DARRYL READ INTERVIEW – NOVEMBER 2005
1. So Darryl, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you born, where did you grow up, and where are you conducting this interview from?
I was born on a theatrical tour of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in Exeter, England. I grew up (early years) in Streatham Vale, South West London.
I am conducting this interview from Spain, and having read the well-thought-of questions to this interview; have surmised that I could answer them with short bursts of surface succinct answers; or elaborate on some which would require a further and more detailed response; as indicated by the weight of the questions. I have decided on the latter.
2. What was your first Acting Role?
My first leading role was 'Moggs' in a CFF production serial film (Saturday morning pictures) in 8 parts: titled 'The Young Detectives' (1963). Which then became a mini television series, and I believe still plays on some television channels world-wide.
3. Please tell us a bit about your work on Popular British TV shows, Minder and Eastenders?
Minder was cool to work on, and I found myself playing opposite Dennis Waterman, with whom I had attended the same drama school (Corona Academy). The part was Billy: a young criminal who – with his cohort Greg: played by Charlie Hawkins, were hired to set fire to mini cabs, by a rival mini cab firm. The 8th episode Come in T-64, Your Time Is Ticking Away was directed by Francis Megahy, who was very perceptual in building up our featured roles, and in later years I had the pleasure of meeting Francis again, socially, in Hollywood.
Eastenders was more of a cameo and enjoyable. The part, however, did create a bit of a buzz at the time – to my amazement – in terms of street-wise recognition.
4. What was the first music gig you ever went to?
The Graham Bond Organisation: at a large student college in Acton. The night was quite magickal; as I had accepted a somewhat piss-taking dare to get a jam with Graham; in which I succeeded in accomplishing - seriously, and found myself on stage at the age of 15-years-old jamming 2 numbers with the great man, much to everyone in my company's stunned amazement and jealousy.
5. Was your first band Krayon Angels? If so, how did it form?
No, my first group was called The Orange Illusion, and was formed when I had just turned 15 years-old at drama school with fellow students: Nick Young (of Tomorrows People fame), Kit Williams (who later became a television producer) and Michael Des Barres (who became the lead singer of Silverhead – the early seventies glam Rock group), who is now an established character actor in Hollywood. The Orange Illusion had great potential and played some youth club dates in West London, to screaming girls, as well as a couple of similarly appreciated drama school concerts. The group was eventually broken up by our acting agent at the time: Hazel Malone – who thought we should be all concentrating on our acting careers instead of playing rock music (something I never forgave her for!).
Krayon Angels happened not long after I left the Drama Academy (I was then at the age of 16-years-old), and came together after a chance meeting with Emperor Rosko – the Pirate radio DJ; who suggested I form a group for and with his brother. Rosko became KA's manager along with Henry Henroid (managed Gene Vincent/Robin Gibb amongst other greats). We played the Marquee Club and various other dates including a strange residency for two weeks in a Bristol club; then made a demo album at Radio Luxemburg's studios in London – shortly afterwards the group disbanded. Krayon Angels '1969' album came out as an entity on vinyl in 2000: released by Dig The Fuzz Records (from my archive of the only remaining acetate of the works). Krayon Angels line-up included Stuart (Mac) McDonald and Lou Martin) both who members of Killing Floor at the time, that I had recruited into the band.
6. Were you into Syd Barrett, back then?
No not essentially; but I do remember a drama school friend of mine raving on about Pink Floyd and how he had seen them at The Roundhouse (I wrote about this in Stardom Road). Some time after; I heard, See Emily Play on my transistor radio one moody and depressing afternoon in South London, and thought it was enchanting, and then heard Careful With That Axe Eugene a while later when I broke free of adult control and ventured out to clubs; I thought that piece of music was masterfully frightening. At Drama school a girl showed me a pin-up picture of the Floyd and I remember thinking that the lead singer looked exceptionally good. Pink Floyd were much talked about in the Chiswick area of where the drama academy was situated. But I can't say that I got interested in Syd, at all in depth, at that point in time.
7. I have to ask this… Did you ever meet Syd or speak to him in person?
Yes. On reflection this was a strange quirk of fate: the year was approximately 1995; and Bernard White had by then become my mentor/patron and record label. Innocently - after hearing Bernard talk so much about Syd, and show me his vast collection of Barrett material and all of the Terrapin mags; I was curious to see what all the fuss was about – still having no idea how big a cult figure Syd was – to me at that point in time Syd seemed like another Rock casualty who had fallen by the wayside. On Bernard's suggestion to pay a visit to see him (as Bernard had a gift for him and a message from a lady that knew Syd), I found myself spontaneously one sunny afternoon driving with Bernard to Cambridge. Bernard thought that the trip may be a complete waste of time, as if Syd (Roger) was in: that he would more than likely not answer the door. But he did, so yes, Bernard and I met Syd at his front door. I believe that Bernard had met Syd a couple of times previous to this – way back. The twist of fate came 4 years later; when I found myself portraying someone like Syd, in Remember A Day. (co-incidentally enough as I finished writing out the answer to this question at 12:45 pm Saturday 2005-10-25, I momentarily took a pause from writing, and a film clip come over the Spanish television channel 2 TVE – when I looked; it was the early Pink Floyd playing in the UFO club featuring some cool close up's of Syd live. The television show was about flying saucers and dubbed into Spanish).
