Friday, June 03, 2005

Blue Light

David Gimour released a new album! in 1983 the Pink Floyd released an album titled "The Final Cut" which for all Pink Floyd's fans was outstanding. In the article "Is a Blue Light the Next Shade of Pink?" the author Vernon Fitch writes about the new Gilmour's solo album "About Face." This article was published in the Amazing Pudding Magazine, issue #12, in 1985. Vernon Says that nobody expected Gilmour to come up with a new LP, because the Pink Floyd had just released "The Final Cut."

After Rick Wright left the Pink Floyd, there were some rumors that possibly Eric Clapton would join the band, of course for many people, this was too good to be true. I personally think that David Gilmour is much better guitarist than Clapton, but it is only my personal opinion. Besides, it is how the author says: "David Gilmour was as much responsible for Pink Floyd's sound as anyone." He was indeed, a great contributor to the band's song's lyrics. And Vernon is definitely right, there could be no Pink Floyd without David Gilmour.

David is a very hard worker person, and he just couldn't wait to come up with a new album. The author says that he couldn't wait either to go and buy it for himself. So he got an extended mix pre-release sampler from the album. And for his surprise he didn't like it, at all! But it wasn't the guitar work, because we all know that Gilmour wouldn't mess out with his incredible guitar playing; what he didn't like was its style. But it was all because the record company picked the most commercial song on the album.

So this album came out the following week, with the announcement of a tour to back the album. No-one could wait to see a David Gilmour tour. Vernon says that even if the best thing Gilmour had to offer was Blue Light, he wouldn't miss too see him live. Come on, who would? For the author's opinion, he thinks that Blue Light was the weakest song on the entire album, and that the rest of the album was worth the wait. This album proved that Roger Waters wasn't the only lyricist on the Pink Floyd.

Gilmour had to organize his own band, it consisted of Milk Ralphs on guitar, Mickey Feat on Bass, Chris Slade on drums, Raff Ravenscroft on sax, Jodi Linscott on percussion, and Greg dechart on keyboards. For this tour he incorporated only songs from his two solo albums. His tour officially began in Ireland, on March 31st 1984. From Ireland he went to Holland, Belgium and France. Then from Paris they went to Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and then to London, his hometown, where he also included songs from the Pink Floyd's repertoire, in which Nick Mason showed up to play drums on Comfortably Numb.

From London, they took over to North America for dates in the United States and Canada. In this last country, Canada, two shows had to be cancelled, due to lack of ticket sales. "The folks in the great white north didn't realize what they were missing." The first appearance in the U.S. took place in New York, on May 16, 1984. The author says that Gilmour's performances were incredibly great. The band took turns doing improvisations, everyone was enjoying themselves immensely. The audience felt like if they were part of the event, not witnesses to the event. They were controlled by the music, which has always been Pink Floyd's style.

The tour concluded at New York, on July 16, 1984; and it was considered a big success by everyone involved. There's even a video of it for us who missed it, as for me I wasn't born yet, and I think that if Gilmour isn't too tired (because of his age), he should do another tour again so I could see him live. The author's conclusion in this article is that Blue Light wasn't the next shade of Pink, but that was the only song, because the rest of the album was a bomb. He also gives thanks to Dave "for having satisfied the hunger of the thousands of Pink Floyd fans worldwide who neede to see their heroes in person."

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Underground Bands

Pink Floyd worked with the Soft Machine when they first started. These two bands came from the London underground scene in the late 1960s. They would play in the same places because neither of them played the kind of music that fit in anywhere else. "The Soft Machine and the Pink Floyd" and article written by Vernon Fitch, for the Amazing Pudding, issue #12, 1985; talks about these two bands and their beginnings. The played at many underground scenes like the UFO and the roundhouse.

These two bands were experimenting with new ideas and stretching the boundaries of the, then, rock establishment. Of course they all became friends, and took to helping each other out at various critical periods of each others existence. One of those moments was the Gilmour tour in 1984, when some of the Soft Machine played with Gimour as his band. These two bands were moving away from the short pop tunes and into longer improvised pieces. The only difference between these two bands was their direction. The Soft Machine pursued more of a jazz direction, using very unusual and complicated time signatures, while the Floyd expressed themselves using a basic 4/4 time signature.

