Over the month of March, 2013 a group of Syd Barrett fans interviewed Twink, Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, about his time with Syd in the short lived group Stars. Here is Twink's account of his Syd Barrett Stars period:
Annette May: My name's Annette May and I live in Portland, Oregon USA. I look forward to your interview with Mohammed! I'm amazed at all the memorabilia he has; plus his memory is sharp as a tack when it comes to all the questions he's been asked. It's really a pleasure to see that Mohammed is doing what he does best as a musician. We are all so fortunate to have him around on Facebook sharing his stories, music, and photos so generously!
|Syd Barrett Stars|
1) Alexander P. HB: 1972, how was Syd at that time?, How did Syd join Stars?
TWINK: Response to question 1. Syd was in good health qnd he was looking for people to play with. He found Jack Monck and I and then we then formed STARS together.
2) Anette May: Hi Mohammed! How long did you spend time in Morocco before your collaboration with Syd and Jack and did the trip change the way you've played drums prior to the way you played them beforehand?
TWINK: Hello Annette you are question 2. I only spent 10 days in Morocco it was too hot and I moved north to Portugal and then France. I was away about 3 months. In the short time I was in Morocco I learnt a lot about North African rhythms which did influence my playing thereafter.
3) Boab Thomas: Was Syd still creating? Lyric writing? Was he taking the whole Stars thing seriously?
TWINK: Hello Boab you are question 3. Syd was painting and performing live a very creative time for him. I believe he was taking STARS seriously..... he didn't miss a rehearsal or a gig.
4) Mark Ashkettle: Was Syd really interested in getting a band together and writing new material or just going through the motions?
TWINK: Hello Mark you are question 4 which was answered in response to question 3.
5) Matthew Horsley: Did Syd start to prefer to be called "Roger" in 1972?
TWINK: Hello Matthew u r question 5. He responded to both Roger and Syd at that time.
6) Mark Ashkettle: Was there any indication that Syd was writing new material or was interested in writing new material? Did Syd give any indication that he thought Stars were a long-term prospect, that they might record an album of new material?
TWINK: Hello again Mark and question 6. It was much to early for any of us to discuss writing new material or to consider whether STARS was a long term project with a view to recording an album. We were simply enjoying our time playing together.
7) Boab Thomas: Equipment - guitars/effects Syd was using!
TWINK: Hello Boab no 8. Black telecaster with no effects apart from slide ....amp and mike.......drums and bass.
8) Stephen Ballard What songs were rehearsed?
TWINK: Hello Stephen no 8. We rehearsed and performed LUCIFER SAM....WAVING MY ARMS IN THE AIR....BABY LEMONADE....AND OTHER SYD SONGS as well as some blues jams.
9) Memo Hernandez: How had Syd's guitar style changed from his days in the Floyd?
TWINK: Hello Memo no 9. Yes his playing had matured.
10) Kiloh: Did he have an EchoRec unit at this time?
TWINK: Hello Kiloh no 10. No Echorec.
11) Lisa Jolene Anderson: Where were most of the STARS practices held at? Who arranged to have Syd included in STARS and was he hesitant about it?
TWINK: Hello Lisa no 11: The STARS rehearsals began at Syd's house and then moved to my place. Syd decided to form a band with Jack and I.
12) Kiloh: How different was his playing from the UFO days?
TWINK: Hello again Kiloh no 12. His playing had matured and his fingers were faster.
13) Julian Massaldi: How was Syd musically by that point, in terms of knowing the chords and lyrics to his own songs? Was it normal to rehearse with him, like any other musician who wrote the songs you're playing, did he have to be reminded of how they went, or did he do them differently each time?
TWINK: Hello Julian no 13. Syd had no problem remembering the chords or the lyrics to any of his songs at rehearsals or gigs.
14) Marc Scobac: Which one of you came up with the name Stars? Did Syd decide the Stars set lists?
TWINK: Hello Marc no 14. Syd came up with the name STARS. Marc part 2 of your question. We all agreed the set list.
|Syd Barrett Stars|
|Syd Barrett Stars|
15) Julian Massaldi: Did he show any favoritism towards any of his own songs? We know he was quite proud of Octopus, were there any others that he was keen to play or wanted for sure on the set list?
TWINK: Hello Julian again no.15. It was a forgone conclusion that we would perform Syd's songs. Syd & Jack suggested songs and my suggestion was LUCIFER SAM. The blues jams were jams and very free form.
16) Julian Massaldi: Did he do any directing during rehearsals, did he give any instructions as to how to play them, or just let you play as you wanted?
TWINK: Hello Julian no.& 16. I remember Jack & Syd directing rehearsals which were very relaxed. We were all familiar with Syd's songs so once we got started on a song "it flew".
17) Joseph Morris: why was Syd growing a beard?
TWINK: Hello Joseph no 17. I can only speak for my beard. I didn't have the money for razor blades or shaving soap.
18) Memo Hernandez: Are there any more pictures? Maybe from the few gigs? Or from rehearsals?
