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John Lennon called him 'Normal'.... (written by Julian Palacios)
Norman ‘Hurricane’ Smith (February 22, 1923 – March 3, 2008) was part of
the Golden Age at EMI. One of his very first assignments as engineer was
Kidd and the Pirates classic Shakin' All Over in 1960.
Already in his thirties when he began with EMI, Smith came up through
the ranks the hard way, learning the ins and outs of Abbey Road's three
studios. By the time he got to engineering The
Beatles, he'd already learned to compensate for the sometimes
acoustically odd rooms and crude two track recording consoles.
He and others developed some extraordinary techniques; just listen to
way Ringo's drums still jump out in She Loves You. EMI’s
innovations left the competition baffled by their recordings, which
couldn’t imagine Ringo Starr’s distinctive damped snare sound was due to
a combination of close miking, compression and tea towels in the bass
Smith had engineered all the Beatles albums through 1965’s Rubber
Soul and was adept at the arduous cut-and-paste editing required for
their four-track recordings. Having learnt his craft under the tutelage
of Beatles’ producer George Martin, he had been promoted from engineer
to producer and Piper was to be his first album as producer.
Norman and Pink Floyd
Despite his problems with Syd, (My godfathers, he's an awkward chap,
this Syd Barrett) Smith did some incredible work with the Floyd,
coaching them through vocal harmonies, sometimes joining in on the
recording (Note). He, Peter Bown (engineer) and
Jeff Jarratt (tape operator) rode the technological advances for all
they were worth, using limiting and reverb, then moving into flanging,
artificial double tracking. Spartan controls disguised the sensitivity
of the circuits inside the desk. The TG12345 Curve Bender provided an
equalisation curve, which let a sparkling surge of sound through to
saturate the recording tape.
Smith’s touches were subtle but powerful, note the rising glissando
note, which finishes each chorus on Bike, achieved using a crude
oscillator and vari-speeding the tape down while the track was running.
Smith was a hands-on producer, spending plenty of time on the studio
floor with the band rather than ensconced up in the control booth.
Despite his at time stolid approach to recording, Smith had a
wide-ranging ear and an experimental approach. If Mason wanted tympani,
Waters wanted to play his bass with a violin bow or Wright wanted to
mike up a harmonium, Smith was critical in helping them. Toy clockwork
running around the studio floor or miking wooden blocks, these were all
done because they had Smith as an ally.
Songs evoking the intensity of their live performances, such as Pow R. Toc H.
and Interstellar Overdrive, benefited from Smith and Bown, having
the rhythm section of Waters & Mason mixed right to the fore. The mono
mix is much punchier, compressed so the midrange jumps out with
thunderous drums and bass. If Barrett’s more intricate sonic textures
fade into the mix, his guitar rings out sharp as sirens, jumping out
like phantoms from under the stairs.
Despite purists crowing over the superiority of the mono mix of Piper,
the stereo version Smith produced was a feat of engineering. So radical
a departure from the mono mix, the stereo version amounts to the first
remix album. Smith, in a dazzling display of work, did the entire stereo
mix in two sessions totalling nine hours. The 2007 remaster
gives the stereo The Piper at the Gates of Dawn great resonance,
with a wide horizon of reverb, echo and chorus galore.
On the stereo version of Interstellar Overdrive, the rhythm
section of Mason & Waters is mixed to the right, while the melodic team
of Wright & Barrett is mixed to the left. The split in the stereo
spectrum mirrors the split in the Pink Floyd’s own music; with an
edginess that seeps into their tracks from the contention, musical and
personal, between the two sides of the group.
Smith was working round the clock, doing double time on the Pink Floyd’s
debut and The
Pretty Things psychedelic song cycle S.F. Sorrow. Dick Taylor, the
Pretty’s guitarist, recalled Smith as wide open to experimentation, and
with Smith as producer the Pretty Things let loose with some inspired
work. S.F. Sorrow and Piper DEFINE psychedelia, filled chock a brim with
sonic invention. These Norman Smith productions sound radical and fresh
forty years later.
THE MAN WAS A FUCKING MONUMENT!
Please, in memoriam for Hurricane Smith, crank up Interstellar
Overdrive until your bass bins rattle and the council files a noise
complaint. In Normanni nos fides. A great producer and one of the
last of the old school. RIP old man, you will be missed.
Note: Norman Smith replaced drummer Nick Mason during the recording
sessions for Remember A Day (October 1967, A Saucerful Of
Secrets). His vocals are also prominent on the same track. Remember
A Day is mostly cited as being one of the very few Five
Man Floyd tracks (meaning that both Syd Barrett and David Gilmour
played on the track, together with the rest of the band). Back to text.
It has been a sad week for us, music lovers. Rick
Wright, one of the founding fathers of the band Pink
Floyd, died of cancer. Wright was a member of the 1963 R&B cover
6 that would grow, a couple of years later, into the next hip thing
when Syd Barrett joined the gang. The hip thing would soon become a
monster, a gravy train, a dinosaur, it had its up and downs, it was
praised and loathed by the so-called serious music press.
I am not good at obituaries, and who am I to write one anyway, so I’ll
pass the word to David Gilmour, not only a colleague but also close
friend of him.
In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's
enormous input was frequently forgotten.
He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing
were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound.
I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my
voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in
1971 on 'Echoes'. In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones
where he is in full flow. After all, without 'Us and Them' and 'The
Great Gig In The Sky', both of which he wrote, what would 'The Dark Side
Of The Moon' have been? Without his quiet touch the Album 'Wish You Were
Here' would not quite have worked.
In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but
in the early Nineties, with 'The Division Bell', his vitality, spark and
humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances
on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it's a mark of his modesty
that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not
to the rest of us).
I admit I was one of those many fans who sheered louder for Rick than
for the others on David’s last tour. Hearing him sing Echoes with David
was probably my best Floydian encounter ever, topping Dogs that Roger
Waters used (and still uses) to sing on his solo tours.
Roger Waters, normally a man of many words, has put the following
appropriate statement on his website:
Julianindica (aka Julian Palacios) wrote some great stuff about Wright
at Late Night:
Wright’s keyboard style had a unique melancholic grandeur. He had an ear
for exotic sounds, bringing in Middle Eastern Phrygian scales into his
mix. Never one to play lightning fast or pound the notes out, Wright
conjured up his unique style with patience. What was left out was as
important as what stayed in, and Wright took a calm and methodical
approach. The influence of Davis sideman Bill Evans introspective,
melancholic piano was strong. Modal jazz had minimal chords and relied
on melody and intervals of different modes. A slow harmonic rhythm
opened space in the music, in contrast to bebop’s frenzy.
