Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Syd Barrett Concert Recollection: 1967-11-25 Blackpool Opera House (early show)

Syd Barrett Concert Recollection: 1967-11-25 Blackpool Opera House (early show) by Simon Phillips

Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert
I was 15 in 1967 and very much into the Beatles and the Yardbirds. Living in Lancashire, I had no access to anything that was happening in 'Swinging London'. There was no internet (of course) so we relied on pirate radio and the weekly music papers for our news. I think I heard Arnold Layne on the radio pretty much around the same time I first read of Pink Floyd. I liked it immediately - firstly it was pretty 'catchy'; and secondly it seemed like a progression from what the Yardbirds were doing.

At around the same time, they appeared on TV twice within about a week. I missed their first appearance (Scene Special?) but my friends at school were talking about it. I was annoyed to have missed it but tuned in over the next few nights and, sure enough, they were on again (I don't recall what this would have been).
Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert

The music press continued to run articles on them over the following months and I duly bought Emily (which I loved) and Piper. I still recall playing Piper for the first time on the day of its release - the music was far beyond anything I was expecting or had even heard at that time, and I played Interstellar Overdrive over and over, following each instrument as best I could. This is still my favourite version. I missed their Top Of The Pops 'Emily' appearances as we were on a family trip to Italy at the time.

Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert
When the Hendrix/Move/Floyd tour was announced, they were coming to Blackpool, 15 miles from where I lived. Tickets were (if I remember correctly) 4 shillings and 6 pence (which is 22.5 pence, or 1/5th of a £, in current money).  My parents were OK with me going with a couple of friends so long as it was to the early show (thankfully, as it turned out, from the Hendrix point of view). The bus journey was about an hour.

We got to the Opera House around 6pm. It was an old Victorian theatre, with Stalls, a Circle (which curved round to where one might usually find boxes towards side-stage) and an Upper Circle. We were in the centre stalls, about 12-18 rows back from the stage. The stage itself was a bit of a mess  with the equipment of several bands all set up - drums and amplifiers, loads of them, in two rows.
Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert

When the show started, the venue was still only about half full and the compere invited those in the Upper Circle to come down into the stalls, presumably a) so they could turn off the heating upstairs, and b) to make the place look fuller (imagine…this was Hendrix and the Floyd playing for peanuts!!!!!)

Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert
As I recall, the bottom-of-the-bill acts got about 5-10 minutes each. I think The Nice did maybe three numbers (one of which was 'America'). Just before Pink Floyd came on, a huge long white sheet was draped across the rows of amplifiers. The compere (Pete Drummond?) introduced them as being “fresh from wooing the hippie emporiums on America’s West Coast”). They came on in darkness and did about 20 minutes.

They wore exactly the same clothes as they do in the photographs of them cutting a cake and drinking champagne, except that Syd wore the hat that Nick has on in the photographs. I know this because I saw the photograph only a short time later in one of the music papers and the show was still very fresh in my mind. They definitely did Set The Controls and Interstellar Overdrive.
Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert

I kept a scrapbook of news cuttings at the time and remember writing down Stethoscope as being the other song but, with hindsight, it was more likely to have been Pow R Toch H (I was still a bit unsure about some of the album’s song titles and often got those two mixed up). [All set lists that I’ve seen for this date have the early and late shows the wrong way round].

We (or, at any rate, I) had no idea of Syd’s struggles at the time and I can say that, at that show, it was definitely him and he seemed in good form as he and Rick led the band through a dazzling Interstellar Overdrive. I can still close my eyes and picture him, 20-30 feet away, hat on, head down over his guitar (which I picture as being his mirrored Esquire.... I may be wrong).

Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert
The light show was of the liquid oil type played onto the band and onto the white sheet behind them. They also had a strobe low down at the front which projected their silhouettes high up onto the backdrop of the stage (the stage curtains in the Hendrix footage from the show weren’t closed at all other than for Hendrix).

