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The Pink Floyd Story

Transcription et traduction de l’émission de radio The Pink Floyd Story en 6 épisodes de 45 minutes, diffusée de décembre 1976 à janvier 1977 sur Capitol Radio. L’émission est présentée par Nicky Horne.

Sont interviewés : Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright, Nick Mason mais aussi Norman Smith, Peter Jenner, Ron Geesin, Storm Thorgerson et John Peel.

Sommaire de la page :

Épisode 1

Diffusion : 17 décembre 1976.

Nick Mason : C’était un groupe tout à fait particulier. Je veux dire, il y avait toute cette histoire d’UFO et de 1967 et de l’underground londonien, à laquelle nous n’appartenions pas… je ne crois pas que nous étions personnellement impliqués dedans, même si… euh… c’est là que nous travaillions. Je veux dire, nous n’étions pas personnellement impliqués dans toutes ces activités marginales ou toutes ces philosophies de l’époque. Nous, je veux dire, d’une certaine façon, c’était presque par hasard, je veux dire que ce n’était pas très, maintenant on voit plein de trucs, mais il n’y en avait pas, euh… on n’avait pas l’impression comme s’il y avait une démarche volontaire visant à faire de nous autre chose. Ça avait juste l’air de se passer comme ça.

Qu’est-ce que je veux dire ? Je ne sais pas trop… simplement que… tout ce que je veux dire, c’est qu’il n’y avait pas, de notre part, euh, d’exercice prémédité pour, euh, être quelque chose. Je veux dire, ça avait juste l’air de sortir comme ça. Enfin, je n’en ai pas honte, je ne veux pas le nier, ou dire que nous sommes des gens parfaitement normaux, mais je ne crois pas qu’il soit exact de dire que nous avons, dès le commencement, voulu devenir une sorte de groupe culte mystérieux.

Les occasions étaient terribles, et l’UFO était un endroit fantastique où jouer. Je veux dire, le groupe n’a pas connu des réactions très diverses, je veux dire, on a déjà discuté de l’histoire du groupe et du fait qu’à l’époque où nous travaillons dans le circuit Top Rank, ils détestaient ça. Et je détestais ça. Nous pouvions vider des salles plus vite que notre ombre. Je veux dire qu’ils étaient outragés par ce qui provenait de la scène, et ils ne passaient guère de temps à éclaircir tout ça, et le seul endroit où nous avons connu un quelconque succès, ou avec un véritable intérêt, était l’UFO, et les autres divers clubs et occasions « underground », entre guillemets.

Oui, nous étions certainement un produit de ça, de nombreuses façons. Ils avaient tendance à suivre un modèle, en gros, il y avait cette scène et le public devant qui espérait entendre Arnold Layne ou See Emily Play et un tas d’autres tubes, que nous ne pouvions pas jouer, évidemment. On avait un répertoire de trucs bizarres, comme Interstellar Overdrive, pour nous porter sur tout le concert, euh, et je me souviens des scènes qui pivotaient et de ce public [rire] qui était tout bonnement horrifié par ce qu’il avait sous les yeux. Et, je veux dire, tout ça était fantastique de toute façon, parce que personne — dans ce qui l’on pouvait considérer à l’époque comme notre public — ne pouvait jamais entrer dans ces endroits, parce qu’il fallait avoir une cravate pour entrer, et il y avait toute cette histoire comme quoi ils ne voulaient pas nous laisser boire au bar parce que nous n’avions pas de costard-cravate, et d’autres marques d’irrespect qui nous rendaient dingues.

Roger Waters : Il n’a jamais été question de, euh, se donner une image, ou essayer de s’en donner une. Il n’y avait absolument auucne pensée consciente à ce niveau dans le groupe, jamais. Et cela continue depuis. Il a peut-être fallu que cela devienne conscient pour que cela reste inconscient, si vous voyez ce que je veux dire. Mais il n’y a jamais eu de construction d’image d’aucune sorte, comme je l’ai déjà dit, et je le redirai encore — vous savez bien, ne pas parler aux gens est venu du fait que nous faisions des tonnes et des tonnes et des tonnes d’interviews, des tonnes, vraiment, et vous savez, pourquoi avez vous choisi ce nom de Pink Floyd ? ; soit vous vous dites « ah, je vais répondre à cette question jusqu’à ma mort », ou bien « je n’ai pas envie de parler aux gens qui ne savent rien de nous, de la musique, ou du reste », et donc nous avons décidé de ne pas faire ça, mais cela n’avait rien à voir avec le fait de se donner un genre, ce n’était qu’une réponse personnelle aux gens qui se foutaient de nous ; je veux dire, Arnold Layne a été le début de notre carrière professionnelle. J’ai arrêté d’aller au bureau le jour où Arnold Layne est sorti, en gros.