Iggy's public life started 44 years ago when she was spotted by an NME
photographer and was promptly and accurately described as half an
Eskimo. This took place in The Cromwellian, a bar, restaurant and casino
owned by wrestler Paul Lincoln. For a while The Cromwellian was the hot
place to be and even when the place lost its crown to The Scotch Of St
James there were still enough celebrities around to have a chat with.
The club was owned by wrestler Paul Lincoln who set his first steps in
music business by opening the legendary 2I's
coffee bar. In our four-part series Bending
at The Crom the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit attempted to assemble
several loose facts about the club that lay scattered all over the web,
but unfortunately we were unable to contact Paul Lincoln himself.
The wrestling fraternity is mourning Paul Lincoln, the man who was the
Doctor Death, passed away on Tuesday 11th January. (...)
In 1951 he left Australia for Britain, where he started wrestling the
following year. He established himself as a popular and respected
wrestler, particularly in the south of England. Paul met up with a
school friend who was also a wrestler, Ray Hunter. In 1956 they pooled
their savings to buy a coffee bar in Old Compton Street, London, the
“The Two I’s.” The name was retained from the previous owners, the Irani
Under Paul Lincoln and Ray Hunter management the coffee bar established
itself as a home for many young entertainers, giving them the chance to
display their talent to fellow customers. Amongst the many who took this
opportunity and went on to greater fame were Tommy Steele, Adam Faith,
Marty Wilde and Cliff Richard. Lincoln also opened an Italian restaurant
in Soho and together with Ray Hunter, Bob Anthony Al ' Hayes he
purchased The Cromwellian bar, restaurant and casino.
In 1958 Paul and Ray turned to the promotional side of wrestling,
setting up Paul Lincoln Managements. (...) Paul pulled on a mask and
appeared on his own bills as the masked man Doctor Death. Even without
television exposure Doctor Death became a household name. The masked man
was imitated many times, but fans overwhelmingly believe Paul Lincoln
was not only the original Doctor Death he was also the best. (...)
Paul Lincoln was to be remembered, and will continue to be so, as one of
the most influential figures in British wrestling. Paul Lincoln passed
away on Tuesday 11th January, 2011. (Taken from: Wrestling
World Mourns Paul Lincoln.)
On behalf of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit I would like to offer our
sincere sympathies to the Lincoln family.
The next months will be musically dedicated to Pink
Floyd and several, if not all, of the serious music magazines are
hanging a separate wagon at EMI's gravy train.
Rock 162 (with AC/DC on the cover) comes with a separate Pink Floyd
24 pages booklet, titled at one side: The making of the Dark Side Of
The Moon, and at the other side (when you turn the booklet around) The
making of Wish You Were Here, written by Pink Floyd biographer Glenn
Povey, with pictures of Jill Furmanovsky.
215, ridiculously called the October 2011 edition while we purchased it
now in August (somebody ought to tell those Mojo editors what a calendar
is), has a 12 pages Pink Floyd cover story from Pigs
Might Fly author Mark Blake and with pictures from... Jill
Furmanovsky, but more about that later.
Rock Prog (out on August 31) will be celebrating the 40-iest birthday of Meddle,
an album that – according to their blurb – changed the sound of Pink
Floyd and prog rock forever.
But we start with the most recent Uncut
(that has a Marc Bolan / T-Rex cover, but it didn't cross the Channel
yet) where Nick Mason expresses his belief that there still is room for
a combined Piper/Saucerful Immersion set. That extended CD-box-set would
have early Pink Floyd rarities as Vegetable Man and Scream Thy
last Scream but also...
...we've got some demos that were made really early on, which I think
are just charming. these come from 1965 and include 'Lucy Leave', "I'm A
King Bee", "Walk With Me Sydney", and "Double O-Bo". They're very R'n'B.
Of course we were yet another English band who wanted to be an American
style R'n'B band. We recorded the demo at Decca. I think it must have
been, in Broadhurst Gardens. A friend of Rick's was working there as an
engineer, and managed to sneak us in on a Saturday night when the studio
As all Immersion sets come with some live recordings as well all eyes
(or ears) are pointing into the direction of the Gyllene Cirkeln
gig that was recently sold by its taper to the Floyd. But Mark Jones,
known for his extensive collection of early Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett
pictures, heard something else from his contacts at Pink Floyd Ltd. He
fears that this gig will not be put on an early Floyd immersion set:
I doubt it, my answer from someone 'high up' was 'the Stockholm
recording does not feature Syd's vocals'. I take that means either his
mic was not functioning properly or he was singing off mic. (…) My
answer was from 'high up' and from what I gathered it meant they weren't
Like we have pointed out in a previous article (see: EMI
blackmails Pink Floyd fans!) the September 1967 live set does not
have audible lyrics, due to the primitive circumstances the gig has been
recorded with (or simply because Syd didn't sing into the microphone).
But that set also has some instrumentals that could be put on a rarities
disk: a 7 minutes 20 seconds unpublished jam nicknamed 'Before or
Since' (title given by the taper), Pow R Toc H (without the
jungle sounds?) and Interstellar Overdrive.
It will be a long wait as an early Immersion set can only see the light
of day in late 2012 and only after the other sets have proven to be
Back to Mojo with its Dark Side Of The Moon / Wish You Were
Here cover article. Obviously the 'Syd visits Pink Floyd' anecdote
had to be added in as well and at page 88 Mark Blake tells the different
versions of this story once again (some of them can also be found in
Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory).
In his Lost In Space article Mark Blake also retells the almost
unknown story about an unpublished Pink Floyd book that has been lying
on Roger Waters' shelves for about 35 years. After the gigantic success
of Dark Side Of The Moon the band, or at least Roger Waters,
found it a good idea to have a documentary of their life as successful
rock-stars. Waters asked his old Cambridge friend and golf buddy Nick
Sedgwick to infiltrate the band and to note down his impressions.
Another sixties Cambridge friend was called in as well: Storm
Thorgerson, who hired Jill Furmanovsky to take (some of) the
pictures of the 1974 American tour. Nick and Storm could follow the band
far more intimately than any other journalist or writer as they had been
beatnik buddies (with Syd, David and Roger) meeting in the Cambridge
coffee houses in the Sixties. In his 1989 novel Light Blue With Bulges
Nick Sedgwick clearly describes how a loud-mouthed bass player and the
novel's hero share some joints and drive around on their Vespa
Life on the rock road in 1974 was perhaps too much of a Kerouac-like
adventure. The band had its internal problems, with Roger Waters acting
as the alpha-male (according to David Gilmour in the latest Mojo
article). But there weren't only musical differences, Pink Floyd had
wives and families but they also had some difficulties to keep up the
monogamist life on the road. Then there was the incident with Roger
Waters who heard a man's voice at the other side when he called his wife
When David Gilmour read the first chapters of the book he felt aggrieved
by it and managed to get it canned, a trick he would later repeat with
Nick Mason's first (and unpublished) version of Inside Out. But
also Nick Mason agrees that the book by Nick Sedgwick was perceived, by
the three others, as being to openly friendly towards Roger Waters and
too negative towards the others. Mark Blake, in a Facebook reaction to
the Church, describes the manuscript as 'dynamite'.