The sound was loud but clear and each instrument could be distinguished. The combination of light and sound was exactly what I hoped it would be from the reviews I'd read of their London shows. I was mesmerised but all too soon it was over.

Afterwards, the Move did about 20 minutes at deafening volume, and then Hendrix did about 50 minutes. Just before he came on, they closed the stage curtains thus blocking out all the other amplifiers on stage. We'd seen a camera up in the right-hand side of the Circle. There was now someone filming him (no, the camera was definitely not used during the Floyd's set) and two of the songs are now up on Youtube. The following week, I read in the local paper that, playing to a half-full house in the late show, Hendrix said “this ain’t my scene, man” and walked off stage after 10 minutes.

After the show, we had about an hour to kill before our bus home. We slipped into a pub for one pint (very nervously as we were under-age) and then walked along the promenade. We saw a very dirty and dusty Ford Transit van parked up outside a club. It was covered in graffiti written in the dust, amongst which were references to Pink Floyd so we looked in the cab and, wow, Rick Wright was sitting behind the wheel in his stage gear.
Syd Barrett Concert
Syd Barrett Concert

We tapped on the window and said we’d been to the show. We all got his autograph and asked where Syd was. He pointed into the club (no way we could blag our way in there). We chatted to him for a couple of minutes and went for our bus. And that was it really. I was so shocked when, a few weeks/months later, it was announced that Syd was out of the band.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Did Roger and David Sabotage Madcaps Laughs?

Listening to Madcap Laughs, I always used to cringe when Lone Gone, leading into the Breakdown Sequence came on. That's most of the second part of the album. Before Opel came out the Jenner tracks were heavily bootlegged. I used to think: "Why didn't *they* include these, far superior, tracks on the album?

Then I started the famous Laughing Madcaps group years ago I began hearing people post about Gilmour and Waters "sabotaging" Syd's effort. Think about it, Pink Floyd was hardly a household name back then and they had been mired in doing soundtrack work and were further mired in making that, love it or hate it, opus of excess, Ummagumma. I'll tell you this, because I remember, Ummagumma ended up RIGHT in the "cut out" bin when it came out.

I maintain that in the immediate years after Syd was ousted from his own band that he was a much superior creative force to "Pink Floyd". This means that he was writing and recording better songs than them.

I think that the Peter Jenner produced tracks from 1968 are waaaaaaaay better than any of the non-Syd stuff from Saucerful or that hodge-podge LP More. Some of that non-Syd stuff on Saucerful is pretty hard on the ears while More sounds like them farting around in the studio. Some of the tracks are pretty weak too like that drumming track. I wonder whose idea it was to put a tribal drumming track onto the album? Somebody who might have heard Rhamadan? The tracks are waaaaay too similar.

Then we get to that turd of an album called Ummagumma. The first disc is nothing but live Syd covers; them milking the previous era for all it was worth. The second disc is pretty fucking weak.

To compare this weak studio shit from what Syd was doing in the studio for Madcaps Laughs is to compare a yearling stallion to a worn out old plow horse. The Madcap stuff is miles and miles and miles better than the Ummashitta stuff!

Here's mad Syd writing these fantastic songs and acting like he could give a fuck. What better way to "make sure" that his solo effort doesn't eclipse the band's? Put the Breakdown Sequence in! And both Gilmour and Waters stating that they did it to show the "truth" of Syd's condition and "show how it was" making the album lend credence to that theory. WHO does such a thing when making an album? One wants to put out THE BEST effort, the BEST STUFF. So, by their own admission, Waters and Gilmour DID sabotage Madcap Laughs.

You know what? I think Pink Floyd knew it too! That's why Waters wanted to "help" with the mix and ignored monumental finished tracks, right at the mixing console, to hastily record and release demoish sounding tracks that hurt Syd's image. Maybe that's why Syd hated Waters so. He ruined his album and cemented his image as a crazy fuck up.

What did Pink Floyd have at this time that was better than Syd? organization. Pink Floyd had organization. They were more organized. Syd didn't help his cause by walking away from Peter Jenner in 1968. He didn't help his cause in the recording of Madcap. He didn't take things seriously. Pink Floyd, with their superior organization, did.

