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Richard Wright newspaper articles, and Nick Mason's tribute Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Friday, 19 September 2008

Richard Wright at Pulse launch 2006"Sometimes, I'd sit down at rehearsal or sound check and play something, improvise a little, and David would come over and say, 'What was that? It's really good!', and I'd say, 'I have no idea, I can't repeat it.' Sometimes I play something, and I haven't recorded it, and I don't know where it came from, why my hands did what they did, what key it was in, anything. For me, playing music is like meditating – I just play and don't really think about what I'm doing, I just let it happen. And those moments can be really, really precious." - Richard Wright

UK newspapers The Independent and The Times have today both included major tributes to Richard Wright within their pages. The Independent takes a long look at what made Pink Floyd so special, with contributions from the band members including Richard (a wonderful quote from whom is above). It also includes Nick Mason's tribute to his friend. The Times includes one of the last ever interviews with Richard, with him looking back at the band and puzzling at their popularity.

Remembering Rick, by Nick Mason:
"Losing Rick is like losing a family member – in a fairly dysfunctional family. He's been in my life for 45 years, longer than my children and longer than my wife. It brings one's own mortality closer. I'll remember Rick with great affection. He was absolutely the non-contentious member of the band and probably suffered for it. I wouldn't say he was easy-going, but he certainly never pushed to any aggravation. It made life a lot easier.

"I first met Rick at the Regent Street College of Architecture. And I think Rick was always pretty much that same character I met in 1962. Rock'n'roll is a Peter Pan existence; no one ever grows up. Over a period, we gravitated towards the people who were less interested in architecture and more in going to the pictures and making music. The band happened a couple of years later. We all had very different ways of working. He always knew what he wanted to do and had a unique approach to playing. I saw an interview he did on TV, and he said it clearly: "Technique is so secondary to ideas." Roger [Waters] said the more technique you have, the more you can copy. Despite having some training, Rick found his own way.

"To some extent, I think, the recognition for what he did in the band was a bit light. He was a writer as well as a keyboard player, and he sang. The keyboard in particular creates the sound of a band. By definition, in a rock'n'roll band people remember the guitar solo, the lead vocal or the lyric content. But a lot of people listen to our music in a different way. The way Rick floats the keyboard through the music is an integral part of what people recognise as Pink Floyd. He wrote "The Great Gig in the Sky" and the music for "Us and Them".

"We were a very close-knit band and one always has the memory of that. We spent a lot of time together between 1967 and the mid-1970s. Rick was a very gentle soul. My image of Rick would be him sitting at the keyboard playing when all the fireworks were going on around him. That's the main quality one remembers, in a band where Roger and David [Gilmour] were more strident about what they believed should be done.

"If there's something that feels like a legacy, it's Live 8 [July 2005, Hyde Park] and the fact that we did surmount any disagreements and managed to play together. It was the greatest occasion".

The main feature in the newspaper, housed in the Arts & Books Review section complete with a striking portrait of "The Progfather" on the cover, looks at how the band developed and focuses on why they should be considered one of the most important musical acts from the last few decades. With contributions from the various band members, it is an intelligent and thoughtful piece. The full article can be read at www.Independent.co.uk.

Continuing Nick's thoughts on Richard, the Entertainment Weekly website interviewed him the day after Richard's passing. He was asked his view on how important Richard was to Pink Floyd.

"The reality is, like any band, you can never quite quantify who does what. But Pink Floyd wouldn't have been Pink Floyd if [we] hadn't had Rick. I think there's a feeling now -- particularly after all the warfare that went on with Roger and David trying to make clear what their contribution was -- that perhaps Rick rather got pushed into the background. Because the sound of Pink Floyd is more than the guitar, bass, and drum thing. Rick was the sound that knitted it all together. That seems to have been particularly true in the band's early, musically adventurous, days.

"It's almost that George Harrison thing. You sort of forget that they did a lot more than perhaps they're given credit for".

The full interview can be read at popwatch.ew.com.

Turning to The Times, their feature consisted of an interview that Richard did in 2007, at the time of the 40th anniversary release of Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.

Richard revealed his bafflement at the band's success. “God, I don’t understand the whole cult of Floyd. I think all you writers need to talk about that. I know we've made some great songs and great music, but I can't tell you why we're so popular.”

The interview talks of how, as a child, he played trumpet, trombone and then guitar as well as piano. “When I left school, my careers master said: 'What do you want to do?' I said: 'I have no idea, but I want to play music,' and he said: 'Well, you're pretty good at drawing, go to architecture school.' So I went, but I wasn't interested in architecture at all. I was into forming shapes, but I wanted to be a musician.

“So when I was at polytechnic, I went off and had private lessons in composition at the Eric Gilder School of Music, then I went to the London School of Music; all this while I was studying architecture.

“The tutor came up to me and said: 'You're not into architecture, are you?' I said: 'No.' He said: 'It's a waste of time you coming; go off and be a musician.' But thank God I went there, because that's where I met Roger and Nick.”

On Live8: “It was wonderful that we did it, because of all the arguments and issues that Roger's had with me, and with David. But we did learn something. It would be very hard for the four of us to go together and do a world tour, simply because our ideas are so different musically.”

The full article can be read at www.TimesOnline.co.uk.

Finally, we've had many enquiries from fans who want to pay their respects to Richard. Soon after his passing, an online Book of Condolence was set up. Currently running at over 200 pages, it can be found at Legacy.com for those who wish to add their own thoughts.

 
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