Watch Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett’s first-ever acid trip

Syd Barrett

Co-founder of Pink Floyd, Roger Keith Syd Barrett was a trailblazing artist. His avant-garde methods have influenced a great deal of musicians. But in the end, the singer’s addiction to progressive drugs made his downfall, creating one of the most heartbreaking tales of excess in the history of rock music.

The 1960s are still associated with carefree living, heavy drug use, and rock stars creating a genre that would fundamentally alter modern culture. All while leading extravagant lives. In terms of popular music, the decade turned out to be especially revolutionary. Pink Floyd played a big role in the flourishing evolution of rock.

Syd Barrett, who wrote most of the material for Pink Floyd in the early years, lived the ultimate rock and roll lifestyle. He also invented guitar effects like distortion, feedback, and dissonance. But after years of tense relations with his fellow musicians, Barrett was eventually replaced by David Gilmour in the group. It took years for the true extent of his severe mental health collapse to become apparent.

Barrett had a significant influence on Pink Floyd in its formative years. His whimsical lyricism and avant-garde musical sensibilities shaped the band’s identity . His innovative guitar work and kaleidoscopic compositions created soundscapes that went against the grain. It perfectly captured the psychedelic movement that just started at the time.

But the group was sick of Barrett abusing drugs, and it was beginning to show in his performance. The LSD had begun to engulf his mind instead of expanding it. Allegations of severe mental illness led to Barrett’s hospitalisation shortly after. This predicament developed following a well-known and highly visible instance of psychedelic drug abuse.

Reports surfaced that Barrett, who had previously been characterised as a happy, outgoing, and gregarious person, had taken on “a blank, dead-eyed stare” and would disappear for days at a time while on strong psychedelic binges. It would ultimately prove to be his undoing.

Barrett had progressed from severe mood swings and periods of catatonia to on-stage meltdowns and a refusal to perform in front of an audience. He preferred to mime and rove the stage aimlessly. An urban legend claims that, prior to a performance in late 1967, Barrett crushed a Mandrax tranquillizer pill. After that he smeared a tube of Brylcreem all over his face and hair. The heat from the stage lighting caused him to appear like “a guttered candle,” as he became increasingly unintelligent and peered darkly into the audience.

Although Barrett’s heavy use of psychedelics caused his mental health to deteriorate, many fans maintained that it was his experimentation during that period that laid the groundwork for Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking sound.

Because of his carefree attitude towards life, Barrett became somewhat of a rock music cult figure. Tales of his long-lasting and apparently never-ending travels were preserved in the archives. The material for Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon’s next film was right in front of him. He was a filmmaker who frequently enjoyed spending time with Barrett.

Gordon divided his 11-minute short film, Syd Barrett’s First Trip, into two parts that each depicted the musician’s transition. The movie “just happened…” It is a film without self-awareness. We didnot schedule it, according to Gordon.

The first segment of the movie features Barrett and a group of friends on their first LSD trip, exploring the “Gog Magog Hills” before going mushroom hunting. Jenny, Lesmoir-Gordon’s wife, also recorded some of the footage. Lesmoir-Gordon clarifies that this was Barrett’s initial outburst into the world of psychedelics.

In the second half of the movie, which takes place in 1967, Barrett and Pink Floyd have just signed a major record deal with EMI. And are recording new music at the storied Abbey Road Studios. “I shared the flat with some close friends from Cambridge, including Syd Barrett. He was busy becoming a rock star with Pink Floyd”. Lesmoir-Gordon writes in a description of the movie posted on its official IMDB page. Our extraordinarily cool friend Nigel operated the hipster version of an arty salon a few hundred yards down the street at 101 Cromwell Road.

“The cream of London alternative society, poets, painters, filmmakers, charlatans, activists, bores, and self-styled visionaries, passed between our place and his,” he went on.


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