But all factors taken into account, Syd was outperforming and out-producing Pink Floyd in 1968 - 1969. So Waters needed to throw a monkey wrench into things. But Syd could have prevented that by being more organized.

If Madcap Laughs had come out with the below revisions, I think that it would have been much better received.
Replace:
She Took a Long Cold Look 1:55
Feel 2:17
If It's in You 2:26

with:
Opel 6:26
Swan Lee (Silas Lang) 3:13
And if one wanted to make the album even stronger, replace:
Long Gone 2:50
with:
Lanky (part 1) 5:32

So, the revised Madcap Laughs tracklist would be:
1. Terrapin
2. No Good Trying
3. Love You
4. No Man's Land
5. Dark Globe
6. Here I Go
7. Octopus
8. Golden Hair
9. Opel
10. Swan Lee
11. Lanky (part 1)
12. Late Night

Tracklist of what came out:
1. Terrapin
2. No Good Trying
3. Love You
4. No Man's Land
5. Dark Globe
6. Here I Go
7. Octopus
8. Golden Hair
9. Long Gone
10. She Took a Long Cold Look
11. Feel
12. If it's In You
13. Late Night

Find a link to a Revised Madcap Laughs Spotify playlist HERE.



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Friday, September 1, 2017

Roger Waters Israel - Syd Barrett Blog Denounces Waters

Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel
The Syd Barrett Pink Floyd Blog denounces former Pink Floyd Member, Roger Waters', stand on Israel as inaccurate and anti-Semitic. In as short and simple terms as possible, below is our explanation.

First, the Jewish people require a Homeland. As guest citizens of the many countries where they have lived, they have always greatly contributed to the culture, economy and way of life where they have been citizens. Still, this always hasn't worked out well for them and the Jewish people have been the victims of well-documented persecution throughout the ages.

Comparatively recently, they endured the Holocaust, or Shoah, where Nazi Germany instituted industrial murder of people that they deemed "unworthy". In all, twelve million people were killed including six million Jews, representing most of Europe's Jews and two-thirds of the Jewish population of the world. After years of wholesale murder of their people in Europe, the Jewish people could not continue as "guest citizens" anywhere anymore.
Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel

Little by little, survivors of shattered families moved to their spiritual Homeland, Palestine. By 1949, there were enough Jews in Palestine to affect change and form a government. There is a lot of talk today from some that the Jews "stole" the land from the "Palestinians". It should be known that there were no "Palestinians" in 1949. There were Bedouins who roamed the desert. There was no government; Palestine was overseen by the British.

There had been Jews living in Palestine since Biblical times. Many of these sold, or donated, their land to the creation of a Jewish State. There were Arab land owners who were eager to sell, what was considered wasteland, to the effort for the creation of a Jewish State. The British, eager to leave Palestine after Word War II, allocated land to the creation of a Jewish State after a brief armed struggle. Ultimately, the United Nations stepped in a created a Resolution, taking all of the purchased, donated and allocated land, created the Jewish State - Israel. The surrounding Arab countries, the British, the Jews AND the Bedouins (Palestinians) all agreed to UN Resolution.

Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel
Shortly after the agreement of the leaders of all parties concerned, and the UN Resolution, the group that became known as "the Palestinians" pulled out their support. This began the decades long struggle by the Palestinians dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel. This struggle has been, almost always, expressed with terrorist actions.

In addition to the terrorist activities, there have been several wars including two where all of the Arab countries surrounding Israel attacked and made bold proclamations to "drive the Jews into the sea". In all these wars Israel was victorious and did seize some land. Much of this land was given back, in an effort to secure peace, a small part of the land has been occupied for security purposes. In many of the peace agreements with the surrounding Arab countries, the Arab proponents for peace with Israel were ultimately assassinated by radical elements of their own population.

