Michael Landau recalls recording guitar in front of David Gilmour: “Playing for Pink Floyd was one of the most bizarre things ever”

Michael Landau and David Gilmour
(Image credit: Fender / Roberto Panucci/Corbis via Getty Images)

Michael Landau’s star-studded list of session stints spans genres and generations, with the Stratocaster master having recorded for the likes of Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, B.B. King and many more across his storied career.

His resume is absolutely bursting at the seams with high-profile guest spots, but one of Landau's most notable – and, by his own admission, one the most “bizarre” – cameos occurred way back in the late ‘80s.

Speaking in an upcoming interview with Guitar World, the recently anointed Fender signature artist looked back on his session credits, and recalled the time he was recruited to play on Pink Floyd’s 1987 LP, A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

And, though he was tapped to only play a small six-string role – a dotted eighth delay lead part on One Slip being the highlight – the short time he spent recording electric guitar in front of David Gilmour and co constituted “one of the most bizarre things ever”.

“I think I might have played on one more, though I’m forgetting the title of it right now,” Landau replied when asked about his time recording One Slip. “It was crazy, David was right there! I’d been working with Bob Ezrin on several other records, and he ended up producing that Pink Floyd album. 

“I think they brought in a couple of outside guitar players,” he continued. “There was that delay part I did, that dotted eighth kinda thing that was very popular back then, and for some reason David didn’t want to do it. He wanted to bring someone else in.

“I’m sure he didn’t specify me, but Bob suggested it and yeah… playing guitar for Pink Floyd was one of the most bizarre things ever.”

As Gilmour was on hand to observe Landau’s lead playing, he was also able to provide Landau with some feedback – “Hey, this sounds good,” he told Landau – and then gave the session man a brief tour of his gear.

“I was in a studio looking back into the control room and there was David Gilmour saying ‘Hey, this sounds good!’” Landau went on. “I hung out for a minute afterwards… actually I was there for a long time, because David had this huge rig set up and he was super-sweet.

“He took me through a lot of it and played me a bunch of stuff on all his Marshalls that were lined up. It was an amazing afternoon. Again, it was pretty quick. They specified what they wanted and I did a few passes. That was it!”

Before reflecting on his Pink Floyd cameo, Landau told Guitar World all about his newly released Fender Stratocaster Stories Collection signature guitar – a recreation of his original ’59 Strat that can be heard on A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

“It just comes down to that body and those contours,” he commented. “Strats are like the ultimate couch guitar and that’s probably where I’ve done most of my playing over the years. They just seem to fit. 

“I love the balance, too. Sometimes a Gibson can get a little top or bottom-heavy. I find Fenders always play great if you get them set up right.”

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.