TWINK: Hello Memo no. 18. Yes there are other pics all taken at the open air gig in Cambridge Market Sq by the friend of Steve Brink who moved to Australia quite soon after the show. I saw them and I had a couple of prints but not all.There may be other pics taken by others but I've never seen any.
19) Kiloh: What can you tell us about a set of pictures of Stars playing an outdoor gig in Cambridge Market Square in February (?) 1972, taken by an unknown Australian photographer?
TWINK: Hello Kiloh no. 19. See 18.
20) Gaz Hunter: How was Syd during rehearsals for the Stars gig, calm, paranoid, creative?
TWINK: Hello Gaz no. 20. He was humorous, calm & creative.
21) Marc Scobac: Was the Market Square gig planned in advance or did the band just show up and play?
TWINK: Hello Marc no. 21. The gig was planned in advance.
22) Kiloh: Can you write anything cool you remember as well as your strongest memory for each of the gigs below please:
1-26-72, King's College Cellars -- Barrett, Monck and Twink play a short set (also: Eddie "Guitar" Burns)
1-27-72, Corn Exchange, Cambridge, England -- Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band (also: Hawkwind, Pink Fairies)
2-5-72 the Dandelion Coffee Bar, Cambridge, England
2-?-72, Petty Cury (near Market Square) -- Stars
2-?-72, the Dandelion Coffee Bar, Cambridge, England
2-24-72, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, England (also: MC5 / Skin Alley)
2-26-72, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, England (also: Nektar)
TWINK: Hello Kiloh no 22.) 1) I was very happy to see Syd arrive at the gig with his guitar hoping to jam.
2) Exceedingly happy to see Syd come to the next gig, again with his guitar hoping to jam.
3)I remember Syd standing in front of Jack & I confident and performing a very nice set.
4) Definitely for our best gig, Syd had everyone in the palm of his hand.
5) Corn Exchange 1. The night before the show Syd, Jack, Jenny, Silver & I went out to celebrate and then back to Union Rd for a few laughs......the show was a disaster for STARS everything went wrong.
5) Corn Exchange 2. Good gig and recorded.
6) Dandelion another good gig.
23) Mary Cosco: Wonderful! How Syd was at that time? He was glad to get back on stage? Was he still using drugs? Did he of his Pink Floyd and their abandonment? Thanks
TWINK: Hello Mary no 23. Syd was healthy and happy. He was not using any drugs and never spoke about The Pink Floyd except in reference to his music.
24) Mark Ashkettle: Did they rehearse the unreleased Floyd stuff like scream thy last scream & vegetable man? did Syd talk about the Floyd albums released after he left?
TWINK: Hello Mark no.24. We never discussed the later Pink Floyd trax or albums only Syd's solo albums & PIPER ..... which we all appreciated considerably.
25) Kiloh: Yes, what did he say about Pink Floyd? Details, details, details... Was he bitter?
TWINK: Hello Kiloh no. 25. Syd never spoke about PINK FLOYD and never ever revealed any bitterness to me. He was happy !
26) Kiloh: Did he talk about his two solo albums? If so, what did he say? Did he talk about the botched mix of Madcap Laughs?
TWINK: Hello Kiloh no. 26. He only spoke of his 2 solo albums as reference points to songs we rehersed.
27) Alexander P. Hoffmann: Twink has brought him the later printed posters of The Stars. Then Twink has talked with him, of course. Perhaps Twink can tell a little bit about that meeting.
TWINK: Hello Alexander no 27. I didn't stay long at Syd's house I simply handed the poster to him he smiled, said "Thank you" and closed the door.
28) Joseph Morris: Where are the Stars tapes?
TWINK: Hello Joseph no 28. Only Allah knows.
29) Zachary Biggs: Yeah has any progress been made in finding any recordings?
TWINK: Hello Zachary no. 29. No progress as far as I know.
30) Kiloh: Supposedly, a soundboard recording was made of the gig with Nektar. Stars Roadie, Joly McFee, said that cassette copies were briefly circulating among band members and Staff. Do you remember such a tape circulating? If so, how did it get lost?
Here's what Joly says about the tape:
"Nektar, being prog, had state of the art audio—two WEM Audiomasters out front and monitors. I mixed the band. Another roadie was Nigel, who took care of the stage. I think it was a friend of his that taped the show. I was lent the tape by Nigel some months later and it sounded good; I gave it back without copying. I later heard he lost it. I believe that. If it were around, it would have surfaced by now."
TWINK: Hello Kiloh no. 30. I remember that recording and the tape that Joly had. I listened to it in his van on a trip from Cambridge to London. I sounded very good indeed.
31) Kiloh: Who was Victor Kraft? What can you tell us about him?
TWINK: Hello Kiloh no 31. Victor Kraft was a close friend of Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland and STARS. An American gentleman living in Cambridge guarding his son Jeremy who was at school there. He came to all the STARS shows with a portable recorder and recorded some if not all the shows.
32) Steve Czapla: Did he have any particular opinion of the other bands on the bills -- MC5, Nektar, Hawkwind, etc?
