Though pianist Mike Garson has been an integral player in some of the best rock recordings of all time by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Mick Ronson, and, most notably, David Bowie, he cut his teeth as a classically-trained jazz cat in New York City, long before he joined the aforementioned artists on world stadium tours.
One listen to KFAI’s brilliant new interview with the man and you certainly won’t wonder why Trent Reznor introduced him as “the most inspiring musician [he’s] ever come across” at last year’s final NIN show. In fact, Garson was both honored and surprised by that statement, as he describes to DJ SLT: “I really, hardly know [Reznor].”
Speaking of DJ SLT, I can’t think of a better person to interview Garson. Every single time Garson asks him a question about an obscure part of his vast and varied career, SLT’s response is an enthusiastic “yes,” followed by a wonderful display of musical knowledge. DJ SLT is not only well prepared for the Q&A, but he is audibly moved by every second of it.
I pulled a couple quotes while listening (Reznor was afraid to ask Garson to play simpler on tour, so he asked Bowie to relay the criticism), but you should really stream it yourself when you get a chance. Starting at the 1-hour mark, go thataway to hear what it’s like to work with Bowie, Corgan, Reznor, Ronson, and lots more.