These different directions can be traced back to the roots of both bands, the Floyd being rhythm and blues oriented, and the Soft Machine basing their ideas around jazz rhythms. Robert Wyatt from the Soft Machine once said that the businessmen didin't know what to do with them, because in that time in order for any/one to have a LP, they were supposed to come up with a hit, but for them it was different, because with every jazz recording they made, they would come with a straight LP. That's why none of their recordings never appeared in any hit parade. Pink Floyd's influeces served the Soft Machine in their first years, because the Floyd knew exactly what to do, and also because they were closer to rock than the Softs. Wyatt also says that Pink Floy's formula could be reduced to a single, and theirs could not.

Vernon Fitch says that these two bands changed in the 1970's, and they grew into business, escpecially the Pink Floyd, they would play entire concerts without the need of any back up band, this was very good for them because they grew apart from other bands' business. Except one time when in 1973 Robert Wyatt had an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and his career as a drummer ended, so the Pink Floyd gave a benefit concert for Robert and their back up band were the Sotfs. Although time later in 1974 he made a comeback as a keyboardist, and he chose Nick Mason as his drummer replacement. Mason even produced some of Robert's single.

In 1976 Mason countinued working with Robert and in 1981 when Mason came up with his solo album, Robert worked with him too. But the albums made by these two friends were influenced even more by the Soft Machine than by the Pink Floyd. In the author's opinion, he thinks that the one who made the best solo effort was Mason with his album called "The Fictitious Sport."
When Syd came up with his "Madcaps Laughs" the Soft Machine worked with him too. Kevin Ayers, bassist from the Softs was a great admirer of the Pink Floyd, especially of Syd, he even wrote letters to the Syd Barrett Appreciation Society. All the members of the Soft Machine showed appreciation in their songs to Syd and to the Pink Floyd. Daevid Allen, guitarist of the Softs said that he learned a glossando guitar techinque from Syd who taught him how to do it.

This proved that the Soft Machine, besides being all good friends with the Pink Floyd, and having worked with them, they were also big fans of them. On the last paragraph, Vernon says that Daevid Allen once had a picture stuck on his amplifier during a tour to France, and it was "just for inspiration." Who knows, maybe Daevid had a crash on him!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pink Floyd's Musical Spectacle

Is it true that Pink Floyd is back? What a joke! But in 1994 they returned on stage, it was on March 30, at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. "Inside a 1994 Surrealistic Musical Spectacle" an article written by Vernon Fitch, and originally published in Japan in the Japanese music magazine Marquee, volume 054, June 1994. The purpose of the author on writing this article is to talk about this legendary band, and their great spectacle in 1994. He describes this concert and the feelings he experienced during this great musical event.

Vernon says that the ones that were touring were David Gilmour, Mason and Richard Wright. Waters wasn't with them anymore, everyone knows by now about the problems the Pink Floyd and him used to have. Duing the concert they had collaborators playing and singing along with them too. Tim Renwick on guitar, and Dick Parry on sax. Jon Carin on keyboards, Guy Pratt on bass, and Gary Wallis on percission. There were also three female backgound vocalists, Sam Brown, Durga McBroom and Claudia Fontaine. This concert, like many others from them, was sold-out. They was a crowd of 63,000, waiting under the rainy night in Miami, for the band to come out. This can only be a Pink Floyd thing.

The writer describes the stage as a big half shell that encompassed a quarter of the side of the stadium. The edge of the shell was a flat surface on which were projected the eyes of Pink Floyd. On either side of the shell were towers with large clusters of speakers mounted on each one, and additional speakers were also mounted throughout the entire stadium. Something that sounds impressive is that there was a large mixing/computer control center, looking almost like a giant insect. The author says that as the people were making their way to their seats, animal sounds emanated from all around them. When they were already seated, lights dimmed and the eyes of the Pink Floyd ominously stared, unblinking, back at the audience.