Unfortunately Nick Sedgwick died a couple of days ago and Roger Waters
issued the following statement:
One of my oldest friends, Nick Sedgwick, died this week of brain cancer.
I shall miss him a lot. I share this sad news with you all for a good
He leaves behind a manuscript, "IN THE PINK" (not a hunting memoir).
His memoir traces the unfolding of events in 1974 and 1975 concerning
both me and Pink Floyd. In the summer of 1974 Nick accompanied me, and
my then wife Judy, to Greece. We spent the whole summer there and Nick
witnessed the beginnings of the end of that marriage.
That autumn he travelled with Pink Floyd all round England on The Dark
Side Of The Moon Tour. He carried a cassette recorder on which he
recorded many conversations and documented the progress of the tour. In
the spring of 1975 he came to America with the band and includes his
recollections of that time also.
When Nick finished the work in 1975 there was some resistance in the
band to its publication, not surprising really as none of us comes out
of it very well, it's a bit warts and all, so it never saw the light of
It is Nick's wish that it be made available now to all those interested
in that bit of Pink Floyd history and that all proceeds go to his wife
To that end I am preparing three versions, a simple PDF, a hardback
version, and a super de-luxe illustrated limited edition signed and
annotated by me and hopefully including excerpts from the cassettes.
For those interested in the more turbulent episodes of the band Pink
Floyd this will be a very interesting read indeed.
Update 2016 12 04: the Sedgwick Floyd biography 'In The Pink' has
not been published yet. In a 2015 interview for Prog magazine Roger
Waters, however, said that the project was still on.
The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Mark Jones & although he will
probably never read this, Roger Waters.
On Wednesday, 9 May 2012, it was reported that Clive
Welham passed away, after having been ill for a long time.
50 years earlier, he was the one who introduced a quiet, shy boy to
Roger 'Syd' Barrett at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology. The
boys had in common that they both liked to play the guitar and
immediately became friends, that is how Syd Barrett and David Gilmour
met and how the Pink Floyd saga started.
Just like in the rest of England, Cambridge was a musical melting pot in
the early sixties with bands forming, merging, splitting and dissolving
like bubbles in a lava lamp.
Clive 'Chas' Welham attended the Perse
Preparatory School for Boys, a private school where he met fellow
student David Gilmour. As would-be musicians they crossed the
social barriers and befriended pupils from the Cambridge and County
School for Boys, meeting at street corners, the coffee bars or at home
were they would trade guitar licks. Despite their two years age
difference Clive was invited to the Sunday afternoon blues jam sessions
at Roger Barrett's home and in spring 1962 this culminated in a
'rehearsal' band called Geoff Mott & The Mottoes. Clive
Welham (to Julian Palacios):
There was Geoff Mott [vocals], Roger Barrett [rhythm guitar], and
“Nobby” Clarke [lead guitar], another Perse boy. I met them at a party
near the river. They’d got acoustic guitars and were strumming. I
started picking up sticks and making noise. We were in the kitchen, away
from the main party. They asked me if I played drums and I said, “Not
really, but I’d love to.” They said, “Pop round because we’re getting a
Clive Welham (to Mark Blake):
It was quite possible that when me and Syd first started I didn't even
have any proper drums and was playing on a biscuit tin with knives. But
I bought a kit, started taking lessons and actually got quite good. I
can't even remember who our bass player was...
Although several Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies put Tony Sainty
as the Mottoes' bass player Clive Welham has always denied this: “I
played in bands with Tony later, but not with Syd.”
Another hang-around was a dangerous looking bloke who was more
interested in his motorbike than in playing music: Roger Waters.
He was the one who designed the poster for what is believed to be The
Mottoes' only public gig.
After Clive Welham had introduced David Gilmour to Syd Barrett, David
became a regular visitor as well. Surprisingly enough Syd and David
never joined a band together, starting their careers in separate bands.
Although they were close friends it has been rumoured there was some
pubertal guitar playing rivalry between them.
1962: The Ramblers
The Mottoes never grew into a gigging band and in March 1962 Clive
Welham, playing a Trixon
drum kit, stepped into The Ramblers with Albert 'Albie' Prior
(lead guitar), Johnny Gordon (rhythm guitar), Richard Baker (bass) and
Chris ‘Jim’ Marriott (vocals).
The Ramblers’ first gig was at the United Reformed Church Hall on Cherry
Hinton Road. They used their new Watkins Copycat Echo Chamber giving
them great sound on The Shadows’ Wonderful Land and Move It.
The Ramblers soon acquired a certain reputation and gigged quite a lot
in the Cambridge area. One day Syd Barrett asked 'Albie' Prior for some
rock'n roll advice in the Cambridge High School toilets: “...saying that
he wanted to get into a group and asking what it involved and in
particular what sort of haircut was best.”
Unfortunately the responsibilities of adulthood crept up on him and lead
guitarist 'Albie' had to leave the band to take a job in a London bank.
On Tuesday, the 13th of November 1962, David Gilmour premiered at a gig
at the King's Head public house at Fen Ditton, a venue were they would
return every week as the house band. Gilmour had joined two bands at the
same time and could also be seen with Chris Ian & The Newcomers,
later just The Newcomers. Notorious members were sax-player Dick
Parry, not unknown to Pink Floyd anoraks and Rick
Wills (Peter Frampton's Camel, Foreigner and Bad Company).
Memories have blurred a bit but according to Glenn Povey's Echoes
Gilmour's final gig with The Ramblers was on Sunday, 13 October 1963.
Beginning of 1964 The Ramblers disbanded but three of its 5 members
would later resurface as Jokers Wild.
1963: The Four Posters
But first, in autumn 1963, a band known as The Four Posters was
formed, although it may have been just a temporarily solution to keep on
playing. David Altham (piano, sax & vocals) and Tony Sainty (bass &
vocals) were in it and perhaps Clive Welham (drums). Unfortunately their
history has not been documented although according to Will Garfitt, who
left the band to pursue a painting career, they played some gigs at the
Cambridge Tech, the Gas Works, the Pit Club and the university. Contrary
to what has been written in some Pink Floyd biographies John Gordon was
I was never in The Four Posters. Clive and I were together in The
Ramblers, and we left together to join Dave, David and Tony to create
Jokers Wild. I don't know whether Dave and Tony came from The Newcomers
or The Four Posters...
