Nick Mason, who has always been the gentleman drummer of the band we call Pink Floyd, once jokingly said that he was mainly in the recycling business nowadays. It might have been on Top Gear, but before all the nitpickers jump on our back instead of ordering a fresh pint of Guinness, we admit we didn't check that.
Always a bit of an existentialist joker, our Nick, but of course there is much truth in what he said. Let's have a look of what the Barrett-driven band has produced for the last couple of decades.
The Gravy Train
1993: Crazy Diamond (Syd Barrett, 3 cd-set digital remaster and
1994: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, stereo digital remaster 1994.
1997: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, mono digital remaster 1997, came with a separate Early Singles EP (other 'regular' stereo Piper releases date from 1999 and 2001).
2001: Echoes, the best of Pink Floyd.
2001: The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me?
2007: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, mono and stereo digital remasters 2007. 40th anniversary edition (2 and 3 disk versions).
2007: Oh By The Way (Pink Floyd anthology).
2010: An Introduction to Syd Barrett (remixed and remastered Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett compilation, see: Gravy Train To Cambridge).
So when something really new comes up, and with really new, we mean really really new the surviving vintage Floyd community suddenly veers up, throws its rollators in the air and shouts with one voice: yes we can! After that the nurses come back and warn us that so much excitement should be avoided and that it is changing nappies time again.
On the 10th of September 1967 Pink Floyd played a gig at the Gyllene Cirkeln (Golden Circle) jazzclub in Stockholm. Jazzclub is a slight overstatement, the place was a restaurant in disguise and Pink Floyd were having a dinner concert as most people were enjoying their Swedish köttbullar slightly wondering where all this estranged noise was coming from.
Swedish chefs are never to be trusted, just dine at Ikea for a change, probably the only restaurant in the world were you can actually take the tables and the chairs back home, and the chef at Gyllene Cirkeln was no exception. While Barrett and Co were swinging their rocks off Anders Lind was taping the gig hoping that in 2011 somebody would be interested. Only someone from Volvo-land can come up with a devilish scheme like that... but to add insult to injury he was probably right as the first public hearing of the Pink Floyd live tape in 3 and a half decades, last Tuesday at the same venue, was an immediate success.
Until now the earliest recorded Floyd gig had been at the Danish Star
Club. It dates from the 13th of September 1967 and was recorded in
Copenhagen, 3 days after the Golden Circle concert. Although only a very
lo-fi recording has survived into this millennium it is much appreciated
by Barrett collectors because it contains 3 officially unreleased early
Pink Floyd songs. Here is the setlist:
Stoned Again (unreleased)
Arnold Layne (single)
Rush In A Million (unreleased)
Matilda Mother (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn)
Scream Thy Last Scream (unreleased, see also: Scream Thy False Scream)
Astronomy Domine (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn).
The track listing of the Swedish Golden Circle gig, 3 days earlier, is
rather different. Starting with an unknown seven minutes 20 seconds jam,
it goes like this:
Before or Since ('untitled' and unreleased jam, 7'20")
Matilda Mother (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, 5 minutes, Syd Barrett vocals inaudible)
Pow R Toc H (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, 11 minutes)
Scream Thy Last Scream (unreleased, 3 minutes)
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (A Saucerful Of Secrets, 7 minutes, Roger Waters vocals scarcely audible)
See Emily Play (single, 3 minutes - the only live recording of this track!)
Interstellar Overdrive (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, 10 minutes)
Pink Floyd fan Göran Nyström who was there told Brain Damage that it was a "great recording except for the singing” although it proves that Syd was, that day, very far from a spent force. Apparently the band had some PA problems, making the vocals inaudible, but otherwise the recording is superb and has an excellent stereo separation. The recording was done by a Revox machine using two microphones on the stage and its quality is nearly soundboard.
The untitled jam session at the beginning of the show was described by Roger Waters as follows: “nobody is ever gonna hear that one again, before or since”, but only a small excerpt of it was played at the event. EMI and/or Pink Floyd are aware of the track and they apparently confirmed to Anders Lind that the track is not Reaction In G, another unreleased Pink Floyd instrumental. Which brings us to the following point.