Nick Mason : À l’époque, nous voulions nous hisser au sommet des hit-parades. On voulait un single en tête des hits. L’idée de faire un album ne nous effleurait même pas… bon, je parle pour moi car je ne peux le faire à la place des autres, mais je pense que nous n’avions vraiment pas considéré la réalisation d’un album complet. À la base, ce qui nous intéressait c’était de sortir un single, et qu’il fasse un carton ! Nous nous intéressions au business du rock ‘n’ roll, au fait d’être un groupe de pop : SUCCÈS – ARGENT – GROSSES BAGNOLES, ce genre de choses. Une vie aisée. C’est pour cela que la plupart des gens s’intéressent à la musique rock : ils veulent du succès. Si vous n’en voulez pas, vous faites autre chose.

Nicky Horne : Norman Smith, premier producteur du Floyd, se remémore Arnold Layne :

Norman Smith : Je n’étais pas vraiment satisfait d’Arnold Layne. En fait, c’est Joe Boyd qui s’en est occupé. Moi, je n’appréciais pas cette version. Bien sûr, le temps m’a montré que j’avais tord puisque c’est celle-là qui a percé. Mais je pensais qu’on pouvait l’améliorer. Alors j’ai dit aux garçons que j’aimerai la refaire et on a programmé une séance studio juste pour ça, enfin, avec quelques autres titres quand même. Si je me rappelle bien, cela devait durer toute la nuit. Arnold Layne devait être la première mais quand ils sont arrivés, je voyais bien qu’ils n’étaient pas vraiment enclins à faire un remake d’Arnold Layne. Et on ne l’a jamais refaite. C’est donc la version originale qui est sortie.

Nicky Horne : Et que pensait Norman Smith de l’idée d’enregistrer les Pink Floyd ?

Norman Smith : (rires) J’étais terrifié ! Euh… je suppose que vous appelleriez ça de l’appréhension. C’était assez réciproque à vrai dire. Je ne savais pas à quoi m’attendre avec eux et je pense qu’il en était de même pour eux. J’étais très nerveux, aucun doute là-dessus. J’étais anxieux de les rencontrer car il s’étaient fait un petit nom sans pour autant avoir sorti de hit, étrange. Ils avaient de toute évidence quelque chose de très différent, même si j’étais habitué au Beatles et d’autres gens… j’allais dire “d’autre gens comme ça”, mais, bien-sûr, les Beatles étaient, eux-aussi, très différents des autres, ils avaient ce petit quelque chose qui les rendaient intouchables. Bon, j’aurais du mal à vous décrire plus en détail mes sentiments de l’époque, à part que j’étais très nerveux, je ne savais pas à quoi m’attendre avec eux, en tant qu’individus. J’étais à la recherche d’un groupe avec qui je pourrais me faire un nom en tant que producteur. C’était donc le tout début de ma carrière de producteur. Et puis j’ai reçu ce coup de téléphone impromptu, de la part d’un ami à moi qui était dans le management. Il m’a parlé des Floyd et je suis parti les voir sur scène. Ils avaient ce light show et tous ces trucs, j’étais très impressionné par leur charisme, et très nerveux de les emmener en studio. Mais ils y sont allés… Je voulais absolument les emmener à EMI pour les signer car je sentais que quelque chose allait se passer. D’un autre côté, il y avait toujours cette difficulté à enregistrer le groupe, à le produire. Mais je me disais “essayons, voyons ce qu’on peut faire avec eux”.

Nicky Horne : Une des premières interviews que Pink Floyd ai données était pour CBC, au Canada. De cette époque, il n’existe que quelques rares enregistrements de Syd Barrett en interview, c’est un de ceux-là. Syd Barrett, Roger Waters et Nick Mason, sur CBC

CBC Radio Canada : Un nuage frénétique de sons et de lumières, un nouveau concept musical commence à titiller les sens des fans de beat déjà stone du Royaume-Uni. Certains appellent ça le “free sound”, d’autres préfèrent le ranger dans la vague psychédélique des noms en “isme” qui gravite autour de l’hémisphère Ouest. Mais ici, cette musique est celle du Pink Floyd, un groupe de quatre musiciens, un éclairagiste et tout un arsenal de matériel destiné à secouer les plus endormis. 1 Si les Pink Floyd sont nouveaux sur la scène londonienne, ils ont stupéfié les foules des fêtes interminables 2, des églises, de l’Albert Hall et d’autres endroits encore lors de leurs passages en Angleterre. Ils n’ont pas encore gravé de disque mais peut-être que les Pink Floyd eux-mêmes seront plus qualifiés pour vous dire de quoi il retourne :

Nick Mason : We didn’t start out trying to get anything new, y’know we just… it entirely happened. We originally started virtually as an R&B group.

Syd Barrett : Yeah, sometimes, we just sorta let loose a bit and started hitting the guitar a bit harder and not worrying quite so much about the chords.

Roger Waters : It stopped being third rate academic rock, y’know; it started being a sort of intuitive groove, really.

Nick Mason : It’s free form. In terms of construction it’s almost like jazz, where you start off with a riff and then you improvise on this except…

Roger Waters : Where it differs from jazz is that if you’re improvising around a jazz number, if it’s a 16 bar number you stick to 16 bar choruses and you take 16 bar solos, whereas with us it starts and we may play 3 choruses of something that lasts for 17 and a half bars each chorus and then it’ll stop happening and it’ll stop happening when it stops happening AND it may be 423 bars later or 4.