1964: Jokers Wild
The Ramblers, The Four Posters and The Newcomers ended at about the same
time and the bands more or less joined ranks. Renamed Jokers Wild
in September 1964 it was at first conceived as an all-singing band. “We
were brave enough to do harmony singing that other groups wouldn’t
attempt, including Beach Boys and Four Seasons numbers”, confirmed Tony
Sainty. The band had good musicians, all of them could hold a tune, and
they soon had a loyal fanbase. They became the house-band at Les Jeux
Interdits, a midweek dance at Victoria Ballroom. Clive Welham: “We
came together in the first place because we all could sing.”
Some highlights of their career include a gig with Zoot
Money's Big Roll Band, The
Paramounts (an early incarnation of Procol Harum) and a London gig
as support act for The
Animals. This last gig was so hyped that a bus-load of fans followed
them from Cambridge to the big city of London.
1965: Walk Like A Man
Mid 1965 the band entered the Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street,
London. They recorded a single that was sold (or given) to the fans
containing Don’t Ask Me What I Say (Manfred
Mann) and Big Girls Don’t Cry (The
Four Seasons). Out of the same session came a rather limited
one-sided LP with three more numbers: Why
Do Fools Fall in Love, Walk
Like a Man and Beautiful
Delilah. This is the only 'released' recording of Jokers Wild
although there might be others we are not aware of. Peter Gilmour
(David's brother) who replaced Tony Sainty on bass and vocals in autumn
1965 commented this week:
Sad news. A great bloke. I'll replay some of those old recordings doing
Four Seasons and Beach Boys numbers with his lovely clear falsetto voice.
Somewhere in October 1965 they played a private party in Great Shelford
together with an unknown singer-songwriter Paul
Simon and a band that was billed as The Tea Set because Pink
Floyd sounded too weird for the highbrow crowd. Clive Welham:
It was in a marquee at the back of this large country house [that can,
by the way, be seen on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Ummagumma,
FA]. I sat on and off the drum kit because of my wrist problems. Willie
Wilson sat in on drums and I came to the front on tambourine.
The musicians enjoyed themselves, jamming with the others and Paul Simon
- 'a pain in the arse', according to drummer Willie Wilson - joined in
on Johnny B. Good. A couple of days later Jokers Wild supported Pink
Floyd again, this time at the Byam Shaw School, Kensington, London. Each
band was paid £10 for that gig.
1965: the Decca tapes
By then Jokers Wild were seriously thinking of getting professional.
They were not only known by the locals in Cambridgeshire, but did
several society parties in London as well. Also the military forces had
discovered them: Jokers Wild was invited for the Admiral League dance at
the Dorchester Hotel in London and played several dances at the RAF and
USAF bases of Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Alconbury and Chicksands. Their
repertoire changed as well, shifting more towards soul, R&B and Tamla
Motown. Libby Gausden: “How we danced to David Gilmour, Peter Gilmour,
David Altham, John Gordon, Tony Sainty and dear Clive xxx.”
Some promoters were sought for and the band recorded a single for Decca:
You Don’t Know Like I Know (Sam
and Dave) / That’s How Strong My Love Is (Otis
Redding), but unfortunately it was never released because the
original version by Sam and Dave had already hit the UK market.
After the Decca adventure the original band slowly evaporated over the
next few months. Peter Gilmour left (probably after the summer of 1966)
to concentrate on his studies. Clive Welham had difficulties combining
his full time job with a semi-professional rock band and had some
medical problems as well. John Gordon further explains:
Clive [Welham] became unable to play any more (with a wrist complaint)
and was replaced by Willie Wilson... and that line-up continued for some
time. It was later still that Tony Sainty was replaced by Rick
[Wills]... and then, when the band was planning trips to France, I had
to 'pass' to finish my degree at college.
1966: Bullit & The Flowers
Now a quartet with David Altham, David Gilmour, John 'Willie' Wilson and newcomer
Rick Wills on bass, they continued using the known brand name, a trick
Gilmour would later repeat (but slightly more successful) with Pink
Floyd, touring around Spain, France and The Netherlands. Another failed
attempt to turn professional made them temporarily change their name to Bullit
and when David Altham also left the remaining trio continued as The
Flowers, mainly playing in France. Around camp-fires on this planet
it is told how a sick (and broke) David Gilmour returned to London, just
in time to get a telephone call from Nick Mason, asking if he had a few
minutes to spare.
2012: Nobody Knows Where You Are
Clive worked at the Cambridge University Press but always continued with
his music. According to Vernon Fitch he played in a band called Jacob's
Ladder in the Seventies and was a successful singer with local
Cambridge band Executive Suite in the Nineties. Helen Smith
remembers him as the leader of Solitaire, what must have been
(according to Colleen Hart) in the mid-Seventies:
A brilliant front man in his band 'Solitaire' - he had a wonderfully
sweet singing voice and could easily hit the high notes!
Update 2012 08 12: In 1978 Clive made a private, non commercial
recording of Peanuts, originally a 1957 hit from Little
Joe & The Thrillers:
David Altham: guitar, saxophone, keyboards, vocals David Gilmour:
guitar, vocals, harmonica John Gordon: rhythm guitar, vocals (1964 to
late 1965) Tony Sainty: bass, vocals (1964 to early 1966) Peter
Gilmour: bass, vocals (early 1966) Clive Welham: drums, vocals (1964
to late 1965) John 'Willie' Wilson: drums (from late 1965)
Jokers Wild #2 (Summer 1966 - Summer 1967 / Source: Glenn Povey) AKA
Bullit (3 summer months in 1966 at the Los Monteros hotel in Marbella?) AKA
The Flowers (end 1966)
David Altham: rhythm guitar (to December 1966) David Gilmour: guitar,
vocals Rick Wills: bass (from January 1967) John 'Willie' Wilson:
According to Julian Palacios in Dark Globe, quoting David Gale,
'perse pigs and county cunts' were friendly nicknames the pupils of
these rivaling schools gave to each other. David Gale's assumption can
be found on YouTube
although it may have been a raunchy joke towards his audience and part
of his 'performance'. (Back to text above.)
Syd Barrett in Jokers Wild?
In an interview for the Daily
Mirror in August 2008 Rosemary Breen (Syd's sister) told:
He [Syd] started his first band, Jokers Wild, at 16. Sunday
afternoons would see Cambridge chaps and girls coming over for a jamming
session. The members of Pink Floyd were just people I knew. Roger Waters
was a boy who lived around the corner and Dave Gilmour went to school
over the road.
