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In 2011 Eva Wijkniet, from The Netherlands, not only managed to visit
the Barrett exhibition
at (the recently closed down) Idea Generation Gallery, but she also got
a foot in the door of Libby Gausden Chisman, a couple of months later.
When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit got hold of the rumour that she
was writing her story for publication at the Dutch Pink
Floyd Fans Nederland fanpage, we moved heaven and earth to publish
her report on the Church pages as well.
It did cost us blood, sweat, an inkjet and blue nail-polish, but here it
is, the wondrous story of Eva, friends and family, in merry Barrett
land. Many, many thanks to Libby Gausden for her support and Eva for
Eva Wijkniet: my Syd (Roger) Barrett project
You have got these years that a lot happens, more than in other years. 2011
was one like this for me.
It actually began in 2010 when I came in contact with the creators of
book". Mind you, not that I personally met them, but through the
social media like things go today.
I once had seen (already a long time ago) an episode
of the documentary series called "the
seven ages of rock" with particular focus on the origins of
psychedelic rock, and in particular the vague and relatively unknown
first front-man of Pink Floyd. I knew Pink Floyd, but was not very
interested in their well-known work. But when I saw this documentary I
was glued to the tube as bee on a honey pot. Who was this appearance?
What was that noise? What was this special story and why didn't I know
I had to go to the bottom of this... my research project "Syd (Roger)
Barrett" had begun...
First I read some books. "A Very Irregular Head" by Rob
Chapman and "Dark Globe" by Julian Palacios were the first,
and after a load of others (all in English) these came out the best in
my opinion. What was it about this man? Why did this gorgeous and
brilliant appearance of a man vanished from the scene before the world
lay at the feet of this mega band?
He was a painter... He was a guitarist... He was crazy... He
was an acid casualty... He became a hermit... Hundreds, thousands
vague stories of incidents... How was it really?
I became heavily fascinated with my object or research, so to speak. Months
of wandering on the internet and many extensions of my Facebook network
followed and after a while I stumbled upon a site of Essential Works
where authors Russell Beecher and Will Shutes were busy compiling a book
This had to be a complete visual overview of Barrett as an "Artist". A
book featuring never-before-seen photos and a compendium of his artwork
that was still traceable or that had been photographed. This book would
also have (love) letters of the very young Syd, full of expectations of
life, searching for a purpose, seeking confirmation of his loved ones,
unsure of his musical skills in the student band with his mates Roger,
Nick, Rick and Bob.
To get this book published, the authors sought support.
For months I frantically twittered and facebooked and in November
2010, the high word came out... the book was going to be published! To
thank us for our endless spamming, the first who had subscribed to the
book had their name published in the so called "Roll of Honour".
Early 2011, the book appeared!
BARRETT: The definitive visual companion to the life of Pink Floyd's
I was super-proud when I opened the book and saw my name on the "Roll"
among many others.
And... there was going to be an exhibition! Obviously I had to go! I
went to London and two super girlfriends reported themselves as travel
March 2, 2011, early in the morning, three uproarious girls (30+ but
with the mentality of 15-year old teenagers who went on a tour) got on a
plane to London. That same afternoon I stood with my face before a
painting of a turtle (a reproduction would later hang on my wall). I
stand musing in front of the letters Syd wrote to his first loves (later
I would know better one of them) and very early photos of Pink Floyd...
There was a mosaic of two warriors, abstract works in red and blue,
small landscapes in watercolour, ink sketches of a little boy...
My friends were pretty tired after 10 minutes, but they did not have the
connection with and fascination for Syd Barrett as I have... I loved it
and two days later I returned to visit the exposition on my own.
Through Facebook I had already met Libby Gausden Chisman, Syd's first
She is a terribly nice woman, in her sixties but that doesn't withhold
her to master the full potential of Facebook. She took pleasure to get
acquainted with the supporters of the "Barrett book".
When she heard that I would spend my summer holidays at the English
Coast with my family, she insisted that we would bring her a visit.
After some exchanges of mail addresses and phone-numbers we left
(husband, child, parents-in-law all stuffed in two packed cars) towards
Libby and Neil (her husband) lived on the route but I still hesitated to
bust her place with my household and parents, especially as it was
around dinner time. I called just to be sure, and she said I had not to
act stupid and that she had more than enough food and that we had to
We arrived at the place in a beautiful area at the English coast. We
drove up the driveway and the front door was already open... I didn't
want to just walk in, so I rang at the door. Libby arrived and said that
she had left the door open on purpose for us. I said it was not wise
after the incident in the IG gallery (on the second last day a painting
had been stolen, but two days later it was returned by post). Afterwards
she found the theft really witty and she corrected us, the painting had
not been stolen, but merely borrowed.
We were greeted like old friends, which I still think is particular as I
only knew her through Facebook. We got coffee in the garden (and she was
glad I am a smoker, she finds all that anti-smoking stuff a hassle) and
an arsenal of food that was yet to come.
The long corridor of the house was filled with artwork and some of those
I had already seen a few weeks earlier, of course. But at the IG gallery
I really thought this would be a one time experience... how wrong could
I could take pictures of what I wanted and the she came with a suitcase
full of letters.
All these years she had kept the letters in a black garbage bag, but the
people of the gallery didn't found that nice enough and stored the
letters for her in a folder and suitcase.
You have to know that in all these years many Syd fans and journalists
came over her floor and that quite some documents and photos have been
'lost'. And yet this doesn't withhold her from continuing to welcome
Many have been to her house, including writer Rob Chapman, who even
worked on his book about Syd in a room in her house. Libby has never
read his book.
Also I found it particular that her husband Neil was as warm and
affectionate towards us. Lib has often said that we owe it to him that
these Syd Barrett relics are still there. He always wanted her to keep
the documents even at the moments that she wanted to put hem away.
In the 70s he even agreed with the idea of taking Syd into their home
when it really wasn't going well with him. Her mother put a stop on this
because she didn't found it suitable for the very young children of the
couple. This is just one anecdote of the many she told me, but out of
respect I will not put those here. She made it clear that there was more
than the excesses of madness and excessive drug use we always read about.
I was sitting cross-legged on the floor and she gave me all those
letters to read and then came the moment when she summoned me to go
upstairs... From her bedroom's wardrobe she took an old black leather
jacket. Would I like to try it on?
It was Syd's leather jacket from 1962!
On a balcony of an old English house at the coast, with palm trees in
the garden and the rustling sea in the background, I wore the Syd
Barrett's coat... Pinch me!
I wore the jacket of my idol. The man who meant so much for me. Of
course not in the same way when I was 14 and almost fainted as Koen
Wauters from the Belgian rock band Clouseau
came on TV (yes... everyone has some youthful sins...).
This is different.
Libby has no problem distinguishing the "Sydiots" (terrible word) from
the real fans. And precisely the real fan she embraces. "For us it was
easy, we knew him and he was part of our lives. You had to take some
efforts, by listening to his music and by reading books about him.", she
There is also some small rebellion in her, because she often disagrees
with the "Syd Barrett Estate" (that manages the art pieces, letters,
etc...). The Estate owns everything, even if it is in her hands. And the
Estate doesn't like to share, but she doesn't mind.
Everything comes to an end, we could have stayed for hours, but our trip
had to be continued. I have met a new friend in a once in a lifetime
The book was published. I had attended the exhibition. I visited
Libby. I had seen everything.
Luckily I didn't fall into a black hole! I got inspiration for other
projects, things I need to do. We had an artist in the family, I want to
map his work and career. It will become a long-term project. I also have
a family and work to do, but somehow I'll manage.
So what did this all lead to? A lot. Especially a lot of things I
can't describe, but that are there. Syd Barrett is always floating
somewhere in the back of my mind.
Thanks to: Libby and Neil, AJ, Alex, Amy, Andre, Bill, Felix, Iggy,
Jenny, Julian and all of you for being my Facebook Barrett friends.
On The Border was released end of November 2013 we didn't
suspect that the tracks would be haunting us for weeks to come. Slowly
it dawned to us that this record was not just a simple collection of
rock songs, but that there was a certain flow in the music, a well
hidden concept that was the direct result of their previous album that
solely existed of Syd Barrett covers.