Syd Barrett : And it’s not like jazz music ‘cos…

Nick Mason : We all want to be pop stars - we don’t want to be jazz musicians.

Syd Barrett : Exactly. And I mean we play for people to dance to - they don’t seem to dance much now but that’s the initial idea. So we play loudly and we’re playing with electric guitars, so we’re utilising all the volume and all the effects you can get. But now in fact we’re trying to develop this by using the lights.

Nick Mason : Yes of course.

Roger Waters : But the thing about the jazz thing is that we don’t have this great musician thing. Y’know, we don’t really look upon ourselves as musicians as such, y’know, period… reading the dots, all that stuff.

CBC Radio Canada : How important is the visual aspect of the production?

All: Very, very important.

Syd Barrett : It’s quite a revelation to have people operating something like lights while you’re playing as a direct stimulus to what you’re playing. It’s rather like audience reaction except it’s sort of on a higher level, you know, you can respond to it and then the lights will respond back…

Nick Mason : There are various sorts of lights - there’s simply flashing spotlights that are worked off a sort of control board rather like a piano, so that they can be used very rhythmically. And then there are sort of effect lights that are usually coloured slides or wet slides which are slides with some sort of liquids on them so that you get some movement. Or they might be actual movies as such - in which case as they have their own set speed and sequence that can’t be altered by the operators this changes the… our formation to some extent ‘cos we tend immediately to play to that.

CBC Radio Canada : What happens at a performance? What happens with your audience, what’s the feel you get?

Roger Waters : Well, if we get very excited, and we get very excited when we’re playing very well, then the audience gets very excited as well.

CBC Radio Canada : Do they dance?

Nick Mason : They may dance. It depends on the sort of music and what’s happening.

Syd Barrett : Yeah and anyway you hardly ever get the sort of dancing right from the beginning that you get just as a response to the rhythm. Usually people stand there and if they… [laughs] get into some sort of hysteria while they’re there…

Nick Mason : …The dancing takes the form of a frenzy which is very good.

Roger Waters : They don’t all stand in a line and do the Madison. The audience tend to be standing there and just one or two people maybe will suddenly flip out and rush forward and start leaping up and down…

Syd Barrett : Freak out I think is the word, you’re looking for!

Nick Mason : It’s an excellent thing because this is what dancing is…

Syd Barrett : This is REALLY what dancing is!!

CBC Radio Canada : Is the music destined to replace the Beatles? Are the melodic harmonies, poetic lyrics and soulful rhythms of today to be swept into the archives, totally undermined by a psychotic sweep of sound and vision as this, displayed by the Pink Floyd? Large pockets of enthusiasts from all over the country are determined that it shall, despite the powerful opposition of the majority of leading disc jockeys. But the most enthusiastic fans of all, quite fittingly, are the Pink Floyd’s managers:

Peter Jenner : I heard them once; I was in a very bad mood. I was at a club and heard them, and the sort of sound they were making was a sound I hadn’t heard before, and I was just totally knocked out. It’s er… I suppose I felt there was a freshness about what they were doing, there was a sort of freedom about the way they were playing. They weren’t just hacking through the old numbers, playing all the old hits of yesterday and today, and sort of… you didn’t feel that there was just a regimented group just going through the motions, y’know, there was a fantastic liveness about it and these huge sheets of sound were building up and… this was a sound I hadn’t heard before. And I immediately was simply knocked out by it and started getting interested in them.

The whole light scene and things like this sort of came out of from, I suppose, a different direction. I mean, the way this did come from the “psychedelic movement” as far as I was concerned but its always been a thing that I’ve dug. I’ve always thought that lights and music and things like that, and sounds and vision should all go together. And it seemed the right time for it to happen.

I think another thing which is very important, is that, y’know, one feels that the pop market as it were, is now capable of taking something far more than it used to, y’know. Previously it was all sort of Jim Reeves and those sort of simple things played over and over again. But increasingly I noticed that clubs, the thing that always used to get the really huge applause always when the instrumentals - the things where the musicians really gave themselves a chance to do something new and really different. And so out of this whole sort of rock’n’roll movement you got a sort of instantly attractive beat, a very strong beat, a very powerful beat which anyone can respond to, and then on top of this you’ve got the electronic thing which gives you this fantastic dynamics and excitement and ability just to pierce through peoples… sometimes deadness.

One can penetrate right through into their minds almost sheerly by volume and sound and noise and distortion that gives a tremendous increased awareness of what’s going on, y’know, you hear things much more. When you’ve finished listening to the Pink Floyd you don’t just clap and sort of hum the thing, hum the tune they’ve just been playing, you just go: “FWAAUUGGHH!”. Y’know, it’s an experience, you’ve been through a total sensory experience - both visual and audio. And I think this has an appeal, not only to intellectuals - there’s a lot of in common between Pink Floyd and people like Alba Dater and Ornet Coleman are doing, but it’s got also an immediacy of appeal to the kids which I think is great and it’s a sort of common denominator which goes right across - anyone can dig the Pink Floyd I think.

