Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has given a new interview, opening up about how the band dealt with the breakdown of late former band member Syd Barrett.
Barrett was a key member in Floyd’s development, lending his songwriting to their legendary progressive debut Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.
However, also of musical folklore was his use of substance, notably LSD, which led to Barrett having a nervous breakdown, resulting in his expulsion from the band in favour of David Gilmore.
Syd Barrett was the mastermind behind early Floyd material
Chatting with Rolling Stone about his favourite Barrett-penned songs, Mason noted that the band were “young and immature” when it came to coming to grips with Barrett’s mental health.
“When I listen to the song Bike I realise how hopeless we were at coming to grips with Syd’s breakdown.”
Talking further about the song itself, Mason noted that “the lyrics to this are so very Syd, astonishingly clever. It’s fun, but there’s a depth of sadness to them.”
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“So many songs were written by Syd in such a short time period. It was less than two years from out first public show in October of 1967…at that time we had only two or three original songs. And just about a year later, it was already sort of burning out.”
Check out Syd Barrett’s last TV appearance with Floyd
Having stayed largely quiet while David Gilmour and Roger Waters launched multi-million dollar tours playing Floyd classics, last year saw Mason launch his own live project, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets.
Never one to do things by the book, Mason’s project focuses on songs written by the band before Dark Side Of The Moon, bringing classics from the likes of More and Atom Heart Mother back to life.
Listen to Bike, written by Syd Barrett, below
Barrett was musically active for less than ten years, and upon leaving the industry in the mid-70’s lived a reclusive life in Cambridge, cutting off all contact with members of the band.
Barrett passed away in 2006 of pancreatic cancer, aged 60.