We (FA) invited Göran Nyström (GN) and Phil Etheridge
(PE) to Atagong mansion where we had the following, Guinness induced,
Why don't you listen to the Jumpstart album on Spotify while reading
this interview? (A Spotify membership is probably needed, but this is
free. There is no need to download and install the Spotify player, the
music will (hopefully) play in your browser.)
FA: Shine! was an album with Syd
Barrett, so to speak, but Jumpstart is about him, right?
PE: Yes! Jumpstart takes over where Shine! left off. On
that album we explored Syd's solo songs. It was fun and it gave us the
appetite for more. Then we started to wonder: what happened next in
GN: We tried to send a message by the sequencing of our first
album, telling a story of the period 1968-1972-ish and using a fair
sprinkling of licentia
poetica. On the new album we have stretched that poetic license
much further. Jumpstart is all about Syd, but more of a fantasy, a
speculation even. The premise is simple. What if Syd, at age 50, would
have had an epiphany. A lightning strike, a jumpstart. A reverse perhaps
of that electric shock he received in Santa
FA: Maybe all that Syd needed was a second electrical shock to
get him on the rails again? Just like in the comics where the main
character regains his memory by a second blow on the head.
GN: That's it. That's the Jumpstart. The kick in the behind. How
we used to fix our old TV sets.
PE: Or how my school teachers used to fix me...
GN: The two Jumpstart songs on the album are the fantasy
bookends. They speak of that very moment, the awakening in fantasy-land,
anno 1996. In-between, 12 songs spread over four "seasons", telling the
inner story of the years from 1972 till 1996. It speaks of the fantasy
journey of a tormented soul and of reminiscence.
PE: We used only two of Syd's songs and the rest are not trying
to be typical Syd songs either. They speak about him, or some sort of
fantasy Syd. The song 'Jumpstart' is about fixing your heart, about
kicking it into action again and about life over death.
FA: The first season, or song trilogy, starts with 'Baby
PE: 'Baby Lemonade' is pure Syd of course. We wanted to give it a
good solid punk rock drive with psychedelic sonic explorations - the
elements that Syd did so well in his heyday. This is when we dive back
in time to 1972, through Syd's own reflections on his life, which I
found kind of shocking.
GN: And the starting point is the thematic Autumn. A new energy
injected into that fading autumn. In the afterglow of a glorious summer
comes a season of neglect and departure. In the inescapable poetry of
Led Zeppelin: "Leaves are falling all around. It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay. But now it's
time for me to go." (2)
FA: And rain falls in gray far away... The next track 'Pills'
really is a great track, instrument wise.
GN: Yeah. The guitar-work is Phil magic. Sinister. The song is
about addiction and relapses. But also about love and hunger. It's all
weirdly poetic and ambivalent. How to resist a temptation. A constant
inner monologue, very much about pills of course and how that addiction
is ended. “Your place by my bed, no more”. Or is it properly ended?
FA: In 'I Don't Want To Be Your Man' one can picture Syd
who almost begs to the fans to be left alone, and who is slowly getting
more and more angry about being disturbed all the time.
PE: Good point! And that theme appears in a couple of the songs.
I think it's partly that but also memories of a time waiting outside a
studio and really wanting to contribute. “No more waiting on your
steps”. But what the fuck - reaching a conclusion that he never wanted
it anyway. At the end it reverts to the question of 'Pills', those that
keep wanting him back.
FA: The maniacal Floyd anorak in me also sees a certain lyrical
familiarity to Gilmour's plea to the fans 'What
Do You Want From Me', which was a more civilised way to show his
frustration over the years than Roger Waters did who spat in the face of
a fan. Or am I just over-analysing?
GN: It's about dependency and ending a dependency. Whether that
is in sex or drugs or rock'n roll. All three components play into most
of the songs on Jumpstart. But I guess you just took it one step
further! The dependency between the artist and the fan base. Yeah,
FA: 'Have You Got It Yet', declares the cold winter in
GN: This is the start of the Winter trilogy. "I've felt the
coldness of my winter. I never thought, it would ever go. I cursed the
gloom that set upon us." (3) The
title has an obvious Syd reference. We debated that for a while. In the
end we wanted to bring out an element of anger and bitterness.
PE: Riding buses and going into pubs. Never quite able to drown
out memories and thoughts. And quite a lot of debate over the title.
There’s some tongue in cheek in the lyrics though. As a matter of fact
it’s not all dark…
FA: I hear in the frantic guitar solo near the end a glimpse of
what really happened between Syd Barrett and Roger Waters on that day he
wanted them not to learn 'Have You Got It Yet'.
PE: Could well be. Who knows? Still, the starting point of this
song is from a far distance.
GN: Yeah. An alternative title was 'Have You Still Not Got It?'
PE: And we're back in the debate again!
FA: After the mild anarchy of 'Have You Got It Yet' 'The Public'
really is a breath of fresh air.
GN: That song is sung by Phil. All other songs are from a Syd
perspective, but this one is from the troubadour at the pub watching
Syd. That's why it's a kind of Irish pub song, the sort you would hear
at the pub. And different in style to everything else on the album.
PE: The lead character joins in for the second half of the last
verse. That's the moment when it's becoming clear to him that he
absolutely must leave things behind. A song partly about a pub
existence, but definitely not Irish. Well, maybe London Irish. 'The
Public' does of course carry a dual meaning and the middle verse should
make that clear. I'm sure they don't even have public bars in London
pubs anymore, but dual meaning was too good to give up.
GN: Syd meets ABBA.
You will note some sonic references to 'Wish
You Were Here'. A song about how old friends always remain a
support. Don't they?
Andersson was a conscious musical starting point for this, with the
flute and oboe melodies in the middle and the end just a bit longer than
you’d expect, typical for ABBA. Lyrically the song is miles from them
though and at least for me was one of the darker moments on the album.
FA: I have always been enchanted by the ABBA song 'The
Piper' that was the B-side of 'Super Trouper'. I even suspected it
contained a hidden message for early Pink Floyd fans: "We're following
the piper and we dance beneath the moon..."
GN: The dark side of that moon surely!
FA: 'Garden' is the place where one notices spring at
first. Syd had a gardener's job once, given to him by an old Cambridge
GN: 'Garden' is about finding solace. Walking with buttercups.
Inner monologues. Dwelling on love lost. Rather despairing and probably
half crazy. Botanical garden walks. Not gardening. This is also when he
starts to realize how deep the love was that he walked away from. "You
are the sunlight in my growing. So little warmth, I've felt before. It
isn't hard to feel me glowing. I watched the fire that grew so low." (4)
PE: The mid-section with the focus on garden and garden walk is
that moment of staring point blank at the essence of existence, the core
of the brain of our lead character. The garden and the garden walk. One
bite of an apple and then a long walk out.
GN: Or back in again.
FA: 'Destiny Today' is about Syd's long walks along the
GN: That is true but it’s more than that. The river symbolises
life, as it does in many Floyd songs, and the walk is about finding your
destiny. And accepting the fact for what it is. It's a strange warm
feeling of peace when you can finally come to terms with what your life
PE: And what remains, which is the killer. It's a turning point.
Of the album too. This was one of the first songs we recorded for
Jumpstart. It set the mood for a kind of reconciliation. Of coming to
terms with life and to make the best of whatever it is that remains. Of
accepting your destiny, and doing that today.
FA: I hope I don't embarrass you by saying that the atmosphere of
this song reminds me of Gilmour's mesmerizing hymns, like 'The
Blue' and 'Where
GN: That is indeed a great compliment. David lived in his youth
close to Grantchester Meadows. I was there in June 2013 and played an
early demo of the song right there. Just by the river. To a friend who
had been there at the time. It's that kind of soothing chord structure
to it. Plus the repetitive lyrics. And Phil plays some of his best
guitar ever on it.
PE: I'm blushing. Nah, just kidding. Everything on these two
albums is my best stuff ever.
FA: 'Warm From You' starts like a warm spring day... but
what is it about, a lost love or the growing expectation for Syd to
finally do something with his life...
GN: Love mainly. The purpose of living, I guess. Live to love. It
tells a story of first failing and then picking up again. The sun and
that revolution can mean many things though. In the case of Syd, we
fantasize that love and love lost continued to mean a lot to him.
Shining through occasionally. How it "will always be a very special
thing to me".