Because the shell was like a projector, on the interior of it worlds flew by. The audience was taken back in time and space, back to the beginning of Pink Floyd; when Syd was with them. The stage turned blue and a psychedelic liquid light show, reminiscent of the sixties, bombared their senses. It was when Astronomy Domine, one of Syd's greatest hit, filled the huge stadium. After the song was over, they were being turned into the previous era. Multicolored lights filled the shell as fog emanated from the rafters to engulf the band. Lasers appeared too, shooting beams of green and golden light in triangular patterns. The author says that gold lasers are very rare and banned in many parts of the world due to their high intensity, but Pink Floyd used them. You know, they got money. These lasers sparkled in a surreal quality due to the light rain that was falling. " One could only wonder whether the rain had been orchestrated by the band as part of the show."

This show was full of light. Colored lights washed over the band as lasers shot out into the night. But sound and lasers weren't the only thing that Pink Floyd had to offer their audience. There were also inflatables, two giant pigs poking their faces out of the enclosures at the top of the towers on each side of the stage. The author describes these two pigs as having glowing eyes and wicked grins, dancing wildly in time to the song the Floyd was playing. After a time playing they decided to take a slight intermission. The audince sat, breathless, with vicions of delight etched on their retinas. That's what the author says!

At the time when the Pink floyd started their "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" song written for Syd; they were presenting a new extremely surrealistic film. This film was describing Syd's life during his childhood, as a young man, and grewing into manhood. But the song that made all the crowd go crazy for, was "Wish You Were Here" which they sang along with the band. The show kept going with the impresive lasers and the magnificent sound. then the band bid their audience fairwell, but at the same time the audience screamed furiously for more. So the Pink Floyd returned onto stage. The author says that by that time, the crowd was in "ecstasy" singing along word for word the song the Floyd was playing.

As the lights came up on the band, the circular screen moved into a horizontal position over the band, shooting spots of beautiful colored lights down onto the stage. Lasers shot out of the sides of the stage, while the Pink Floyd airship beamed messages from above. Vernon says that the whole concert was brought to a stunning "climax" with fireworks display above the band. One of his freinds was shocked to see something like that, something that he had never seen before. Something that only Pink Floyd concerts can provoke. "Their concerts stand unmatch in the worlds of music. They are the surrealists of modern musical presentations, using large stadiums as a canvas for their unique artwork." I wish they could begin their work once again. Only by listening to their music in a simple CD, one can experiment that ecstacy that Vernon is talking about. I can't even imagine what would be like to attend to one of their concerts. I know it must be tight.


Who in these days doesn't know who Syd Barrett was? He's the most spoken-of legends in rock. Many people say that he was a genious, an excellent song writer, a magnificent painter, who turned out into a madman, a wreck from drugs, a desintegrated mind. "Barrett-A Mind In Desintegration" article originally written by Yan Friis, for the Vi Menn magazine in 1993. This is the story of the man who made Pink Floyd. This is the purpose of the author, to show the audience a little bit of Syd's crazy life.

He's the man that has been, since he left Pink Floyd 35 years ago, an enigma, a mystery for all Pink floyd fans, even for the Pink Floyd themselves. His life went downhill since the time he started taking heavy doses of drugs. The drug abuse gave him more ideas of how to do music, but it was only for a short time, because after that he experienced his own failure. He was able to write the first Pink Floyd singles, which as a matter of fact were a hit. But as time was passing by, he was loosing his mind. "He made Pink Floyd a disturbing experience." He started being uncooperative, the band had to kick him out only a year after they started playing professionally.

His ideas, his guitar, his voice changed to become insane. The author says that if someone listens to one of the two albums that he released after leaving the Floyd, These albums would give you the unpleasant feeling of being locked up together with a lunatic. The albums are "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett." The songs from these two albums are scetchy, whimsical, and at times both off-key and atonal. Barrett wasn't the same genious as he used to be when he started composing. Even more than that, he wasn't him anymore.

