003
David Lindley, 2002
Marty Friedman of Megadeth, 1991
John Hiatt, 2010
Nancy Wilson of Heart, 2006
Jeff Golub, 1989
Moe Berg of the Pursuit of Happiness, 1990
Todd Rundgren, 2006
Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, 2001
Steve Earle, 1987
Gabby Gaborno of the Cadillac Tramps, 1991
Terry Bozzio, 2003
Roger Glover of Deep Purple, 1985
Matthew Sweet, 1995
Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds, 2003
Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, 2001
John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, 1995
Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Grace Potter, 2008
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
Tony Carey, 1984
Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, 1984
Jeff Healey, 1988
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1996
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Edgar Winter, 2005
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Randy Hansen, 2001
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Joe Satriani, 1990
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001
…with hundreds more to come

5 thoughts on “That time Roy Buchanan told me that Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour was just a bluesman at heart

  1. Roy was absolutely right. Listen to Shine On You Crazy Diamond and tell me that’s not a blues song.

  2. Steve,
    Your awful kind observation and recognition concerning those of us who make it our business to listen and learn a bit more than yer average pop music fanatic was part of what makes it worthwhile.
    In all modesty I include myself in that group. I don’t think of myself, nor do I aspire to be an “expert” blues aficionado. On the contrary, I’m just a guitar player, but I know good when I hear, and damned if I’m gonna apologize for that. I’m too old and tired not to call em like I see em.

    Roy Buchanan was one of the best. I’m not surprised Jeff Beck knew it, he’s another one whose guitar work can scorch the sky and touch the heart. [And yet I mentioned Jeff Beck to somebody the other day and a whole room full of people thought I was taking about the pop star, “Beck,” no first name, and had no idea who Jeff Beck is] I got nothing against the other guy, but I count myself fortunate that I’ve heard Jeff play “cause we’ve ended as lovers” and everything else he played live and all of his recordings I can get a hold of!

    I saw Roy Buchanan play in Atlanta. He was unreal. We all thought he was from Australia or New Zealand ’cause we were kids and he wasn’t yer run-of-the-mill rock star, and there wasn’t much press on the guy, and they were unusual looking.

    The drummer had a real simple rig, bass, snare, tom, high-hat, and that was about it. Plus, it looked like he made his set from a bunch of others, they were all different colours, reminded me of our drummer’s old kit. And Roy had like knit slacks and a turtleneck with a jacket, off-the-rack polyester number. He had the whole look going, and all we could figure was,
    “He just ain’t from around here…”

    Besides, when he started playing, what he was wearning only mattered to the extent that like his guitar style, it was all unique, all Roy.

    He played this one thing where he talked during the song, like Elvis used to do, and he does this spoken word part, and then he just tore up that guitar!

    Being close enough to notice what the jacket he was wearing was made of, we were in the perfect place to hear and see. And I gotta say Roy gave every indication he was engaged in life, and his music, well, it touched me and I rather doubt I was the only one.

  3. I say him play at the crossroads in bladensburg, md as well as gatton… the place had a lot of great players in thise days.

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