Recently, there has been another "Land for Peace" deal where Israel gave back land to the Palestinians in return for solemn vows of "peace forever". This land was for a Palestinian Homeland. This hasn't worked out well for Israel. In Gaza, one of the "Land for Peace" areas, in their first democratic elections, the Palestinians threw out the moderates and elected the radical terrorist group Hamas as their "government". This began the years of using the land, given for peace, as a staging area for terrorist attacks and fire rockets into Israel.
Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel

In 2005, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (and referred to in this post as BDS) was started. Terrorism hadn't been effective for the Palestinians; Israel was stronger than ever. Taking a note from South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, BDS seeks to compare the situation in Israel to South Africa under apartheid. BDS actually disinclines further negotiation between Palestine organizations and Israel while simultaneously hearkening back to anti-Semitic boycotts of Jewish businesses while seeking to de-legitimize Israel. 

Roger Waters is a very vocal supporter of BDS. He has used his fame as a platform to shine a favorable light on BDS while talking about Israel, and the Jewish people, in derogatory and sometimes disgusting ways. To date, Roger Waters has called for a boycott of Israel and has even spoken before the United Nations on behalf of BDS. He has put the Star of David on the rear end of his inflatable pig that he flies at concerts. The Star of David is the primary symbol of Judaism and also appears on Israel’s flag. The "pig" can also be seen as derogatory because the Jewish religion refutes the eating of swine. It can even be said that the placement of the Star of David, on the pig's ass, is deliberate.

Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel
In a supreme act of (at the very least) callousness, Roger Waters has repeatedly compared Israel to Germany under the Nazis. To the Jewish people this is, quite understandably, the ultimate insult. Almost all of the Jewish people today have family members who died in the Holocaust; many had entire branches of their families wiped out. The writer of this blog post used to work with a man whose father was the sole surviving member of both sides of his family. To compare Israel to the Nazis is beyond inflammatory and is likening them to the murderers of their people.

It is an absurd comparison too, Arabs and Jews live in the same neighborhoods in Israel and mix freely at the same stores, restaurants, movie theaters and hospitals. Most importantly, there are no government pogroms to round up and systematically murder the Arab population.

The idea that Israel is an apartheid state is a staple of Waters' (and BDS') argument. The comparison to apartheid South Africa is absurd as well. In apartheid South Africa, it controlled every aspect of life there; the school one attended, the work one did, where people lived, hospitals and ambulances were segregated, interracial marriage was forbidden. One could even face arrest for sitting on the wrong park bench.

More than twenty-percent of Israelis are Arab and have full voting rights. Arabs are found in Israel's military and diplomatic corps. Seventeen members of the Israeli Knesset (the Parliament) are Arab as well as one member of the country's Supreme Court. In Israeli hospitals and clinics, Jewish and Arab physicians and nurses work together to provide care equally to all patients. BDS is not stupid, for them to propagate this comparison under "human rights" is both cynical and manipulative. Waters, announces that Israel is an "apartheid state" constantly and ceaselessly but that doesn't make it true; it makes Waters (at the very least) ill-informed.
Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel

Roger Waters has made a public spectacle of writing "open" letters to artists and performers scheduled to appear in Israel urging them to back out of their commitment. Most recently, he has gotten into a public skirmish with the British rock group Radiohead. It should be noted that the number of artists and performers who support Israel far outweigh those few who don't. Currently Radiohead, Nick Cave, Fatboy Slim, Robbie Williams, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Rod Stewart and The Pixies have confirmed gigs in Israel.

He has commented that other musicians are afraid of the "control" of the Jews in the US.  His life's mission is boycotting Israel, but when people try to return the favor and boycott him he then goes into the classic anti-Semitic rant about how the Jews are trying to control everyone.

Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters has accused Israel of being the worst regime in the world.  He falsely accuses Israel of attempted genocide and slaughter.  He refuses to acknowledge other countries that are literally gassing their own citizens.  He refuses to acknowledge atrocities in the world.  Instead he focuses solely and falsely on Israel. It is noteworthy that while he claims that he is not an anti-Semite, and that he only has a problem with Israel, has made a number of anti-Semitic comments.