PE: Like most things in life there’s ambiguity throughout and
that’s reflected in most of the songs actually. I unambiguously borrowed
a bit from Jimi Hendrix on this and it was a real pleasure to have an
opportunity to do that. The end has ‘Hey Joe’ stamped all over it. The
sounds at the end are drummer Björn Hammarberg scraping a drumstick over
his hi-hat - just a fun detail.
FA: So that was the tune that haunted me and that I couldn't
place, shame on me. I also find that the intro has a certain French
aspect, I can't stop thinking of Petula Clark's Coeur
PE: And strangely enough that leads me to "pour encourager les
autres", which is a nice reference a friend of mine used just the other
day and possibly the title of a new song, unless it's already been done
a whole lot.
FA: 'Terrapin' starts a new summer of love? Physical love
or is it the love for music?
PE: The summer of love was very physical, and that’s what
'Terrapin' is about for me. It also reads like an acid trip, which was
the other end of the summer of love. 'Terrapin' is also the only track
on the album which doesn’t have a keyboard of any sort, only guitars,
bass and drums. There are lots of guitars though. There must be a
hundred versions of this song on YouTube, mostly live in someone’s
bedroom, which says something about its popularity.
GN: "It is the summer of my smiles. Flee from me, keepers of the
gloom. Speak to me only with your eyes. It is to you I give this tune." (5)
It’s an essential song in the Barrett cannon. It speaks of love very
directly. We wanted it to be euphoric rather than subdued. It's the
moment of calling out for what all that yearning was about.
FA: But 'Something For the Waiting' is rather
introspective again... with a glimpse of misery and despair... begging
to god to invent "some kind of help to carry on"....
GN: It was the last song we added. I am not 100% sure if it is a
happy or sad song. Obviously it is very desperate. But it also shows a
realization and stamina. That there is something worth the waiting for.
Unfortunately, as the song goes, the rights to happiness “fell into the
hands of Paul McCartney”.
PE: Yeah. Olle
Ljungström has never given me happy vibes, so I’d go with sad.
GN: It's not a very faithful cover though!
PE: Göran was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t like this when he
sent me the acoustic demo, but I loved it right away and it fits.
Working on the arrangement was a blast. I used a thumb piano (a birthday
present from my sister) at the beginning of the song. I started out
playing a sort of non-tune, but Göran suggested the song melody, which
focused the whole thing. I also got to use the string quartet idea
(Lennart Östblom doing a number of overdubs) which Göran thankfully
vetoed on 'No Man’s Land'. This will be more electric live and we’ll
debut that in May.
FA: And that is when 'Let's Party' kicks in... which is
(for me) the highlight of the album...
PE: That’s great to hear! Jan Stumsner from P-Floyd
makes a much appreciated guest appearance on this track. Göran and I
each wrote our own parts for 'Let’s Party', basically two separate songs
which we melded. Göran’s lyrics are mostly poetic, whereas mine are more
about realism, like in 'The Public'. In this case the scenes were
experienced by me in 1973 courtesy of Eich Erzmoneit, a German drummer I
was playing bass with at the time, who did enjoy his acid and beer.
GN: In the context of the Jumpstart story, this is when Syd in
the end is shrugging his shoulders. Saying fuck this and let's party.
It's the best we can do. Something like the conclusion of the book 'Candide:
or, All for the best'. Playing the cards we are given. It's also a
sort of nod to the art rockers saying that there is real life to be
enjoyed behind the eyeliners and pretence. Voltaire concludes with
Candide saying that "we must cultivate our garden". That garden link
again. The heart at the center.
The Next Year
FA: So that wraps up the Jumpstart journey then? Bringing it all
back to the Jumpstart moment with a reprise of the first song and full
speed towards the future? Can I bore you once again with a quote from
someone else: "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!" (6)
GN: Indeed. Supersonic fighting cocks and all. You have an inner
view now. And who knows what the future will bring. One thing is clear,
Men On The Border was always about more than the music. We wanted to
bring back that old fashioned album experience. That is probably
something we will explore further in the future.
Henriksson (now Werner), did the previous cover and made justice to
the Syd Barrett early story in an amazing way. You can read many things
into that picture. She also contributed with an original piece for
Jumpstart, that takes the earlier picture – that life of Syd – into the
tumbler. It is a fabulous illustration of a Jumpstart, and of a broken
but vividly red heart at the center.
GN: Yes indeed. We were also thrilled to have Ian
Barrett on board, Syd's nephew and by now a good friend. He
contributed to the whole concept in no small way. He took the whole
thing one step further by adding the symbolism of Syd’s mirrored guitar
PE: That concept is so perfectly in tune with the whole idea of
Jumpstart, which is really a concept album about reflections and new
energy, and about Syd of course. Maybe that electric bolt in Santa
Monica that we started out discussing?
GN: Yes! Maybe that's where that guitar originally got lost?
Burnt out by the electric shock? And now we bring it full circle.
PE: Ian made a linoleum cut of those guitar mirrors and then
painted this in the famous floorboard colours. He actually made a whole
series of prints for us.
GN: We then used the idea of mirrors and reflections and energy
in a little photo session we did, courtesy of David Parkin. Our combined
photographer and bass player! We are forming a live band now. Band On
FA: So what is going on with that? What happens next?
PE: We will try out some live gigs and see how it goes.
Rehearsals have been ongoing for a few months. It is all very fun and
GN: Ideas are developing continuously. Check out our Facebook
site to be updated. If all goes well, and there is a demand, there could
be something unique in the works. It feels like we can see pieces of a
big puzzle, a collage if you will.
FA: A collage?
PE: Hey Felix, do you have any more of that Guinness?
In November of last year, Rich Hall (from 'Birdie
Hop and Sydiots' fame) got in contact with Peter
Jenner and wanted to know if Syd Barrett fans could ask him some
questions. Jenner agreed, not fully realising what would hit him.
A message was put on two Facebook groups and in less than a week over
one hundred different questions had been proposed by its members.
When Jenner got hold of the questions he was 'struck by the quantity'
and kindly asked to slim them down a bit. Peter travels around a lot and
preferred to have the interview over the phone. Diaries were put side by
side to find some free space in our busy agendas and finally a date and
time were agreed on.
And so, on a Friday afternoon a willing volunteer took a deep breath and
dialled the number with trembling fingers. But it turned out to be a
most amazing meeting, a Birdie's journey through space and time...
An Innerview with Peter Jenner Concept: Rich Hall -
Interview: Felix Atagong
BH: Thank you for according this interview, Mr. Jenner, we at Birdie
Hop are mainly a bunch of weirdos...
PJ: Yes, a bunch of eccentrics...
BH: ...and when we heard that we could have an interview with you
our members gathered about one hundred and twenty different questions to
ask to you...
PJ: Oh my goodness me...
BH: But we toned it down to about 10.
PJ: Otherwise it would go on forever.
BH : Most of the detailed questions were all about the recordings that
are apparently lingering somewhere in the vaults of EMI or Pink Floyd...
PJ: I don't know where they have gone. I have to say some did
escape from me and got to... what was the name of the guy who did this
Barrett group in the Seventies?
PJ: He could have been the one... Anyway I do know that some
tapes did escape from my collection, because I just thought they were so
good. So I hope that they are still around and that people can get them.
But they are around, aren't they? Scream Thy Last Scream and Vegetable
BH: They are still around and it is generally believed Bernard
White released them.
PJ: It might be, but anyway there was someone who used to be in
touch with me and somehow he managed to find those tapes. I don't know
why they never got officially released. I don't know if the family
objected but I think it might have been the Floyd. I think it was Roger
(Waters) and Dave (Gilmour) who stopped it but I don't know what their
position was or why they did it. If it had been the family that would
have been fair enough. Perhaps people have been overprotective.
To me these tracks are like the Van Gogh painting with the birds over
the wheat field, that's what Syd's brain was at. Try to look at the
disturbance of Van Gogh through his paintings. If you want to understand
Syd, if you want to know what was going on with him, you have listen to
those tracks in the same way...
Together with Jugband Blues they seem to me as a sort of an x-ray
into his mind and so I do hope they will come out some day, but if not I
do hope you people will keep them moving around, because I think they
are important works.
BH: The thing is that Scream and Vegetable Man have been
bootlegged so many times now, that there is perhaps no point any more in
releasing them officially?
PJ: It is good they are around, but it would probably be better
if they were officially available and at some time they will.
BH: Let's hope so, are you aware of any live shows that were
taped? Apparently some of the gigs in America were...
