...and so on that note Roger & Syd agreed to form a band and call it: THE REAL PINK FLOYD. Roger even had an idea for a concept record: The Fence. The final refrain: "Put up the Fence, Put up the Fence, Put Up the Fence..." symbolized his desire to fence himself off from his audience and former band members.
Roger even started work on an ambitious "reunion" tour with Syd. Before each show the band would purchase rolls of snow fencing from the local Agway. During the concert, the roadies would actually fence off sections of the audience from each other. The show would culminate with Roger being rolled into a huge section of snow fence with Syd standing atop wailing on his guitar.
Things were going along fine until Davey Gilmour and his rotten gang got wind of it. Davey and Roger arranged to meet in the alley, behind the old tannery, to battle it out and see who the REAL Pink Floyd was.
Roger brought Syd with him and Davey showed up with Nicky and Ritchie. Roger and Davey went at it and Syd, Nicky, and Ritchie faded against the brick wall. This was about Roger & Davey. It had always been about Roger & Davey.
Syd wasn't into violence and Roger tricked him into going by saying they were going for tea and crumpets across town. Nicky was always a little schemer and only came hoping to forge an alliance with any new group. There was no fight in him. Ritchie didn't think it was his fight because Roger already threw him out of the band and Davey didn't stand up for him.
Beside the fracas, Syd, Ritchie, & Nicky agreed to form a new group and call it: The Most Real Pink Floyd You Ever Saw. As they left Roger frantically called out to Syd: "SYD, HELP! HE'S BEATING ME! HE'S BEATING ME!" Imagine Roger frantically calling out to Syd for help. But the new group had already left to find a bass player and Roger's cries faded out in the wind.
Davey held Roger in a choke hold and blurted out: "Now your time is up you..."
And so Syd, Rick, and Nick decided upon Bootsy Collins as a bass player for their new band. When asked about the incongruity of playing with a bunch of white boys from England Bootsy replied that Syd could reduce his molecular activity to such a low level that he could actually DISAPPEAR for hours at a time. Bootsy said that anybody who was successful at THAT could have him as bass player anytime. When asked how he knew that Syd was successful Bootsy replied that Syd had told him.
The next step was to fly to Austin, Texas and try recruiting Roky Erickson for the front man position. Meanwhile Roger nursed a swollen lip and plotted revenge...
Syd and Bootsy flew out to Austin, Texas to ask Roky's Mother if he could be in the new band with them. On the way over, Syd asked Bootsy if he had ever been to Texas with P. Funk. Bootsy replied: "Along about down the waaaay. Yeaaaah....."
At Roky's home Mrs Erickson was hesitant to allow Roky to joining the new band but Syd stated that Roky HAD to join because this information was beamed down to him from a UFO that followed a concentric path around his head high above the earth. Besides, Syd said that these could turn out to be actual PAYING gigs if everything went according to the plan.
Mrs Erickson asked Roky, who had been silent up until now, if he wanted to be in Syd's new band. Roky replied: "I already voted today". With that hashed out, Roky left with his new friends to find a place to practice.
A large room, above a strip joint along the highway, was soon procured. Syd, Roky, and Bootsy took out their instruments to see if any chemistry existed. And it did! Things gelled almost immediately.
With Bootsy laying down the groove on the bottom, Roky pounding out the rhythm, Syd opened up his beautify flowered mind and played like he had never played before. This was not over-produced pap either but aural beauty in its most raw form.
Roky said that the new sounds reminded him of the cries of souls being thrown into eternal hellfire by Satan. Syd asked if Bootsy of his opinion on the new group's sound. Bootsy said: "'round long down the road... Yeaaaah...." Roky said that he wanted some fried chicken...
Meanwhile, back in England, Roger Waters heard about the new group and ground his teeth. Dave Gilmour was busy recording a new solo album and enmeshed in mixing the same guitar solo into every song. He had no time for Roger. Nick & Rick told Roger that they would: "See what developed" before considering a new group with Roger. Roger knew that both wanted to take the best opportunity. This enraged him even more but it was a powerless rage borne on the wings of frustration; a decades long frustration.