After these two solo albums were released, Barrett lost his remaining connections to reality. Although he made sporadical attempts to do more in the studio, and Dave Gilmour tried to help him, but it was worthless; because he never again managed to complete a single idea. And as the author says, and we all know it is true, Barrett's myth has grown. This, made possible by the helping hand from the members of the Pink Floyd. Yan Friis thinks that the Floyd had the same attitude towards Barrett as an exorcist towards a deamon.

As far as we all know, Barrett is blind and suffers from diabetes, and his family is taking care of him. But nobody knows what is on his head. I think maybe he stills suffers from nightmares and hallucinations created by the narcotic substances he took, but who knows. His soundtracks are still being played by many people around the world, those soundtracks being created from a mind in desintegration, Barrett's. "Scary, magical, powerful and terribly sad. A kind of Edgar Allen Poe short story from reality."

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wish You Were Here

The truth behind the myth of the original Crazy Diamond, the errant star of British psychedelia, Syd Barrett. An article based on the investigation made by Cliff Jones, for Mojo Magazine, published in September 1996. The title of the article is "Wish You Were Here." The purpose of this article is to present the investigation made to the personal life and the public life of Syd Barrett. The author refers to Syd as an astral voyager who went too far, and never returned from his journey to inner space. The life of Syd right now is miserable. He's in a private ward at the Adenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. He "lives" almost totally blind, because of diabetes; incapable or unwilling to take the prescribed insulin for his own good. He has often lapsed into diabetic coma, but he is watched by relatives and neighbors.

But none of his colleagues in Pink Floyd have direct contact with him. He suffers from depressions that can last weeks, made for remembering his old days with the Floyd. He's been remembered by many people as a confused mind and an unhappy individual. His wild world continues to delight liisteners and his life influenced the work of Pink Floyd during all the time they last and beyond. There's been 30 years after his brief creative shining, the cult of Barrett continues to fascinate new generations. That's why the Floyd recorded their tribute album titled "Whish You Were Here."

The story goes like this: Roger Keith Barrett was the youngest of three sons and the fourth of five children. His parents were Dr. Arthur Max Barrett and Winifred. All of them were musicians, Syd played piano duets with his younger sister Rosemary. At age 11, Syd had his first proper guitar, and his house was a place were all the kids interested in rock and blues music would met. That place was also were he was introduced to "a proficient 14-year-old guitarist" named David Gilmour. At age 15, in 1961, Roger "Syd" acqured his first electric guitar, and started attending to the local Riverside Jazz Club. In this club was were he got his nickname "Syd" after an ancient local drummer Sid Barrett, he only took of the "i" for "y" to distinguish himself from his namesake.

In 1965, Syd formed a band with Roger Waters on bass, Nick Mason on drums, jazz guitarist Bob Klose, pianist Rick Wright and blues singer Chris Dennis; and he came out with the Pink Floys name after two Georgia bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Their first gig, almost entirely compromising old blues and R&B tunes, was late in 1965. Meanwhile other Cambrigde friends had been experimenting with vial of pure liquid LSD-25. One of them was Nigel Gorgon, he said that he was anxious to initiate Syd into the new wonder of the new drug. They were all seeking higher elevation and wanted everyone to experience that incredible drug. When Syd had his first dose, and started getting more into it, he was self-obsessed and uptight in many ways that his friends thought it was a good idea. Now that they think back, they understand that Syd wasn't equipped to deal with the experience because he was unstable to begin with. Syd was a very simple person who was having very profound experiences that he found it hard to deal with.

The author explains thta when Syd "came down from his trip" he was convinced that he had encountered the full majesty of the universe and began to search for a way to express what he'd seen in his music. Barrett and his friends would spend subsequent weekends smoking dope and experimenting with LSD. But Syd, more than anyone else, was always experimenting , a very open sort of mind, empirical to an almost dangerous degree. His explorations into free jazz and druggy pop were much less contrived by those of other would-be psychedelicists of the time. Syd saw art and music as complementary and he was always trying to get his music to sound like art and vice versa. He began to use his guitar more as an effect generator than merely device for playing chords and solos. Nearly all the songs recorded with Syd were written over the six month period before they turned professional in January 1967.