CBC Radio Canada : Can you capture this strictly on sound? Let’s say in terms of recordings…

Peter Jenner : I think our records will be very different from our stageshows. I think our records inevitably… first of all there’s the three minute limitation; secondly, you can’t sort of, walk around the kitchen humming to the Pink Floyd. I mean, if you had a Pink Floyd sort of sound they’re making in the clubs, coming over the radio while you’re doing the washing-up you’d probably scream. I suspect that our records are going to have to be much more audio, much more, y’know, they are written for a different situation. Listening to a gramophone record in your home or on the radio is very different from going into a club or going into a theatre and watching a stage show. They’re two different things that requires a different approach. We think we can do both.

Nicky Horne : Norman Smith on “See Emily Play”:

Norman Smith : Yeah, well, “Emily” of course… I was in from the birth of that and that was kind of commercialised if you like. There was some little bit of arrangement went in that, there was a bit of… gimmickry… in the recorded thing… cos I saw that as a single straight away. And obviously one was looking for a follow-up to “Arnold Layne” - I was at any rate, on behalf of the record company. That was the one that I chose and hoped that they would agree with me. It did in the end, I can’t really remember whether it was unanimous or not, but I would think it possibly was three-quarters unanimous and [laughs] one was not too keen.

Syd Barrett was with the group in those days and Syd was the main writer, and it was a pretty difficult job with Syd because I think Syd used music - I’ll put it this way - used music with sort of lyrical phrasing or if you like he used lyrics with sort of musical phrasing, and it was a statement being made at a given time, that meant that if you came back five minutes later to do another take you probably wouldn’t get the same performance, and I think if I remember rightly we went through quite a few of Syd’s songs and then they played me a few, and it’s very difficult to pick out which I liked and which I didn’t like, so we’d come back and maybe try these songs again and these were different versions so [laughs] it made it even more difficult. So the early days were quite difficult really but as a sort of very slow, unwinding process.

Nicky Horne : During that time, Syd’s problems were beginning to affect the other individuals in the band. Dave Gilmour, who plays guitar on this track, was brought in to replace the ailing Barrett, and Nick Mason remembers some of the feelings that prevailed at that time:

Nick Mason : It’s easy now to look back on “the past” and try and give it some sort of shape and form, but at the time you’re just… you’re in a total state of confusion muddling about because you’re trying to be in this band and be successful or make it work, and things aren’t working out and you don’t really understand why. You can’t believe that someone’s deliberately trying to screw it up and yet the other half of you is saying “this man’s crazy - he’s trying to DESTROY ME!” It gets very personal, you get very worked up into a state of extreme rage. I mean, obviously there was some incredible moments of… clarity, where you realise that things are not right - like the wonderful American tour which will live forever. Syd detuning his guitar all the way through one number, striking the string and detuning the guitar, which is very modern but [laughs] very difficult for a band to follow or play with. And, other occasions where he more or less just ceased playing and stand there, leaving us to muddle along as best we could. And times like that, you think [laughs] “what we need is someone else!” Or at least some help.

David Gilmour : Nick actually came to me and sort of… “nudge, nudge… if such and such happened, and if this, and if that… would you be interested in it…” and went through that whole thing in a fairly roundabout way, suggested that this might come off at some point. And then just after Christmas, right after their Olympia gig, I actually got a phone call… where I was staying I didn’t actually have a phone, or they didn’t know it, but they sent a message through someone else that they knew that knew me, for me to get in touch for taking the job, so to speak. There was no real discussion, or any meetings, to think about it or any auditions or anything like that. They just said did I want to, and I said yes, and it was as simple as that. It was totally impossible for me to understand the way Syd’s mind was working at that time.

It was also from having been to two or three of their gigs, impossible for me to see how they could carry on like that, because Syd was very obviously not up to being in that group at that time, doing what he was doing. It was painfully obvious that they were just kind of marking time at that moment. And actually joining the group was a very difficult thing, cos originally there was some kind of a plan for there to be five people and for Syd to phase out of the live thing and… but keep on writing… but we realised that there was an impossibility almost as soon as we’d thought of it, or they’d thought of it. So that idea very rapidly got dropped. We did do three or four gigs with five people playing - pretty strange… The first four, five, six months that I’m in the band I really didn’t feel confident enough to actually start playing myself - I actually sat there mostly playing just rhythm guitar and I suppose, to be honest, at the time trying to sound a bit like Syd. But that didn’t last very long - I mean, it was obvious the group had to change into something completely different and they hadn’t asked me to join to sound exactly like Syd, but I mean - the numbers they were doing were still Syd’s numbers mostly. Consequently there’s that kind of a fixed thing in your head of how they have been played previously, and that kind of, makes it very much harder for you to strike out on your own and do it exactly how you would do it… and you haven’t got a clue how you would do it really because there’s already an imprinted thing in your brain of how the guitar is played on those things. Consequently it did take some time before I started getting into actually being a member of the band and feeling free to impose my own… guitar-playing style on it.

