This is the front and back of a handbill for one of Pink Floyd’s first concerts in the United States. This was a single night at the Cheetah Club in Venice, California on November 5th, 1967. The previous set of dates was November 2nd – 4th. This was Pink Floyd supporting Big Brother and the Holding Company at Winterland.
See, Pink Floyd missed the first week of the US Tour because if “work permit” problems. They returned to the Britain and did one off-gig as long as they were waiting around: 10-28-67 at Dunelm House, Durham University, Durham, Co. Durham, England.
This Cheetah show was the gig where Syd smeared the Mandies and Brylcream over his head and (reportedly) played a single chord. At the Cheetah, after a lengthy wait, the rest of Pink Floyd decided to take the stage except for Syd Barrett, who was left in the dressing room, manically trying to organize his, badly permed at Vidal Sassoon, hairstyle of the time. As the rest were tuning up, Syd, 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 Brylcream. He then poured the whole coagulated mass onto his head, picked up his Telecaster, and walked on stage.
As he was playing, the Mandrax/Brylcream 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. Audience members supposedly screamed in horror. Needless to say, there was a wildly positive review in the LA Free Press newspaper. The reporter states that this gig was the only area appearance for Pink Floyd.
According Dr. Sam Hutt, peripatetic physician to the Underground, people were always looking for new ways to take acid. One of those methods was to mix acid with gel (grease, hair wax or whatever) and to put it in your hair. The acid would then enter your brain by sweating, stage lighting, etc... Another one was to put liquid LSD on the inside of your eyelid. Syd Barrett did that, according to Dr. Sam Hutt, with acid and gel on several occasions.
Dr. Hutt also tells that later on Syd tried it with Mandrax, (the famous Brylcream incident), on more than one occasion. According to Dr. Hutt, "I remember near the end with Syd him coming up and somebody had given him a bottle of Mandies. Mandies were the big bouncing around drug, dodgy indeed, and probably a good idea that they took them off the market. Barbiturates are just plain bastards, but Mandies have this awful seductiveness about them. Syd appeared on-stage with this jar of Brylcream, having crushed the Mandies into little pieces, mixing them up with the Brylcream and putting this mixture of Brylcream and broken Mandy tablets all over his hair. So when he went out on-stage the heat of the lights melted the Brylcream and it all started to drip down his face with these bits of Mandrax."
Tony Secunda (manager of the Move), stated he ran into Barrett on the loading dock of the Roundhouse at the last big UFO fest in September or 1967, and Syd had bits of Mandies stuck in his hair.
Supposedly, after showing up for a gig with his hair streaked with crushed Mandrax tablets, Syd was fired from the band that he had founded and was replaced by David Gilmour.
So, Syd Barrett had been fucking around, mixing LSD with Brylcream, for some time. He graduated to mixing Brylcream with crushed Mandrax tablets. The “Mandies” incident wasn’t an isolated event but a behavioral pattern of his drug abuse.
Labels: Pink Floyd Cheetah Club 1967