PJ: Were they, I have never heard any?
BH: There was a rumour that all concerts in Fillmore were taped...
PJ: They were indeed. But perhaps that started later, because the
Floyd were there quite early. Weren't the archives of the Fillmore
called Bear Tapes or something...
'Bear' Stanley, the Grateful Dead's soundman, allegedly had over
13000 tapes of the San Francisco scene, from 1965 and later, most of the
Dead but he did record other bands as well if he happened to handle the
soundboard. We checked the Grateful Dead touring dates of that period
and theoretically it is possible that Bear might have taped Pink Floyd.
According to David Parker in Random Precision Bill Graham routinely had
all Fillmore gigs taped and a Pink Floyd soundboard recording of their
April 1970 Fillmore show
BH: But nothing ever of The Pink Floyd has been released or...
PJ: I've not known of anything reliable... I think there were
some tapes of the stuff Syd did with Twink
in Cambridge but I've never heard them. I don't know what they're like.
BH: Well we can always ask him.
Easy Action records will (finally!) release the Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band recording late May 2014. Other
rehearsals and performances tapes may have been made by Victor Kraft who
followed the band but these have never surfaced.
PJ: And there was some stuff around, semi-live stuff recorded by Peter
PJ: There were a couple of film stuff that was done, but that is
all I know about it.
BH: In our group we discussed the sessions Syd Barrett recorded
for the film The
Committee, and it was said that you were in possession of those
tapes. Is this true?
PJ: As far as I know I am not in possession of these tapes, I
might have been given a copy, but I surely not the masters. What was the
name of the director.. my memory!
BH: It was in an article on the online publication Spare Bricks
Steuer. He claims you were given the tapes after the sessions. The
director was Peter
Sykes, by the way.
PJ: It was indeed Max Steuer, and he may have given us the tapes.
But I do not remember them. But many things disappeared with the sudden
collapse of Blackhill. My recollection is that they were less than
amazing. However if I come across anything I will let you know.
BH: Thanks, that would be nice. There still is a lot in the
PJ: Yeah, if they're not already out. Somewhere. If I look on
your list: Double O Bo, I don't know that. I got Stoned
rings a bell. She was a Millionaire that certainly was a tape
which we thought might become a single. Andrew and I both liked that
one. Reaction in G, I don't know about that. In the Beechwoods rings
a bell. I'm a King Bee and Lucy Leave, I don't know what
they were or where they came from.
Because when I was doing sessions with him they were very chaotic, you
know. She Was a Millionaire was knocking around. Golden Hair was
the most articulate, at the time I didn't realise those weren't his
lyrics... It was from James Joyce, wasn't it?
BH: Yes indeed.
PJ: I was hoping that it would get finished, but with Syd it was
really bits and pieces that would come through, bits of songs and bits
of riffs and bits of lyrics. They would just come and then they would go
and occasionally they would came back again... It was incredibly
And I think that Roger and Dave did a lot to it, I don't know how much
Syd really was involved in those tapes. You know we also tried to do
some things with a band. “Syd, try this, try that.” There were various
things we tried but none really worked.
BH: That's a pity... but that was how things were going...
BH: There have been these rumours that Syd was influenced by Keith
Rowe from AMM.
PJ: Well yes, I did take him to see Keith Rowe.
BH: Oh really?
PJ: Yes indeed, and I do think he saw Keith Rowe rolling a
ballbearing up and down his guitar. It certainly did influence some of
Syd's guitar playing, the zippos and things... and I think that the
improvisational part of Pink Floyd was influenced by AMM and Keith Rowe.
I knew these guys, I liked what they did and we were involved with the
AMM record. Syd was also aware of them and perhaps even heard the tape.
In a same way we also took them to the Radiophonic
Workshop at the BBC to meet Delia
Derbyshire. Again how far that influenced Syd or got into his head
or that of the others, I have no idea.
BH: Did Keith Rowe and Syd Barrett actually meet or discussed
PJ: I don't know. I think they may have seen each other but in a
sense I don't think you would need to discuss music. It was obvious what
Keith Rowe was doing. And you don't need to sit there and discuss it.
What's in the question of what chords you are using. It is all about the
approach and the improvisational aspect.
I think Interstellar Overdrive was very influenced by that kind
of stuff. That's an approach to improvisation. Presumably you know
Interstellar Overdrive was recorded twice and mixed together, it was
recorded simultaneously on top of each other.
BH: It is also very interesting to hear the different versions,
because the first version was the one from the movie of Peter Whitehead.
BH: And there is a big difference between both versions. The
early one is still R&B influenced...
BH: And the version on Piper is much more experimental...
PJ: Yes. They were experimenting, they recorded it in the studio
and then they played the song again, listening to the earlier take. It
BH: I think lots of people were surprised when they first heard
it on the record.
PJ: I would think so.
BH: In the middle of '67 however things started to go wrong. The
question that fans still ask today is: did anyone try to get into his
mind or ask what was going wrong?
PJ: We certainly suggested, and I can't quite remember whether we
ever got to him, but we certainly did want him to see Ronny
Laing. But he clearly was unhappy and getting chaotic. The key thing
that I remember was when they came back from America. Andrew (King), my
partner, said that it had been a nightmare. Syd had become hard to
manage and refused to do as would be expected. Things like: “Syd, it's a
TV show, can you play a song?”, that all became very difficult. Andrew
knows much more about that than I do because he was there. He and the
rest of the band. The Hendrix tour was after that, wasn't it?
PJ: That is when it became clear that there really was a major
problem with Syd. That is where Syd started not always being there for
the pick-up and where we had the show with Dave
O'List instead of him. By then he'd moved to Cromwell Road, hadn't
he? Unfortunately by that time I saw less of him, I was close to him
when he was in Earlham Street. Once he'd moved out and ended up in
Cromwell Road... I never knew the people who... and I only know the
legends, the rumours... that Syd was given a lot of acid, that there was
acid every day. It certainly coincides with him becoming more and more
And then he subsequently moved to stay with Storm and Po. So we thought
that might be better and that it might help, but it didn't... So we were
aware there were problems, the band became increasingly aware of the
fact there were performance issues and that it was very hard for them to
work with him... and that is where the breakup with Blackhill occurred
because we were so keen on trying to keep Syd with the band.
Syd wrote all these great songs and there was a lot of pressure during
the summer of '67 for him to write more songs. Which is Why She Is A
Millionaire was knocking around. That is why we ended up with things
like Apples and Oranges, because we needed a follow-up to See
Emily Play. That is when pressure started to get to Syd really.
Having a hit, doing TV shows, being interviewed, posing for magazine
front covers... things started to be more work than he could handle.
BH: Do you think it was something that gradually happened or was
there something like a lost weekend with a massive overdose...
PJ: I think gradually, that was certainly the impression one had.
He just became weirder and weirder and we thought that it was maybe just
a question of fame.
BH: People have said that when they came back from America, Roger
Waters asked you to have Syd fired. Was the band indeed thinking of...
PJ: No, Roger didn't ask to get him fired but it became clear
they were finding it very difficult to work with Syd. It was more my
recollection that they were looking for means to make it work. So that
is when Dave was introduced. What we were doing in a sense was the Brian
Wilson and The Beach Boys solution. We were consciously thinking: “Well
maybe Syd can go on if we take the pressure off him.”
We could all see that he wasn't well, so if we reduced the pressure
maybe he still would be able to write songs and keep the band on the
road. Because none of the band really wrote much. Roger did a little
bit, but these songs weren't, you know... The one single they put
together which wasn't a Syd song did not very well, It Would Be So
Nice (written by Rick Wright) was not a great song. Pow R Toc H
and Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun weren't that great
either, in my opinion. We certainly felt that there was a problem with
the songs on the second album which was why there was a certain pressure
to get Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream on it, they got recorded
because we needed them for the album.
But our ways were parting and I think the band always thought these
songs were too much. By the time the Saucerful record finally got put
together we weren't really working with them any more and we were slowly
moving into history. The rest of the band put that record together,
while I was still working with Syd. My wife and myself, we were trying
to help, help him to stabilise and write...
BH: Was there any truth in the rumours that Syd and Rick tried to
form a band?
