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Re: One more interview this one from Rick Wright
The Floyd Era
What did you think of The Final Cut (Floyd's first album without Wright)?
I didn't like it, but I knew that I could be quite prejudiced about it, considering my situation.
But I think that if you ask Dave or Nick (Mason) about it they don't think it's a very good album either.
The thing is, during The Final Cut, the three of them had huge fights which culminated in Roger
leaving the band. He had the misguided belief that he was the band, which is why his ego was
shattered when Dave eventually decided to carry on without him.
You've mentioned earlier that you were frustrated by some aspects of The Division Bell,
I think we could have gone further towards making a Floyd album as we used to -
with all the music having a logical link.
That's something I think a lot of the band's fans like and it was something I wanted to achieve
with my own record.
There are a lot of other aspects of the record that I was very happy about, such as being able
to contribute to the writing.
My influence can be heard on tracks like Marooned and Cluster One.
Those were the kind of things that I gave the Floyd in the past and it was good that they were
now getting used again.
You obviously have a really affection for what might be called the "classic" Pink Floyd sound?
Well, a lot of people have said that you can't listen to just a few songs on Broken China, you have
to listen to the whole thing.
I think that was true about Pink Floyd.
That's what I liked about the albums and I think that's what a lot of people liked about the Floyd.
I like playing that type of music and its also the kind of music I like creating.
I'm not a songwriter as such -
I don't like the idea of just writing 12 songs and sticking them on an album.
Would you agree that there are parallels between Broken China and film soundtrack music?
When Floyd wrote music for films like Zabriskie Point and More, they were still just a collection of songs
and instrumental pieces.
It's very hard to get into film soundtracks, but I am putting out the word that I would like to do them.
Music and picture together fascinates me and how music can affect a film so completely.
I'd love to have the chance to write for a major film.
Do you feel baffled by the mystique that still surrounds Pink Floyd and especially Syd Barrett, even now?
I think I can understand it.
If you listen to The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn there are some extraordinary songs in there -
and that's what Syd did.
He was an amazing person, and they were the kind of songs that no one had ever written before -
but wonderful stuff. Of course we developed and changed completely over the years.
But I can understand why people still want to know about Syd and the music we did then.
How do you feel about subsequent generations listening to those records?
I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
In some ways it's great. It's interesting that the music created in the 60's and 70's is still listened
to so much today.
On the last tour, it was incredible to be playing music to people who had not been born when it
was written, yet knew it so well.
How do you view those early Pink Floyd records?
I cringe at some of my songs - such as Remember A Day.
We were pretty amateurish at the time, but I don't think it was just my stuff that doesn't sound
so good now.
Something like Corporal Clegg, which was one of Roger's songs, is just as bad.
Syd was the songwriter and then we came in and had to take over the song writing and it was
a lot of responsibility to assume.
We could never write like Syd, we never had the imagination to come out
with the kind of lyrics he did.
What memories do you have of that early '70s period in the band's history -
making records like Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here?
The late 60's was a purely experimental time in the band's history.
But it was a learning process.
By the 70's we'd consolidated ourselves and we knew what we could do: what we could write,
what we could play.
Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here was a very enjoyable time.
Looking back now, though, it was also a very busy time, so I don't think we ever had much
chance to sit back and think about what we were doing.
Throughout the whole of the early '70s, we were either on the road or in a recording studio.
That's all I can remember.
What do you think of Animals, nearly 20 years on?
It was difficult.
It was 1977 and that was when Roger really began to start believing that he was the sole writer
of the band.
With regards to that album, it was partly my fault, because I didn't have much to offer.
Dave, who did have something to offer, only managed to get a couple of things on there.
I like my playing on the album, but it wasn't a fun record to make.
Compared to, say, Wish You Were Here, where we were really pulling together as a band -
we had our disagreements but it was still a nice creative process - Animals was a slog.
But I didn't have anything to offer, material wise, so I was in a difficult situation.
Floyd were always lumped in with that whole '70s prog rock scene.
Could you relate to those bands?
I always felt we were on our own, but I was aware of the bands that were around at this time:
groups like Genesis, Yes and Led Zeppelin.
I listened to all of those groups and I liked some of them.
I always liked Genesis with Peter Gabriel, but I rather lost interest when he left.
Did punk make much difference to you?
I thought punk was good because it bought me back to the UFO Club days.
At last I thought there was something that had come along and was really pushing the boundaries.
Unfortunately, I didn't like the music, but I liked the whole movement and people like
Malcom McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
I was quite flattered when the Floyd were criticized by some of the punk band (laughs),
but it didn't bother me.
Now look at the Sex Pistols. They've reformed!
So much of the Floyd's back catalogue is perceived as almost "untouchable".
Do you fancy shattering any illusions and revealing whether there's anything you'd like to change
about those records?
