The reason David Gilmour hated producing Syd Barrett

David Gilmour

Even though the name Pink Floyd might instantly conjure up clichéd images of a rock band playing to packed stadiums, the band’s history is more nuanced than this reputation would imply. The ascent to the summit proved to be fraught with difficulties for David Gilmour, Roger Waters, and the other members of the band.

Naturally, the contentious relationship between Waters and Gilmour is a subject that comes up frequently. However, the band has gone through some intense moments, this tense subplot being just one of them. Indeed, the split between the autocratic Waters and the other members of the band would alter the course of their lives. But this would not have happened in the absence of Pink Floyd’s first and, consequently, most important transition.

Frontman and guitarist Syd Barett, bassist Waters, keyboardist Richard Wright, and drummer Nick Mason formed the group in 1965. Barrett and Waters were childhood friends from Cambridge. Barrett was two years younger than the rest of the band. Despite this, they had similar musical tastes. They would forsake the rhythm and blues of their childhood and become a creative force in London’s underground scene thanks to their artistic disposition.

The band shed the skin of the genre standards of their formative chapter. Under the striking lighting of the UFO Club, they honed their out-there style, which is still among the most original of the era. Barrett combined the role of Pink Floyd’s primary songwriter with the vibrancy of inexperience. Energetic, inquisitive, and frequently unnerving despite getting confused with the psychedelic movement, their music was always incongruous. Barrett’s masterpiece, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, is from Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut. It features songs like “Astronomy Dominé” and “Interstellar Overdrive.”

But his tenure with the group was brief; by April 1968, he had left because of a crippling combination of drug abuse and mental health problems. He wouldn’t even live to see their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, through to completion. The remainder of the band completed it. Gilmour was a former Cambridge friend. In December 1967, they brought him in as a guitarist. This was to lessen the growing impact of his mental illness on his performance.

Following Barrett’s departure, Pink Floyd undertook a massive creative metamorphosis that culminated in a series of influential concept albums in the ensuing ten years. However, this is merely an oversimplified account of this time frame. Barrett didn’t simply vanish during this time. Instead, he started a brief solo career. He released two albums, Barrett and The Madcap Laughs, in 1970. Gilmour assisted him with these albums. Wright assisted on the latter, while Waters also contributed to the former.

This difficult time affected everyone involved, especially Gilmour because of his mental state, and he looks back on it realistically. In a 1983 interview, the guitarist described producing the two Barrett solo albums as “hell.” He said it was a difficult and unsatisfying process. Their previous friend had checked out.

It was hell,” declared David Gilmour. However, we always believed that there was talent there; all we needed to do was try to record it so that others could hear it. Of course, Syd made that task more difficult for us. We had to devise many new methods to attempt recording the material. It wasn’t particularly rewarding and was incredibly difficult. And most of the time, I have no idea how Syd felt about it.

Barrett offered nothing to those who helped him, so they were left to determine the final product’s tone even though they had no idea how he wanted the albums to sound. David Gilmour, for his part, plodded on. Then, one day, when Barrett was done, they were heading up the lift in his apartment building quietly when he turned to face him and said, “Thanks – thanks very much,” which was the only acknowledgment he got during the whole thing. It depicts his condition in a depressing light.

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