PJ: I don't think so, I have never heard that. I mean, once
things were starting to go weird there was no question of anyone wanting
to work with Syd. But we were all close to Syd and we were certainly
hoping that Syd would get back together. That said, Rick and Syd were
quite close, Juliette (Gale, Rick's wife) was sort of sympathetic and we
were close to Juliette... Also, Rick was the other major musician in the
band, because at that stage Roger was not much of a musician.
Roger didn't write very much, but he was already conceptual, to come up
with some of the things he came up with later. But he couldn't really
sing and he couldn't tune his bass guitar. He was not a sort of natural
musician, which makes it all the more remarkable in my book the way he
got to with it all.
BH: Is it true that the Christmas On Earth show, on the 22nd of
December '67, was the turning point and that it was decided then to put
Syd on a 'Brian Wilson' status?
PJ: Was that in Olympia?
BH: Yes. Apparently you took the money and ran...
PJ: I think it was a financially very strange show. It was all a
bit questionable what was happening. I can't really remember what
exactly happened, but I do recall it was all a bit of a disaster. There
wasn't a lot of people there and I think that was really the problem.
Not a lot of people also meant not a lot of money and by that time we
were getting short of cash so we needed whatever we could get.
BH: Legend goes that June
Child cashed the money before Pink Floyd started and that she ran
away with it. After two or three songs the promoter came to you to
reclaim it, because the Floyd was so bad...
PJ: Well, I don't think we ever paid them back! I don't think
that ever happened. It was all a bit too rough, they were wrong as well.
Congratulations to June for getting the money. I'm sure we were all
involved in telling her to go and get it and then... run for it... It
wasn't a great gig.
BH: Apparently not.
PJ: I don't mean just the Floyd, but the whole organisation. It
was a disaster, it was run by an amateur who just thought it would be a
good thing. Because there weren't that many professional promoters, if
you thought you could do it, you did it. After all, Hoppy
(John Hopkins) had done things and Joe
Boyd had done things and neither of them had ever been promoters
before. And we did things and we never had been promoters. It was all
very new, so you did what you thought you could do. Then things like
Middle Earth came along and that was all done by people who never had
done that before. So a lot of people trying things out who did not know
what they were doing, including me...
The Christmas On Earth show was filmed but only a few snippets have
survived. On one of these, an interview with Jimi Hendrix, you can hear
Pink Floyd on the background. Rumour goes the camera crew bought old
film to spare some money, but unfortunately the film negative was so
degraded that most of it was for the rubbish bin. A rough cut was made,
which was seen by Joe Boyd, but nobody knows if it still exists. Anyway,
it is not even clear if the Pink Floyd show was actually recorded or not.
BH: Shortly after that the Floyd went their own way with A
Saucerful of Secrets and Syd Barrett went his way with The Madcap
PJ: Well, in a way he never really made The Madcap Laughs. He did
a series of sessions where I tried to get some recordings from him but
only bits and pieces came together. Nothing ever got to the point of:
"Well that's a record." So we had to try again but everything just
dribbled away. We were thinking: “We'll try some sessions and see what
comes out of it.”, but after we did the sessions we realised we really
hadn't got very much. So then I thought it would be better if we'd leave
Syd for a bit, to wait until he got himself a little bit better and then
try all over again. Eventually we did but still nothing much happened.
We tried to do some things with a band as well, I think we got a band
in, and some musicians to come and play with him, but he couldn't...
that really didn't work either.
I had a second lot of sessions with Syd, a few years later, when Bryan
Morrison asked me to have another go.
BH: That was in 1974 then?
BH: But apparently, nothing really much came out?
PJ: The same thing, nothing really much came out. Because Syd
never had any songs, there would just be these glimpses of songs, it was
really very chaotic.
BH: Some of the material of the 1974 sessions are in the open,
they have been bootlegged.
BH: Some of the tunes he plays are just blues standards. He is
just covering them, if you'd like.
PJ: Well I don't think he was covering them, that was just what
came out (laughs).
BH: Songs he used to listen too when he was 16, 17 years old.
PJ: Probably. He would just play things... working with him on
those sessions was like things coming in and out of fog. At first
nothing much would happen but then the fog would come down and then
there were signs of something. I would think: “Ah, it's going to
happen!” and then it would disappear again. It was just the most
frustrating and difficult thing I have ever been involved in my life.
Because there were signs of things... “Look, it's gonna come, no, no...
it's not.” It's like waiting for the rain during a drought or waiting
for the sun during the winter.
BH: What's your opinion about The Madcap Laughs?
PJ: Well, I think Dave and Roger tried to fish out what they
could fish out and turn it into whatever they could turn it into. And I
was surprised at how good a job they did of it. A lot in there is their
work rather than Syd's, it was them trying to imagine what it was he was
trying to do.
BH: You personally didn't feel it weird that they redid Golden
Hair and Octopus, which was first called Clowns And Jugglers.
They redid it after you had already recorded it on your sessions.
PJ: Golden Hair was the only one from my sessions which almost
might have been a song. There were some old tunes that he had, that I've
heard him play, like Octopus. He had a book of songs and every now and
then we'd go through the old ones. I can't remember what they all were
but they were very childlike, a lot of them, Effervescing Elephant
and things like that. And there was this sort of very childlike aspect
to Syd which was very charming but also, I think, quite disturbing in a
BH: Opel, that was recorded by Malcolm Jones, was
forgotten for the album.
PJ: Yes, and maybe a couple of other things that were half-done
but that weren't dug up. You know, I never had produced anything, I
didn't know what I was doing. I was just there trying, hoping to capture
something. Cause that was what we had been doing with the Floyd. We
didn't know what was going on, songs would just come. I don't think
anyone of us knew what we were doing. Syd had some ideas about the
(Smith) had some ideas. We tried to work them out and surely Norman
helped a lot. The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn sessions were fine but
later we could only see the rot set in. What it was and why it was will
always be one of those mysteries, so I don't know...
BH: Somebody also wanted to know about the famous Rolling Stones
show, at the Hyde Park festival. Everybody says it was a Rolling Stones
show but apparently it was a whole festival with a lot of groups.
PJ: After the Floyd had left we did some shows at the Festival
Hall, perhaps even at the Queen Elisabeth Hall, I'm not sure about that,
and then at Hyde Park.
In June 1968 the Floyd and Roy Harper played and I even think we managed
to put on four different free festivals that summer. The Floyd did the
first one, which was actually quite small, and they returned a couple of
years later (in July 1970). The second summer we had Blind Faith (in
June 1969), that one was really huge and very successful and it launched
Blind Faith into stardom and that was when the Rolling Stones said they
could do it as well. And that was already organised a few weeks later,
BH: The Stones was in July 1969.
PJ: I think so.
BH: Blackhill started as a bunch of enthusiast amateurs with an
amateur band, but in two years time you had become a very big company.
PJ: We were not a big company! No, no, no, no. We were small, but
we just did it. Somebody said: "Let's do that" and we did it. By the
times the Stones came it had turned into a big show but it was still
very amateurish. There was no security, there was hardly any police. No
public litters. No admission either, it was just a free concert and it
was pretty weird.
BH: It probably was still the time that one could contact the
Rolling Stones to ask them things like that.
PJ: Well, it was a hippy era and they asked us, they wanted us to
PJ: We didn't ask them, The Rolling Stones asked us, I think Mick
had worked out that was a way they could relaunch themselves as a live
BH: One of the rumours is that Syd Barrett was also on that
concert, he was even driven by someone of your company there. I don't
know if you know that.
PJ: That might have been the case but I can't remember.
Personally I wouldn't think so, by the time of the Rolling Stones gig he
was pretty far gone. He wasn't, as it were, under our control or care or
anything, he had gone off into his own world. We were happy to have been
part of his world but he didn't seem to want us to be part of his world.
So he might well have been there but he certainly wasn't there for me.
BH: Thank you very much, Mr. Jenner, it was nice talking to you...
Many thanks to Rich Hall, Peter Jansens, Peter Jenner.