His songs were full fairy-tale images. After his father died, childhood became a refuge for Syd when the rude intrusions of the adult world became unbearable. Recording began almost immediately after signing to EMI in March 1967. Though Syd was still lucid and maintained a strong artistic control, he was, by the end of the sessions, becoming more withdraw and difficult to communicate with. One of the producers named George Martin said: "When I look back I wonder how we ever managed to get anything done." Syd was undisciplined and would simply never sing the same thing twice. Trying to talk with him was like talking to a brick wall because the face was so expressionless. His lyrics were child-like and he was a child in many ways; up one minute, down the next.

Rick Wright, pianist of the Floyd, said that for him is sad to see what happened to Syd. "Syd could have easily been on the finest songwriters around today." But as time was passing, Syd was surrounded by proselytizing acid converts and their endless supply of drugs, Syd traveled further into inner space. The poor guy didn't know whether he was awake or dreaming. And he never had the chance to re-establish reality. Too bad that nobody in the band had the 'guts' to help him. Nobody wished to be uncool and take him away from those circumstances. "See Emily Play" was the last time Syd was focused and together, this was in 1967. Although by the time a third single was due, Syd's swift decline into schizophrenia had begun and no-one could do anything to stop it. Syd knew exactly what was happening to him but was powerless to stop it. His first taste of failure was when "Apples And Oranges failed to chart. This flippancy masked a deep fear that his talents were fading. Both managers and the band had tried to take Syd to see a psychiatrist, but Dr. Laing pronounced him incurable.

Jones explains that with Syd incapable of writing and no obvious contender to take his place, the band attempted to record together, but eventually realized it was impossible to contiue without Syd in the band. And it was Waters in particular, who had had enough of the insanity and told Syd that he was no longer welcome in the sessions. Syd's behavior was even more bizarre. With acid on the menu everyday, things got further out of control. Syd would sit in the reception area where the band used to record, clutching his guitar, waiting to be invited into the sessions. Eventually he stopped waiting. As Syd began his sabbatical from reality, Waters assumed control. In 1969, Syd announced he was ready to record again; but little of the music was usable, so Gilmour offered his help. Dave knew Syd was beyond help and seeing that really hurt him. In 1970 "The Madcap Laughs" came out with Dave's help. They planned to continue working, but the sessions were sticky for Barrett. Syd's career was over. Sightings of the Crazy Diamond since has been rare and bizarre.

His constant diet of hallucinogenics resulted initially in accelerated creativity but soon prompted the onset of Syd's permanent removal from normality.
"Down the years bigger stars then Barret have acknowledged his immense influence upon them, provoking continued interest. But, amid much speculation, no-one has satisfactorily explained whether Syd's fragile genius would have endured if LSD hadn't intervened or if it was doomed anyway by the pressure of the fame. But Syd himself gave a clue in 1971. 'All I ever wanted to do as a kid was play guitar properly and jump around, but too many people got in the way'." The only thought that comes to my mind is that how much envy or jelousy Syd's friends had towards him, that they wanted to make him initiate into drugs. With those kinds of friends, no-one wish to have enemies.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Syd Barrett Song Unearthed

Syd Barrett against Bob Dylan? The new discovered Syd Barrett's song called "Bob Dylan's Blues" where Syd lampoons Dylan; was written in 1968, when Syd left his band, but it has been uncovered in the 1990's. Why did the members of the Pink Floyd waited so long to release this song? Mark Paytress, was the author of the article called "'Syd Barrett Song Unearthed' with subtitle 'Former Pink Floyd Mastermind Lampoons Dylan in 1970 track', published for the RollingStone Magazine in February 14, 2001. He writes in his article about the errant star of British psychedelia, Syd Barrett; and about his Bob Dylan's Blues song.