8. Do you like Syd Barrett’s music?
I heard a great deal of Syd's music during the years I knew Bernard White (RIP), and found myself slowly being drawn into Syd's works. Combined with all the things that came out of Bernard over the years about Syd – getting to know about him, and things he said; yes, I became very interested in his music and interested in the man himself, especially after Bernard pointed out one quote from Syd; which went something like: "Cut out the middle men and get your art directly to the public." after reading that I surmised that Syd and I, had some co-incidental similarities; at least in thought.
9. Which song, by any artist, do you wish you had written?
My Generation – The Who
10. Pick 6 words to describe yourself?
11. You've certainly enjoyed a very diverse career path, having been in rock'n'roll bands, writing poetry and acting. Do you find there is one area you enjoy more than others?
I enjoy making films – as that was where I came in – poetry can also be transmitted (in terms of specific dialogue) through the process of making films.
12. How did the "Remember A Day" film idea all come about?
Bernard suddenly said one day around 1997," I am bored, let's make a film!" He then talked about a reclusive Rock star – someone like Syd – being kidnapped by a crazed fan, who tries to get the Rock star to record new works; and locks him up to observe his every move. I told Bernard that the story was great! But how would we film it, as it would cost quite a bit of money. Bernard being always ahead said: "We could shoot it on a camcorder." I replied: "No, you need a proper set-up for a piece that's as cool as that." However, the seeds were sewn about a film, and at the beginning of 1999, Bernard called me one day and said: "I have funds to make a short film about the kidnapped reclusive Rock star, and we sat down at the Pasta House in Belsize Park, London NW3, and began to come up with more ideas. Bernard and I were always on the same wavelength, and over the years up to the making of RAD, I felt that Bernard subtly was priming me in a creative way for something special; whether it was music or film.
13. How did you first meet the Original Writer of the Story, Bernard White?
It must have been around 1993; when I found myself completely broke, and nothing much going on in my career. By chance – the owner of a junk shop that I frequented in Bayswater: asked me if I knew anything about old records. Taking a look at the large bulk of cool and mainly old rock albums; I told him that I thought that some of them were worth good money – not that I was an expert, but I could tell by instinct, that some of them were collectable. The junk shop man, then asked how much I would give him for the lot, I borrowed some cash, and made a deal with him, as I thought that I could sell them on and maybe make a little urgently needed cash.
After selecting what I thought were the best of the lot, I checked out some of the West End collector's shops, and found myself in a Hanway Street WC1 vintage record shop called Vinyl Experience, and eye-to-eye with Bernard White: who looked at me in a very strange way – almost dum struck, but he did a deal on the albums I had brought in, and in fact, he bought more of the batch from me over the following weeks. So during this broke period, I would deal a few records here and there to Bernard.
What eventually transpired was that Bernard was interested in hearing some of my music, and one evening, after I had been working with Bill Legend of T.Rex: I made a demo of a composition of mine titled Hard On Love, and the next day I took it into Bernard, to see what he thought of it. By this time we were good friends, and regularly hung out for coffees. After hearing my song Bernard said: "That’s a classic Rock song, and I am going to put that out on CD." He then told me that he would pay for the recording and pressing of the composition, and form his own label – White Label Records solely for the purpose of the release of the song. Bernard then immediately set-about putting all into action – and one week later we were recording the composition.
14. Tell us exactly what transpired in securing the rights to use the Rick Wright track?
Did you meet with Rick in person?
I did not meet Rick; Bernard handled the whole securing rights situation, after I thought that the song would make a great part of the sound track. This came about when we were editing RAD. Every day during the editing process, I kept thinking about a new title for the film, and on one occasion: Remember A Day had been played over-and-over through monitor speakers; during editing a flash-back Rock performance sequence in which Roger features. Dave Goodman (RIP) the original Sex Pistols producer was working with us on the film, had stuck Rick's Remember A Day over the sound system at the venue in south London (which coincidentally enough Pink Floyd had played at in their early days of rising to fame); so I could move to the track when we filmed the sequence. Whilst we were editing: the track kept bleeding through the editing monitors, so I fell in love with the song and told the editor (Jason Krasuki) that I thought Remember A Day should be the title of our film. Bernard then contacted Rick and got his written permission to use the track for the film.
