Syd Barrett: Facts, rumors, and legends

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tyler, Jul 23, 2003.

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  1. Tyler

    Tyler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hawaii
    Original Pink Floyd guitarist, songwriter, and frontman Syd Barrett has been the subject of many tales. Some true, some bizarre, most of them compelling. Syd has also been the catalyst, the inspiration for most of Pink Floyd's best work "Brain Damage, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Wish You Were Here, parts of "The Wall", etc).

    Feel free to post your favorite Barrett story, fact or fiction. One of my favorites is the story that in the early 70's he became a roadie for the band (fiction, of course).
     
  2. Damián

    Damián Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain now
    'After a lengthy interval, the band decided to take the stage (there is a certain amount of dispute as to which venue this all took place at) - all except for Syd Barrett, who was left in the dressing room, manically trying to organise his anarchically- inclined hairstyle of the time.

    As his comrades were tuning up, Barrett - more out of desperation than anything - emptied the contents of a jar of Mandrax, broke the pills into tiny pieces and mixed the crumbs in with a full jar of Brylcreem. He then poured the whole coagulated mass onto his head, picked up his Telecaster, and walked on stage.

    As he was playing his customary incoherent, sporadic, almost catatonic guitar-phrases, the Mandrax-Brylcreem combination started to run amok under the intense heat of the stage-lighting and dribbled down from his scalp so that it looked like his face was melting into a distorted wax effigy of flesh.

    This story is probably more or less true. '

    (from http://utopia.knoware.nl/users/ptr/pfloyd/interview/bainter2.html)
     
  3. Tyler

    Tyler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hawaii
    I've heard this from multiple sources, I think this story was true.
     
  4. JWB

    JWB New Member

    The "Mandrax in Brylcreem" story might be true...but it sounds suspiciously like the "acid in Hendrix's headband" story...which has been proven a false urban legend.

    A lot of people who worked closely with Syd claim that he acted weird *deliberately* a lot of the time because he was upset about something and didn't want to do it....ie. miming on TV, recording BBC sessions....

    Roger Waters' story about Syd on American TV is priceless. He would act perfectly normal until the cameras came on, and then he would stare straight ahead and refuse to do anything.

    Nobody could tell when he was "acting" crazy or genuinely crazy.

    There is a similar story about the "Barrett" LP sessions. He would act normal and be ready to play...and then as soon as the red light came on, he would refuse to play. He would say things like "I don't want them to listen".
     
  5. Tyler

    Tyler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hawaii
    Roger Waters has described Syd as schizophrenic, and based on stories I've read, I tend to agree with him.
     
  6. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Says the man with one of the sanest avatars I've ever seen. :D
     
  7. Tyler

    Tyler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hawaii
    :rolleyes: :p
     
  8. My favorite story was of Syd trying to teach Roger a new song called "Have You Got it Yet?", but the song was constantly changing, so he never could "get" it.
     
  9. downhill

    downhill Active Member

    Location:
    Idaho
    My fave...

    June 5, 1975 the band was trying to finish up a final mix of "Shine One You Crazy Daimond".


    An obese man with a shaven head and eyebrows, wearing a white trenchcoat and white shoes and clutching a white plastic bag, popped into Abby Road Studios. He had heard the "Floyd" were in town and had dropped in to see if they needed a hand.

    Gilmour noticed him first..noticed him poking around the band's equipment, but was busy with other mattters, he figgured this odd looking man was some EMI minion.

    Roger, busy working looked at Wright and ask if he know who this guy was? Wright said he did not....Waters said.."Think, think.....

    Wright finally realized it was Syd....

    According to Waters, he was (his words) [in @#%$$*#^ tears] upon figuring the idenity of this bald bat, and mad person........

    Ironic it was during the mix of Shine On.....

    From Saucerful of Secrets by Nicholas Schaffner....and from a few In the Studios discs I have.......
     
  10. Chris M

    Chris M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    This one may be may be fiction but it's in the Crazy Diamond bio. Some time in the late 80's Syd was recognized in public by a Floyd fan. The fan says 'Hey, you're Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd.' Syd replies ' Hmmm......Pink Floyd, I remember the name....I'm pretty sure they owe me some money.'

    Roger Waters has stated on a few occasions that the last straw for Syd in Pink Floyd was when he suggested in early '68 that the band add a sax player and female backing vocalists. I guess the irony was lost on Waters as their breakthrough LP (DSOTM) features memorable contributions from........ a sax player (Dick Parry) and female vocals (Claire Torrie).

    Shine On,

    Chris
     
  11. chaz

    chaz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    My e-friend in the UK is good friends with Syd and visits him quite regularly. Syd spends lots of time on the internet and my friend sent me this picture he took of him right after reading this thread. He says he's not schizo :laugh:
     
  12. Tyler

    Tyler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hawaii
    If that's true, then Mr. Barrett I'm honored that you have read my thread.

    :D
     
  13. chaz

    chaz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    oh sorry here's Syd!
     
  14. floyd

    floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Spring Green, WI
    I've read rumors of people like David Bowie financing studio time for Syd and of course there are alway rumors of lost recordings. What I do know is that I love the released material and I have all that and even a lot of the bootleg stuff is wonderful. Sometimes there is nothing better than a little Syd Barrett.
     
  15. Chris M

    Chris M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    I'm not sure if this is a joke but that's NOT Syd. Syd's sister, brother in law and nephew have all given interviews and report that Syd is *very*reclusive. Journalist have visited him recently and report that he was friendly and seemed 'totally on the ball' but he absolutley refuses to talk about his past. Here's a a few recent pictures of Syd taken last year I posted recently.

    Chris
     

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  16. Chris M

    Chris M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Here's another recent picture. A UK tabloid tracked him down around the release of the Wouldn't You Miss Me comp. Syd wouldn't consent to an interview. Can't say I blame him.

    Chris
     

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  17. Chris M

    Chris M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    There was a rumor that Bowie finaced Syd's abortive '74 EMI session but it's really only a rumor. After the unexpected success of the '74 Madcap Laughs/Barrett double LP and the A Nice Pair double EMI urged Syd record some new tracks that were to be issued along with some outtakes. Syd did a few sessions in late '74 at EMI but nothing from the sessions was salvageable.

    As far as lost recordings go.....the well is pretty much dry as far as outtakes from the solo LP's are concerned. Most of the Piper outtakes and multi's are gone but there is still a good amount of material leftover from the late '67 studio sessions. There is probably some live '67 stuff that hasn't surfaced as well as a '67 solo Syd session that Joe Boyd has said he lost long ago. Also, Syd's solo soundtrack to the Committie film isn't in the vaults either.

    Hope this helps!

    Chris

    P.S. The below photo is from the 4/67 14 Hour Technicolor Dream Festival. In the footage of the event you can see John Lennon walking around in the crowd!
     

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  18. chaz

    chaz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    :eek: You're right. My friend has suckered me in and I'm deleteing the picture!!
     
  19. Chris M

    Chris M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Just though of another great Syd story. After he completely abandoned any hope of having a career in music in the mid 70's Syd WALKED from London to his boyhood home in Cambridge.

    Chris


    'All I ever wanted to do as a kid was play guitar properly and jump around but too many people got in the way' - Syd Barrett 12/71 Rolling Stone interview
     
  20. ashleyfan

    ashleyfan New Member

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    My favorite Syd story is when he walked into a London clothing store, and bought three pairs of trousers in different sizes, insisting each one was a perfect fit.
     
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