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December 31st 1976 - Capital Radio PF Story - part 3 Print E-mail

The following is one part of the legendary Capital Radio Pink Floyd Story - the history of the band, told by the band themselves in a set of interviews undertaken in 1976, and broadcast at the end of 1976/start of 1977. This transcription done by Matt Johns, Brain Damage - please seek permission from us before using elsewhere.


The programme presenter was Nicky Horne. Abbreviations used as follows:
NM: Nick Mason, RW: Roger Waters, DG: David Gilmour, RWr: Rick Wright,
NH: Nicky Horne, RTH: Roger The Hat


NH: The Pink Floyd, over the years, have been involved in several film scores. The first of these was a movie called "More".

DG: I can't remember how we did the film "More" or why. I mean I can't remember how we happened to meet the guy; but meet him we did and we saw the film and we thought, "well..." but we wanted to break into big time movie scores so we said, "OK we'll do it" and he gave us £600 each or somefink [sniffs] and off we trotted and we did it. Later on we did "Obscured By Clouds" for the same guy, just because he was a friend of ours really - Barbet Schroedor. And in between these two we did a score for "Zabriskie Point" for Antonioni, which we spent three or four weeks in Rome doing. Seemed like an age, and he didn't like anything for his film, really, that we did. He only used three pieces for the film.

One was a kind of a remake - similarity thing to "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" which is probably what he got us for in the first place. There was a bit of a... kind of awful, rubbishy echo stuff with voices from the film soundtrack all mixed in by us at the beginning. And the other was a Country and Western tune, which he could have got done ten times better by numerous American groups, but he used ours... very strange. And of course, we would've done pretty well anything, well, not anything... but certainly near the beginning we would've done almost anything in terms of film; if anyone had asked us to do film scores, we would've done them. I think.

We wanted to have a go at it - it wasn't that we wanted to stop being a rock'n'roll group and going out and doing all that sort of stuff... it was kind of an exercise. Very enjoyable to do, and quick, and you could make long meandering things just for fun, which wouldn't really necessarily held together on a record.

Some of the ideas we put down were just completely stupid and insane, but we did them just for laughs. We did things like... we'd tell everyone the key and then they'd have to leave the studio while one person would come in and he'd know the key and that's all. He'd play on the same piece of tape without hearing what the other person had played. And we got all of us to do that. AWFUL, absolutely awful! Still, it was jolly good fun anyway.

All these things we did, I think, we did 24 little bits of stuff, and we called them "Nothing Parts 1 - 24" and "Echoes" started off as "The Return Of The Son Of Nothing", I think, and that started off from a piano piece where Rick was in the studio at EMI with a piano and a microphone in it, plugged through a Leslie. And he had it turned up reasonably loud, but there was this specific harmonic that kept coming out much louder for some reason; every time you "pinged" this one particular note on the piano it came out louder, and that is the "ping" note on the thing; and then he started playing a little bit, and every once in a while he'd hit that note again; and we just pottered around a little bit and then we actually put a bit of it down with him actually playing and hitting the note... and that was the start of "Echoes".

Because of the way these things work, and you don't always get the same feedback-thing happening exactly the same way, we were never able to actually duplicate it later on, so the actual beginning piano piece is that very first one that we recorded at Abbey Road. When we actually recorded "Echoes" - the whole of it, at Air Studios, as I say, we couldn't duplicate that piece so we actually edited it in at the beginning and it changes over from that piece at the first place where the other instruments came in, or where the chord changes or something. And it went on from there.

It's one of those - and when you play a note it repeat-echoes it afterwards, and there's all sorts of rhythms you can set up like playing one note several times over, and that thing sets up a rhythm with you and you sort of make a rhythm between yourself and the repeat echo unit. We fooled around with that to a certain extent on various things, and Roger put a bass through one day and tried it, and that is what "One Of These Days" is basically all about. It's Roger playing a bass through that thing - thumping one note most of the time, and because of what that evoked, that's what the whole thing came out of. It was just that sound and then later on when we'd recorded that thing it didn't sound like it held up on its own as a whole number, and we did another piece with a bass going through the same echo repeat system but also with the vibrato thing... a heavy vibrato, which is the whole middle section, which we then cut in and started laying on all the other boogaloo - echo on farfeisa organs and fast guitars.

NH: But why "One Of These Days (I'm Gonna Cut You Into Little Pieces)"?

DG: It just sounded very violent, and we like a joke as much as anyone else [laughs] - it just came out. I can't remember exactly how it happened. It's an old theme for us... "I'm gonna cut you into little pieces", and "be careful with that axe, Eugene" and... they're similar sorts of themes aren't they?