This seems to be a slip of the tongue as Syd Barrett never joined the
band. In a message on Facebook,
Jenny Spires adds:
Syd was not in Jokers Wild... He jammed with all the various members at
different times, but he wasn't in it. When I met him in 64, he was
playing with his old Art School band Those Without. He was also in The
Tea Set at the same time. He played with several bands at the same time,
for example if someone needed a bass player for a couple of gigs they
may have asked him to stand in. Earlier, he played with Geoff Mott and
also with Blues Anonymous. There were lots of musician friends in
Cambridge that Syd played and jammed with. (Jenny Spires, 2012 06 30)
Many thanks to: Viv Brans, Michael Brown, Lord Drainlid, Libby Gausden,
John Gordon, Peter Gilmour, Colleen Hart, Chris Jones, Joe Perry,
Antonio Jesús Reyes, Helen Smith, Jenny Spires & I Spy In Cambridge. All
pictures courtesy of I
Spy In Cambridge. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 22-23, 34. Clive
Welham at Cambridge News Death
Notices, May 2012. Dosanjh, Warren: The music scene of 1960s
Cambridge, Cambridge, 2012, p. 42, 46-47. Free download
Spy In Cambridge. Fitch, Vernon: The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia,
Collector's Guide Publishing, Ontario, 2005, p. 342. Gordon, John: Corrections
re Jokers Wild, email, 2012-05-12. Palacios, Julian: Syd
Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
27-28, 31. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd,
3C Publishing, 2008, p. 13, 20-24, 29.
Ayers died this week, 68 years old, leaving the enigmatic message
'You can't shine if you don't burn' on a piece of paper next to his bed.
The press is describing him as a whimsical psychedelic pioneer, which
undoubtedly he was, but they easily forget that he made a few landmark
albums en route to the third millenium. Well we did all forget
about Kevin Ayers, didn't we, including that silly Reverend who has
never bothered to buy his last album The
Unfairground. Not enough time, too much things to do, you know the
I have warm feelings for his albums Falling
Up (1988) and Still
Life With Guitars (1992) that were largely ignored by the public but
that contain some hidden gems. The punchline 'Am I really Marcel' was
for years a constant pun in my household, bringing back memories of hot
and steamy nights in a bohemian shack that had no electricity and no
heating but my LA-girl and me did have a cassette player under the bed
with an Ayers tape glued inside.
Let's get experienced
Kevin Ayers was the only musician who could convince Syd Barrett to play
on one of his records, but he didn't make it to the final mix when the
record came out in 1970. On the remastered Joy
Of A Toy CD there are two alternative takes of the Singing A Song In
The Morning / Religious Experience song and on the liner notes it is
claimed that Syd Barrett is on take 9 of the song (the 4 minutes 46
seconds version of the song, track 11 on the CD).
As with all things Barrett this has lead to even more confusion as
several people noticed that this might be wrong and that the real
version with Syd Barrett is take 103 (duration: 2'50” and track 14 on
On Wednesday 17th December 1969 Syd Barrett entered the Abbey Road
studios and recorded some guitar work for Kevin Ayers' song Religious
Experience. According to the tape box two different lead guitar
tracks were added to take 10 of the song. Random Precision author David
Parker notes that the third track of the tape 'is the guitar playing one
hears on the single [issued under the title Singing A Song In The
Morning, note from FA]... but on track 8 of the multi-track
another completely different sounding lead guitar is playing away'. That
one is Syd's guitar... (the same track has a mellotron as well, played
The next day the Religious Experience tapes were further worked on by
Peter Jenner for stereo mixing. For an unknown reason the takes were
renumbered from take 10 to take 100, and four stereo mixes do exist at
the EMI library that include Barrett's guitar in one way or another: take
100 – 3:07 (unreleased) take 101 – 3:07 (unreleased) take
102 – 3:05 (unreleased) and take 103 – 2:47 (released on the
remastered Joy Of A Toy CD).
Although take 9 has a sentence (from Kevin Ayers?) that (apparently)
goes 'Syd do your thing', it is highly improbably that Syd Barrett is on
But who cares, a great musician has just died...
Vive la banane!
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above) Parker,
David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p.
a song in the morning on Late Night forum, 7 December 2007.
What is there to say about Storm, except perhaps, like someone put in Birdie
Hop, that he had a great name and a great life?
Thorgerson was a member of the so-called Cambridge mafia, who in the
early Sixties fled their home-town en masse to seek fame and
fortune in the great city. They wanted to study in London, at least that
is what they told their parents, but frankly these youngsters just
wanted to get away from parental guidance and have an uncensored bite of
adult life: sex, drugs and rock'n roll. Paradoxically, or maybe not,
once they arrived in London they immediately flocked together, sharing
apartments and houses and meeting in the same clubs and coffee houses.
The term Cambridge mafia was coined by David
Gilmour to denominate that bunch of relatives, friends and
acquaintances who stuck together, not only in the sixties, but are still
doing today. As a relative young and unknown band Pink
Floyd looked for associates, sound- and light technicians, roadies
and lorry drivers in their immediate neighbourhood, often not further
away than the next room in the same house.
Thorgerson was no exception, he had played cricket in the same team as Bob
Klose and Roger
Waters, and when the Floyd needed a record cover for A
Saucerful Of Secrets, Storm managed to squeeze himself in, staying
there till the end of his life, as the recent variations
of the Dark Side of the Moon cover show us.
But even before Saucerful Storm had been involved with the band, it was
at his kitchen table at Egerton Court that the members, minus Syd
Barrett, discussed the future of Pink Floyd and decided to ask for a
little help from yet another Cantabrigian friend: David Gilmour.
Obviously, this blog would not exist if, in the week from the 14th to
21st April 1969, Storm hadn't made an appointment with history to start
a magical photo shoot.
Julian Palacios in Dark Globe:
Storm Thorgerson supervised the photo session for the cover of The
Madcap Laughs, bringing in Mick Rock to photograph at Syd’s flat. ‘Syd
just called out of the blue and said he needed an album cover,’
confirmed Rock. When Thorgerson and Rock arrived for the shoot, ‘Syd was
still in his Y-fronts when he opened the door,’ Mick explained. ‘He had
totally forgotten about the session and fell about laughing. His lady
friend of two weeks, “Iggy the Eskimo”, was naked in the kitchen
preparing coffee. She didn’t mind either. They laughed a lot, a magical
There has been some muffled controversy who was the brain behind the
pictures of The Madcap Laughs, not really helped by some contradicting
explanations from Storm Thorgerson and Mick
Rock. They both arrived the same day, both with a camera, and
probably Rock handed over (some of) his film rolls to Storm as this was
initially a Hipgnosis
Unfortunately we will never be able to ask Storm whether there was a
third photographer present or not, but the chance is he wouldn't have
remembered anyway. The rumour goes Storm was a rather chaotic person and
that most Barrett negatives disappeared or were misplaced through the
Perhaps the best, or at least the most personal, the most touching, the
most emotional album art by Storm is the cover of the 1974 Syd Barrett
vinyl compilation. It is a simple brown cover with Syd's name in
handwriting and a small picture, taken from what probably was an autumn
or late summer photo session also destined for the cover of The Madcap
Laughs. The pictures of the so-called yoga photo-shoot however where not
used, as we all know, for Syd's first album as Storm decided to use the
daffodil and Iggy session from April instead. Hence the misdating in
nearly all biographies.