End Credits: Concept & idea: Rich Hall Proposed by Rich
Hall at Birdie Hop & Laughing Madcaps (Syd Barrett Facebook groups) Inspired
by questions from: Al Baker, Alexander P. Hoffmann, Allen Lancer, Andrew
Charles Potts, Bruno Barbato Jacobovitz, Cathy Peek Collier, Clay
Jordan, Ewgeni Reingold, Gaz Hunter, Gian Palacios-Świątkowski, Göran
Nyström, Jenny Spires, Kiloh Smith, Lisa Newman, Mark Sturdy, Matthew
Horsley, Memo Hernandez, Paul Newlove, Peter 'Felix' Jansens, Rich Hall,
Richard Mason Né Withnell, Stanislav V. Grigorev, Steve Czapla, Steve
Francombe, Tim Doyle. Preparation: Felix Atagong & Rich Hall Interview:
Felix Atagong Rough draft: Felix Atagong Editing: Felix Atagong &
Rich Hall Publication: Birdie Hop, The Holy Church of Iggy The Inuit Thanks
to Giulio Bonfissuto and Raymond John Nebbitt for spotting errors!
Sources Peter Jenner top picture. Source: Wikipedia,
taken by Ralf Lotys (Sicherlich). Van Gogh, Wheat Field with Crows &
Syd Barrett mashup. Source (painting): Wikipedia,
public domain. Mashup: Felix Atagong. Syd Barrett & Peter Jenner
(cropped). Source: June
Ellen Child, The Cosmic Lady. Originally published in Nick Mason's Inside
Out biography. Peter Jenner third picture. Source: Pasado,
presente y futuro de la música según Peter Jenner @
Movistarnext. June Child (cropped). Source: June
Ellen Child, The Cosmic Lady. Originally published in Nick Mason's Inside
Out biography. The Rolling Stones, Hyde Park. Source: The
Stones in the Park @ Ukrockfestivals, taken by John Leszczynski. Charlie
Weedon, watching the Stones. Source: unknown.
It is now about a month ago that the 1972 Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band gig was released by Easy
Action records. LMPTBB was a power rock'n blues trio with the
practically unknown, but excellent, American singer Bruce Paine
on vocals and guitar, Twink on drums and Jack Monck on
bass, replacing Honk who left the band after a Polydor record deal was
The Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert may well have been their
last, and on top of that it had two surprise guests: Fred Frith
(from Henry Cow fame) who probably plays on all tracks, and a local boy
who had once been a rather influential musician, Syd Barrett.
Not only is Syd Barrett dead, he also is neglected, except for the few
who have reappropriated the term Sydiot and gather at the Birdie
Hop group. From the three important Pink Floyd fan-based websites
has published the news about the LMPTBB record. The others don't know,
or don't care, and are still hop-frogging around the Pink Floyd table,
mouths open, hoping for some Division Bell crumbles to fall off. The
official Syd Barrett website,
although run by the people who allowed the LMPTBB record in the first
place, still remains a place that only comes in handy if you want to buy
some (we admit, pretty) t-shirts.
So the Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit is about the only Floydian (and Barrettian)
place where you can read about this release. Either we are pioneers, or
raving lunatics, so we guess it's up for you to decide. In our fourth
article of the LMPTBB series we interview Carlton Sandercock of
Easy Action records, who have released this fine record.
An innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action)
BH: How would you describe Easy Action? We see a few (live)
releases on your catalogue that are pretty rare and that could be
CS: Easy Action started out 10 years ago as, predominantly, an
archive rock label, specialising in rare and unreleased recordings. We
had the support of Iggy
Yardbirds, the estates of Marc
Marriott & the surviving members of the MC5,
initially to create box sets for fans that had been audio restored and
lavishly packaged and annotated by good writers and journalists with as
much factual information as is possible.
In that 10 years Easy Action has blossomed and grown in all directions,
we have 10 labels doing material from singer-songwriter Linda
Lewis to punk-metal behemoths Amebix,
but all done with class and passion.
We are also working with new artists, we oversee the estate of the late Nikki
Sudden and his brother Epic
Soundtracks, we manage the affairs of The Damned / Lords of the New
Church songwriter guitarist Brian
We have worked with one studio all the time in London ‘PSB
Music’ who restore and re-master all our releases. Plus we have some
very talented graphic designers on board. Basically a happy creative
BH: In 2005, the Six Hour Technicolour Dream reel was
rediscovered while browsing through the tape archives at Spaceward
Studios. Initially, they were going to issue the concert themselves on
Gott discs, and they even got the approval of Pink Floyd and the Syd
Barrett family. Do you know why they decided to sell it to Easy Action?
CS: To be honest I don't know why they decided to sell the tapes,
as you know they didn't manage to succeed at the auction. My business
partner Steve Pittis is a huge fan of Pink Floyd, the Fairies and
Hawkwind and contacted the seller directly and offered him some cash.
Although we didn't originally think there were more than a couple of
songs by Hawkwind on the reel. Our initial thoughts were to release the
Pink Fairies set as we know them and recoup the cost of buying the
tapes. We weren't sure if we would be allowed to issue the Boogie band
BH: Hawkwind's Six Hour Technicolour Dream gig was already
released in August 2011 as Leave
No Star Unturned (first announced as: The Self Police Parade),
licensed from EMI records. However, the band in its 2011 incarnation was
opposed to EMI being involved, and told the fans more than once that
they considered this a bootleg. Although historically of great
importance, legally these old tapes seem really to be a pain in the ass,
CS: Ha ha, yeah. I contacted Mrs. Brock initially, who informed
me that the recording date of 1972 was EMI territory and they couldn't
give us a licence . So I went to EMI and asked them for a licence and
they gave us a contract, we paid them what we were asked for and went
ahead and put it out.
The band, I appreciate, try and control all their releases and I guess
didn't think we would have any luck whatsoever at EMI... They were
wrong. This is the only time I think in our 10 years where we have
licensed from a major label over the artist. We had absolutely no ‘legal
troubles‘ whatsoever. It's not a bootleg as it has been released
properly and above-board. Royalties have been paid to the contractee.
BH: Were the Hawkwind (legal) troubles the main reason why we had
to wait until 2014 for the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band to
appear? If we are correct, the record was announced a few times over the
years and then delayed again...
CS: As I said we had no ‘legal troubles’ at all and I wanted to
put the Pink Fairies set out next but life gets in the way and we had
more work to deal with tons of other releases.. Also I initially wasn't
sure who else was in the band besides Twink and Jack.
BH: Is it true that Twink (Mohammed Abdullah John Alder) gave the
release a renewed push, somewhere in 2012 or early 2013?
CS: Yes, absolutely true. Twink has been a major driving force in
getting me to put it on the schedule... However we simply didn't have
any thing to use for artwork... There is absolutely nothing from that
time / gig at all. Until we were introduced to Warren
Dosanjh by Slim at Shindig
magazine. Warren had the original poster (possibly the only one
in existence) and lots of encouragement to boot, so NOW we had the
basics of a foundation to try and put something together .
BH: Did you encounter initial resistance to release this
material? Did you find the Floyd to be approving of more Syd material
being released or did they initially try to block it?
CS: None whatsoever, we have been dealing with the company that
looks after Syd's affairs ‘One
Fifteen’ and have a contract for his performance and they are
helping us with marketing it. To be honest Syd is guest for three songs,
this is NOT Interstellar Overdrive live!! This is a boogie band so it's
really not going to worry Pink Floyd. Dave Gilmour's a nice bloke and is
rightly protective of Syd's legacy, but because we have handled it in
the correct manner and not adorned the album with stickers saying SYD in
big letters or anything crass like that it's ok... It is what it is, an
BH: We understand that the Pink Fairies gig is still in the
vaults. Will that gig ever be released as well?
CS: Bloody hope so, although we are hoping to add to that show
and try and do a bigger, better Pink Fairies package... That reminds me,
I must give Sandy (Duncan Sanderson) a call to get the ball
BH: The story of the Six Hours Technicolour Dream reel is
spectacular, to say the least. One copy was found in 1985 and
immediately confiscated, in Chuck Norris style, by an EMI suit. A second
copy was unearthed in 2005 and ended up at Easy Action. But at one point
FraKcman (aka Mark Graham from Spaceward Studios) contradicted his own
story by saying that the first tape contained a Stars gig and the second
a LMPTBB gig. Did Easy Action find out, during the negotiations with EMI
and the bands, if both reels are identical, or not?
CS: Mmm, the men in black... sounds great doesn't it? I was told
an original copy was indeed made of the boogie band years ago, but
before the audio restoration that we did. It was very rough indeed and
was ignored... I'm not sure it was Stars. I think it was an unrestored
version of this show. Just my opinion though.