NH: "Dark Side Of The Moon" IS Pink Floyd. I asked Roger Waters how it all came about:

RW: Well, there are several answers to that. I think you'll find when you speak to the other chaps, 'cos that's what one discovers over the years, is that one's own memories of how things happened and other people's memories of how things happened are often very different. My memory of how it happened was that we went to a place in... Broadhurst Gardens, off... somewhere in Kilburn, I think it is - West Hampstead, maybe it's called... anyway, we were there for a period of time - a couple of weeks or something... and we sat in a little room and played our instruments, and we got quite a lot of stuff together - music - no lyrics, or ideas or anything.

We had all these different pieces, like the riff of "Money" came out of those sessions, and so on and so forth. I remember that happening. The only other thing that I can remember about it all was having a meeting in Nicky's kitchen one day, and I think... I'm not quite sure what happened, but I THINK what happened was that I thought, and said, "listen, if it was some kind of theme that ran through it - y'know - life, with a heartbeat and that... and then you could have other bits coming in, like the pressures that tend to be anti-life - how about that?" And then we all started writing out a list of what those pressures might be. And that was that. And then I started writing lyrics with all these different bits of music that all came from different people in the band - well, not all, but... [inhales deeply] I started writing a series of sets of lyrics about the different things we talked about. It's all terribly simple!

NM: What the album was going to be about... which was about the... what we felt were the stress and strain of our lives and what was wrong with them or what we were motivated by and so on. And so we ended with a piece of paper upon which was written various subjects that would be covered, and work from there. There wasn't any sitting down and saying let's produce something so crystal clear and delightful that everyone will adore it.

NH: But how did that initial idea come about? Do you all sit down and say, right, well...

NM: Yes... I think we sat down and talked about what the album might be about. I mean, we're talking about three - four years ago, and I can't remember exactly what happened or how it happened. It might've been somebody's brilliant idea who's going to be SO UPSET that I'm sitting here happily saying WE, 'cos that's the stuff that our best bits of domestic world or all three [?] are about. But credit where credit's due, and who's done what and all that...

DG: Well, we started out working about it the same way we'd done on other things. We sat in a rehearsal room and we had pieces of music, and we sat and rehearsed them. And Roger came in with specific things, and stuff, and I guess sometime after we had started and got quite a few pieces of music sort of formulated vaguely, Roger came up with the specific idea of... going through all the things that people go through and what drives them mad, and from that moment obviously our direction slightly changed. We started tailoring the pieces we already had to fit that concept and Roger would tailor words in to fit the music that we had, and from that moment on, it had a new impetus to it...

I mean, the way it is set out very simply and clearly... the ideas that are behind it and what it's trying to say, I think... Roger tried definately in his lyrics to make them very simple, straightforward, and easily assimable - easy to understand.

Partly because of this mystique and image thing you were talking about before, and how people read things into other lyrics that weren't there, and an idea that before had been put in a more... a less clear way, a bit more obscurely presented... in that instance, in the ones that are more obscurely presented, people were continually getting the wrong idea and I certainly think that Roger was fed up with that, and certainly I remember talking about it once or twice, that it would be nice to make it very simple and clear for people to understand. Not that it was totally successful in that line, 'cos of course people read hundreds of things into it even then that weren't there...

NH: During the recording of "Dark Side Of The Moon", the Floyd themselves did several interviews with anyone who happened to be around the Abbey Road Studios at the time. The technique they used was to give people a number of cards on which questions were printed - questions that related to the themes of "Dark Side Of The Moon". The interviewees then had to answer the questions as spontaneously as they could. And I asked Rick Wright why this technique was used:

RWr: We simply wanted people's reaction on a very quick level - a spontaneous way too... so they look at a card that says "Have you ever been violent" or "What do you think of death", and so before they can think about it they have to say something 'cos the microphone's on. It was... that's why we did it... it was Roger's idea... I think it worked 'cos we got some very interesting replies, comments on their thoughts...

NH: In the next episode of The Pink Floyd Story, you'll be able to hear excerpts from a lot of these interviews, portions of which appear on the final recording of "Dark Side Of The Moon". Here's one such recording; the interviewee is a road manager (not with the Pink Floyd) who's known affectionately as "Roger The Hat". He's being interviewed by Roger Waters:

RW: [Sounding stoned, and slurring throughout] Y'see, what would be best really, I mean I might have to prompt you occasionally. I might even have to ask you a question... but what would be best would be if you could just tell us about it, 'cos I've told you what the record's about.

