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Home arrow Interviews arrow Storm Thorgerson interviews arrow October 2003 - Parisian press
October 2003 - Parisian press Print E-mail

From Parisian press, October 2003, translated by Brain Damage.

"Exposure Pink Floyd" by Stephane KOECHLIN,
October 8, 2003. Translated from Figaroscope's website.

The famous sleeve of "Dark Side Of The Moon", with the crossed pyramid and rainbow, was him. The man which burns on "Wish You Were Here", was also him. Storm Thorgerson designed most of the record sleeves of Pink Floyd, one of the greatest English groups. A musical and pictorial work inhabited by the madness of its founder Syd Barrett. We met with Storm, artistic director of the Pink Floyd exhibition, which is being held in the Villette until January.

- How did you meet the two future leaders of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters and Syd Barrett?

We were in the same school in Cambridge. My mother knew Roger's mother well, and both are still alive. They are 85 and 90 years old and always got on very well. Cambridge was a superb city to be a teenager. We spent our time swimming. The atmosphere was relaxed. We were at the beginning of the Beatles explosion, and the Stones. Syd was very excited by The Beatles. He and Waters left for London to follow art and architecture courses. I rather quickly lost sight of Syd, who sank into madness. I went to London. But Roger Waters remained close. I have known him for fifty years.

- Were you a fan of painting?

Not really. I wanted to make cinema. I adore Fellini, Antonioni... these are my influences. I was registered at an Art School in London while hoping to study films. I continued to see my friends become Pink Floyd. I shared an apartment with a student friend like me. I was in another part when I heard Roger Waters and others asked my buddy to draw the sleeve of their album "Saucerful Of Secrets". I was literally stuck to the walls. I do not know why my friend refused. I then said to them that I was interested. They said: "Go on then".

- Was it Syd Barrett himself who asked you to draw the sleeve of his solo album?

Oh, not, it was the record company. Syd was already very sick, and he did not control anything. I believe he did not understand what was happening. I therefore drew "The Madcap laughs" (1970) without being able to meet Syd. He did not even let me enter his house. I knocked on the door, and he shouted to me to get lost. But I was not the only one. He let nobody enter. I was sad because we were really good buddies...

"Exposure Pink Floyd, the group of the imagination" by Jean-Luc Wachthausen,
October 10, 2003. Translated from Le Figaro's website.

"Pink Floyd Interstellar" or a look into the archives of David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright, with a universe of sound, plastic, technological and visual mementoes, of a monument of psychedelic rock, on display in an exposition presented from today, in the City of Music.

The idea is ambitious, but after the success of the expo devoted to Jimi Hendrix, the conservative head of the Museum of Music, Emma Lavigne, did not hesitate to launch out on this adventure by calling upon the amusing man who invented the aesthetics of the group, the English graphic designer, photographer and videographer Storm Thorgerson.

A kind of free, malicious spirit and a great grip on irony, he designed the most beautiful of Pink Floyd's album sleeves - among them A Saucerful Of Secrets (1968), More (1969), Ummagumma (1969), Atom Heart Mother (1970), The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Animals (1977) - and produced some clips of anthology as well for the group (Learning To Fly) as he also did for Robert Plant and Richard Wright.

"I knew Syd Barrett and Roger Waters from the classrooms of our Cambridge school. At the time, my mother (85 years today!) and that of Roger (90 years!) lived there in Cambridge, and indeed continue to be there today. Syd and I shared the same girls and had the same passion for rock'n'roll. With Roger, we formed a kind of gang until the age of 18, when we went to London. Syd chose the studies of painting, Roger architecture and me, a school of cinema."

Storm Thorgerson started to work for Floyd as of the second album, A Saucerful of Secrets. "It was a friend, who was a painter, who asked me to design the sleeve. We were in 1967, it was a really exciting time, with swarming ideas. We were there at the right place at the right time. When Syd left the group, I highly encouraged Roger to employ David Gilmour, at the beginning of 1968. I believe that I was right even if they were annoyed thereafter."

Among strong themes of this musical exposure, which are evoked with the screening of psychedelic images, of drawings, and of projects of Storm Thorgerson, there are sound effects, instruments, equipment and memorabilia, echo rooms in all kinds (from the kitchen utensils and the partitions, to the organ of Richard Wright in Pompeii, or the low ceiling of Wish You Were Here), appears the crossing of the Wall like a mirror without silvering, illuminated by video projections of Gerald Scarfe. There's also the blue pyramids of Dark Side of the Moon, the enormous inflatable structures used for the Animals tour, and the space-time tent devoted to the albums A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell.

"As an artistic director of the exhibition", concludes Storm Thorgerson, "I tried to show the various bonds which link Pink Floyd: the historical, musical, and aesthetic. I also tried to illustrate the broad cerebral and physical spectrum of the group. Bonds of the group - the rock'n'roll, and the spirit or emotion released by Wish You Were Here, for example. Or insulation, isolation, and the split of the individuals and animosity in "The Wall".

According to him, it is necessary to see this exposure like a show or, better still, as "a musical play which goes further than the simple concept of pop music related to images. It is a voyage in the imagination of a group, which is never easy to show."

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