In 1974 Harvest decided to package Barrett's two solo albums as a budget
release. Storm, by then de de facto house photographer of Pink
Floyd, was asked to design a new cover. Storm rang at Syd's apartment
but the recalcitrant artist smashed the door when he heard about the
reason for the visit.
Thorgerson went back to the office and decided to make a cover out of
leftover pictures. On top of the brown background he put a plum, an
orange and a matchbox. This was probably the first time that Storm
played a game that he would later repeat with other Floydian artwork,
leaving enigmatic hints that were initially only understood by that
select group of Cantabrigian insiders who had known Syd personally.
Thorgerson's riddles culminated in the art for The
Division Bell (and its many spin-offs) that had a visual companion
for every song of the album, and rather than clarifying or portraying
the lyrics they added to the mystery. It still is his opus magnum
and unfortunately he will not be able any more to top it. We will never
know if he was in with the Publius
Enigma hoax although there have been a few leads pointing that way.
At a later stage Storm lost me somewhat. His mix of photographic
surrealism and mockery became too much a gimmick and the freshness and
inventiveness were gone. The covers of the latest Syd Barrett and Pink
Floyd compilations were not always appreciated by the fans. Perhaps he
was already sick by then.
But these few failings disappear at the magical
visual oeuvre Storm Thorgerson has left us (and not only for Pink
Floyd): A Nice Pair, Argus, Cochise, Dirty Things Done Dirt Cheap,
Flash, Houses of the Holy, Lullubelle III, Picnic, Savage Eye, Sheet
Music, The Lamb Lays Down On Broadway, Tightly Knit, Venus and Mars and
many many more...
Thorgerson was a rock artist without having recorded a single note of
music, he will be missed on Earth, but if there is that nirvana he will
surely be welcomed by Clive, Nick, Pip, Ponji, Rick, Steve, Syd and the
Many thanks to: Lori Haines. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 340.
Is there really a Barrett revival going on, or are we just seeing more
Syd fans because our global village is getting smaller and smaller? I do
remember the early seventies when the only guy you could speak to about
Barrett was a freakish weirdo who smoked pot in the school toilets and
who was generally avoided by everyone, including the school teachers.
The vibrant Birdie
Hop Facebook group is sky-rocketing with over 1200 members and a
dozen new threads a day, but the traditional forum
has come to a standstill and survives on its three posters a day, so the
feeling is a bit ambiguous.
Facebook may be here to stay (but that was once said from MySpace
as well, remember?) but basically it sucks if you want to find
information and you are not employed by the NSA.
While traditional forums have this newbie rule to go looking in the
archives before asking a question this is virtually impossible on
Facebook, because their search system simply doesn't work and links are
automatically made redundant after a certain time. The whole 'group'
concept of Facebook is a laugh, especially for administrators.
Underneath is a screenshot of an actual search on Facebook, trying to
locate the thread
(Facebook link no longer active) this article is about...
So, by design, Facebook groups are condemned to have a flow of
'continuous repetition' to paraphrase the wise words of Dr. Hans
Keller while the one interesting thread is floating down around the
icy waters underground. (Wow, this is a good cigarette.)
Waiting for the man
A couple of weeks ago Baron
of Pink Floyd toying around at the Casa
Madrona hotel in Sausalito
(CA) was posted again and as usual there was that one individual asking
if anybody knew who the bloke was standing behind the boys.
Tea on the terrace at our hotel in Sausalito on the hillside above San
Fransisco Bay (…) I have no idea who our tea-time partner was – the
hotel manager, an under assistant West Coast promotion man, or a vendor
of Wild West apparel? We eventually acquired enough cowboy hats for the
entire population of Dodge City, and Roger commissioned a six-gun
holster in which he carried his wallet.
So here was another quest for the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit,
that splendid non-profit organisation, lead by that fantabulous
mastermind Reverend Felix Atagong who has already solved several
Barrettian riddles in the past.
The obvious first step was to contact the hotel that doesn't hesitate to
put on its website
that it is a legend since 1885 and that it drew celebrities such as Dick
Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty and the rock band Pink Floyd.
We got a very friendly answer from Stefan Mühle, the general manager,
that our guess was logical but that he didn't know either. Since 1967
the hotel changed hands a couple of times and the finer side of these
anecdotes, that only seem to bother the Sydiots in the world, got lost
in the mist of times.
Before we continue with our quest, let's have a small history lesson.
In the summer of 1967 Syd Barrett suffered from something that
was euphemistically referred to as over-fatigue. The band scrapped some
gigs and send Barrett over to sunny Formentera under supervision of
Hutt, the underground's leading gynaecologist. Unfortunately Smutty,
as he was invariably called by his female patients, was the kind of
doctor who rather prescribed LSD
than aspirin. After some holidays in the sun Syd (and the rest of the
boys) returned to England where the endless treadmill of gigging,
recording, gigging, recording started all over again. (You can read more
about the Floyd's holiday at Formentera
In retrospect this was the moment that someone should've grabbed Syd by
the balls, whether he wanted it or not, drag him back to Cambridge, cold
turkey him and give him some proper therapy, although that was kind of
non-existent in those days. William
Pryor, a Cambridge beat poet who descended from the underground into
a heroine maelström, describes the Cane
Hill drug rehabilitation centre as a 'redecorated ward of a huge
Victorian lunatic asylum village that had been given a coat of paint and
a fancy name' where it was almost easier to score H than in the outside
This is not America
Pink Floyd's first American tour was planned between 23 October and 12
November 1967 but because there was a rather Kafkaesque bureaucratic
system to get work permits up till 15 possible gigs had to be cancelled
(according to Julian
Palacios 8 had already been booked, Mark
Blake sticks to 6 and Syd
Barrett Pink Floyd dot com counts 10).
The trustworthy biographies all have (slightly) different stories but it
is safe to say that the Floyd left for America with at least a week
delay. Unfortunately they still couldn't enter the country and had to
wait in Canada until their permits arrived while the management
frantically tried to reschedule the gigs that had already been confirmed.
The 1967 American tour was disastrous, to say the least, and quite a few
gigs went horribly wrong. Luckily the natives were friendly, so friendly
that at least one band member had to visit a venereal disease clinic
back in the UK. Syd and Peter
Wynne-Willson learned the hard way that American grass was much
stronger than at home, leading to another ruined gig as Syd was
apparently too stoned to handle his guitar. It is an educated guess that
Syd tried some local drug varieties like DMT
that were much stronger than their British counterparts. DOM
or STP or Serenity, Tranquility and Peace allegedly gave synaesthetic
trips that could last for 18 hours and from testimonies by Pete
Townshend, Eric Clapton and Mick Farren it is known that it could take a
week for some (frightening) hallucinatory effects to disappear. Julian
Palacios, who dedicates 11 pages to the Floyd's first American tour in Dark
Associated with the downfall of Haight-Ashbury, on 11 November pink
wedge-shaped pills containing 20-micrograms of DOM hit the Haight.
Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic treated eighteen cases of acute toxic
psychosis in five hours. When Barrett and Wynne-Willson took STP in San
Francisco, this was in all likelihood the same ‘pink wedge’.
Result: if Syd Barrett had been mad before, this tour only made
him madder. At the Cheetah club he received an electroshock from his
microphone and he reacted by looking around on stage for the next hour
and a half, not singing, not playing his guitar. He would be
incommunicado to the others for the rest of the tour, who weren't very
keen to talk to him anyway. It needs to be said that not all gigs were
catastrophic and some reviewers actually found the band interesting, but
we wouldn't go that far by calling Syd's erratic behaviour a cleverly
performed dadaist statement like Rob
On the cover of the Rolling Stone
A brand new music magazine, called Rolling
Stone, whose first issue had just appeared a couple of days before,
wanted to do a feature on the new English underground sensation. They
send over photographer Baron
Wolman to the Casa Madrona hotel in Sausalito who found the lads in
a good mood and joking around. But when the band performed at Winterland
that night, the 11th of November, Ralph
Gleason of Rolling Stone was so disappointed he decided not to
publish the cover article and just reviewed the concert saying that
'Pink Floyd for all its electronic interest is simply dull in a dance
hall'. This was also the gig where Syd detuned the strings of his guitar
until they fell off, de facto ending his contribution for the
rest of the show. The next day, on the last gig of the American tour,
the band saw Syd walking off stage and for the first time voices were
raised to kick him out.
In retrospect this was another moment that someone should've grabbed Syd
by the balls, whether he wanted it or not, and drag him back to
Cambridge, but the management insisted to immediately fly to Holland.
Thirty-seven years later, Nick Mason more or less apologises:
If proof was needed that we were in denial about Syd's state of mind,
this was it. Why we thought a transatlantic flight immediately followed
by yet more dates would help is beyond believe.
This is the house
Madrona was build in February 1885 for (isn't it ironic?) William
G. Barrett, a wealthy Vermont born lumber baron and
Secretary-Treasurer for the San
Francisco Gas and Electric Company. He and his family lived high
above the town in his beautifully designed Italian Villa country home.
Architecturally, it was a mastery of craftmanship, a tall and stately
mansion which stood upon the hill-side. Its three stories, with handsome
porticos and verandas, projecting cornice with curved brackets, and
hooded windows, received prominent recognition from the community. This
resulted in an article in the Sausalito News in 1885, which praised Mr.
Barrett's "New Mansion... its fine appearance, magnificent view", and
called the Barrett place "one of the finest improved sites in
Sausalito." (Taken from the National
Register of Historic Places.)
In 1906 the house was sold to attorney John Patrick Gallagher who
converted it into a successful hotel. For the next three decades Barrett
House (and its four outbuildings) would be a hotel, a bar 'the Gallagher
Inn' and a brothel, but that last is something you won't find at the
During World War II, the property was used as temporary lodging for
military families in transit and for the labourers of the nearby
(military) shipyard. After the war it fell into disrepair and became
known as a crash pad for the city’s burgeoning beatnik population.
In February 1959 Robert and Marie-Louise Deschamps, who
had just immigrated from France, responded to an ad to run a 'small
hotel'. Their children Marie-France and 24-year old Jean-Marie
were there when they opened a nameless bar on the 27th of April 1959:
The building was in ruins. Mattresses on the floor, broken furniture -
and very little of that. It was not ‘bohemian’ - it was a flop house!
The Deschamps family had no hotel experience and were rather
unpleasantly surprised by the beatniks who rarely paid their bills. The
bar was not an immediate success either, they would often find that the
door had been smashed in at night and the beer stolen. The logical plan
was to close the hotel, evict the hobos and start all over again.
When the renewed hotel, in exclusive French style, and an excellent
restaurant 'Le Vivoir' were opened about a year later Jean-Marie
left the parental home to sail the seven seas, working as a cook on
Norwegian and Swedish ships. He returned to the hotel around the
mid-sixties and moved into Cottage B. Several guests, from the
pre-sixties bohemian days, were still living in the 'attached' cottages,
including a Swedish baron who had served in the Waffen SS, an ex-CIA
agent who claimed to have been a spy in Vienna, a mostly drunk beatnik
writer and adventurer and, last but not least, a continuously depressed
crew member of one of the planes that dropped the atom bomb on Japan.
In 1973 Casa Madrona was damaged by a series of mudslides and scheduled
for demolition, but it was saved in 1976. Since then it changed owner
several times and went even bankrupt in 2009. With the opening of a spa
resort the hotel was, hopefully, given a new life and history.
It is believed that Jean-Marie Deschamps, the owner's son, was
living and working at the hotel when the Pink Floyd stayed there in
November 1967, 2 months before his 32nd birthday. We contacted Baron
Wolman who told us:
While I'm not entirely certain that he was Deschamps himself, for sure
he was a principal in the hotel - owner, manager, chef, etc. Given the
look, however, I would say your educated guess is probably correct...
Comparing the Floydian picture (1967) with one from 2005 it seems pretty
safe to say there is a certain resemblance. Update January
2014: The Deschamps family have confirmed it is Jean-Marie standing
behind Pink Floyd.
Jean was born on January 20, 1936 and passed away on Tuesday, December
8, 2009. In a (French) obituary it is written how Jean-Marie was an
'incorrigible globe-trotting vagabond' whose home was always 'elsewhere'
and an anarchistic supporter of lost causes, like the rights of native
Americans. Later on, despising the Bush administration, he was an ardent
critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...
But once a cook, always a cook. The night before he died he asked his
(fourth) wife Monica to note down the Christmas menu for his children
and grandchildren, probably knowing that he wouldn't be there to attend.
January 2010 saw a 'sumptuous feast' at the Barrel Room of the Sebastiani
Winery in Sanoma (CA) where 150 guests honoured their friend,
husband, father, grandfather. The place was a gathering of artists,
writers, businessmen, hosts, globetrotters and vagabonds.
If only someone would have had the guts to find out earlier who was the
man standing behind the band. It would've been swell to ask him about
his meeting with the Floyd in 1967, but unfortunately now it is too late
for that. We are pretty sure that it would have led to a tsunami of
anecdotes as Jean-Marie Deschamps had always been a sailor and a
vagabond at heart.
And we will never know what Syd thought of staying in Barrett House.
An Ending In Style (or not)
We need an addendum as the Pink Floyd in Sausalito saga isn't over yet.