Norman Smith : There wasn’t much point really, particularly with Syd there wasn’t much point in changing chords or suggesting flashy sort of chords, y’know - jazz based chords or anything like that, just nice chords or analysing the musical content of anyone’s composition. There wasn’t much point in doing that. I think what I had to look for really was, first of all of course what they were about - what they wanted to say, and the statement they wanted to make. And to help them as much as I could there, of course, with suggestions, but I think mainly to look for sounds… I would think at any rate that that’s what Floyd were mainly about - the creation of sounds to enhance the statement or the mood…

Nicky Horne : And John Peel, veteran BBC disc jockey, remembers the Floyd, in those early days:

John Peel : The first time I ever heard of them was when I was still working in California and it sounds very grand, but I’d sent a band over from Riverside to London, to stay with my monther actually in Notting Hill, called The Misunderstood, who made a couple of classic singles for Fontana and then disappeared, pretty much.

And the lead singer came back to try and sort out his draft thing and he came along, he came to stay with us in San Bernadino, and he kept going on about these people that he’d seen in London, Hendrix and the Pink Floyd, and I was very taken with the name at the time - the Pink Floyd seemed like a good name to me (still does, actually). So, one of the first things I wanted to do when I got back here, which was in the spring of 1967 to go and work for Radio London, was to go and see Hendrix and the Floyd and indeed I did. The first time I ever saw them was at the old UFO club in Tottenham Court Road, where all of the hippies used to put on our Kaftans and bells and beads and go and lie on the floor in an altered condition and listen to whatever was going on.

The Floyd were going on one night, I must admit, I’m ashamed to say it, I don’t remember the Floyd as vividly as I remember Arthur Brown, ‘cos I mean Arthur Brown, at that time, used to just stand there and insult the members of the audience in much the same way as people like Johnny Rotten seem to do now.

And, so the first time I ever… I used to see the Floyd y’know, but they were just like a band that you saw, y’know you didn’t really pay a lot of attention to them, and I think the first time I really took a great deal of notice of what they were doing, was at the time of the release of the first LP. And then it suddenly seemed, you suddenly realised, like with the first Hendrix LP really, you suddenly realise that was something very, very important and I’d like to be able to convince you that I was into the Pink Floyd years before anyone else, but I was probably into the Pink Floyd a year after everybody else! But that first LP obviously came as a bit of a revelation…

Épisode 2

Diffusion : 24 décembre 1976.

John Peel : C’est assez intéressant, en fait, actuellement je vis dans une petite ville à l’est d’Anglia. C’est plus un petit village en fait, qui s’appelle Great Fimbrew, qui est à coté de Stowmarket, qui est un autre endroit dont personne n’a jamais entendu parler. Quand je suis arrivé j’ai acheté une poubelle au magasin du coin, et il y a ce mec qui vient vers moi et qui me dit : « Vous êtes John Peel, n’est-ce pas? » J’ai dis : « oui ». Il a déclaré : « Vous avoir ici est la meilleure chose qui soit arrivée dans le coin depuis le concert de Pink Floyd ».

Et apparemment ils ont fait un concert sur le terrain de football à Stowmarket en 1967 lorsqu’ils ont commencés leurs carrières. Tout le monde s’attendait à un groupe qui jouait des trucs du top 20. Il y a eu une douzaine de personne estomaquées par leur prestation, les originaux et les lunatiques du coin. Tout les autres ont détestés, mais c’était l’événement musical le plus important de toute l’histoire de Stowmarket je pense….

Roger Waters : 10 ans avant le business était complètement différend. On ne parlait pas vraiment d’album, en fait ça commençait… ça commençait tout juste : il pouvait maintenant exister des groupes populaires qui n’avaient pas enregistrés de single. Mais on avait un producteur, Norman, qui avait été élevé à ça : au single.

Norman Smith : Je ne pense pas que les distributeurs pouvaient… savoir exactement ce que le Floyd faisait. Ils essayaient d’exprimer quelque chose d’épouvantablement difficile et je pense que c’est de là qu’est venu ce mécontentement à l’égard du produit finit, c’est très naturel d’ailleurs. Je veux dire, évidement il y a… C’est très difficile pour n’importe quel artiste, d’atteindre « l’idéal », ou pour n’importe quel producteur après tout, d’atteindre la fin absolue d’un produit finit. Heureusement que nous n’y arrivons pas parce que, évidement, essayer d’arriver à mieux la prochaine fois c’est ce qui nous motive, c’est ce qui nous fait continuer à avancer.

Mais avec le type de musique que le Floyd jouait sur scène… Je pense vraiment qu’ils étaient plus qu’un groupe de scène, autant un groupe live qu’un groupe studio. Et s’il y avait put avoir, par un moyen quelconque, une rencontre entre ces deux côtés du groupe, on aurait put avoir le meilleur des deux et tout le monde aurait put être… Je veux dire avec la même philosophie vous comprenez, alors peut-être un enregistrement live ou quelque chose comme ça, qui montrerait ce dont je parle.