You see, EVERYTHING about Roger Water's musical career had been in response to Syd Barrett. Nobody else saw Roger wake in the middle of the night, sheets drenched in sweat, with Syd's name still echoing off the walls of his room. Syd Barrett! Hah! Roger was obsessed with Syd Barrett and made every musical decision based on what Syd might have done. This was
responsible for the beloved Pink Floyd catalog. Any deviations from this process were twisted attempts, possibly from his subconscious, to free himself from Barrett's influence. This yielded such gems as The Final Cut.
Roger began to plot how he could derail Syd's new group and gain the control that he so desperately needed. Syd couldn't be allowed to beat him after all these years! But how? His brain began to churn...
The evil Roger Waters found out that, after a short practice time, Syd's new band was ensconced in a studio outside Austin busy recording an initial, CD single, release. Damn! So quick! But how to get near Syd so as to steal the idea?
After much thought Roger hit upon the idea of dressing up as a cleaning lady. Possibly he/she could acquire a job at the studio and pick up ideas. He could even steal the tapes! Nobody would expect an old woman! How smart he was!
The idea was to come on like an old, English, cleaning lady. He would work cheaply; even free if need be. Anything to get close to Syd and those tapes! Syd always had a soft heart and he was sure he could get through.
Roger went down to the local Salvation Army and bought several bags of used woman's clothes. He even went so far as to purchase silk underwear and pantyhose. The disguise must be perfect to work!
Upon trying on his outfit, Roger decided that he actually LIKED how the clothes fit him. The feel of the silk panties really turned him on. He really liked the feel of the too tight elastic draw on the inside of his upper leg. This was going to be easier than expected!
Possibly even, after this business was over, he could get a Bowie thing going and appear in his new outfit. He could be the first member of 'Floyd to cross... No! Right at that time he remembered Arnold Layne and Syd's brief experimentation with cross-dressing. Damn! Beaten by Syd Barrett again. Arrrrgh! Still, it would afford him great pleasure to wreck Syd's attempt at a new career. He booked a flight for Austin.
Meanwhile, Syd, Roky, and Bootsy were working out an arrangement for one of Roky's new songs I Cut My Wrists for Your Satanic Love. This was to be the new track. But first they needed management.
Enter Booker W. Jones. Mr. Jones ran the talent acquisition for the strip club downstairs. He had been kicked out of college for a key role in organizing the sororities into a slick call-girl operation. He heard the band upstairs and thought that they sounded "tight".
Upon his knocking on the upstairs door, Roky answered. When asked if he was one of the members of the band Roky replied: "No, I already bought a television" and closed the door. Booker knocked again and Bootsy answered. Bootsy said: "Now'n then down the waaaaay, Yeeeaaah" and closed the door.
Far from giving up Mr. Jones was keenly interested. He thought: If I fill these fuckers with enough Haldol they could do ANYTHING! He knocked again and Syd answered this time...
So, Mr. Jones was acquired as the new group's manager. Even though Syd thought all middlemen were bad he knew that he needed a manager to at least answer the phone. When Syd asked Roky if it was OK for Mr. Jones to manage the new group Roky replied: "Yeah, after I talked to the zombie when he died in his sleep". Boosty said: "If'n now'n then waaaay down de line, yeeeeaaaah". With that hashed out Mr. Jones soon added this to his duties of managing the strip club downstairs.
One thing that Mr. Jones floated to the group was the idea of a kind of release to the public. Something in the order of a CD single, or EP, would do nicely. Something that could whet the appetite of the public. Booker was thinking of an initial pressing of 25,000 copies that could be
distributed for free to college radio stations.
This showed Mr. Jones to be the sharpie that he was. The pressing of 25,000, and the distribution to college stations, was not directly marketed to the hardcore Barrett fans.
The hardcore Barrett fans! These were a group of misguided souls who practiced a most twisted and warped form of hero worship. They eagerly supped at every burp, fart, & squeak that their fallen idol ever put to tape; even forming chat rooms where every kind of inconsequential information was fawned over. What kind of wires did Syd use? What's his favorite food? Is he gay? What shade of brown is in the bottom of his shorts?
No, this release was to be marketed AWAY from the hardcore Barrett fan. Screw them! They do nothing but drag their idol down Mr. Jones thought; better to exclude them from the process. No, this was to be an offering to the, previously untapped, market of college kids, ages 17 to 22. The
trendsetters. The pulse.