BH: How are sales figures so far? Is there any interest from the
fans? Are they better or worse than the Hawkwind gig?
CS: Well, it hasn't flown out the door at all. We thought
pre-orders would be huge and that it would then die down to a trickle
once it's been copied and shared free of charge online... I'd say cult
interest only and not as big as the Hawkwind album... As I said before
it is not Syd performing any of his songs... It IS perhaps the
last ever recorded performance of Syd Barrett... maybe Floyd fans don't
see it as important.
BH: Did you, in your struggle to release this gig, hear about
other tapes that still exist, for instance Stars, or early demos from
Barrett with Cantabrigian bands?
CS: Ha ha ha. I fuckin' wish! Not a bleedin' sausage and yes, I
did ask... I do think, seeing as we have released this show legally with
the Barrett estate fully on board and we haven't tried to sell this as a
Syd album or anything tacky like that, should anything crop up, I think
we would get a call...
BH: We, Birdie Hoppers, hope it for you, Carlton, many thanks for
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band Six Hour Technicolour Dream
gig, on January the 27th 1972, was not, as you probably know, Syd's last
gig, nor was it his last recording. Actually, Syd never joined LMPTBB
but gigged with them twice as a surprise guest. How the tape survived
into the twenty-first century and was finally published by Easy
Action records is a story you can read here: The
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story.
Apparently the vibes were so good that two out of three LMPTBB members
started dreaming of a post-Floyd Barrett band, not very much to the
amusement of singer Bruce Paine if we may believe Joly MacFie
(Twink's business partner in the Cambridge music club Juniper Blossom
and Stars roadie annex sound-man):
I was sharing a house with Twink and Paine. Paine was a somewhat vain
and career oriented American who went on to join Steamhammer. He wasn't
compatible with Syd. When Twink showed more interest in Syd, Bruce got
pissed off and moved out and that was the end of the band. (Taken from
So what's with 1972 Stars reel? @ SBRS (forum no longer active.))
was formed shortly later and would gig about five times, dates and
venues can be found at the Pink
1972 01 26
King's College Cellars
1972 01 27
The Corn Exchange
1972 02 05
The Dandelion Coffee Bar
1972 02 12
Petty Cury, Market Square
1972 02 12
The Dandelion Coffee Bar
1972 02 24
The Corn Exchange
1972 02 26
The Corn Exchange
Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake tried to find out more about the mythical Stars tapes, that
have been rumoured to exist, and posted his finding on the Late
Night and Syd Barrett Research Society forums (here edited a bit):
Rehearsal tapes - Twink has mentioned on more than one occasion that Syd
recorded the early practices. It goes without saying that these tapes
must be long lost. Dandelion Cafe - lots of people (Twink, Jack and
possibly Joly [MacFie]) remember Victor Kraft sitting there with his
Nagra tape machine at the Dandelion, and possibly the Corn Exchange as
well. Market Square - recorded, supposedly, by a friend of someone
who mentioned it on the Laughing Madcaps list. The tape, supposedly, is
at the taper's parents' house in Oxford. [Note from FA: this is probably
the tape mentioned at Fortean Zoology. All efforts to make the blogger
move his lazy ass have been effortless: Beatles:
Off topic but not really.] Final Corn Exchange show (with Nektar)
- according to Joly MacFie, his co-roadie Nigel Smith had a friend
called Chris who taped this show.
Although some YouTube videos claim to contain Stars tapes these are
believed to be either fakes
or mislabelled Barrett solo concerts, so it is still waiting for the
real deal, if they not have been buried in the vaults of Pink Floyd Ltd.
But the good news is that the Six Hour Technicolour Dream tape has been
released by Easy Action, that Syd Barrett stars (sorry, we couldn't
resist the joke) on three of its tracks and although the sound quality
is only slightly more than average, the fun is dripping out of our
stereo boxes. Mythical drummer Twink, who is currently recording a
follow-up of his legendary Think Pink album (1968), lend us some of his
time to tell us the following...
An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink
BH: Of course we all know this record is interesting for Syd
Barrett's performance, but the real discovery on the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band is that amazing singer, Bruce Paine. How did you
and John Lodge (Honk) meet up with him and how did the band come
MAJA: I first met Bruce Paine in the autumn of 1971 at Steve
Brink's boutique "What's In A Name" in Union Rd just before he rented a
room in Steve's cottage which was situated next to the shop. We talked
very briefly about putting a band together because at that time I was
just helping Hawkwind out from time to time. Once Bruce had moved
into the cottage the band came together quite quickly. I recruited John
"Honk" Lodge as our bass player who was living in London but that didn't
seem to get in the way of the band project. Other members included Dane
Stevens (The Fairies & The Cops And Robbers) on vocals & Adam Wildi on
congas but both only lasted one show. We called the band The Last Minute
Put Together Boogie Band.
BH: Who came up with the idea of naming it the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band? Is there any explanation for the band's name?
MAJA: Bruce came up with the name and I think it was simply that
the band came together quite quickly once show offers began to come in.
BH: After a record deal with Polydor had failed, Honk left the
band and was replaced by Jack Monck.
MAJA: Yes, "Honk" left immediately the Polydor deal fell through.
I think he was disheartened because Polydor's A&R department made it
clear that after the demos we did for them, we were in. The whole thing
fell down at the contract stage because the contracts manager there was
having a bad day. He refused to raise the contracts and kept playing Led
Zeppelin at full volume which drove us out of his office. He apologised
to me about a month later just after he had been fired from his job. But
the damage was done and there would be no record deal for The Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band.
BH: Did you meet Syd in Cambridge before the Eddie Guitar Burns
gig? Did you know that Syd was going to jam with LMPTBB on the 26th of
January 1972 or were you as surprised as the audience?
MAJA: I was surprised and happy to see Syd arrive at the Eddie
"Guitar" Burns gig with Jenny and carrying his guitar case. He arrived
while we were sound checking, came to the back of the stage area, took
his guitar out of its case and started to tune up. We had been friends
since 1967 but we had lost touch in '68. It was wonderful to see him
again. The following day Syd came to The Six Hour Technicolour Dream
where The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band was supporting Hawkwind &
The Pink Fairies. Again I was surprised to see him there with his guitar
case. Syd was keen to play so we invited him to join us on stage along
with Fred Frith from the band Henry Cow who was guesting with us
BH: It must not be easy trying to remember a gig from 40 years
ago, but there are two different testimonies about the Kings Cellar's
concert. One witness says that LMPTBB played twice on that concert.
According to him, the opening support gig had Syd, Monck and you. After
the Eddie Guitar Burns gig, LMPTBB returned, this time with Bruce Paine.
According to Terrapin magazine Syd jammed with LMPTBB after the Eddie
Guitar Burns show. Not that it really matters, this only shows how
anoraky we are.
MAJA: The Terrapin report is correct however it is possible the
Syd, Jack & I tuned up together but that was not part of the show.
BH: Now to the Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert of the
following day. How did Fred Frith come on board? Did he know Syd Barrett
was going to be there as well? What was his reaction? What was your
opinion after the gig had ended?
MAJA: We had a lot of contact with Fred Frith & Henry Cow who
frequently played at The 10p Boogie Club which was run by Joly MacFie &
myself at Fisher Hall in Cambridge having taken over the venue from
Jenny Spires & Jack Monck and renamed it Juniper Blossom.
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band often played there and so did
Henry Cow. Fred Frith guested with The Last Minute Boogie Band there
too. Fred guesting with us at The Six Hour Technicolour was more formal
and when it was decided that Syd would guest too he was welcomed by all
concerned with open arms. Our performance was well received and with
Syd's enthusiastic participation at both the Eddie "Guitar" Burn gig &
The Six Hour Technicolour Dream our creative wheels began to turn
resulting in the formation of STARS with Syd Barrett, Jack Monck &
myself a few days later.
BH: Was this the LMPTBB's last gig? Did anyone say, this is it,
last gig, finished?
MAJA: The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band continued after
Jack & I left for STARS with replacement musicians.
BH: Did you, at one point or another, think of asking Syd to join
MAJA: It was Jack & Jenny that thought about forming a band with
BH: If our information is correct you have been pulling some
strings to make this release possible.
MAJA: The only things that needed sorting out were group members
and song details as well as contract details to include both Bruce Paine
& Roger Barrett's Estates. Then there was restoring, mastering and the
cover to achieve as well. Everyone was very helpful.