15. How much analysing of Syd's character was done for the film? There certainly are some distinct quotes and references in Remember a Day, that could ONLY be Syd Barrett?
Bernard and I, spent around 5 months working with a well-known photographer – whom I had asked to direct – what we thought at that time was going to be a 12 minute short. It transpired that the whole thing was being diluted and taken out of our control, and Bernard and I were not at all happy with the situation. So we parted company with the photographer. And I was asked to produce RAD, by Bernard and Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon - who Bernard and I had then asked to direct the piece. So during those first frustrating 5 months of going up the wrong alleyway in the wrong direction; Bernard and I did gain a great deal of study, and between us formulated a lot of scenes; finding that the piece was becoming organically based on someone like Syd. Two weeks later (after having taking the production into our own control), we commenced on the shooting of RAD.
16. How difficult was it to play this part?
Incredibly difficult – factors being, 1: I was also the producer of the film: therefore I was living the role as Roger Bannerman; and almost in a schizophrenic way – being a different person – as the films producer. 2: shooting on an extremely low budget, meant that this was by no means an luxurious shoot, so being Roger day and night, plus producing, and writing additional scenes daily with Bernard (18 of which were not filmed); meant an incredible amount of focusing – it's some times is easier to focus on a character if you have nothing else to think about: other than how the character thinks; and that alone is enough to concentrate on. However the tension I was experiencing – seemed to covert itself into manifesting and creating the complex multi-layered character of Roger Bannerman.
17. Who would you have play YOU in a film?
18. What projects are on the horizon for Darryl Read?
I am already into the horizon with finishing off a new book of poetry and The Angel Of Dust (second part of my novel/biography) plus starting to work on a new CD album; along with three film projects that I am mulling over on what to shoot – positively thinking; at some point into the new year.
19. What is your favourite film and CD from this year?
To be honest I don’t really know, as I haven’t seen many new films in 2005, as well as not listening to much mainstream music – due to working on all connected with question 18. However, I did meet and hear a young Psychedelic Mod group in NYC; called Headquarters - earlier in the year (who really looked the part – Cubans 'n all), and although they haven’t hit the big time yet – I think they could, and I like there're recordings immensely.
20. And lastly, What ambitions do you still have to fulfil in this lifetime?
A plethora of Artistic work – that if I think about it; in terms of volume – it exhausts me!
Thank you very much to Darryl for taking time out from his busy life to conduct this wonderful Interview.
FILM REVIEW – Remember A Day (Madstar Films)
What a trip! “Remember a Day” not only portrays a wonderfully colourful and witty story, but it contains some absolutely brilliant music, and even some very dark comedic moments. I caught myself laughing out loud in a few places! The creators of this fine little underground gem of a film, Producer and Lead Actor Darryl Read, and writer Bernard White (well known Syd Barrett expert), have involved a number of people who knew Syd Barrett personally as well as being key figures of the late sixties London Underground "scene". Namely Peter Jenner of Pink Floyd fame, Jenny Fabian, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon (who shot the footage that became the "Syd's First Trip" short film) among many others. For instance, our beloved Richard Wright, who gets a “Special Thanks” in the Credits. Yes...Amazingly, the film-makers managed to secure the rights to the Rick Wright penned song "Remember A Day", for the film’s soundtrack. Wright also provided a very rare instrumental version, which can be heard over the end titles.
Darryl Read, who plays the lead role of the Barrett-esque style character has had an amazing career, as diverse as it has been long, with extensive work on stage, screen and television, as well as writing music and poetry. Having worked on well-known British TV shows Minder and Eastenders, Darryl has also ramped up his music talent more recently, working with Ray Manzarek of The Doors.
As shown in the picture below, Darryl has a striking resemblance to Marc Bolan – whom he has also performed as, in a tribute.
Read draws on his own career for some of the ideas and situations portrayed in “Remember a Day”. In my opinion, some parts of the film can ONLY be described as the character of Syd Barrett, as several sparkling examples of this are clearly shown in some scenes. For instance, where the main character quotes the line “I’m full of dust and guitars”. And our Syd-like character/musician is also shown in other scenes placing Mandrax in his hair, and strumming one note over and over on his guitar. All well known Syd Barrett antics or myths if you prefer, from his past.
A brief synopsis of the film, without giving too much away for those yet to see it…
The full length movie (around 80 minutes) is about the story of Roger Bannerman, a reclusive but not totally retired rock star from the late 1960’s, dating the wrong kind of girls, yet deeply into his art and song-writing, yet going far further than you could ever imagine for his time on this planet. Yes, the character of Roger is very similar to Pink Floyd’s shining light Syd Barrett…which can only be a good thing! The film however takes a sudden turn and heats up when an obsessed fan, stalks Bannerman determined to re-launch Roger back into the Psychedelic Pop world, and the fun really starts when our crazed “on the edge” fan manages to kidnap Roger!