Roger Waters, dressed in his high heels & wig sweeping the floor, had to smile to himself when Mr. Jones was discussing the new release. The hardcore Barrett fan! Ha! In a very large way, he had been RESPONSIBLE for the hardcore Barrett fan.
Hadn't Roger Waters ...
Roger Waters continued sweeping up the Practice Room upstairs from the strip
club. Damn! This was actually turning into a job! Cleaning toilets, scrubbing floors, washing windows, picking up trash, all the while dressed in drag. The worst part was having to endure the flirtatious advances of the strip club's Janitor, Solly.
Solly was in his sixties and had no teeth. He pushed a broom by day and stuffed his paycheck down G-strings by night. Solly kind of took a fancy to Roger. His way of flirting was to come real close and talk dirty in Roger's ear, real dirty. And his breath! It could have knocked a cat off a gut wagon, as they say in Texas.
In Roger's mind, this was a small price to pay to again gain access to that unlimited creative well known as Syd Barrett. All he would need is a few months and he probably could purloin enough ideas for another hit album. Syd didn't need his ideas anyway. He, Roger, was the one more qualified to construct them into something cohesive. Anything to get to those in the studio!
Meanwhile the Austin Chapter of the Baptist International Take Christ Home Society (B.I.T.C.H.) found out that the infamous Roky Erickson was ensconced in the studio, right in their back yard, recording some new, for-the-soul-of-Satan, music. BITCH was a women's organization founded by the Reverend Billy T. Hogworths's wife, Nettie, to spread the name of the Son while combating communist ideas like gun control & racial integration.
The Treasurer of Bitch, Bertha Deaver, remembered Roky from thirty years ago; back when he was with the 13th Floor Elevators. Back then Roky, in his music, used to do things like tell the kids to take LSD and not work. She was glad when he was committed to Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane back in 1968. He deserved it. The commie had dope on him, two whole cigarettes worth.
Now he was back in Austin recording again? She went down to the record store and bought a copy of his The Evil One. This CD had song titles like: Don't Shake Me Lucifer, Bloody Hammer, & Two Headed Dog. She brought the CD back to BITCH's headquarters and the women were appalled. Not only that but, the-son-of-Satan was practicing above a strip club nearby! Something had to be done. The women grabbed their Bibles and headed off to Big Mike's Strip Club to picket. First they notified the local TV station.
Upstairs at Mikes, Roger Waters was perplexed. He viewed himself as an architect of music. He didn't write songs & melodies; he constructed them. Each song required a tremendous effort. In concert, most people didn't know this but, seventy five percent of his music was taped. He couldn't let any musician's "artistic interpretation" get in the way. It's better to have it all taped and have the musicians up there miming onstage and playing the occasional part. Then it would be perfect.
What perplexed Roger was that Syd & crew just turned the amps up to "MAX" and let it rip. They never played the same song the same way twice either. Syd sounded so good that it scared him. Roky vibrated like a crack baby when he belted out the lyrics. And the lyrics? They made no sense; just words strung together it seemed. How was he to make sense of this?
As BITCH were on their way over to Mike's Strip Club, Syd received a telephone call from Nick Mason. After some niceties, Nick explained that he and Rick had decided not to join Syd's new band. You see, Roger had been very busy on the phone with them and both were so easily swayed. Rick was quietly arrogant about his keyboard playing and thought himself a much better musician than he was. Nick was just waiting for the money to roll in so that he could get back to his beloved motorcars. They both had no time for something that was not assured. Hadn't Roger told them? Shit, from the sound of things, Roger was directing the effort and Syd was sweeping up around the studio. Better to wait for Roger to return.
After wishing Nick a wonderful universe, Syd hung up. What to do about a drummer? Enter Ginger Baker, fresh from his 19th narcotics rehabilitation.
Ginger heard about the resurfacing of Syd Barrett and he called Nick Mason asking if Syd needed a drummer. Nick gave Ginger the telephone number in Austin.