BH: As you probably know, Pink Floyd (or EMI) have another copy
of the LMPTBB tape, however at one point there were rumours this tape
actually contains a Stars concert rather. know what they really have?
MAJA: I have no idea what EMI have. It's possible they have a
BH: Any chance that the LMPTBB Polydor tapes will ever see the
light of day? Does anyone know where these demos are?
MAJA: It is possible The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
demos will be released as they are probably sitting in Polydor's
archives. I think Honk may well have a copy tape.
BH: In retrospect, what was the band you were happiest with? If
you could go back to these days what would you have changed to make it
MAJA: Playing with The Pretty Things made me happy and I wouldn't
want to change a thing.
BH: Many thanks, Mohammed, and good luck with Think Pink 2!
End of part four of our LMPTBB
series. If you don't stop us, there will probably be a part five. You
have been warned.
Many thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, Rich Hall, Peter Jansens.
Inspired by questions from: Mike Baess, Rick Barnes, Andre Borgdorff,
Anita Buckett, Rich Hall, Jane Harris, Alexander P.H., Peter Felix
Jansens, Raymond John Nebbitt, Lisa Newman, Göran Nystrom, Anni Paisley,
Cheesecake Joe Perry, Paul Piper, Michael Ramshaw, James Vandervest.
While posting Facebook Barrett fan-art has become a booming niche-market
with no immediate end in sight and self-proclaimed visionary Syd
professionals have to devise fraudulent telemarketing schemes to cover
for their rising costs it was pointed to the Church, by someone we know
and admire for years, that Syd Barrett is not, like we wrote in a previous
article, neglected. Ebronte:
Syd is not neglected. Syd is sinking into oblivion, precisely
where it seems his family (and friends?) want him to go. This is thanks
to their continued simplistic insistence that he was a brief spark, who
became "ordinary", and a drug addled loser, and thanks to the dreary
It didn't sell well, and probably anyone who did read it was left
depressed and utterly disinterested in ever reading or hearing another
word about Syd. Too bad that gloomy book came out the same time as
Julian's revised and wonderful
book, most likely obscuring it. (Taken from: An
innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action), Late Night forum.)
Of course our world has changed as well (“I'm Syd Barrett's biggest fan,
I've watched all his YouTube videos.”) and it is apparently easier
nowadays to sell a Barrett mug
than a Barrett record.
Recently the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band's Six
Hour Technicolour Dream record was released that has a Cambridge
Corn Exchange gig from the 27th of January, 1972. The Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band were a power blues trio with singer and lead
guitarist Bruce Paine, bass player Jack Monck and drummer Twink.
Through Jenny Spires, who was married to Monck, Syd Barrett got hold of
the band and on that particular night he arrived with his guitar case
and agreed to jam with them for a couple of numbers. Monck and Twink
were thrilled and started Starsa couple of days later, not to the amusement of Bruce Paine who saw
his band going up in smoke. Unfortunately Stars would only survive for a
month as Barrett was still to frail to cope with the stress of gigging,
especially when things got bad on a concert where Stars was the
head-liner, after the sonic bulldozer that was MC5,
and with buses of fans coming over from London, eager to watch the
return of the flamboyant piper. Mark Sturdy:
In reality, Stars simply wasn’t cut out to be a high-profile project:
while the initial shows had not been without their virtues, the band had
existed for less than a month and, as such, was understandably
under-rehearsed. New material was non-existent beyond a couple of loose
12-bar jams, so in effect Stars was little more than a loose covers
band. (Taken from: Twilight
of an Idol.)
We read somewhere that giving Syd Barrett the top position on a much
advertised gig was like throwing him before the lions and it was,
understandably, the end of Stars, and, less understandable, the end of
his musical career, with the exception of the disastrous 1974 sessions.
While Syd Barrett was an unexpected guest on the Six Hour Technicolour
Dream gig, Fred
Frith was not. He had been invited by the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band to join them for the show.
Fred Frith was in Cambridge in 1968 when he met with some fellow
students and started the avant-garde band Henry
Cow. Actually the Cow's first concert was supporting Pink Floyd at
the Architects' Ball at Homerton College, Cambridge on 12 June 1968.
Eternal student Frith would also frequent (and jam at) the Juniper
Blossom club that was first run by Jack Monck and Jenny Spires, and
later by Twink and Jolie MacFie.
Since his Henry Cow day's Frith has played in a myriad of bands and his
musical input can be found on over 400
records. So it is a bit awkward to ask him about that one one
concert he played on over 40 years ago, but we tried anyway.
An innerview with Fred Frith
BH: Are you happy with the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
release and your own input on it? Your guitar is pretty much in front of
the mix most of the time.
FF: I haven’t heard it. I didn’t know about it prior to release
and I don’t have a copy I’m afraid.
BH: At the Six Hour Technicolour Dream, Syd Barrett more or less
was a surprise guest, while your presence had already been agreed on
with Paine, Twink & Monck for that night. At the time, did you find it
significant that Syd Barrett had decided to make a public appearance?
FF: There was a rumour beforehand that Syd might join us. This
was of course exciting for me, given that Syd was one of my heroes.
BH: You have said in an interview:
At the only concert that I did with them, Syd played “Smokestack
Lightning” or variations thereof in every song, and didn’t really sing
at all. To say I was hugely disappointed is maybe the wrong way of
putting it. I was shocked, angry, devastated, that it had come to that.
Now that we finally have the chance to listen to the concert is your
opinion still the same (I need to add that most Barrett anoraks don't
think his playing is that bad at all, but that is why we are sometimes
called Sydiots anyway).
FF: Like I said, I haven’t heard it, but the event I was
referring to wasn’t this concert anyway. After the Corn Exchange gig we
rehearsed together with a view to creating a group for Syd to play his
songs. At the only rehearsal I attended, my memory has him playing
variations of Smokestack Lightning (which, after all, was the prototype
for Candy and the Currant Bun) throughout the session, which was
mercifully not recorded. And please note, I was “shocked, angry and
devastated” BECAUSE of my deep love of Syd’s playing, composing and
legacy, not for any other reason. He was clearly not himself, and that
was really sad.
BH: How was Syd's state of mind during the said Boogie Band
session? Was he into the music, enjoying himself?
FF: He appeared to be mentally completely absent.
BH: What were rehearsals like? Were any numbers written by Syd
FF: As far as I was concerned we were only there in order to try
and play Syd’s songs and give him a vehicle where it might seem possible
to perform again. We did it because of our love and respect for him. I
don’t remember any other material.
BH: Did you ever discuss musical theory with Syd Barrett? If so,
what were his ideas on composition?
FF: Syd was in no state to discuss anything during the very brief
period when our paths crossed. It would have been nice. But his
compositional ideas tend to shine through his compositions, which is the
way it should be.
BH: Did you have contact with Syd outside of the jam environment?
He was not unknown in Cambridge and he did know (and visited) Jenny
Spires, Monck and Twink.
FF: No. We had mutual friends, but we didn’t hang out. I was
young (19) and in awe and would probably have been too shy anyway. I did
talk to Nick Mason about it a few years later when we were working
together. But there wasn’t anything anyone could really do.
BH: Do you know of any other recordings in existence? Rumours go
that Stars rehearsals and gigs have been recorded. You don't have one of
these in your archive, by accident?
FF: I don’t know of anything, no. Certainly not in my possession.
BH: Looking back on the situation, do you find the Boogie Band to
be significant for your career?
FF: It was significant in providing me with some sobering food
for thought. Musically I have no recollection of anything beyond the
fact of having done it. Maybe if I hear the record it’ll stimulate some
BH: Many thanks for the interview and we'll hope that a copy of
that LMPTBB record arrives with you soon...
End of part five of our LMPTBB series. We know that there will be cries
of grief from our many fans, but this is probably the last article in
this series, unless the third Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
member suddenly decides to answer our calls for another Birdie Hop
Iggy Rose enters the pantheon of Jenny Spires and Libby Gausden!
An Iggy Rose radio interview was diffused on Monday night, the 25th of
May at 10 PM EST at Nikki
Palomino's (talk) radio show Dazed Radio on Whatever
68. As for UK based people it was already Tuesday 26th at 3 o’clock
in the morning, and 4 AM for those in Western Europe, we had to wait for
an archived version.