Nicky Horne : Storm Thorgerson est un des créateurs des pochettes d’album de Pink Floyd. Il est un amis du groupe depuis des années et aujourd’hui il se souvient des premiers jours :

Storm Thorgesson : En matière de business, je pense que les années 66/67 sont intéressantes parce que le pouvoir est passé des majors aux groupes. Avant ça ils ne pouvaient pas enregistrer ce qu’ils voulaient ; mais c’est ce que Pink Floyd a fait, leurs propres « trucs », leurs propres pochettes, ils ne pouvaient pas faire comme les Beatles, c’était affreux. Ils étaient vraiment moches (rires) je pense… mais je suis sûr que les Beatles aussi. Et je pense que le Floyd, après la pochète de Piper at the Gates of Dawn, qui est ce qu’elle est, bien que vous ne le considériez peut-être pas comme une viellerie… graphiquement, ce n’est pas vraiment… On a pas l’impression que ça en dit long sur le groupe. Donc après Piper je pense qu’ils voulaient dire quelques chose de plus sur Pink Floyd à travers les pochettes.

David Gilmour : Dire que Syd était l’anti-commercial du groupe c’est se tromper. C’est sûr que Norman a voulut nous rendre plus commercial : parfois on arguait qu’on aimait mieux quelque chose d’une certaine façon et il pensait qu’on se serait mieux vendus en faisant d’une autre. En fait, je pense que Piper est bien plus commercial que Saucerful of Secrets. La chanson-titre de Saucerful, un morceau commercial? Je pense que c’est certainement la plus expérimentale de toutes les chansons du groupe.

Rick Wright : C’était à l’époque où nous nous sommes séparés de Norman. Il en faisait de moins en moins, ou si vous voulez il était de moins en moins impliqué dans ce que nous faisions et à la fin, en gros, il s’essayait juste contre le mur et écoutait. Mais je pense qu’il a réalisé que nous prenions le contrôle de la production et que c’était une chose naturelle, un processus naturel. Alors il a juste laissé faire et ce ne fut ni soudain ni méchant : on ne s’est pas réunis pour dire « Bon Norman, t’es viré! ». Nous, et nous tous, réalisions ce qui était en train de ce passer, parce que sa bonne idée avait été de nous enseigner comment travailler en studio. Beaucoup de producteur qui ont un groupes, enfin peut-être pas nous parce que nous ne l’aurions pas laissé faire, font tout le travail et laissent les groupes de côté. Les groupes n’apprennent jamais rien.

Il nous a beaucoup intéressés à la production dès que nous avons commencé, alors nous avons beaucoup appris. Du coup au temps d’Ummaguma on s’est dit « Faisons-le nous même ». Et puis il n’était plus trop intéressé par nous après le départ de Syd. Il a bossé sur les chansons mais il ne pouvait pas comprendre, et d’ailleurs il n’a pas compris, Saucerful of Secrets. Il a dit un truc du genre : « Je pense que c’est nul. On ne vendra pas un single, mais continuez si vous voulez. » Nous ont pensait que ça allait être la meilleure chose qu’on aurait jamais enregistrée, et je pense que c’était vrai à l’époque. Après… mais c’était un processus naturel, il s’est juste reculé contre le mur du fond, et puis finalement on a dit : « OK ».

David Gilmour : J’ai contribué comme j’ai pus, mais honnêtement j’étais un peu en dehors de tout ça. Je n’était pas vraiment un… C’est sûr que je ne me sentais pas comme un membre à part entière, et je n’était pas en première ligne au niveau des contributions. Ce que j’ai fais sur Saucerful Of Secrets n’est pas vraiment… je ne pense pas qu’on puisse appeler ça de l’écriture…

Nicky Horne : Ces premiers concerts du Floyd sont presque devenus du folklore. John Peel se souvient :

John Peel : En fait j’avais l’habitude de les voir pas mal, vous savez, à la fin des 60’. J’ai toujours dis que le meilleur concert en extérieur que j’ai jamais vus avait été le concert de Pink Floyd à Hyde Park. J’avais loué un bateau et ramé. Je suis resté au fond de la barque, à la manière des hippies, au milieux de la Serpentine ; j’ai simplement écouté le groupe jouer et leur musique était, enfin c’est ce que je pense, parfaitement adaptée au spectacle en plein air. C’était…. ça sonne ridicule aujourd’hui mais c’est le genre de chose qui vous transporte lorsque vous en parlez, et qui à notre époque critique à l’air un peu idiot. En fait c’était comme une expérience mystique, c’était merveilleux. Ils ont joués A Saucerfull of Secrets et d’autres choses… On avait l’impression qu’ils remplissaient le ciel entier, vous savez. Et puis ça allait si bien avec l’étendue d’eau, les petites vagues, avec les arbres et avec tout le reste. Ça ressemblait au concert parfait. En fait je pense que c’est le meilleur concert auquel j’ai assisté, complètement différend d’un autre dont je me souviens. Ce dernier avait été très bon aussi et c’était déroulé dans un club a Birmingham, un endroit qui avait été très couru pendant longtemps et qui s’appelait « Mothers ». C’était à Erdington (quartier de Birmingham ndt). Et c’était intéressant de faire un concert là-bas parce que le public était très terre-à-terre et pas très aventureux. J’ai toujours aimé les Midlands (région où se trouve Birmingham ndt). Il fallait faire une très belle prestation pour impressionner les gens du coin.