When Ginger called Bootsy answered. Ginger asked for Syd Barrett. Bootsy replied: "Sho' 'nuff'n I do de thang down de waaaaaay. Yeeeeeaaah..." Ginger asked for Syd Barrett again and Bootsy said: "Ms. Thang! she'n up'n de hous'n. Yeeeeaaaaah..." Finally, Syd came to the phone and Ginger asked if he was talking to Syd Barrett. Syd replied: "Yes, I'm full of dust and guitars". Ginger thought: "Christ! They all sound ripped to the gills! This is my fucking scene man!" Arrangements were quickly made for Ginger to hop the next UFO to Austin.
Meanwhile, BITCH began to assemble outside Mike's Strip club. Nettie Hogworth's plan to also notify the local TV stations paid off; camera crews were arriving and beginning to set up. That son-of-Satan Roky Erickson would soon wish that he had never been born!
When the camera crews were all set up, Nettie and the others grabbed their Bibles and started marching up and down the sidewalk in front of Mike's shouting things like: "Down With Satan and Roky Erickson!", "Down With Flesh Merchants And Roky Erickson!" The camera crew was busy getting everything down on tape.
Syd peered out the upstairs window and said: "Look, a group of fans have beamed down from Andromeda. I think I'll go out to greet them." Syd and Roky, followed by Bootsy, went out to greet their fans- BITCH. As they approached, BITCH's cries rose up to a crescendo. Nettie saw this as a golden opportunity, with the cameras going, to confront that son-of-Satan.
Roger, still in his costume, followed the group outside...
Outside Mike's it was chaos. BITCH was chanting. Roky was standing at the center of it all stating that he was not the son-of-Satan but that he, in fact, was Satan himself. Bootsy was waving to his Mother and dancing in front of the cameras. Syd looked like he had drifted into a catatonic state and was staring into one of the camera's lenses.
Roky was in fine form. Amid the chants of: "Down With Satan and Roky Erickson!" and "Down with Flesh Merchants and Roky Erickson!" He put his arm around Syd and crowed: "Here Is My Angel of Death Syd Barrett!" Heads turned. Syd Barrett, here?
A crew hurried over and started peppering Syd with questions: "Are you Syd Barrett?" "What are you doing in Austin?" "Are you in Roky Erickson's new band?" "Are you really crazy?" "What have you been doing since you left Pink Floyd?" Syd just froze. Nettie Hogworth did not know whom Syd Barrett was but started to keen: "Another Degenerate!" "Another Degenerate!"
Meanwhile, a member of one of the news crews present sidled up to Roger Waters. He was interested in why this old lady was with this strange group. His name was Rick "Slick" Reiser and he was an avid Pink Floyd fan.
He took one look at Roger in the dress and said: "You're Roger Waters." It was a statement not a question. Roger said: "Whatever do you mean dearie?" But it was too late. Never mind the English accent, or the stubble on his chin, that mouthful of piano ivories that Roger called teeth were a dead giveaway.
"Slick" Reiser turned his head and yelled: "HEY LOOK! IT'S ROGER WATERS AND HE'S DRESSED UP LIKE HIS MOTHER!" For a split second everything came to a complete stop. Roger Waters? Here? Dressed up like his Mother!? Instantly Roger was now the focus of all the attention. People surrounded him with video cameras asking him questions. Nettie Hogworth tried to vainly bring the spotlight back onto BITCH by going over to Roger and ripping his wig off. She spat: "YOU ARE A DEGENERATE! GOD SAVE YOUR SOUL!"
Roger saw his whole world suddenly collapse in on itself. But wait! If he could only somehow destroy the evidence things might work themselves out. Plausible deniability. Nettie stuck her face up to Roger and started to scream: "YOU ARE..." but Roger said: "Shut up Bitch!" and punched her in the mouth. Reverend Hogworth's wife collapsed in a heap.
Roger, like a dervish, started running about and trying to smash the film crews' equipment. He was quickly tackled, restrained, and somebody called the police. When the police came they took one look at Roger and radioed for a strait jacket.
Meanwhile, all of the reporters had run to the nearest telephones and called their home stations. Somebody then alerted the API wire. The person at API began to construct a headline: ROGER WATERS ARRESTED FOLLOWING SYD BARRETT AROUND DRESSED AS HIS MOTHER. But wait. Whose Mother? Syd's or Roger's?