I think it's more in terms of the mixing and the sound we had, rather than the songs.
I think we all wish some of the lyrics had been a bit better, especially on the earlier songs,
and that the quality of the recording of the drums and bass, for example, was a bit better.
But in terms on the whole essence of the songs,
I don't think I'd want to go back and change anything,
because that was how it was at the time.
That was us.
Have the rest of Floyd heard Broken China?
Dave has certainly heard some of it, because I asked him to play on it.
He did play on one track, but we then decided to use a different approach to the song later on,
so we didn't use his guitar.
He's heard the album and I think his comment was that he thought it was very good.
Do you ever see much of the band between albums and tours?
We don't socialize much.
Pink Floyd is like a marriage that's on a permanent trial separation (laughs).
We all respect each other but we're not close friends.
At the beginning we were friends: we were living with each other constantly, 24 hours a day.
But we were young then and we weren't so serious about our relationships.
These days, I think it all comes down to respect.
There's a respect between us.
Was The Division Bell an easy album for the three of you to make -
compared to how relations had been the last time you were in the group?
I don't know if that is down to age.
I don't know if it gets easier as you get older.
It might be.
Although one tends to get more stubborn with age and set in one's ways,
which is one of the things I always try to be aware of.
Re: One more interview this one from Rick Wright
Syd, Drugs, The Future
You co-produced Syd Barrett's second album (Barrett in 1970).
Could you see yourself moving into production?
Producing yourself is one thing but producing somebody else is another.
Anthony (Moore) could do it and does do it.
But I don't have the right sort of personality and desire, if you like.
I couldn't see myself doing something like Brian Eno.
Doing Syd's record was interesting, but extremely difficult.
Dave and Roger did the first one (The Madcap Laughs) and Dave and myself did the second one.
But by then it was just trying to help Syd any way we could, rather than worrying about
getting the best guitar sound.
You could forget about that! It was just going into the studio and trying to get him to sing.
However, I think both of Syd albums are an interesting part of history.
Do you have any contact with Syd Barrett?
I read in a magazine, that he's now going blind because of diabetes.
It's terribly sad.
We don't see him, because apparently if he's ever reminded of Pink Floyd and when he was in it,
he goes into a depression for weeks on end.
His mother asked us to stay away a few years ago.
Apparently, most of the time he's quite happy - or was - but our faces can trigger off a lapse.
Would it have always happened or was it because of a huge overdose of acid ?
I suspect it was a bit of both.
All I know is one week he was fine and a week later he turned up again and was completely different.
It's just a terrible tragedy.
What are your views on acid now?
Syd was very influenced by a lot of people around him, who encouraged him to take trips.
There are a load of acid casualties out there.
He wasn't alone. Back then, we had people like Timothy Leary openly advocating it:
trip our and take it every day.
Wrong ? Yes. Misguided ? Yes. It was wrong for me.
I took two trips in my life.
The first was quite enjoyable and that was before I was in the band.
Then I took one more and I didn't enjoy it at all, so I never took it again.
It certainly destroyed Syd and I think it has destroyed a lot of other people.
But Floyd's music has often been described as "drug-inspired". Do you think that suggestion is wrong?
If you mean Pink Floyd took drugs - you're wrong.
There is no way that I could play music and take any kind of drug at the same time.
Do you listen to a lot of other music? Are you inspired by other keyboard players?
I don't listen to as much music as I used to, because I'm so busy with my own music.
I don't think of other players as competition.
I have a style of the Hammond which - good or bad - is my own.
I'm not technically a great pianist.
I was saying to someone the other day that I wish I could play honky-tonk piano.
I listen to Dr John and appreciate what he does, but then can he play the Hammond like I can ?
I look at myself as more of a writer than an actual performer.
I can't play the piano fast - I'm no Oscar Peterson - and I can't read music.
Sometimes, I wish I could sit down and play a wonderful piano concerto.
I feel very confident about what I've done with Broken China.
I'm proud of it.
I like it a lot and I'm now having to live with it.
There are already a few little things I might have changed,
but not nearly as many as I thought there would be.
This has really given me a lift.
Next year I will be doing another album or possibly a film soundtrack.
If the Floyd happens again, it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. In the meantime,
I am going to continue writing.
So you don't have any plans to record with Floyd again?
Some time in the future I'll say to Dave, "When are are going to do another record?" and then
one day he'll say "I'm going into the studio to write - come along."
People keep asking me when Pink Floyd are going to make another record, but I honestly don't know.
We tend to record in six and seven-year cycles, so as the last album was finished in '94, who knows,
the next one could be in the year 2001 !
We don't have a specific image to live up to, which makes it easier for us as we get older.
With Pink Floyd we just have to insist that the lighting man hides us completely, so that no one can
see us in our wheelchairs !
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