FOR Paul Andrews his love affair with Pink Floyd started when he was learning guitar at the age of 13 – unfortunately for him it was also the date of the band’s last tour.
That means that, despite fronting The UK Pink Floyd Experience for the past four years, he has never seen his heroes play live.
“I’ve always loved them,” he says. “I remember listening to these records my dad was playing and being transfixed by the sound coming out of the speakers. It was different to anything I was listening to at the time.
“Once you get the Floyd bug it never leaves…”
The nine-piece UK Pink Floyd Experience concentrate on the middle section of the real Floyd’s career featuring songs from Dark Side Of The Moon through to Division Bell.
“There are three main eras,” explains Paul, who takes the role of David Gilmour in the show. “There’s the Syd Barrett period of the late ‘60s, the classic line-up of David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, and then the last couple of albums in ’87 and 93.
“I think the most intriguing period is in the middle when albums like Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals and Meddle were released but it depends on the day of the week and your mood.”
The show aims to reproduce the full live Pink Floyd touring band of the late ‘80s and ‘90s, complete with spectacular light show.
“We put a lot of work into it and treat it with the greatest respect because we’re all such fans,” says Paul. “We don’t feel we have any ownership of it in any way, shape or form. But people are so familiar and fond of it we’re trying to play it in a way people will appreciate.
“I’ve written my own music and I have other projects on the go but nothing beats Pink Floyd, it’s definitely my favourite thing. We’re playing music we love, usually in a great venue to people who want to listen – what could be better than that?
“It’s got something that appeals to everybody. Lyrically it’s fantastic, Roger Waters is a master lyricist and David Gilmour is one of the finest guitar players that ever lived. The way they write music is interesting and inspiring.
“Every time a new generation comes along they discover this music and it doesn’t sound that dated. It still sounds relevant – you can listen to dark Side Of the Moon and still get a tremendous amount of relevance from it.”
The band are all musically trained – Paul is a music tutor – but the Floyd show is a labour of love.
“It’s never really been commercially driven,” he says. “We’ve always been a bunch of guys and girls who love this music and when an opportunity came around to start playing it, it was like a dream come true.
“We’re just massive fans who like to put on a good show.”
They take great pains to get things right, although there are limits.
“We try to get the right equipment and we’ve even had some pedals made because you can’t get the period stuff,” says Paul. “But there’s a law of diminishing returns and, let’s face it, you could play the same guitar, have the same rig, even the same plectrum but you’re not David Gilmour.
“We don’t wear wigs or anything but we do tend to wear the clothes of the period. We get flared up and I’ve managed to find a couple of reproductions of t-shirts David Gilmour wore at the time.
“Would I wear flares off-duty. If I thought I could get away with it, I think I would…”
The UK Pink Floyd Experience will perform at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, on Thursday (Sep 5).