I’d better not say much more…
Darryl and Bernard make no mistake about the fact that this story is a fictional drama, and not the actual biographical story of Syd Barrett, as the film has it's own distinct characters and story to tell. The interviews etc included on the “bonus” features of the DVD reiterate this fact. However Darryl Read's "Bird Song Clock" track is written with a lovely acoustic style very reminiscent of Syd Barrett’s later (and more quirky) solo album tracks. A great piece!
The film contains a kaleidoscopic mix of present day and flashback scenes, incorporating the gorgeous use of fractals. The “trippy” use of colours continues throughout, splashing pleasant surprises of colour along it's Interstellar trajectory. The film explains in detail the momentum and progress of the fan's obsession with Bannerman, from following him down back alleys, to taking sneaky photographs, and listening to un-released live recordings amid his over the top collection of memorabilia and rarities at home.
Zoot Money is simply perfect in the role of, a rock star’s worst ever nightmare come true. His character is familiar to us all. The sort of shady character seen at concerts, hanging around security, and often competing with other fans to be the most recognised, and most “knowledgable” of the music and it’s creator! They (these crazed fans) often read much further into the lyrics of the songs, than was ever envisioned or intended by the musician in question!
Darryl’s portrayal of a cynical, enigmatic, psychedelic chemical soaked and scarred rock star, with his world tunnelling downward out of control, is incredibly competent and effervescent in the role of Roger Bannerman. Darryl’s experience and time in front of the camera is clearly evident, as he shines like a fresh cut diamond, adopting the strong character with ease and finesse.
The music included on the soundtrack, in a word is…STUNNING! It simply must be heard, to be appreciated! The following list of Artists included on the DVD's soundtrack soon spells this out…
THE SEX PISTOLS, PINK FLOYD, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, DANTALIONS CHARIOT, DARRYL READ, AND MANY OTHERS.
The DVD has chapter selections, plus a load of interviews, photo stills and posters.
The disc is presented with a Dolby Digital 2 Channel Stereo soundtrack, and an Anamorphic Picture that switches between widescreen and fullscreen aspect ratios, depending on the retrospective footage or scene being shown. The picture and sound are extremely good quality, sometimes the picture is a little too clear. In my opinion it would have been nice to see some picture-grading applied to the "look", as in some parts it clearly shows that it was shot on only semi-pro cameras, looking quite stark and too clean. This does not effect the telling of the film though in any way. It has been shot in a very nice style, which is very faithful to time of the sixties. The only give away is the modern cars shown in the car-park of Abbey Road in one of the scenes. It would have been near impossible to achieve this scene without some sought of ridiculous budget to digitally remove all the cars from the moving images. I believe the producers have done an amazing job with their ready resources!
I’m sure this Underground film will gain further Cult status in years to come, and will be watched by many future generations getting into the wonderfully colourful time and place that was London’s Underground of the late sixties. I certainly enjoyed watching this film (one rainy Sunday afternoon); it is dripping with psychedelic images and music, spiked with black humour, and produced by the very people whose story it essentially is. I will certainly be watching this film a few more times in my lifetime.
The DVD may be purchased NOW online at the following link:
Photo Credits for this page (in order)
1 Darryl Read, Spain - October 2005.
Photo by Andre Fritz (c) Darryl Read Archives
2 Darryl Read, Bayswater, London Circa 1969.
Photo by David Palmer (c) Darryl Read Archives
3 Still from the video promo shoot 'On The Streets Tonight' Hollywood, LA Circa 1989
Photo by Joe Ritter (c) Darryl Read Archives
4 Darryl Read is Roger Bannerman
Studio Still from the film Remember a Day
Photo Kevin Fisher (c) Darryl Read Archives
5 Bernard White on location of the shooting of RAD
Photograph Kevin Fisher (c) Darryl Read Archives
6 'Shaved' CD album cover featuring Darryl and Talitha Tallett (played groupie one in RAD).
Photograph by Clive Zone Hampstead 2002 (c) Darryl Read Archives
7 Darryl Read filming promo for 'Eyes Of Dark' 12 Bar Club, London September 19th 2005.
Photo by Phil Strongman (c) Darryl Read Archives
8 Still from RAD 'Roger has a visitor' Hampstead, London
Photograph by Billy Carter (c) Darryl Read Archives
9 Darryl Read and Ray Manzarek, Freshly Dug CD Album sleeve, UK Cherry Red/Lemon records 2005
Sleeve photo by Jochen Maassen (c) Darryl Read Archives
10 Darryl Read, Circa 1997 Golders Hill Park NW London
photo by David S. Alexander (c) Darryl Read Archives
11 Still from the film Remember A Day 'Roger and The Barbed Wire Guitar'
photo by Dave Goodman (RIP) (c) Darryl Read Archives