Originally published in The Amazing Pudding
February 1991

Roy Harper

It's That Man Again

By M. Saxby

Roy Harper - RH

Last Autumn, Roy "I was the fifth Floyd" Harper embarked on his annual pilgrimage around the UK. For this trek, not only did he perform 'Once' and 'Berliners' (see TAP 43 for details of Dave Gilmour's involvement on the album versions) but also resurrected an aggressive version of the Gilmour co-composition 'Short And Sweet'.

TAP reader Mark Saxby caught up with Roy after the latter's gig at Leeds on October 21 '90, and began by asking him about a comment made during the concert...

MS: I suppose it was only a tongue-in-cheek remark that you helped write 'Have A Cigar'?

RH: I just helped. I changed certain words; I can't remember which - it was Roger's song. I had to change it for me to sing it.

MS: Were you surprised to be asked?

RH: No, no, no, no, no. We were in the next studio, in and out of each other's sessions. I was stood in their session and they were really, really struggling; neither of them could get up there - Roger had written this song which as usual he couldn't get up to. All the evidence was at the Berlin Wall: I mean, he can write songs, but Roger's never going to be in the Top 100 as a rock singer. He tries hard, he's a good lad. Anyway, neither of them could get up there. I just stood at the back, leaning against a machine and laughing. I said "I'll sing for you," and someone said "Okay", and I said "For a price." Roger said "What's the price?" I said "A season ticket to Lords for life." He said "Alright," so I went and did it. It took me till the next day to do it. I had to go away for the night and learn it but I never got the season ticket to Lords!

He went on to talk about his relative lack of commercial success...

RH: Dave Gilmour was talking about 'Dark Side Of The Moon' having sold 24 million and went on to say that 'Wish You Were Here' had sold 18 million or something like that. Somebody had been on the phone....it was a business conversation. I mused for a minute over the silliness of it all and I said "You know something, Dave? I've never had a silver record," - I was just emphasizing the gap. He turned to me and said "That's because you're a tosser, Roy." And it's true; absolutely true in financial terms.

MS: How did David Gilmour and Kate Bush come to play on 'Once'?

RH: Basically, I asked them. I thought Dave was right for one song - he ended up on two - and I needed a female singer...You resort to your friends in circumstances when you need things.

MS: Did you, Dave and Kate meet together or did you all do your bits separately?

RH: Well, separately as far as I was with Dave and I was with Kate.

MS: You and Dave have done a lot of demos in the past. Were any of them used on the 'Momentary Lapse Of Reason' album?

RH: Err, yeah...(laughs) Yeah...it's...I shouldn't say anything about that, really...(laughs) Ask me another question!