Interstellar Overdrive is the name of a January 2014 Shindig guide and it's worth every penny you spend on it. In 35 articles on 170 pages, it tries to define and explore the space rock phenomenon. It has in-dept articles on Acid Mothers Temple, Tim Blake, Neu!, Ozric Tentacles, Yes and many others without forgetting The Tornados' Telstar and the obligatory space rock top 30 countdown. A 6-pages article, called 'The Reluctant Spacerockers', written by Austin Matthews, investigates the frail relation between Pink Floyd and space rock.
This is part two of our review, for part one that covers an entirely different matter, please check:
Pink Floyd. Still First in Space. NOT!
Even if it omits the ambient Cluster One instrumental from The Division Bell, that with Storm Thorgerson's artwork of the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile, refers to Astronomy Domine, we thoroughly enjoyed the well researched 'Reluctant Spacerockers' essay. What we are not happy with however, is the picture that is put on top of the article.
Here it is (we have cropped the picture a bit to only show the band members and we put some nifty numbers above each person).
Copyright: Pictorial Press. We honestly think we can publish this picture under the 'Fair Use' rules, especially as it will be used for criticism, comment reporting, news gathering and frankly, for taking the piss out of the copyright holders. See also: legal stuff.
It is a nice picture, no problem about that, but unfortunately the band isn't Pink Floyd. There are five musicians on the picture but the five man Floyd barely existed for 8 days in the beginning of 1968.
Hi all. Only to say you that, according with Ian Russell, this picture, posted in the page 57, shows a band called Dantalian's Chariot, a famous psychedelic band in the end '60. This photo was also in the Cliff Jones 'Echoes' book, but has nothing to do with the Floyd at all.
It seemed to be a 5-man Floyd pic, but NOT, we really should know better, wrong instruments, wrong equipment etc.
That band's something we can't explain
The picture shows five musicians and that particular setup in Pink Floyd was only known for five live gigs between 12 January 1968 and 20 January 1968. On the Yeeshkul forum this picture has been further analysed by fans who know these things much better than we do...
The five men on the picture should be, left to right, numbers one to five:
1: Roger Waters playing the bass. The picture isn't clear enough to recognise the bass player, but the bass should've been a Rickenbacker and the musician on the left is holding a Fender.
2: Nick Mason. First of all: this isn't Nick's drum set. The silver toms look the same, but the bass drum is smaller and doesn't have a front skin. Pink Floyd always had a front skin on the drums and furthermore Nick always had two bass drums instead of one.
3: David Gilmour. It is weird that the third man doesn't play a guitar. Especially for David Gilmour who normally is glued to his axe and who was hired in to mimic Syd's solos.
4: Syd Barrett. The man on the picture is playing a black or sunburst Strat, a guitar Syd didn't have, as far as we know. David Gilmour only acquired one two years later. A white strat would have been more appropriate for Syd.
5: Rick Wright. Although the keyboard player is nearly completely hidden in the dark one can see something that resembles a huge perm. Richard was never the man to have an afro. It is awfully dark but the organ doesn't seem to be a Hammond, Rick Wright's favourite instrument.
And there is more. The equipment is not Pink Floyd's. There is a Marshall stack and a Fender Bassman and these are not Floydian at all, so tell us the people who know. What the equipment does have in common with Pink Floyd is a Watkins (aka WEM) PA unit, but that is hardly unique.
Then there is the projection of the nude woman left on the picture, she also appears on the right side of the stage (on the uncropped version). We have never seen something similar on the dozens of live pictures of the Floyd of that era. Often avant-garde movies were shown on the walls (or the ceiling) while bands where playing in the psychedelic clubs, but it is again one of those things that don't add up.
And last: this picture is often described as taken at the UFO club but the 5 man Floyd didn't play there in the 8 days they existed.
As for the assumption that the band is Dantalian's Chariot with Zoot Money on keyboards and a young Andy Summers on guitar the cons are about the same. That band consisted of four members, not five, and Zoot Money didn't have a big hairdo either. But apparently Jeff Dexter confirmed it is them allright. So this could have been taken during their UFO gig on the 22nd of September, 1967.