In this song, Barrett uses a light good humored satire to refer to Dylan's imprecision towards music, and also about his activism. Syd also plays up the singer's infamous nonchalance. This song is a musical piece where Syd also imitates Dylan's previous work, with a satirical intent. As everyone already knows that Barrett is a legend, and this legend has been maintained by the Pink Floyd themselves, especially by Roger Waters, whose "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and The Wall were both inspired by his ex-colleague's mental health problem. Now with the help of Gilmour providing the fillip to this song.

Mark Paytress writes about how David Gilmour helped Barrett to produce his two solo albums, "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett," both albums were clearly the work of a wildly distracted man, who simply dissapeared from view. But this new musical piece is unlike anyother of Barrett's compositions. The name of this song has a very prosaic title, from a man better known for his songs about gnomes, octopuses and effervescing elephants. "Bob Dylan's Blues" has been culled from Gilmour's private collection and is being released, as the author says, with the blessing of Barrett's family.

That newly unearthed Syd Barret song was going to be included on a new compilation called "Wouldn't You Miss Me" for EMI Records, which was released in the UK on April 16, 2001. Tim Cracksfield, project co-ordinator of the album, said that everyone knew of the song existence since 1993, when they were making the "Crazy Diamond" box set, but they decided not to included in it, because they had plenty of other material, and they didn't have any pressure to find it.

David Gilmour was the one who took the master tape of the song with him after February 27, 1970 demo session had been completed, but no one knows for sure why he did that. I think maybe he knew that the record company would approach him to request the song, as it happened, EMI Records requested Gilmour a permission to use the song. He wanted to get some money out of it! Besides, Gilmour has always rated the song highly, and for Cracksfield: "The fact that Dave was happy to let it out says a lot."

In the last paragraph of the article, the author writes his conclusion, he says that though Syd later adopted Dylan's unkempt curly-top hairstyle. For the author, that was the first aural evidence of Syd Barrett's early enthusiasm for Dylan and provided an amusing aside to his more brain-teasing material; and I agree with the author too. But since 1974 Syd has been apart from the studios, now he lives alone in Cambridge, suffers from diabetes and is tended to by his sister.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Oui's Soundstage

Who's this controvertial director that participated in making "The Wall" film? His name is Alan Parker, and he worked with the Pink Floyd by directing the screen interpretation of their super successful double album titled The Wall. The article called "Oui's Soundstage" written by James Delson, for the Oui Magazine, in October of 1982, tells the story of how this film was made. It also shows some differences between this film and some other previous films from the same director. Parker wanted to do this film because he had the neccessity to bring out what he had in himself. He wanted to show a bit of sickness that had overtaken the working-class punks and skinheads who appeared in The Wall, and what kind of society had bread their sick mentality.

Alan Parker is known for being controversial. There are some film critics that have generally split into opposing camps strongly in favor of him or dead-set against him. The author says that "The Wall" was a film that caused a storm of controversy to many people and crtics. The Wall mixes surreal with the real, the past with the present, it has flashbacks from present to past, it is mainly about that. It also has animation with live action, madness with sanity and dialogue with music in ways that in 1982 had never been attempted before.

For Alan Parker, music is a very important element. He has taken a quantum leap in concept and execution between his previous movies and The Wall. Unlike his earlier's works, this film is as much a sociopolitical document as it is an entertainment. "I realize there's a risk here," Parker explained, "but it was important to try and examine the issues which have upset me, and The Wall offered the potential for a truly way of doing it." Pink Floyd's album of The Wall, was released in 1979, and it examined the barriers people put up that make it difficult for them to communicate.

This film traces the descent into madness of a rock star called "Pink", who was locked away in hotel in Los Angeles. This character, relives his youth, mingling real life and fantasy in animation sequences. Surreal images of costumes, imaginary figures, Nazi-like rallies, even a recreation of the Allied invasion of Anzio, all inter-cut in an incredibly fast-paced roller-coaster ride through Pink's panic-riddled brain. In a summary, this whole film is about alienation, separation, and the fears one has about breaking away from society. Parker thought of using the power of rock and roll, interwoven with screen images, he could explore the fears he had about oppression, totalitarism, and the sort of mindless activities which were very relevant to life in England.

