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January 2002 - Maxim Magazine Print E-mail

"MAN ON THE MOON"

As Pink Floyd's drummer for 36 years, Nick Mason is the only member who's been with the legendary prog-rock outfit for its entire history. (Roger Waters quit, David Gilmour joined late, and Syd Barrett went batshit waaay back). Spurred by the release of "Echoes", a new greatest hits collection, Mason reconstructs one of rock's great soap operas, brick by brick.

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
"Suddenly, we had a recording contract, so we were pretty full of ourselves. The most humbling part was the Beatles were working on Sgt Pepper at the same time, just down the hall. They were recording "Lovely Rita". It sounded so sophisticated. That was more alarming than any feeling of what was expected of us."

Saucerful Of Secrets (1968)
"That was the end of (founding frontman) Syd. There were all sorts of signals: Syd pouring grease in his hair because he didn't like the perm he'd gotten. He wasn't really fired - we attempted to do what we read the Beach Boys had done: bring in an extra member so that Syd didn't have to tour with us. When Syd left it wasn't like Roger mounted to the bridge and shouted 'I am now the captain! You will obey!' Though now I think, Why didn't he do that and just get it over with?"

Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)
"Dark Side was actually an enormously undruggy affair but abstract enough for people to read all sorts of things into it. So it gave us a flavor of being this freaky band, and it just stuck around. With that album, everybody fell into their roles and knew what to do. You can't get on that badly when you're sharing rooms and driving in one car. It's different when you can afford four limos and charter jets. Bands inevitably work together well until they achieve something, which is the catalyst for the big explosion."

Wish You Were Here (1975)
"We were touring the album in Pennsylvania and were playing under this inflatable pyramid. It was guaranteed up to winds of 25 mph. Sure enough, it was raining with winds of 28 mph, and it took off, then inverted above the stadium. A helium pod fell out, and someone yelled, 'my God, it's giving birth!' It then fell back to earth, fortunately not killing anyone underneath."

The Wall (1979)
"Quite early on Roger had the idea of it being a record, a show, and then a film. But David was frustrated because he never had a chance to contribute as much as he wanted to. It never got physical, though. We were all middle-class Englishmen brought up to believe that wasn't the way you resolved differences. Very interesting, though, if it had. Who would be the one to put the money on?"

The Final Cut (1983)
"If Roger could've done it all by himself he would have. He may have thought he could take the bat and ball away, but his leaving revitalized us. Going back on tour without knowing whether the public would still accept us was exciting. It was like being in a band again."

 
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