RTH: Right - but tell you about it in what way? [also sounds stoned]

RW: Any way you like...

RTH: Ooohhh...

RW: You want me to ask you some questions?

RTH: I think that would be better, man.

RW: ...'Cos you've been on the road for ten years, right, so it's all happened, so we wanna know just what you think about various things...

RTH: Dig it. Dig it!

RW: Like life in bands, and life on the road, and what you think of other things as well.

RTH: Right.

RW: Now, something that's very interesting for instance, is what's your personal opinion... why do you think a lot of bands split up?

RTH: Egotism. I would say. Er... I would say mainly egotism. That's one reason. There's many others man, but that's one. I would say that's... um... the one that immediately comes to mind. Egotism.

RW: I think I'd go along with that...

RTH: MMMMM! I mean - you should know what musicians are like?!

RW: What are musicians like?

RTH: Well, you see, really they should be normal people - normal - but someone once said to me that a proper artist has got a right to be temperamental. I think I've been unfortunate in meeting every temperamental artist in the business! Nah! They're temperamental, that's all.

RW: Why do you think they're temperamental?

RTH: Because of the... nature of the work they're doing.

RW: Do you think it might be because they get too much power?

RTH: No - definately not. I would say too much stress on themselves. Given false ideals. How's it going?

RW: Alright.

RTH: FAR OUT!

RW: I'll take a bit of that for me, you don't mind if I give you some do you?

RTH: Help yourself.

RW: Right...

RTH: The initial shock's over!

RW: OK. That was a very good answer.

RTH: Thank you. Do I get ten out of ten for that?

RW: Yeah.

RTH: Far out.

RW: You get eleven out of ten for that one. [Lights "cigarette", coughs] Right, what else was there? I'll tell you what another bit if it was about, which Bobby could probably have got into but I don't think it was explained enough in the question so he didn't really get into talking about it; and that is: there's a track on the record about violence, right...

RTH: Oh yeah. I'm into that.

RW: And it's called, "Us and Them", simply because when you're in a violent situation there's always like you, who's...

RTH: Dig it.

RW: Right... and there's them. And they're two very different things. And one of the questions we asked the others was "when was the last time you thumped somebody?", "why did you do it?", "Do you think you were in the right?"

RTH: Oh yeah. The last time that I thumped someone was only the other day, as a matter of fact. I was driving along the road towards Northwood Hills where my brother lives, and this cat in front of me was driving his car and all of a sudden he stopped and opened his door, and from where I was in me truck, I could see that he never looked in his mirror - he just opened his door, which caused me to swerve on the other side of the road, very narrowly missing an oncoming motor car. So I pulled in, and like a gentleman I went up to him and said, "Now look man - like, THAT AIN'T COOL. Right, the thing to do man, if you're gonna stop your car, you stop, you look in your mirror, and if there's nothing about you open your door. But you never done that, and like, it nearly cost me my life" I said. Well, the guy was very rude, he WAS rude. In fact, his last words to me were, he called me a "long haired git". So, I felt compelled. Well, seeing as he was that rude, I had to... retribution was close at hand. So that was the last time I was violent, about three days ago.

RW: Do you think you were justified... you put one on him...

RTH: Definately, yeah, definately. 'Cos the thing is, man, when you're driving on the road, I mean like, you get a person who's that rude - I mean, they're gonna kill you. So like, if you give them a quick - short, sharp, shock - they don't do it again. Dig it? I mean, he got off lightly 'cos I could've given him a thrashing - I only hit him once! Hahahahahahaaaaaaaa [manic laughter]

RW: Right. Now another thing that we're interested in, 'cos again there's a track on the album that's supposed to be about it, is pegging out.

RTH: [Strange noise / exclamation] Cor... evil bastard!

RW: How do you feel about that? Are you frightened of it?

RTH: Death? Wow. What is it man - you tell me? I dunno. I once had my head read, and by that, this chick that was into astrology, I gave her my date of birth and everything - can you dig that? And she like told me where all my energy was channelled, and she said one of them was "experiences". So like when I come across death it'll be a new trip won't it? So like, I wouldn't have had it before, so it'll be alright. Hahahahahahaaaaaa [more manic laughter] Doesn't bother me in the slightest. Live for today, gone tomorrow. That's me. Yeah - don't worry about it. Never have done. Sommink new, innit?!

RW: Do you think you ever will - I mean, when you're a bit closer to it?

RTH: Nah, nah - well, it's one of them things that never goes out of fashion, innit? Hahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa [even more crazed laughter]

 
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