Je suppose que c’est vrai pratiquement partout mais…. heu… et bien en fait je sais ne pas si c’est vraiment le cas parce que où que vous vous produisiez, il y aura une sorte de réaction toute faite si vous êtes célèbre. Les spectateurs vont devenir fous, même si vous êtes très ennuyeux. Et le Floyd a joué là, dans ce grand club où la bière coulait à flots et… ils ont été merveilleux là aussi. Ils ont joués une de ces trucs «  très ennuyeux ». Ils ont joués un superbe Interstellar Ovedrive qui a duré entre vingt et vingt-cinq minutes. J’ai écris un compte-rendus enthousiaste dans la foulée sur ça qu’on a mit dans la rubrique « le coin des baratineurs » dans « Private Eye », ce qui était mon ambition. J’ai écris tout un tas de trucs à propos du son de galaxies mourantes que j’ai probablement pris d’un livre de science fiction que j’avais lu… mais avec ça j’ai pu être dans « le coin des baratineurs ». Mais c’était vraiment ça ce concert. C’était une prestation magnifique, et ils l’ont enregistrée et m’en ont donnés une copie que j’écoutais tout les jours. Mais je me suis fait cambriolé et on me l’a volée en même temps que d’autres enregistrements de Dylan, ce qui m’a mis très en colère. Mais… je ne pense pas qu’il y est beaucoup de groupe pouvant sonner aussi bien dans des endroits aussi différents, tant à l’époque qu’aujourd’hui.

Rick Wright : Eh bien, « Mothers » était un endroit fantastique pour jouer de toutes façon, je pense qu’on y a joué quand même un certain nombre de fois et c’était un endroit pour… eh bien, un un des endroits où on avait choisis de faire l’album parce que c’était si sympa d’y jouer. Les gens qui fréquentaient le club étaient vraiment chouettes. Je ne me rappelle plus grand chose de la soirée pendant laquelle l’enregistrement à été fait, à part que rien ne c’est déroulé comme nous le voulions (rires). Vous voyez, les micros ont été installés, et nous avons enregistrés sur un quatre-pistes aussi bien que nous le pouvions, en essayant de faire tout pour que ça marche. Je me souviens que ça avait été un bon concert et que le résultat de l’enregistrement m’avait déçus. Pour être honnête, ce concert n’était pas différents des autres que nous avions donnés au « Mothers ».

John Peel : Maintenant vous savez qu’avec quelque chose du genre d’Atom Hearth Mother, particulièrement en Amérique, les gens peuvent passer des semaines à débattre du sens du titre, et ils sont capables de lancer des religions (rires) basées sur Atom Heart Mother. Par exemple, il y avait une jolie blonde qui avait reçue comme nom Atom Heart Mother et des tas de gens qui voulaient s’appeler les petits indiens rouges et la vénérer. Ce genre de truc continua, mais si ces personnes devenaient gros ou s’ils commençaient à perdre leurs cheveux, alors ils étaient bannis de la « secte ».

Mais en fait ce fut appelé Atom Heart Mother parce que le Floyd était en train d’enregistrer un concert pour la BBC et que le producteur, Geoff Griffin, a demandé comment s’appelait ce qui venait d’être joué. Ça n’avait pas de nom. J’ai alors attrapé un « Evening Standard » et nous avons regardé les gros titres histoire de voir si on ne pouvait pas en trouver un qui collerait bien au morceau. Il y avait une petite histoire sur une femme à qui on avait implanté un pacemaker alimenté par de l’énergie atomique et c’était titré « Atom Heart Mother ». Roger a dit : « Oh oui, c’est un super nom, appelons-le comme ça! ».

Roger Waters : Eh bien l’idée vint de Dave : il a joué le riff original. Assez étrangement je m’en souvient très bien : il a joué ça alors que nous faisions des recherches… et nous l’avons tous écoutés. On s’est dit : « Oh, c’est pas mal… » ; mais on a tous pensé la même chose : que ça sonnait comme le thème d’un de ces mauvais westerns. Ça avait ce goût de… un peu contrefait, héroïque, un peu pompeux… comme des ombres de chevaux sur le soleil couchant. C’est pour ça qu’on a trouvé que c’était une bonne idée de jouer ça et d’ajouter des cornes, des voix et des cordes et plein d’autres trucs. Alors c’est pour ça qu’on l’a fait, parce que ça sonnait comme… une grande bande originale de film. Je pense que nous avons trouvé… je ne sais pas comment nous nous sommes plantés. Je pense qu’on l’a fait parce que… on avait le sentiment d’avoir du mal à se sortir de ça.

Nicky Horne : l’homme qui s’est occupé des arrangements sur Atom Heart Mother était poète, musicien, et soliste. Il s’agit de Ron Geesin. Il nous raconte comment il s’est retrouvé à travailler sur Atom Heart Mother.

