Obituaries

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2008-03-08

John Lennon called him 'Normal'....

EMI Curve Bender
EMI Curve Bender.

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 the Johnny 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 drum!

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.

Stereo Piper

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.

(Written by Julian Palacios, reprinted with permission)


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.

This entry has been previously published at Unfinished Projects.


2008-09-17

When the right one walks out of the door...

Rick Wright by Huug Schipper, 1974
Rick Wright by Huug Schipper, 1974.

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 band Sigma 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).
Taken from: http://www.davidgilmour.com/

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:

Candles, Roger Waters
Taken from: http://www.roger-waters.com/
 

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.
The full text can be found at Late Night.

The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say...


Rick Wright portrait by Huug Schipper (1974) from the (unauthorisedl) The Pink Floyd Songbook, ca. 1978.
This entry has been previously published at Unfinished Projects.


2011-01-13

RIP Paul Lincoln

Paul Lincoln as Dr Death
Paul Lincoln as Dr Death.

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.

Wrestling Heritage just published the following sad news.

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 brothers.
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.

Update August 2011: In July 2011 Paul Lincoln was awarded The Number One Masked Man of the Heritage Years by the Wrestling Heritage website.


2011-08-28

Immersion

Light Blue with Bulges
Light Blue with Bulges, Nick Sedgwick.

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.

Classic 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.

Mojo 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 wasn't operating.

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 releasing it!

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 successful.

Update 2016 11 11: that Piper 'Immersion' set, with the Gyllene Cirkeln gog, has been officiually issued in the Early Years box set: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years.

Nick Sedgwick's manuscript

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 here: The 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 motorcycles.

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 at home.

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 reason.
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 day.
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 and son.
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.


2012-05-11

RIP Clive Welham: a biscuit tin with knives

Clive Welham
Clive Welham.

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.

Perse pigs and County cunts (note)

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 band together.”

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.

The Ramblers
The Ramblers.

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 never involved:

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...
The Newcomers
The Newcomers.

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.

Jokers Wild
Jokers Wild.

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:

Update 2012 08 13: In 2001 Clive Welham sang Barry Manilow's I Made It Through The Rain at The Maltings, Ely. The clip is courtesy Chris Jones (formerly of the Hi-Fi's) from www.world-video.co.uk and can be watched on YouTube: I Made It Through The Rain.

His last outing was on the Cambridge Roots of Rock of 2008.

On behalf of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit we would like to offer our sincere sympathies to the Welham family.

Jokers Wild #1 (October 1964 - May 1966 / Source: Glenn Povey)

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: drums

Listen to Jokers Wild on YouTube:
First three tracks ("Why Do Fools Fall in Love", "Walk Like a Man", "Don't Ask Me (What I Say)")
Last two tracks ( "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Beautiful Delilah")
Jokers Wild EP (5 tracks)

Afterword (Updated: 2012 07 01)

Perse pigs etc...

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 at: I 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.


2013-02-22

RIP Kevin Ayers: Shooting At The Moon

Kevin Ayers
Kevin Ayers.

Kevin 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 story...

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 the CD).

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 by Ayers)

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 there.

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. 157-160.
Singing a song in the morning on Late Night forum, 7 December 2007.

In 2009 a 10" acetate was sold with an (unknown?) mix of Kevin Ayers / Syd Barrett Religious Experience.
Update 2016: replaced dead YouTube links with working ones.


2013-04-19

RIP Storm Thorgerson: caught in a triangle...

Storm Thorgerson
Storm Thorgerson at the TML photo shoot. Picture: Mick Rock.

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?

Storm 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 session.’

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 project.

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 ages.

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.

Syd Barrett (vinyl compilation)
Syd Barrett (vinyl compilation).

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 others...


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.


2013-07-07


2013-11-02

If you're going to Sausalito

Roger Barrett (photoshopped)
Roger & Syd (shopped by Felix Atagong).

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...

Sausalito Facebook Search
Sausalito Facebook Search Results.

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 Wolman's picture 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.

Picture by Baron Wolman, 11 November 1967
Picture: Baron Wolman, 11 November 1967."

As a matter of fact nobody remembers, not even Nick Mason, who writes in the coffee-table edition of Inside Out Note:

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.

Hotel California

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.

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

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 doctor Sam 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 Lady.)

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 world.

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.

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

Pink Floyd had been nicknamed 'The Light Kings of England' by Tower Records, but they had only played in small clubs up till now. When the Floyd had their first gig at San Francisco’s Winterland Auditorium on the 4th of November their light show was ridiculously small and amateurish compared to Big Brother and The Holding Company. But it was not only Janis Joplin's whiskey breath that blew Syd away.

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 and STP 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 Globe, writes:

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 Chapman suggests.

Rolling Stone 1
Rolling Stone 1.

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

William Barrett Plaque
William Barrett Plaque.

Casa 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 hotel's website.

Barrett House
Barrett House.

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.

San Mateo Times 1963-06-28
San Mateo Times, 1963-06-28.

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.

Jean-Marie Deschamps

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.

JM Deschamps, 1967 and 2005
J.M. Deschamps, 1967 and 2005. Pictures: Baron Wolman & Yves Leclerc.

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.

Alan Styles
Alan Styles & Iggy. Picture: Mick Rock.

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 about:

blocked
Blocked Youtube movie.

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 2011.

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.

Baron Wolman
Baron Wolman Photography
The Rolling Stone Years by Baron Wolman

Casa Madrona & Sausalito
Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa
Casa Madrona AKA William G. Barrett House @ National Register of Historic Places in Marin County.
Casa Madrona @ United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, National Register of Historic Places.
Casa Madrona, 1959 @ Marinscope, an interview with Jean-Marie Deschamps.
Colorful Casa Madrona Tales Keep Spilling Out @ Northbay Biz

Solo En Las Nubes
Curiosidades - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn de Tower Records, an interesting post about the Tower release of Pink Floyd's first album.


2016-11-26

RIP Rusty Burnhill

Rusty Burnhill
Rusty Burnhill. Picture: Gretta Barclay.

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 Speaks.)

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 folk-maverick Meic Stevens.

Meic Stevens with Syd Barrett
Meic Stevens & Syd Barrett.

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 Barclay.

The Gretta Barclay Files: Gretta Speaks 
The Meic Stevens Files: Meic 'Welsh Syd' Stevens 
The JenS Files: JenS Remembers