This writer finds it odd that Waters' father died fighting Fascism and yet he is anti-Israel himself. The destruction of the Jewish people was one of the supreme tenants to the Nazi regime and the State of Israel is living proof of the defeat of Fascism in World War II. This writer's own father fought in WWII (Japanese) and returned home with (undiagnosed) PTSD that affected him for the rest of his life.

This writer heard tales from his Aunts about his Father the avid hunter and hell raiser around town. That's not the man this writer knew. This writer's father was a pacifist who hated guns and violence. He spent a lot of time in his room, didn't like large crowds, couldn't be woken from sleep without screaming.

This writer's dad wholly supported Israel, as did his mother, and they educated this writer about why that support was so important. This writer's parents also educated him about the destruction of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis, the need for a Jewish State and that Israel is the living proof of the defeat of the Nazis. To this writer, it's odd that Waters' own father died, fighting the same fight against Fascism, and Waters seems to "deny" something so fundamental about Israel, the Jewish State.
Roger Waters Israel
Roger Waters Israel

Finally, this writer asks Roger Waters to imagine a line separating the supporters of Israel and the detractors of Israel. Waters should take a look on "his" side of the line and see what company he's keeping. Other of Israel's detractors are "fine" civics organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party and the Aryan Nation. One will also find "peaceful and democratic" countries like Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and more. Roger Waters will see "upstanding citizens" such as David Duke, American Nazi Leader - Matt Koehl, skinheads, racist and others. Waters should look at the company he's keeping in his quest; they are all cheering him on.

It is this writer's opinion that Roger Waters is, sadly, the dupe of the latest ploy by the Palestinians to take down Israel; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. He uses his cultural platform to advance a movement whose own stated ultimate goal is the destruction of the Jewish State. He also uses his support of BDS as a "cloak" while he expresses his own vile and hateful views.

Therefore, this Syd Barrett Pink Floyd blog denounces Roger Waters. Waters is trying to actively "undo" one of the key outcomes, in the defeat of Fascism, of World War II. He is disrespecting the ultimate sacrifice of his own father. Finally, this writer hates that Waters politicized Pink Floyd in this way; it's like smearing a picture of a beautiful sunset with feces.
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond 1993 Press Release

Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond
Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond
Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond press releases. Check out these EMI Records press release sheets for Crazy Diamond - The Complete Syd Barrett. The first is dated April 14 1993 and is for the release of the 3CD Box Set. The second is dated April 19 1994 and is for the release of the 3 CDs with bonus tracks, which were originally only available with the 3CD Box Set released the year. Both sheets are in very good to excellent condition. 
Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond

This is a 1993 release and out of print in the U.S., and is the Syd's 1993 box set on EMI. Features both of his 1970 solo albums, 'Barrett' & 'The Madcap Laughs', plus the 1989 rarities compilation 'Opel' with 6 additional tracks added to it; 58 tracks total. Came in a 6' x 12' long-box that also contained a 24 page booklet.

Disc: 1
  1. Terrapin
  2. No Good Trying
  3. Love You
  4. No Man's Land
  5. Dark Globe
  6. Here I Go
  7. Octopus
  8. Golden Hair
  9. Long Gone
  10. She Took A Long Cold Look
  11. Feel
  12. If It's In You
  13. Late Night
  14. Octopus (Takes 1 & 2)
  15. It's No Good Trying (Take 5)
  16. Love You (Take 1)
  17. Love You (Take 3)
  18. She Took A Long Cold Look At Me (Take 4)
  19. Golden Hair (Take 5)

Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond
Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond
Disc: 2
  1. Baby Lemonade
  2. Love Song
  3. Dominoes
  4. It Is Obvious
  5. Rats
  6. Maisie
  7. Gigolo Aunt
  8. Waving My Arms In The Air
  9. I Never Lied To You
  10. Wined And Dined
  11. Wolfpack
  12. Effervescing Elephant
  13. Baby Lemonade (Take 1)
  14. Waving My Arms In The Air (Take 1)
  15. I Never Lied To You (Take 1)
  16. Love Song (Take 1)
  17. Dominoes (Take 1)
  18. Dominoes (Take 2)
  19. It's Obvious (Take 2)
Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond
Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond

