Guy Pratt on music and his love for Brighton and its food scene
Bassist-for-hire Guy Pratt talks about his love for Brighton, his passions for food and clothes and his new Pink Floyd-influenced supergroup A Saucerful of Secrets
With a career in the music industry spanning over 38 years, Guy Pratt has played bass guitar with some of the world's elite artists - including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie and Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.
His latest project is being cast as a super group with Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason and the band Saucerful of Secrets also featuring Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet, Lee Harris from The Blockheads and keyboard player/composer Dom Beken.
"It was actually Lee who had the idea," says Guy. "He'd been building a gite somewhere in France. I think he was bored and was missing playing live. He came to see me on tour with David, after which he got on a bit of a Pink Floyd trip and came up with the idea of forming a band with Nick who is a founder and only constant member playing drums on all the albums and live shows. The idea being to play early Pink Floyd tracks from the 1960s up until Dark Side of the Moon in 1972. I didn't think Nick would be interested, but he thought it was great idea."
While Guy has recorded and toured for many years with David, it was a different scenario when it came to learning the songs from the band's early years. "I was five and into cartoons like Wacky Races back then", he laughs.
"Later at school, my favourite Pink Floyd album was Relics from 1971. The cover featured a sketch that Nick actually designed. So I more or less had to learn every song from scratch.
"A lot of these songs have never been played live before. This band is a great compact working team, and what I find utterly charming especially on the last European tour, is that Nick Mason is 74, and it's the first time he's ever slept on a tour bus!
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"I really like looking back at Nick on stage and visualising that young kid on the drums at The UFO club, London where Pink Floyd started out. "
As an author, Guy has written My Bass And Other Animals which is full of stories and photographs based on his life. It also provides the material for his successful and hilarious one-man comedy show.
"I'm so busy I'm taking a rest from touring the comedy show routine for while, but you can be assured that being on the road with this band is drip-feeding me with plenty of new material," he says.
"We aim to play the original venues that Pink Floyd played in the 1960s, Friars in Aylesbury, Corn Exchange in Cambridge, the Round House and The UFO in London. The one important venue we can't seem to secure is the Dome, here in Brighton. This is where Pink Floyd first performed Eclipse in November 1972, which they recorded the next year as Dark Side of the Moon. It drives me nuts, we can't play Brighton and I live here."
Guy moved to Brighton six years ago. "I love it here, it's the best thing I ever did. I'm in Kemp Town which I would say is the groovy end of Brighton, a bit bohemian maybe, which reminds me of London's Notting Hill when I was young.
"I love shopping here, but I do get shop-envy now and then, as the posh foodie ones are all on the other side of town in Hove. The menswear here is the best, probably because this is the gay capital of Europe.
"The restaurants are just insane. I'm spoilt for choice, with the likes of the O'Shio for Japanese and Korean dishes and Chamuyo which is an Argentinean steak house. I do watch what I eat though, as I like to keep myself in shape. I use a cross trainer and the machines at the gym.
"I have to as I'm on stage with Gary Kemp who is one of the fittest people in the world!
"I'm lucky as I have a fantastic view of the beach, I love living by the sea. One thing that annoys me though, if I look out my window at any time of day or night, it could be 4am on a Saturday, there's always someone running along the seafront, rain, hail, sleet or snow."
He loves the fact that there's always something happening on the seafront, from vintage car shows to Mod rallies.
"I am a fan of the Mod culture itself and a massive fan of The Who, they were the reason I became a musician. You could say they're patron saints of Brighton. Everyone I know who has moved here, has become a bit Mod, doing up the top button on their polo shirt for example or wearing loafers. I actually have a 1966 Lambretta scooter which I think is the perfect design compared to some of the other brands, a bit like a Fender Stratocaster guitar, perfect in every way."
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