Parker said that his younger generation revolted against the Socialist dream. In The Wall he expresses his fears about the kids that seemed to find their answers in destruction. In making this film. he had to gamble more than form and style. In several sequences he used real London skinheads as extras, cointaining them through threats, promises and the notable idea of using their owm pecking order to establish control over the largest assembly of extras, which was for the rally sequence. He said that they were incredibly raw, working-class London kids with very extreme political pionts of view. Enen though the team working in the film were appalled by the extremism of the extras, at the same time they were amused by their natural cockney wit, says Parker. "This kids looked at the film totally superficiaally and got a great kick out of throwing tables through windows and getting paid for it." If I was paid to do that to, I would've been more than glad to do it too! And who wouldn't?

To end this article the author, James Delson says: "Alan Parker's brilliant accomplishments blends several different media into an exciting form while sustaining its artistic integrity. Imaginative, shocking, daring, repugnant, and thrilling, the hallucinatory imagery of The Wall will haunt your dreams and remain a part of our cinematic vocabulary for a long time to come."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Syd Barrett: Careening Through Life

What exactly is an "Umma"? Well, it's 'the brotherhood of prophets' and Syd Barrett is one of them, one of the umma. And he was just mad enough to be holy. Anyone who has read my synopses already know who Syd was. Without him, there would have been no Pink Floyd, and that wouldn't be a really good thing, especially for me. Also for the author of the article called "Syd Barrett: Careening through life..." written by Kris DiLorenzo, for the Trouser Press in February 1978, in pages 26-32. Kris wouldn't be able to write an article about Pink Floyd, if Syd would have not been here. His purpose on writing this article is to talk about Syd Barrett's life and also to offer different perspectives and different points of view of people who were close to him.

There are many stories about Barrett. Everyone who has been close to him express the same conclusion, they saw Barrett "as a unique talent and an erratic mind on the edge of a different type of existence," as well as a man who indelibly affected those who came in contact with him. Barrett dominated the Pink Floyd during their first years, writing most of their material, singing lead vocals and playing lead guitar. Until he left the band (or the band left him) how the author puts it; for reasons of mental health, and in 1970 with the aid of his replacement in the Floyd, David Gilmour, recorded two solo albums: The Madcap Laughs and Barrett.

By the time these two albums were recorded, Syd's songs clearly revealed raw spots in his psyche amid the poetically jumbled voodoo of his writing. His madness wasn't quite a sudden explosion, it was a gradual one, the clues which he articulated in his music long before his behavior signalled distress. Syd's songs contained warnings from the beginning, he dealt with instability and the primal need for comfort via authority's fairytales, the desire for control of a situation and the outsider, observer role.

Since the first singles he wrote for the group, what Syd created in sound and imagery was brand new. At that time when the Pink Floyd started, America hadn't even heard about Hendrixian feedback and distortion as part of a guiatr's capabilities. The author says that Barrett's music was as experimental as anyone could get without crossing over entirely into freeform jazz; there simply were no other bands extending boundaries of rock beyond the basic 4/4 sex-and-love themes.

Kris talks about Barrett's uniqueness. He says that his rhythms were unpredictable. His playing was variously described by critics as "clumsy and anarchic," "adventurous and distinctive," "idiosyncratic," "revolutionary" or "brilliant and painful." Barrett's guitar work maintained a psychedelic, dramatic ambience of incongrous contrasts, violent changes and inspired psychosis. His work with Pink Floyd still ranks as some of the most expressive, sensational playing recorded by a rock guitarist. He utilized fairytale technique, surrealistic juxtaposition of psychedelic detail and plain fact, childhood experience and adult confusion. Certainly psychedelia asserted its influence on his writing, there are descriptions and percertions one can attribute only to drugs or hallucinatory schizophrenia, but others are strictly the products of his unaffected imagination.