TWINK: Hello Steve no. 32. MC5-The Greatest Rock n Roll Band ever, NEKTAR-Kool, Hawkwind-Great guys and The Pink Fairies - Nice
33) Memo Hernandez: Were there any plans in making an album?
TWINK: Hello Memo no.33. No plans to record.
34) Dave Folsom: Did he ever talk about Pink Floyd's albums with Syd? It would be great to know what Syd thought of Ummaguamma and Atom Heart Mother.
TWINK: Hello Dave no. 34. We only discussed PIPER ...... as a reference point for songs we were rehearsing.
35) Marc Scobac: Historically, it's been really hard to hear Syd's vocals on live tapes; did Syd sing softly at Stars gigs or could he be heard clearly.
|Syd Barrett Stars|
TWINK: Hello Marc no. 35. He could be heard clearly.
36) Michael Rawding: Jack Monck said the last Stars gig was his worst show ever. He felt that Syd was there in body only. What does Twink recall about the audience's reaction to the show?
TWINK: Hello Michael no. 36. Jack was referring to the gig before the last gig as he had forgotten about the NEKTAR show. When we finally took the stage after the MC5 set the crowd went wild with girls jumping on stage and dancing. Which was a bit off putting for Syd.Things got steadily worse culminating in Syd cutting his finger.
37) Alexander P. HB: Is the recording (the known) Olympia 1970 or The Stars 1972? , Are there photos of the performance in the hall of Corn Exchange ?????
TWINK: Hello Alexander no. 37. I believe that recording is STARS 1972 because I recognise my drumming and I can hear Jacks voice.
38) Marc Scobac: Why did the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band split?, Did anyone ever contact you about releasing the Last Minute Minute Put Together Boogie Band with Syd sitting in recording?
TWINK: Hello Marc no. 38. When Jack and I left TLMPTBB it continued so I have no idea why the band broke up. Watch this space about the recording you refer too: (link missing).
39) Marc Scobac: Were you surprised Syd quit; why or why not?
TWINK: Hello Marc no. 39. I was not surprised when Syd quit as it could have happened at any time by any one of us.
40) Mark Ashkettle: Did Syd give any indications in 1972 that he was finding it difficult to deal with audiences and being a pop star, that he'd prefer to live quietly and concentrate on painting? Did Syd have any favourite new bands in early 1972, was he still interested in current music?
TWINK: Hello Mark no. 40. Syd had the perfect balance in his life at that time. He enjoyed playing in STARS continued with his painting and listening to jug band music.
41) Chris Oliver: Please ask Twink if he and Syd wrote anything together. I also heard rumors that he was around for the Think Pink sessions, Could you ask him if this is true? thank you!
TWINK: Hello Chris no. 41. The only thing that could be considered joint compositions would be the spontaneous live blues jams. Syd was not there for the THINK PINK sessions.
42) Marc Scobac: Did you make any other attempts to work with Syd or get him to come back to Stars after he told you he was leaving?
TWINK: Hello Marc no. 42. We stayed in touch for a time and Syd did come to a TWINK demo recording session at Polydor Studios but did not play on the recording. We never talked about STARS again.
43) Rickard Alstar: Mr. Alder, If the 3 man experiment (Barrett, Monck, Alder) would have worked to its full potential, would you have initiated the next step and formulated an original studio project?
TWINK: Hello Richard no.43. A studio project would have been the next progression however we were not given that opportunity.
44) Neville Harson: If it hasn't been asked of him too many times, it might be good to know if he has any unseen footage or unheard recordings.
Hello Neville no. 44. I have no unseen footage or unheard recordings of STARS.
45) Rich Hall: Has anyone asked if Twink and Syd ever talked after 1972? If yes, what kinds of things were on Syd's mind, and if not, why? Did they have a sour parting of the ways with the demise of Stars?
TWINK: Hello Rich no.45. Definitely no sour parting of the ways and my conversations with Syd after 1972 are personal and private business.
46) Rich Hall: Oh. One more. Did Syd contact Twink to drum on the 1974 sessions?
THINK: Hello Rich no. 46. I dont know if he tried to contact me or not.
47) Steve Czapla: Twink, is there any video or outtakes from your time with Plasticland, and did you cover any Syd/Floyd songs with them?
TWINK: Hello Steve no. 47. I think there must be some outtakes from the live recordings with Plasticland. There are 2 unreleased trax from studio recordings at that time 1) The original version of "Seize The Time" & "Hey Momma Keep Your Big Mouth Shut". No Syd or Floyd covers from Twink & Plasticland.
48) Wade Born: I would like to know if ANY outtakes or demos exist,have they been released or will be released from TWINK'S FIRST Solo release...THINK PINK.What a great LP
that is...were there any unmentioned artist contributions to these sessions? Does TWINK have any special recollections from this recording time period?
TWINK: Hello Wade no. 48. There are bonus trax on the new Sunbeam Records re-issue of THINK PINK - TWINK out April 4th. Full artist contributions and extensive recollections on this CD & LP release with 8 bonus trax. Also look for The Think Pink and Nevereverland Demos by Twink on the Italian Get Back label.
Labels: Syd Barrett Stars