Good God, the whole thing was too sick to even contemplate for very long. It would make perfect Front Page fodder.
Back at Mike's, the police began drawing up a list of charges on Roger beginning with assaulting a Minister's wife...
As Roger was being carried away in the strait jacket and Nettie was being administered by the E.M.T., Booker collared Syd and Roky. He put his arms around their shoulders and announced to the cameras: "These guys are MONSTERS! They are going to shake the music industry to its foundations! You better watch out!" With Syd staring into the nearest camera with a wide eyed, catatonic, stare and Roky crowing about his "Angel of Death" (or something) that bold assertion did not seem impossible.
On that high note, Booker decided that they had better make a hasty retreat back into Mike's. But first, he had to get Bootsy. Bootsy had attracted his own audience of news people. Bootsy was in fine form and was fielding questions from a number of reporters. One reporter asked: "Are you in the group?" and Bootsy replied: "Yow'll 'n up'n de hous'n bout'n down de waaaaaaay, yeeeeeaah!" Another asked what instrument he played and Bootsy replied: "nuff'n up'n down'mm do dat funky thaaaaang, yeeeeeeaaaaah!" One asked: "Are you Bootsy Collins?" and Bootsy replied: "Yeeeeeeeaaaaah!".
Booker stepped in and stated that "All questions would be answered at the Press Conference". He had no idea about any Press Conference but it sure sounded good. And it worked too. Immediately a chorus of shouts went up asking when and where.
Back up at Mike's Booker started laughing "That bitch was the best advertisement we could ever have asked for!" Booker asked Syd if that was really Roger Waters in the dress. Syd said that information had yet to be beamed down to him. "Anyway, he has an ectechrome way and I have played in the sun enough for him". Booker thanked Syd and thought: "Jeeeezus! If I can only get this son-of-a-bitch to open up when he sees a camera!"
Meanwhile, Ginger was boarding the plane for the trip to Austin, before he left he went and scored. If he was going to be in a band with this bunch of party animals there was no sense in getting off on the wrong foot. The stuff looked good: translucent crystals with a brown tone to them. Now he would be ready for the great Syd Barrett!
Roger quickly adjusted to life in the hospital. Being a former architectural student, he like the efficiency of how things were run: get up, eat breakfast, exercise, group, meds, eat lunch, quiet time, group, meds, eat supper, watch the telly with the others, meds, go to bed. Things sure worked efficiently here!
His psychiatrist was a nice young man by the name of Dr. Barron. Roger kept trying to explain the reasons for why he was incarcerated in the hospital but Dr. Barron kept steering the conversation back to his mother, his childhood, Syd Barrett, Syd's mother, and what The Wall was "really" about.
Syd Barrett! Why for-fucks-sake talk about Syd Barrett? He knew how he had robbed Syd Barrett! None better. He was the perpetrator! Why go over it? Hadn't he fooled almost everyone? Look at the masses of his fans! He secretly referred to them as "sheep". The sheep bought into it hadn't they. That's all that really mattered. When a lie get told enough doesn't it become the truth?
The doctor kept coming back to his mother. Did he love his mother? What does he think of his mother now? Had he ever been sexually attracted to Syd's mother. Had he ever been sexually attracted to HIS mother. Had he ever been sexually attracted to Syd? What did he think The Wall had to do with his mother. Why had he been apprehended dressed as an old woman?
It was enough to drive a person mad! And the more he tried to explain the deeper he was dragged into it seemingly. The way this shrink could twist a phrase! Shit, HE should have been the songwriter!
At the apex of his time between meds, when he was most lucid, Roger even envisioned this incarceration, not as a setback but, as an opportunity. Hadn't Syd been the Madcap? Couldn't he use this as a springboard to yet another career?
The more he thought about it the more plausible it seemed. All he had to do was act "crazy" and when he was released, and eventually he would be released, he could resume his career as a madcap. Syd was the laughing madcap. He would be the morose madcap! Yes! The dour madcap! The sad madcap! He would weep all the way to the fucking bank. The sheep would swallow anything!
That night he decided to put his plan into effect. After the nightly check his door began to creak open. Maybe this was an unannounced second check or the orderly forgot. As the door swung open Roger sat up in bed and exclaimed "Mommy! I'm here!"