There's a quote from David Gilmour that says: "Syd was one of the great rock and roll tragedies. He was one of the most talented people and could have given a fantastic amount. He really could write songs and if he had stayed right, could have beaten Ray Davis at his own game." The author comments about how difficult it was at first for Pink Floyd to carry on without him, since the public and music business obviously thought Syd was all the band had. Even Syd, remarked that the band wasn't progressing, and in a real sense this was true; but only at first.

The point of view Barrett used in his songs, an alternation of second and third persons, still predominated Pink Floyd compositions after he left. They employed his same techniques. Whole walls of sound rocket from one side of the room to the other, the guitar careens in and out different speakers, submerged speech and incidental sounds chatter beneath instrumentals; their use of sound as an emotional tool; everything is absolutely Barrettonian.

But Pink Floyd wouldn't make it even if Syd would've stayed. The autor says that he became nearly impossible to follow musically as he reached for more abstract constructs, constantly re-phrasing, shifting and re-writing as he performed, expressing a compulsive need for uniqueness without considering logic. Kris sites that when Syd was 23 was already internationally famous, but at the same time he began the rollercoaster ride to become completely forgotten. The group said that onstage he often found inconceivable to play, standing among the amps with his back to the audience, staring at his guitar as if he'd never seen one before. He always wanted to achieve something indefinable each time he set out to play, but being afraid that it would not come out perfectly perfect, brilliant and innovative, he would just become paralysed. Other times he would simply disappear from the show, and a substitude would have to be called in.

Barrett's musical ideas were metamorphosing too, as he became more withdrawn personally, his songs tended to deal only with internal reality and became more obscure. He was becoming more of a conceptual artist than a musician, and eventually broke the barrier between form and content, and genius and insanity, by becoming what he had sung about. It became impossible for the Floyd to perform with his spells of onstage paralysis and offstage freakouts.

But there were a lot more episodes where the band couldn't record because Syd would go to the studio and do nothing, like he would do onstage. He would either not play or he'd hit his guitar and just turn it out of tone, or do nothing. Then the ultimate decision came down if they were going to survive as a band, Syd would have to go. Jerry Shirley, the drummer on Barrett's albums; said that when Dave joined the band, Syd was always weird about him. That was his band, the Floyd. Sometimes he would stand in front of the stage looking up at Dave and say: "That's my band." He would watch Dave play because Dave had got his chords down better than him.

Mick Rock, a friend of Syd, remebers one of Syd's flats as a "burn-out place, the biggest hovel, the biggest shit-heap; total acid-shell, the craziest flat in the world." One of his girfriends named Lindsey Korner says that it was in the flat where the "chronic schizophrenia" set in. She also says that it wasn't the drugs particularly that set Syd off, she insisted; from the time she first met him, Korner considered him one of the sweetest, most together people, even though Syd's previous girlfriend says he was off the wall a little even then.

Another friend of him named Duggie Fields affirms that he used to be speechless at the number of people who would invade their flat, and how they would behave towards anyone who was in the band; especially girls, they would literally throw themselves at Syd, because he was the most attractive of them all. Fields recalls that there were visitors who idolized him and wanting to get his attention, they would constantly bring pills to Barrett, they knew that if they gave drugs to him, he would be friendly. Eventually he couldn't deal with them, and he got rid of them, because he did have a very violent side.

The author was told by Jerry Shields that after so many years without seeing Syd, one time he met him at some reunion. Shield didn't recognize him, Syd had to weight close to 200 punds and had no hair on his head. All his friends are less optimistic about the possibility of Barrett recording again. By 1978, Syd didn't have any involvement with anything or anybody. He lived in a hotel in London, nobody visited him. He didn't want to be bothered. Bryan Morrison, the former Pink Floyd manager, said that he used to just sit there in his hotel room, watching television all day and getting fat.

That's how the magnificent Syd Barrett ended, alone by himself, as a recluse in his hotel room. Was his permanent insanity made by post-Floyd depression? This is one of the questions the author throws to all his readers. "Anyone ever caught in the equally real dread of the confusion can sympathize with Barrett. Someone who's almost grokked the universe and then lost the definition on the tip of their tongue knows waht is like to be a crazy diamond." "Barrett's no acid freak. Shine on, Syd"