Syd Barrett interview (Jan 1970)
Terrapin #17, 1975
Syd Barrett has returned. Syd left the Pink Floyd over a year ago after writing the group’s only two single hits, ‘See Emil Play’ and ‘Arnold Layne’. Since then: nothing. But now, with a new single, ‘Octopus’, under his own name and a debut album due out this month, Syd Barrett is back in the record business.
I met Syd in a plush off-Oxford Street office. His hair is as wild as it used to be, preserving his former image intact. He talked of when he split with the Floyd.
‘When we parted I had written everything for the group. My leaving sort of evened things out within the group.’
‘Since then I have been doing lots of things – things interesting for me. I’ve done a lot of traipsing around. I’ve been back to Ibiza, Spain. I first went there with Rick, three years ago. It’s an interesting place to be.’
‘I’ve written quite a lot too.’
Syd, with the Pink Floyd, was the first to emerge from the underground scene centered around UFO in Tottenham Court Road in 1967. ‘Everything was so rosy at UFO. It was really nice to go there after slogging around the pubs and so. Everyone had their own thing. It’s been interesting to see things turning out the way they have.’
‘During the past six months there have been some very good things released. The best things I’ve bought are the new Taj Mahal album, Captain Beefheart and the Band. I don’t think any of them have influenced my writing though. I’ve been writing in all sorts of funny places.’
Syd’s new album is called ‘The Madcap Laughs’. He said: ‘They’re my particular idea of a record. It’s very together. There’s a lot of speaking on it, but there’s not a very recognizable mood. It’s mainly acoustic guitar and there are no instruments at all.’
His future plans are quite simple. ‘I’m just waiting to see how the records do, what the reactions are, before I decide on anything else.’
And he had a final word about the ‘Ummagumma’ album by Pink Floyd. ‘They’ve probably done very well. The singing’s very good and the drumming is good as well.’