There was an exclamation of surprise and some harsh laughter. A voice said "I'm not yer fucking ""Mommy"" but I hear you like to dress like a woman". Roger saw that it was three of the other patients.
There was Chester "The Child Molester", Billy- Who killed his mother with a hatchet, and Ruff- another pre-vert who stuttered. Before he could do anything Chester wrapped a bathrobe cord around his neck and held it like a yoke. He whispered through clenched teeth "If you dress like a woman, we're a gonna treat you like a woman".
He was roughly bent over the toilet bowl and he heard Billy say "I love my mommy I want to go first". Ruff replied "nnnnnno! IIII'm ggggggooing fffffffirst!" We will mercifully take a leave of absence here.
Meanwhile, at the Austin International Airport, Roky and Booker were waiting to pick up Ginger Baker their new drummer. Roky was amusing himself asking each airline when the next plane to Hades was leaving.
Ginger had fixed again in the planes' lavatory right before the descent. God! This shit was awesome! It was a rough landing but Ginger didn't feel a thing. He never felt the Stewardess shaking him. Only when the rush began to wear off a little did he open his eyes.
Booker was getting impatient waiting for his new Drummer. Where the **** was he? Just like those stupid Brits! Most of them would **** up a wet dream! It was then that they saw Ginger coming down the walkway.
Ginger wasn't walking. He wasn't staggering. He wasn't swaying back and forth. Ginger Baker, the renowned Drummer for Cream, was crawling down the walkway. Two security men flanked him.
Booker and Roky ran up to them. The first security guard asked "Is he with you!" Roky said "Yeah! He's my demon child of Satan! He came alive after the Premier was killed in his sleep last night." The guard looked surprised. It was nothing a few carefully placed fifties couldn't handle. Booker ended up telling the guards, as he palmed them a bill each, that it must have been some kind of allergic reaction.
Looking at the battlefield of scars and puncture marks that comprised Ginger’s arm he knew better. "Shit, three nuts and a junkie" Booker muttered under his breath. Roky heard him and said "Hey, I like that name!" So that's how Syd Barrett's new band got their name.
Back at the rehearsal room outside Austin Syd muttered "What the sun said I can never feel." Bootsy exclaimed "You'n up'n de house'n down'n de Ms. Thang. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah!" This was their way of telling each other that they needed to go through some more chord progressions.
Roky, Booker, and a unconscious Ginger Baker headed back to the strip club...
Syd Barrett pondered the significance of everything that had happened in the last week. Instead of being a setback, losing his keyboardist and drummer, might in fact make his journey into the sun on the ectechrome plane easier. He could coalesce his sound around the fat bottom chords of Bootsy and the manic wailings of his new friend Roky. Upon the divine enshrinement of the fourteenth disciple he could then more effectively enter his new existence. But what did the old woman, who claimed to be his Mother, play?
Roger Waters managed to climb out of the crevice between the wall and the toilet where he was wedged. God! Did his rear end hurt! That last one, Chester, had a roll of Kielbasa on him over a foot long; and fat too. This whole experience was going to be much worse than he had anticipated.
How had HE ended up in a mental hospital while Syd Barrett and his gang still roamed free? Everything had going been fine until that young cub reporter had identified him. He had been so close! His rival, Syd Barrett, had been about to start recording. He could have swooped down, stolen the master tape, and been back in England fashioning his new release from it before anybody would have been wiser.
England, a place where all the men seem fascinated with buggery and all the women look like they need a tan and a shave. England, the "seat" of culture. He knew better! As soon as he was able (and could sit down properly), he would immigrate to the United States just as Syd Barrett had.
As Syd Barrett waited for the arrival of his new Drummer he questioned Bootsy about some of the tracks. Bootsy replied: "Sho' nuff'n down'n de house'n wittin' de fust of Mizz Thang. Yeeeeeeeah!" Syd Barrett folded his hands in front of him and said: "Yes, yes, I see." To try the new arrangement they had discussed, Syd picked up his guitar and Bootsy started laying down that fat bottomed low end as only he could. Syd started to wail.
Labels: Syd Barrett