When Pink Floyd roadie Alan Styles, who used to be a punter on the river
Cam, saw the house
boats community in Sausalito he fell in love with the place and
decided not to return home after the 1972-1973 Dark Side of the Moon
tour. Alan, who was some kind of celebrity in Cambridge before anyone
had heard of Pink Floyd, can be seen on the rear cover of the Ummagumma
album and makes out the bulk of the 'musique
concrète' on Alan's
Psychedelic Breakfast (Atom Heart Mother).
In 2000 a short
movie was made about Style's life in Sausalito, but it was only
released after his death in 2011. It is the story of a man wanting to be
free in a world that keeps on abolishing freedom. In a nice gesture to
their old friend Pink Floyd Ltd cleared the copyrights for the movie, as
told by Viper:
Nick Mason messaged me on FB as I'd been asking on his site about
permission to release the video about my uncle. Nick gave me PF's
management details and in turn David Gilmour gave us permission to
release the video as it contains original PF music.
But when the Reverend visited Jon Felix's YouTube
channel this is all he got, apparently EMI (and a lot of other acronyms)
don't give a fuck about what Nick Mason or David Gilmour are deciding or
what friendship, compassion, remembrance and especially respect is all
In some kind of weird Floydian cosmic joke Alan Styles died on the same
day as Jean-Marie Deschamps, but two years later, on the 8th of December
Somewhere we think we should try to make a point, but we can't think of
anything right now.
Note: The memoires of Nick Mason's Inside Out are (90%)
identical between the different editions. However, the hardcover
'deluxe' edition contains hundreds of photos that aren't in the cheaper
soft-cover versions. These pictures all have funny and informative notes
that aren't present in the paperback editions. Back to top.
Many thanks to: the Deschamps family, Jon Felix, Yves Leclerc, Stefan
Mühle (Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa), Viper, Baron Wolman, USA National
Register off Historic Places. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 95-96. Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 198. Leclerc,
Yves: Bum Chromé, Blogspot, 9
décembre 2009, 10
janvier 2010. Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of
Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004, p. 93. Mason,
Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books,
London, 2011 reissue, p. 98-102. Mühle, Stefan: JM Deschamps
on Baron Wolman picture?, email, 21.10.2013. Palacios, Julian: Syd
Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
289-290, 298. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink
Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 45-46, 69. Pryor, William: The
Survival Of The Coolest, Clear Books, 2003, p. 106. Wolman,
Baron: Casa Madrona - Pink Floyd + unknown man, email, 14.10.2013.
The Church was informed, a couple of days ago, that Rusty Burnhill died
at the age of 70.
Rusty, and his girlfriend (and later wife) Gretta Barclay, were a
'hippie couple' who were in Syd Barrett's inner circle and who visited
him in his apartment at Wetherby Mansions. It is there that they met
Iggy and helped painting the floorboards in blue and red (or any colour
variation you like).
Unfortunately the other tenant of the apartment wasn't really amused
with the constant stream of visitors around the has-been pop-star and,
in several interviews, many years later, he still uttered his
frustration about this, naming the couple as one of the heavier nutcases.
This unfavourable account found its way in at least three renowned Pink
Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies and as such the Holy Church of Iggy
the Inuit repeated that testimony as well. (Source: Love
In The Woods (Pt. 2)).
However, another friend of Syd Barrett, who we may only address under
the pseudonym JenS, for reasons too much complicated to explain here,
vehemently disagreed and called the couple 'art school kids' who
probably goofed out on booze and mandrax, like everyone else did in
those days (Source: When
Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)).
Gretta Barclay denied the accusations in her interview with the Church:
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount
together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide
Syd with drugs. (Source: Gretta
JenS had met Gretta and her sister Trina during the mid sixties in a
London grooming school and she introduced them to Syd when he was still
living at 101 Cromwell Road. JenS, Gretta, Trina and the French
Dominique (who apparently had a huge crush on Syd) lived together in
Chelsea for a while. Then Gretta met Rusty.
In late 1969 or early 1970 the couple, who had never been part of the
underground, left hectic London for Suffolk mainly because Gretta was
pregnant from her first child. Later in 1970 they moved to Devon.
Barrett still was a close friend and they did visit him, but obviously
not to indulge in drugs and booze. Rusty was a pretty good guitarist and
he jammed with Syd on tracks as Terrapin, Octopus and the blues
standards they both loved. The couple tried to upkeep Syd's interest for
(his own) music and Rusty silently hoped to do something together.
Although Gretta, in her first and only interview she ever gave, is
pretty vague about Syd's condition the couple must have sensed there was
something terribly wrong with the Cambridge wonderboy. They actively
tried to reactivate his musical interest by introducing him to the Welsh
They all visited the Welsh singer-songwriter in his house in Solva,
where Syd and Rusty jammed with Meic's band Bara
Menyn. A pretty bad photo exists of the encounter, perhaps with
Gretta and Rusty sitting around the table with Syd, Meic, Heather
Jones and Geraint
Jarman. (Syd and Meic would meet several times and they were the
subject of a BBC documentary that has probably been lost. See Meic
meets Syd for the story.)
After a while Rusty and Margaretta went separate ways. Rusty lived for a
few months with Jenny Spires and Jack Monck in Cambridge. Jack and Rusty
even started a band, in 1972, right after the Stars debacle. Rocksoff
(or Rocks Off) had Rusty Burnhill (gtr/voc), Jack Monck (bass/voc),
George Bacon (gtr/voc), Dan Kelleher (gtr/pno/voc) and a succession of
drummers, including Chris Cutler and Laurie Allan. (Source: http://calyx.perso.neuf.fr/mus/monck_jack.html.)
Rusty apparently travelled a lot before settling down on the North
Frisian island Amrum
(Germany) from 1978 till 1993. After a brief stay in Worpswede, a
village in the North of Germany, where he participated in a few art
exhibitions, he moved in 1995 to Barmstedt, a Hamburg suburb.
In March 2010, after some holistic detective agency proceedings, the
Church could find Rusty's address. We knew he wasn't using mail and that
he was very reluctant to speak about the past, so we wrote him a letter
to ask for an interview.
It took quite a while, and actually we had forgotten all about it, but
one day he called us out of the blue. Unfortunately the conversation
wasn't going into the direction we had hoped for. After a tirade that
took a few minutes Mr. Burnhill asked us:
Isn't it time this all ends? This has been going on for 40 years now. Can't
you just let the music speak for itself?
Wise words. There are more important things in life than chasing shadows
of dead men.
We really hope, Rusty, that you can finally form that band, you've
always dreamt about.
Many thanks: Gretta Barclay, Thomas Hartlage, JenS, Gus Mark Peters,
Rebecca Poole, anonymous. Picture of Rusty Burnhill: courtesy of Gretta