Floyd's Dave Gilmour has paid tribute to the man he replaced in 1968.
Friday (January 6) was the 60th birthday of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd's
original iconic frontman, who left the band in their early stages to
live a solitary life.
In an interview with the Independent, Gilmour reinforces the
sensibilities of Barrett's iconology - that of a fallen genius and a
musical pioneer unable to deal with the workings of a band headed for
"He was a truly magnetic personality," says Gilmour. "When he was very
young, he was a figure in his home town. People would look at him in the
street and say, "There's Syd Barrett," and he would be only 14 years
"In my opinion, [his breakdown] would have happened anyway. It was a
deep-rooted thing. But I'll say the psychedelic experience might well
have acted as a catalyst. Still, I just don't think he could deal with
the vision of success and all the things that went with it."
Gilmour was drafted into the band in early 1968 when Barrett's behaviour
was beginning to impact on the band. The concept; Barrett would stay
behind the scenes for as long as he needed, writing and producing music.
But, when he quit London in 1970 to return to the family home in
Cambridge, it would spell the end of his creative output.
Gilmour also goes on to reveal the difficulties of recording Barrett in
the studio during his later solo recordings;
"The potential of some of those songs... they could have really been
fantastic. But trying to find a technique of working with Syd was so
difficult. You had to pre-record tracks without him, working from one
version of the song he had done, and then sit Syd down afterwards and
try to get him to play and sing along. Or you could get him to do a
performance of it on his own and then try to dub everything else on top.
"The concept of him performing with another bunch of musicians was
clearly impossible because he'd change the song every time. He'd never
do a song the same twice, I think quite deliberately."