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March 2006 - Exit, Hungary Print E-mail

NICK MASON INTERVIEWED IN HUNGARY

Nick Mason in Hungary
Recently, Nick Mason appeared in Hungary on the latest leg of his tour to promote his wonderful book, "Inside Out: A Personal History Of Pink Floyd".

Whilst there, he appeared in Budapest, where over 800 fans attended a signing and interview session he held. As part of this, Nick undertook interviews with several local newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations.

With thanks to our friend Peter Szekszardi, Index, and Exit Magazine, we will be bringing you two of Nick's main interviews, exclusively.

The first of these, from Exit magazine, is shown translated below, and includes his views on the talk of reunion concerts and tours. The original article (in Hungarian) can be read over at www.exit.hu.

NICK MASON interview, Exit Magazine, Hungary, March 2006

Exit Magazine: Is there any kind of connection between the book title and the "Wearing The Inside Out” excerpt from the Division Bell album or is it just a coincidence?

Nick Mason: There is some kind of connection of course, although I had decided on the title of the book before this excerpt came into my mind – maybe it was working in my subconscious all the time. Maybe this is the title with which I can best express what this book is about, and also my point of view as I, the drummer, saw the story of the band, how the members conflicted and came round through the time, the big collapse at the beginning of the eighties and the recovery before the Momentary Lapse of Reason album. Forty years is a long time - one sees and goes through a lot of things.

It is interesting that you mentioned the conflicts before the peaceful periods…

Yes I did, because there were more tense periods. The conflicts started to deepen after the Dark Side of the Moon came out and this atmosphere determined how we lived through the whole seventies. We didn’t even know how to start working on an album many times.

But Roger – who was maybe the most dominant member of the band in those days – could always give us the starting push. That’s how he could become the ironhanded leader of the band. Many people think that he is a real dictator who always does serious things, always precise, almost never smiles, but in reality he is the most humorous guy I’ve ever met in my whole life.

If anybody doesn’t believe this just watch the director’s cut version of our Live at Pompeii video. He talks full of sour humour and subtle cynicism. It’s very funny and entertaining.

How was a Pink Floyd song born typically?

Tests and experiments followed each other. I cannot describe the atmosphere of it. It’s something like when you let a mad scientist into a laboratory where he can mix whatever he wishes. Completely freely. The only weight on our shoulder was that we had to utilise the possibilities in such a way to both maintain the quality and make something that our audience can take. Maybe we found the golden touch with the Dark Side of the Moon.

Even while we were recording the album we felt that it was going to be something big, and for those who labelled the Floyd sound as something incomprehensible, they would get the answer for their solicitude. It worked. I remember each and every moment. The rehearsals, the arguments, Roger’s tricks with the tones. This was our first real “rehearsed” album, before that many of our songs were formed from improvisations and studio jams.

Like which songs?

Like Careful with that Axe, Eugene or One of these Days. I like these songs because they are free of bounds and rules, they don’t stick to precisely written tunes, and within the digestible boundaries of improvisation they are free. They don’t show the precise and complex Pink Floyd but just four guys who like to play music. A different approach. It’s more like rock and roll if I might say. I hope the others don’t take it as an insult. (He laughs).

Last year Pink Floyd played together with Roger Waters at Live8. It seemed that you found the common voice together after more than twenty years. The logical question looking to the future is: will Pink Floyd tour or make any records with the classic line-up?

We won’t make any new albums as our two main songwriters, Roger and David, are working on their solo projects so they haven’t got much time. Nevertheless we won’t go to the studio because this way we can avoid those problems which shook the band earlier. The tension was always the biggest during the rehearsals or in the studio.

Live8 was an interesting and amazing experience. We all felt twenty years younger thanks to Bob Geldof. The only potential in the classic Pink Floyd line-up is a world tour. But David got tired of touring around the world after the Division Bell tour, and he said that he never wants to do such big tours again. At some point it is odd for me that it is David who doesn’t like the plan of a tour and not Roger who was the major cause of our disagreements. He has grown calmer now and he has surmounted the wounds of the past.

Everybody expected the opposite.

Yes, David is so focused on his solo career now that he doesn’t want to think of Pink Floyd while Roger would like to. If David gave us the nod we could start to prepare the tour. We were famous of not making ordinary concerts but making very spectacular and monumental shows for our audience. With new technologies we could do new miracles.

Nick Mason in Exit Magazine
Nick Mason in Exit Magazine
Sometimes I imagine that if we had to create the sound we did in the seventies it would be much easier. But it would be less interesting. A few clicks with a mouse or one hundred kilograms of metal full of wire. I vote on the latter. (Laughs.) So back to Live8: we need this kind of motivation to play again or to get inspiration. We’ve had money and fame for a long time, that is not the point. We have to feel something more, not just that we can make seventy concerts around the world.

Roger left after the release of the Final Cut album. Didn’t you think of stopping him?

No, not at all! We realised that we have to keep on going consciously without him. We were left alone but we felt stronger and we really got filled with the feeling that we had to prove ourselves. By that time Pink Floyd wasn’t really Pink Floyd but rather Roger’s shadow as both The Wall and the Final cut was mostly his work.

We started to write new songs carefully and we were frightened of the release of the new album. The Momentary Lapse of Reason album turned out well but the Division Bell outclasses it, being more mature.

Do you know anything about Syd Barrett's situation?

I don’t know too much. I haven’t talked to him for years and as far as I know none of us have. He passed sixty recently. We still pay him the royalties as he laid down the foundations of the Pink Floyd sound, he set the band going on this long road and we met David through him. They were good friends in Cambridge.

When Syd felt that we became too popular for him, he thought he'd rather stayed home and thought of becoming a famous artist. By that time it was evident that David needed to replace him. It was a good decision.

Do you still play drums? If not elsewhere, do you play at home?

Yes, I have even two drum sets in the basement. My children play guitar. I jam with them.

Will they become musicians?

Luckily they won’t. But I wouldn’t say that they are thinking of a respectable job.

How come?

They would like to play football. In the Premiere league. That isn’t any better than drums. But if they would like to do that let it be so. If they can talk about their football career with such amusement after forty years from now, like I talk about music, then they can play football!

Interview © 2006 Exit, Hungary, and used with permission. Our thanks to Toma and Peter Szekszardi for the translation.

 
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