Disc: 3
  1. Opel
  2. Clowns & Jugglers
  3. Rats
  4. Golden Hair
  5. Dolly Rocker
  6. Word Song
  7. Wined And Dined
  8. Swan Lee (Silas Lang)
  9. Birdie Hop
  10. Let's Split
  11. Lanky (Part 1)
  12. Wouldn't You Miss Me (Dark Globe)
  13. Milky Way
  14. Golden Hair
  15. Gigolo Aunt (Take 9)
  16. It Is Obvious (Take 3)
  17. It Is Obvious (Take 5)
  18. Clowns & Jugglers (Take 1)
  19. Late Night (Take 2)
  20. Effervescing Elephant (Take 2)

Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond
Syd Barrett Crazy Diamond

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Syd Barrett Poster Offer - Mishka Westell

The Laughing Madcaps Group is cooperating with famed Poster Artist - Mishka Westell to offer her amazing Syd Barrett poster! There are four versions available: 1) Cream, 2) Silver Foil, 3) Gold Foil, 4) Holographic Foil.

These are 18 x 24″ prints and officially endorsed by the Syd Barrett estate and the Laughing Madcaps group. If you use the following code with your order Miska will be sure to sign your poster:
LAUGHING MADCAPS

This is an AMAZING image of our Syd and these posters are in EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY LIMITED QUANTITIES. See the link here:
http://mishkawestell.com/shop

BTW, Miska lives in Austin, Texas and is Roky Erickson's Poster Artist. She is famous for that alone.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pink Floyd The Scene Club, NYC, 1968

Pink Floyd The Scene
Pink Floyd The Scene
In the Swinging Sixties the hottest club to see a concert at was Steve Paul's, The Scene, Club in the basement of 301 West 46th Street, in NY's Theater District. The Scene had a knack for hiring rock groups right before they broke big. This list included the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Tiny Tim, Paul Butterfield's Blues Band, the Velvet Underground  and Pink Floyd.

Pink Floyd The Scene
Pink Floyd The Scene
Steve Paul got his start as the wunderkid Publicist for the Peppermint Lounge. He opened The Scene in 1965 and it soon attracted an "A" list of attendees including Lizi Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Warhol, and Tennessee Williams.

Hendrix used to woodshed there playing long into the night, “At the Scene, Jimi would completely let himself go — playing all he knew and didn’t know, going beyond sharing — playing all,” David Henderson wrote in his Hendrix biography, “ ’Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky.” “Trying to get it all out.” In fact, the infamous 'High Live and Dirty" bootleg was recorded there which featured a very drunk Jim Morrison.

Pink Floyd The Scene
Pink Floyd The Scene
The Scene was entered by going down a flight of stairs. Jim Marron (The Scene's maitre d') described the layout as follows: "It had three rooms that focused in, like, a cross on the stage, and as a subterranean basement, it had the sort of Paris-cave-disco style to it." 

See a rare video showing somebody entering The Scene here:
https://youtu.be/fw0qi4cKsgw

Pink Floyd The Scene
Pink Floyd The Scene
Pink Floyd played there for three nights in July. The dates were the 15th through the 17th. Below is the set list for one of those nights which was probably the list for all three nights:

1. Interstellar Overdrive
2. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
3. Astronomy Domine
4. Flaming
5. A Saucerful of Secrets
 
Pink Floyd The Scene
Pink Floyd The Scene
As one can see, the band was playing Syd's songs with the single addition being A Saucerful of Secrets from their (then) new album.

Unfortunately, there is not much more to be found about the Pink Floyd The Scene gig. It seems to have been lost in the mists of time except for some cool Photos.