Payday at EMI
At several strategical places in the Golden Circle club last week the following message could be read:
Pink Floyd Ltd. and/or EMI listened to snippets of the tape before the event and promised the organiser of the event to release the concert as a bonus disk on a future Pink Floyd re-release. According to Brain Damage “the organiser specifically asked that no-one record the audio and post it anywhere online, as that would jeopardise any chance of this”.
The Anchor is well aware of the fact that EMI is close to bankruptcy and that its managers can't afford to snort high quality cocaine any more but we would like to define the above attempt to blackmail the owner of the tape (and with him: the fans) as utter bollocks. First of all the Pink Floyd EMI vaults have quite a few unreleased Pink Floyd tracks and claiming that bootlegs have jeopardised their release is turning the truth upside down a bit. On top of that Anders Lind has confirmed to people attending the show that EMI pushed him to stop the event. Anders Lind who had been to the UK to play the tape for EMI refused to let them have it and finally a compromise was made by deleting the opening jam from last week's show.
The tactic is clear, even if an audience tape is weeded through the appropriate Pink Floyd fan channels, the opening jam will be firmly in the possession of the bloodhounds of EMI and - let us not forget, as they are no angels either - Pink Floyd Ltd, although it is not clear yet that the sale has already been made.
It is pretty sure that audience recordings of the event have been made, but the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett fan community is reluctant to release those and wants to give EMI the benefit of the doubt.
Against the tide of common sense The Anchor still hopes that an audience recording of last week's event will find its way on the web soon. It will be no match against the semi-professional tape that EMI (or the Pink Floyd management) will have in its hands soon, ready to be digitally remastered. Perhaps an audience recording could convince EMI to get on with it - fast! - as it would only make the appetite for an official release (with the seven missing minutes) bigger.
Update 6th of November 2011: Yeeshkul has now weeded the audience recording of the audience recording...
The Piper Reissue At The Gates Of Dawn
The comment that the gig would be put on yet another release of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is a bit of a bummer. A 50 years Piper anniversary release has to wait until 2017 although the good thing is of course that a 45 years release could already see the light of day next year. But why take Piper again? Piper seems to be the new milk cow of EMI and if this goes on like this there will be more Pipers around than Dark Side Of The Moons (see also: Fasten Your Anoraks).
The Anchor's wet dream is of course that this tape would be the ultimate trigger to release a vintage Pink Floyd rarities and demos box set, containing the Stockholm gig, the proto-Floyd sessions with Bob Klose, the pieces that were left of Piper and Saucerful, the aborted singles Scream Thy Last Scream and Vegetable Man and several BBC sessions including the lost Top of The Pops show that was miraculously found back in 2009 and has since then disappeared in an EMI / Pink Floyd Ltd. sealed and secured vicinity.
Come on EMI don't you see that my wallet is burning. But if I were you I would stop threatening and blackmailing the Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd community. It is thanks to us that you will be able to start sniffing that high quality cocaine soon again.
Update 2011 05 09: a 42 seconds snippet of Interstellar Overdrive
surfaced and disappeared today, but Barrett-biographer Julian Palacios
saved it for posterity: Interstellar
Overdrive. As far as some insiders know: EMI still hasn't bought the
tape and a second round of negotiations is underway. The owner, Anders
Lind, insists on a 'use it or loose it' clause in the contract, meaning
that EMI will be legally obliged to release the concert in order to keep
the rights. To be continued...
Update 2011 11 06: Yeeshkul has now weeded the audience recording of the audience recording... (after 'insiders' had heard from the Pink Floyd camp that an official release of this tape seems improbable, due to the lack of vocals)
Update 2016 11 11: the Gyllene Cirkeln tape has found a legal release on the Pink Floyd compilation Early Years: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years.
The Anchor wishes to thank: Göran Nyström, dallasman, krackers, moonwall, motoriksymphonia, xpkfloyd, zag and the other lovely people at Y.