Innerview

This page contains all the articles that match the Innerview-tag, chronologically sorted, from old to new.
Most browsers have a search function (Ctrl-F) that will highlight the entry you are looking for.
Alternatively there is the 'Holy Search' search field and the 'Taglist'.


Looking For The 3 Most Recent Articles?



Articles

2012-09-01

Eva Wijkniet: my Syd (Roger) Barrett project

Eva Wijkniet
Eva Wijkniet.

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 this story.

An Innerview with Eva Wijkniet
Syd Barrett in a leather jacket
Syd Barrett in a leather jacket.

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 the "Barrett 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 it?

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 about Syd.

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 Syd Barrett

Untitled by Syd Barrett
Untitled by Syd Barrett.

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 companions.

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 love.

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 the UK.

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 pass by.

True Story (by Syd Barrett)
True Story by Syd Barrett.

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 be...

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 people.

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?

Libby, Eva and the jacket
Libby, Eva and the jacket.

Die Jacke

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 always says.

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 experience.

And then...?

The book was published.
I had attended the exhibition.
I visited Libby.
I had seen everything.

Now what...?

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.

Kirsten and Irma along for going on the ride.

Sven and Bart for everything.


© 2012 Eva Wijkniet. Pictures courtesy of Libby Gausden & Eva Wijkniet. Notes & Introduction : the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Translation mistakes, typos and all possible errors are entirely the responsibility of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Eva ♥

This story has previously been published (in Dutch) at: Pink Floyd Fans Nederland (hosted by Floydian Theo)

Links & reviews (at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit):
The Seven Ages Of Rock, Part 2 - White Light, White Heat @ Google Video
The Idea Generation exhibition: Iggy at the Exhibition 
"A Very Irregular Head" by Rob Chapman review: The Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory 
"Dark Globe" by Julian Palacios review: Dark Blog 
BARRETT: The definitive visual companion to the life of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett review: Barrett: come on you painter!


2014-03-28

An innerview with Men on the Border

When Jumpstart from Men 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, conversation.

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.)
An innerview with Men on the Border
Jumpstart (cover: Ian Barrett)
Jumpstart! Artwork: Ian Barrett.

An innerview with Men On The Border (1)

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 Syd's life?

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 Monica?

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.

Phil Etheridge by David Parkin
Phil Etheridge by David Parkin.

Autumn

FA: The first season, or song trilogy, starts with 'Baby Lemonade'...

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, interesting.

Göran Nyström by David Parkin
Göran Nyström by David Parkin.

Winter

FA: 'Have You Got It Yet', declares the cold winter in Syd's life.

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.

FA: 'Old Friends' is also one of these earworms, a bit childlike with that 'El Condor Pasa' flute and the 'Effervescing Elephant' nod.

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?

PE: Benny 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!

Phil Etheridge
Phil Etheridge.

Spring

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 friend...

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 river Cam?

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 became.

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 We Start'.

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 Blessé...

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.

Göran Nyström
Göran Nyström.

Summer

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”.

FA: It's the Men On The Border's 'As Tears Go By', so to speak?

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.

Shine!
Shine!

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.

Jumpstart (CD graphics)
Jumpstart (CD graphics).

PE: Kajsa-Tuva 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 and reflections.

Jumpstart by Ian Barrett (early sketch)
Jumpstart by Ian Barrett (early sketch).

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 The Border!

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 energizing.

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?

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


Many thanks: Ian Barrett (Ian Barrett Art), Phil Etheridge, Göran Nyström.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop

Notes and quotes
(1) During the immensely difficult negotiations to have this interview ("Do you mean any colour you like, except blue M&M's or only blue M&M's and no others?") the word 'interview' was wrongly written as 'innerview' on one document, but it stuck. Back to text.
(2) Led Zeppelin - Ramble On. Back to text.
(3) Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song. Back to text.
(4) Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song. Back to text.
(5) Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song. Back to text.
(6) Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Karn Evil 9, 1st impression, part 2. Back to text.


2014-04-25

An innerview with Peter Jenner

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
Peter Jenner, 2013 (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Peter Jenner, 2013 (courtesy of Wikipedia).

An Innerview with Peter Jenner

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?

BH: Bernard White?

Bernard White started the Syd Barrett Appreciation Society and issued the legendary Terrapin magazine.

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 Man.

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...

Van Gogh - Wheat Field with Crows (1890)
Van Gogh - Wheat Field with Crows (1890). Mashup: Felix Atagong.

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...

Owsley '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 does exist.

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 Whitehead.

BH: The Tonight Let's All Make Love In London soundtrack.

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 with Max 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.

Barrett & Jenner (67-ish)
Syd Barrett & Peter Jenner (67-ish).

