Nick Mason: “Syd Barrett was looking for enlightenment”

Uncut uncover the hidden history of Pink Floyd in the new issue

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The story of Syd Barrett’s decline and Pink Floyd’s desperate search for a single in 1967 is told in the latest issue of Uncut.

Pink Floyd’s new boxset, The Early Years 1965-1972, released on November 11, chronicles a mass of unreleased material from the group’s pre-Dark Side Of The Moon period, including Barrett songs “Vegetable Man” and “Scream Thy Last Scream”.

In the cover story of the new Uncut, band members, collaborators and associates recall the band’s journey from the Spalding Tulip Bulb Auction Hall to the soundstages of American TV shows.


“[Syd] was looking for enlightenment,” says Nick Mason, “and also for that LSD enlightenment, which was very prevalent at the time and taken very seriously. If you were going to trip, you’d do it with a guide; it wasn’t like, ‘Let’s do this and then go clubbing in Ibiza.’

“It was much more serious than that, and I think he reacted badly to the drug. But I think he then kept on because of what he wanted to get from it. He kept doing it when he probably should have just said, ‘This doesn’t work for me’. And I think that’s relevant to the story of why things continued to go badly.”

“The music business destroyed Syd, really,” says Andrew King, the group’s co-manager in 1967. “Everyone says he had some bad friends that played some nasty druggy trick on him with LSD and so on, but really it was the pressure. It’s the pressure of saying, ‘You’ve got to do something. Come on, Syd, give us our next single.’


“When you have a successful little group, like that – it wasn’t making gallons of money – then so many people are dependent on Syd writing another hit. Once a band gets going, there’s 30 or 40 people whose incomes depend on the band coming up with the goods. And the band were saying, ‘Come on, Syd, you’re the one who writes the hits.’ That’s what ‘Vegetable Man’ was all about.”

Read the full story in the new Uncut, dated December 2016 and out now.

The December 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on Pink Floyd, plus a free CD compiled by Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner that includes tracks by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Sleaford Mods, Yo La Tengo, Can. Elsewhere in the issue, there’s The Damned, Julia Holter, Desert Trip, Midlake, C86, David Pajo, Nils Frahm and the New Classical, David Bowie, Tim Buckley, REM, Norah Jones, Morphine, The Pretenders and more plus 140 reviews



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