Update, thanks to Pink Floyd Researcher - Mark Scobac both the Cashbox and Billboard reviews of Pink Floyd's Scene run have been found and are published for the first time online here:



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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Interview: Men on the Border - Live in Brighton

Live in Brighton
Recently, the Laughing Madcaps, Syd Barrett, group sat down with Goran and Phil, from Men on the Border, to ask them about their newest Syd tribute effort - Live in Brighton.

Stream the album on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/album/6MStF6YtxCYNY7FTIoeNzq

Here is the interview:

1
OK, who is the band and how did you manage to convince everybody to try to make a go at playing Syd Barrett music?

Goran: We are borderline men of course. Caught between the conflicts of life. The seed of an idea germinated after a visit to the Idea Gallery arts and letters exhibition in March 2011 and then a Floyd festival in July. Phil and I started recording in October. The first song we completed was Octopus, which was quite a challenge, and then we sort of entered the whole amusement park. 



Phil: Goran convinced me to give this project a shot with a couple of very rough and weird acoustic demos recorded on his iPhone which he sent me. I found Octopus intriguing with its odd non-structure and I got lots of psychedelic vibes which I found inspiring. It was a difficult song to learn to play for working out all the parts, but it was actually a very satisfying experience. We spent a few weeks working on and off with Octopus and found a pretty good way of working together – mostly based around sending suggestions back and forth. As it was just the two of us at that time and we were both travelling a lot in our day jobs that was a good way to progress. 

We loved that first attempt at an arrangement and I had no qualms about immediately starting on another song, which I think was “Feel” – 7 minutes of dreamy opus. The first half is piano and acoustic 12-string guitar-driven, then it concludes with a strummed Rickenbacker like John Lennon’s rhythm guitar on “Hey Jude” and a wailing solo on top. That song kind of clinched the deal and sparked off the idea of maybe putting together a whole album of Syd songs. Right from the start the aim was to make these songs our own and I didn’t once refer to Syd’s original recordings. Goran could play them all on guitar, but I had never heard any of them! So my starting point was only Goran’s demos.

2
It's exciting to see a whole new album of Syd Barrett music performed live. Is the CD out? Where can the fans buy it? Give up the information! Do you have your papers!? Let me see your papers!

Goran: We have earlier made two CD's and a total of 24 tracks. Then we wanted to release a single in July this year but decided that streaming was the way to go. Our fan base is global and CD distribution is a hassle. Besides, it seems plastic is selling less and less, so finally we decided not to waste time and money by producing a CD for the “Live in Brighton” album. CDs are now totally dead in Sweden except for the Christmas albums you can buy in supermarkets and gas stations. All the music stores have closed down, so how do you sell them?

Live in Brighton
Phil: The live album was recorded in Brighton in June this year at a great little venue called the Prince Albert. The sound guy had 24-channel recording capability on his mixing desk, but at the time we had no idea at all that everything was being recorded. Goran and I found that out 3 months later when we visited Brighton again for David Gilmour’s tour premiere and we were sent the files a few weeks later. They were very clean 48 kHz, 24 bit recordings of our 45 minutes on stage. About 9 gigabytes in total. I still don’t know the name of the sound guy, though. I’ve asked, but there’s been no panic rush to tell me. I mixed and mastered it in Cubase. 



Interestingly, the entire outside wall of one side of the Prince Albert is painted with deceased rock and pop icons like Jimi, John Lennon, Syd, Brian Jones, Phil Lynott and many more. So we took a photo and put that on the album cover. We had to move some images around in Photoshop to cover up the door and windows, but it’s still pretty striking. That evening was a Syd/early Floyd event with five or six bands playing. We agreed on a set with the organizer the week before the concert so as not to play the same songs as everybody else, but that worked fine for us. The album is fairly short, only 9 songs, but that’s the slot we got! 

I haven’t heard of any other releases from that gig, though I did hear from Stuart that Ham Legion’s superb bass player Nick was mixing songs. There could be some songs on YouTube, but I haven’t looked. 

