|opinions, observations & psychotic reactions
|ray-o-graph by Butch Modern
|Mika/Sadistic Mika Band
|trip trip trip to the dream dragon
|Let's face it. There are very few artists, musicians, dancers or singers who are possessed by genius. Most of us are not, so, we struggle to
rise above mediocrity and learn how to nick ideas on the sly. We appropriate bits of others' flashes of dazzling creation and weave them
into a tapestry that will appear as something of our own. You've heard the adage, there's nothing new under the sun. Well, it's true, for the
Syd Barrett was an exception. He was the eccentric English dandy, genius, artist that we all strive to be but his gift cost him more than
most of us would be willing to pay. He paid with his very existence. Syd Barrett no longer exists, left in his place is Roger Keith Barrett,
recluse. His muse is silent, but his legacy is loud and clear.
In the same way a painter cannot be limited to a paint by numbers set, Syd could not be confined to traditional song structure. As a
musician Barrett was rendered inert by his inability, or more likely his refusal, to conform to standard musical forms. This made
collaboration with other musicians all but impossible. He was unwilling or unable to color inside the lines, refusing to repeat a pattern long
enough for it to be "learned" by an accompanist, for it was ever changing. Barrett came to this point in late 1967 after an eighteen month
period of spontaneous creative explosion we will likely never see again. It also lead to his inability to function in a live concert setting which
is what eventually led to his dismissal from Pink Floyd. On stage he was, simply, turned to stone by the fear of a misstep.
In chords and melodies he was attempting to make a momentary statement that was impossible to freeze in time or repeat. I feel, in his
vision, to repeat it was to render it artless. This vision was not only ruled by his genius but also by his nut gone flake insanity. Just as a
painting is a one-of-a-kind, these were sound paintings and to repeat them note for note was to reduce them to bubble gum cards or
poster reproductions of the original. This, among other things, lead directly to his ouster from Pink Floyd and his retreat into silence. His
silence has become his ultimate improvisation.
My perception of his motivations aside, it is remarkable that he was able to freeze in time the prodigious output of his short three year
career. Now, thirty one years since Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett first entered a recording studio he has returned to his first love, painting. But,
now, he paints only for himself. I have recently read that Syd writes nearly everyday, but not for the public.
Roger Keith Barrett has left behind remnants of the Syd that once existed, aprox 50 songs on several albums. It is a testament to his
power that all of his music is still in print today and each new generation discovers it and uses it as a springboard for their own creation. In
fact, nearly all of his outtakes have now been officially released due to the clamor for new recordings. Notably missing are the last
recordings he made with Pink Floyd; "Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegatable Man". The other members of the 'Floyd have vowed never
to officially release them though they have been around on various bootlegs for years.
|A selected discography:
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn-Pink Floyd (Columbia SC6157) 1967
A Saucerful of Secrets-Pink Floyd (Columbia SC6258) 1968
*Barrett appears only on "Jugband Blues" and "Remember a Day"
The Madcap Laughs-Syd Barrett (Harvest 0777 7 81413 2 7) 1970
Barrett-Syd Barrett (Harvest 0777 7 81414 2 6) 1970
Opel-Syd Barrett (Harvest 0777 7 81415 2 5) 1988
The Peel Sessions-Syd Barrett (Strange Fruit DEI8307-2)
Crazy Diamond (Harvest 0777 7 81412 2 8) 3 CD boxed set of the
three solo albums-1993
Pink Floyd*London*'66-'67 (SFMDP 3)
Magnesium Proverbs-Syd Barrett*
*the best of several Barrett bootlegs or ROIR's
Octopus-Syd Barrett (Cleopatra CLO CLEO-577122)
|Wild Kingdom - Mike, Bruce & Tommy
|Mike Johnstone Bruce West Tommy Moore
|The Wild Kingdom were a hot rocking band I hung out with while still in High School
back in Newport News, Virginia. Go Typhoons!
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