The above picture is copyrighted by Pictorial Press who have it in their Pink Floyd folder as number 1398. Unfortunately they can't give us a date but they do mention it was taken at the UFO club. To further demonstrate their competence they categorise Pink Floyd under the category 'metal', a class they share with KC and The Sunshine Band, Dionne Warwick and Sandie Shaw. These people are professionals, we can tell you that! (We are aware of the existence of The Nile Song and Ibiza Bar, though.)
But scallywags or not, Pictorial Press has several times managed to sell this picture. We find it on page 20 of William Ruhlmann's Pink Floyd (1993), but luckily the author caught the error in time and describes it as 'an unidentified group at UFO'. This biography is one of those mass printed 'take your money and run' budget releases with scarce text and plenty of pictures. It is also one of the few biographies that was published in Dutch and in that edition the picture can be found on page 16.
In 1996 Cliff Jones published the picture on page 25 of his Echoes biography, not to be confused with the Glenn Povey history book that has the same title. Subtitled 'the stories behind every Pink Floyd song' the book attempted to tell the band's history track per track and album per album, but there it miserably failed. There are plenty of mistakes in the text and also on the pictures: on page 29 Roger Waters can be seen but the picture is described as 'a young Dave Gilmour'; page 25 has the UFO picture this article is all about, captioned 'The Floyd light show, UFO club'. Apparently David Gilmour was so angry about this book that he threatened to sue the author:
"The book has a very large number of errors - over 120 - some careless, some very serious", the star's solicitors, tell me. "We have also identified four serious libels of David Gilmour. The band take a very serious view of this and are furious." (Daily Express Dec. 9th 1996, quoted on Brain Damage)
An agreement was reached and the book was shipped to the shops, but with a sticker on page 107 that replaced 23 lines with new text. We will never know how the passage reads that infuriated Gilmour so much. Original copies were send back to the publisher and seem to have vanished from this planet. For those interested in the many mistakes there is this webpage showing them all and for a review we can guide you to Brain Damage. To add insult to injury this book was also issued under the title Another Brick In The Wall (for the overseas market?) but it comes with exactly the same mistakes.
London Live by Tony Bacon could be found for years on the official Syd Barrett website where they thought it was all about the person that makes them sell these t-shirts. However, the book is not a Pink Floyd, nor a Syd Barrett biography but an 'inside story of live bands in the capital's trail-blazing music clubs' of London. Page 90 and 91 have the (artificially coloured) picture where it is called 'a majestic lightshow at UFO', not mentioning any band.
In October last year, a new biography, Behind the Wall, appeared, written by Hugh Fielder. Floyd anoraks say that the book doesn't really reveal new facts, apart from the obligatory updates about the Roger Waters never ending Wall-world-tour. One thing that makes us hesitate buying it is that the UFO club picture is in there and that it apparently is attributed to the band we all love.
Shame on Shindig!
Of course Pictorial Press, in their role as entrepreneurial con men, are
not entirely to blame for selling their
crap images. Authors and
graphical editors should not only check and double-check text material
but also the pictures they publish.
The guys from Shindig normally deliver excellent work, but before he gave his fiat for this issue Jon 'Mojo' Mills must have inhaled a wee bit too much sweet smoke from his water-pipe.
Shame on you, crazy Shindig!
P.S. Obviously The Anchor has warned Pictorial Press about their mistake
and as soon as we will receive an answer this article will be updated. (Update
2016: they never answered.)
P.P.S. Shindig was so kind to give us the following message: "We were duped! I should have spotted it. Many apologies."
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
The Anchor wishes to thank: the Yeeshkul and A Fleeting Glimpse forums and their members, b_squared, demamo, Rich Hall, hallucalation, Mr. Pinky, Orgone Accumulator, saygeddylee, supervehicle, sydzappa...
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 90-91.
Jones, Cliff: Another Brick in the Wall, Broadway Books, New York, 1996, p. 25. In the UK this book has been published under the title 'Echoes'.
Ruhlmann, William: Pink Floyd, Magna Books, Leicester, 1993, p. 20.
Ruhlmann, William: Pink Floyd, ADC, Eke (Belgium), 1994, p. 16. Dutch edition of the above.
Fielder, Hugh: Behind The Wall, Race Point Publishing, New York, 2013.