3
It's cool to see that our friends at Neptune Pink Floyd were involved. Why, I remember when Keith Jordan was knee-high to a scarecrow. Tell us about how that happened. The full story!

Goran: It was all much by chance and through the wonders of web searching. We had this gig in Cambridge on June 13 and were looking for more places to play. Not quite sure how Neptune Pink Floyd was involved, but I believe they had done something similar earlier. Stuart Avis was the key person there and he seems to have a great network. 

Phil: Goran found the event on the net, and it was an incredible coincidence that there happened to be a Syd evening the day before our gig in Cambridge. So we rang the organizer Stuart at Black Bunker, sent him some links to YouTube, iTunes, Spotify etc. and a day later we were in! The only slight problem was that there was already a bunch of people booked, so it meant squeezing us in with a short set. But it was easy to do as the backline and PA was all fixed. We just needed to show up with guitars and pedals. Stuart put us on as next to last band, but we were first up for the sound-check. That was easy too, basically just to plug in and play! We got to Brighton from the Channel Tunnel just a few hours before the gig, and left for Cambridge directly after. We got there at 4 in the morning. 

4
The posters for the gig. Where can I score some? I want!

live in brighton
Goran: Yeah! We missed picking one up. Stuart Avis of Black Bunker Studios is your man. 

Phil: We also have digital copies which could be printed. I think. 

5
Tell us about the gig. How many people showed up. What was the sound system like. What did you use to record the gig and whose idea was it. You know, EVERYTHING!!!

Goran: Maybe a hundred people. But the right kind, you know! Really avid fans and great in music knowledge. The other bands were very good and fun to see. It was pretty varied too. Some did Syd stuff and others did Floyd. And who is in the audience, but Monty Oxymoron from The Damned. He really loves his Syd Barrett and gave us some compliments on our version of Scream Thy Last Scream. Although my singing is honestly not in good form. I had a cold. Probably from that damned tour bus and a strange gig and late night in Copenhagen two nights earlier. 



Phil: The audience wasn’t huge, but was enthusiastic. They were there were for what we were going to do, so we were able to relax and just enjoy playing. Goran’s voice was in fact pretty shot, but that gave the whole performance some bite and it shows how far we’ve come as a live band since recording the songs. I’ve played with David Parkin, the bass-player, since the late 80s and we’ve made four albums together as a duo in the last 20 years. It’s a similar thing with Bjorn Hammarberg, the drummer. We’ve played together in various constellations since 1980. The line-up for the album is completed by Lasse Forsberg on rhythm guitar. He was front man for one of bands I’ve played with for the last 12 years.

The PA system at the Prince Albert looked ancient but sounded great and the engineer had what looked like a new digital mixing desk, which he put to good use. So the sound was very good and we know that from watching the other bands. Onstage the bass sounded a bit like a horse farting but in front of the PA it was massive. So kudos to the engineer and I hope someone tells me his name one day.  

6
What are the future plans for the band? Playing the USA! Are you going to add some Nick Drake and Roky Erickson to the setlist?

Live in Brighton
Goran: USA! That would be amazing. If somebody can get us the right audiences we'd come. Next thing is actually a symphony. No kidding! Tentatively titled Dark Floyd and it is all Syd related. Nick is an old love, but we like it more edgy. Roky, yeah, but that's too much edge! 

Phil: We’ve started working with a symphony orchestra and we’re now waiting for an offer from an arranger. The concert itself will take place in October 2016, but Goran and I have been asked to put together a promotional package by mid-January 2016, for release at the beginning of February. This is serious shit! So I expect that we’ll start collaborating with the arranger in the New Year and the thought of that is mildly nerve-racking. I’ve never worked on symphonic arrangements, but I believe the arrangements on the albums will lend themselves to this form without any problems. This will be truly awesome! We have plans to take a small section of the orchestra with us for a couple of major gigs in August next year. That idea has so far also been bought by the orchestra. 



We'd love to play in the States, but how the hell do you do that without someone to organise it and pay for it. Our pockets are not that deep, but it's an interesting thought.

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