BH: Thanks, that would be nice. There still is a lot in the vaults though.

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 frustrating.

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...

PJ: Yes.

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.

Peter Jenner (courtesy of Moviestarnext)
Peter Jenner (courtesy of Moviestarnext).

BH: Did Keith Rowe and Syd Barrett actually meet or discussed music?

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.

PJ: Yes.

BH: And there is a big difference between both versions. The early one is still R&B influenced...

PJ: Yes.

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 was double-tracked.

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?

BH: Yes.

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 weird.

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.

Apples & Oranges 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.

June Child (67-ish)
June Child (67-ish).

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 Laughs.

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?

PJ: Yes.

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.

PJ: Right.

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 way.

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 songs, Norman (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...

Stones in Hyde Park
The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park.
Charlie Weedon (left), Rolling Stones roadie, friend of Syd Barrett
Charlie Weedon (left), Rolling Stones roadie, friend of Syd Barrett.

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, wasn't it?

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 do it.

BH: Really?

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 band.

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...

PJ: It's a mad world we live in, isn't it?

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


Many thanks to Rich Hall, Peter Jansens, Peter Jenner. 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. Thanks posted to ‎Giulio Bonfissuto and Raymond John Nebbitt for spotting errors!

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop

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.


2014-07-21

An innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action)

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

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 cancelled.

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 only one 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
Carlton Sandercock
Carlton Sandercock.

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 considered non-official.

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 Pop, Lou Reed, The Yardbirds, the estates of Marc Bolan, Steve 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 James.

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 family.

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 stuff .

Leave No Star Unturned
Leave No Star Unturned, Hawkwind.

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, aren't they?

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 extraordinary document.

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 rolling.

Bruce Michael Paine (lead singer LMPTBB)
title="Bruce Michael Paine, lead singer LMPTBB.

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 this interview.

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.

End of part three of our LMPTBB series. If you don't stop us, there will probably be a part four. You have been warned.


Many thanks to Rich Hall, Peter Jansens, Carlton Sandercock.

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop


2014-07-26

An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

We first had the idea of Birdie Hop members asking some questions to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, also known as Twink, but most of those had already been asked in previous interviews that lay scattered all over the web (see our list underneath). Then the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band record came out and Twink's exclusive interview in the Six Hour Technicolour Dream booklet only triggered more questions from us.

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.

Bruce Michael Paine
Bruce Michael Paine, LMPTBB lead singer.

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.))

Stars was formed shortly later and would gig about five times, dates and venues can be found at the Pink Floyd Archives:

Date Venue City Band
1972 01 26    King's College Cellars    Cambridge    LMPTBB
1972 01 27    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    LMPTBB
1972 02 05    The Dandelion Coffee Bar    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 12    Petty Cury, Market Square    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 12    The Dandelion Coffee Bar    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 24    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 26    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    Stars

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
Twink (2013)
Twink (2013).

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 into place?

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 that night.

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?

Twink (2014) with Marco Conti, Dane Stevens, Jon Povey. Photo by Carinthia West.
title=Twink (2014) with Marco Conti, Dane Stevens, Jon Povey. Photo; Carinthia West.

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 LMPTBB?

MAJA: It was Jack & Jenny that thought about forming a band with Syd.

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 STARS tape.

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 better?

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.

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


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.

Some Twink interviews over the years (back to text):
Ivor Trueman, Opel Magazine, 1985 (mirror)
It's Psychedelic Baby, 2012
Laughing Madcaps, 2013
Sophia On Film, 2014
Punk News, 2014
Hit Channel, 2014

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop


2014-08-02

An innerview with Fred Frith

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

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 Chapman biography. 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.

Bruce Paine
Bruce Paine, lead singer LMPTBB.

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 Stars a 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
Fred Frith
Fred Frith.

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 considered?

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.

Fred Frith
Fred Frith.

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 memories.

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 innerview.

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


Many thanks to Ebronte, Fred Frith, Rich Hall, Peter Jansens.

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop


2015-05-26

Iggy Rose Radio Interview

Dazed Radio
Dazed Radio.

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.

The complete radio show, one hour and a half, with several guests has been hosted at Nikki Palomino's Mixcloud page: Dazed Radio Show Recorded Live 5.25.15.

A condensed version (47 minutes) with only the Iggy parts has been hosted on the Reverend's Soundcloud spot:

Direct link for troubled browsers: Dazed Radio Show (condensed) 5.25.15.

Quoting one of the listener's who told the Church:

Iggy sounds great, her voice is so warm, not at all what I expected her to sound like, for some reason. I can imagine a conversation with her would be such fun.

We can only say it is.


Many thanks to: Nikki Palomino.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