Ron Geesin : Je les voyais tous le temps à l’époque, parce que Rick vivait en dessous… J’étais à Notting Hill, il vivait en dessous, au sud de Notting Hill (rires). Lorsque j’y songe aujourd’hui, je pense qu’ils étaient dans une période assez aride niveau création. Ils s’étaient disputés et ils n’arrivaient pas à lâcher du lest, à s’éloigner l’un de l’autre. Je pense même qu’ils s’étaient méchamment engueulés. Mon opinion c’est qu’ils étaient fatigués niveau création et qu’ils avaient besoin d’un regard extérieur. C’était ça. C’était la situation, alors comme j’étais leur ami, ils m’ont proposés de bosser sur cette longue pièce où ils voulaient des chœurs et des cuivres, et ils m’ont fournis ce que je vais appeler la base du morceau, mais c’était probablement un peu plus que ça quand même. Ils avaient ce son de guitare slide stratosphérique qui était en place mais j’ai pris la… base donc, et j’ai fais tout le dessus, tout le… je ne sais pas, le glaçage, un truc comme ça… peu importe les métaphores… Je travaillais la plupart du temps seul, mais Rick a travaillé avec moi pour une partie des chœurs, la première moitié, mais j’ai tout écris. Il n’y avait vraiment que lui et on a discuté de la direction à prendre, de l’ambiance et des limites à fixer.

Rick Wright : Nous avons superposé l’orchestre sur les premières bandes et vous pouvez l’entendre sur le disque, ça sonne juste…. ce n’est pas très fluide. Nous avons modifiés beaucoup de choses dessus, et… Je n’étais pas satisfait, je n’étais pas…. Enfin, je l’étais à l’époque. En y repensant je ne suis pas très satisfait de l’enregistrement d’Atom Heart Mother aujourd’hui, mais j’aimais beaucoup l’interpréter en concert lorsque ça fonctionnait, particulièrement en Amérique, où pour plusieurs raisons les musiciens semblaient plus… Ils semblaient juste s’investir beaucoup plus. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. Je devais certainement aimer l’interpréter parce que c’était une toute nouvelle expérience de…. Eh bien de travailler avec d’autres personnes. Le résultat sur le disque n’est pas si bon que ça, je pense.

Nicky Horne : Storm Thorgerson d’Hypgnosis se souvient de la réflexion effectuée pour la pochette d’Atom Heart Mother.

Storm Thorgerson : Il y avait une volonté claire d’éviter les plus gros clichés du psychédélique. Je veux dire, il y avait tout un tas de pochette dans ce style et elles venaient toutes de la côte ouest : elles étaient un peu fouillis, très imaginative - c’est ça que j’appelle psychédélique – et pleine de couleur avec des images complexes et voluptueuses. Donc il y avait un désir de dépasser tout ça, et c’était basé sur la notion que, quoi que vous disiez à propos du Floyd, je pense que leur musique s’inscrit sur deux niveaux, je ne pense pas qu’il n’y est qu’un côté.

Alors je pense que vous pouvez l’analyser comme… quelque chose qui a une ambiance très romantique… Mais ils n’étaient pas comme beaucoup de gens du monde du rock. Ils n’étaient pas vaniteux et ils avaient une sorte de… c’est difficile à expliquer… une certaine connaissance d’eux-mêmes… un petit peu… capables d’auto-dérision, de se projeter. Donc c’était dans le but de donner une indication, comme quoi le Floyd aurait peut-être cette petite profondeur en plus… sans que ça soit non plus un « on est meilleur que vous », c’était juste descriptif.

Au moins s’il ne faut retenir qu’une chose du Floyd, c’est qu’ils s’inscrivent sur plusieurs niveaux, n’est-ce pas? Nous voulions faire une pochette qui représentait factuellement quelque chose, mais qui ni ressemblerait pas. Et l’illustration d’Atom Heart Mother est vraiment un non-travail, une non-pochette de Pink Floyd. C’était vraiment un objectif conscient, de faire quelque chose de très ordinaire. Je veux dire, c’était mon idée, de faire une sorte de non-pochette… mais pas dans un sens hyper-artistique, juste de s’échapper du psychédélique, en sachant que le Floyd comprendrait ça - même si leur musique était atmosphérique et romantique - parce qu’ils avaient cette capacité… Enfin, comme ils s’inscrivent sur plusieurs niveaux, ils auraient put faire l’inverse.

Alors nous avons eu trois idées pour la pochette. L’une d’elle était une photo de vache, une autre était une photo d’un homme qui se noyait – ce qui est amusant puisque l’idée est revenue dans un autre contexte – et la dernière photo était une femme qui sortait d’une maison. Toutes étaient très ordinaires, pas du tout psychédéliques, et pas non plus envoutantes. Celle d’Ummagumma était envoutante, vous voyez. Ummagumma avait quelque chose d’intellectuel, alors ils n’ont pas voulus répéter ça, mais si vous faites ce genre de chose consciemment ça amène tout de suite de l’ampleur. Alors en fait on l’a quand même fait… Lorsque le groupe l’a vu je pense qu’ils ont surtout appréciés l’humour de la chose : être illustrés par une vache, et quelle vache!

Si on prend en compte l’idée de départ, c’est totalement loupé. Mais je pense que c’est une bonne pochette, et une bonne photo, je veux dire que c’est une idée très simple. En fait l’idée vient d’un de mes amis pendant une discussion. Il a juste dit : « qu’est-ce que tu penses d’une photo d’une vache ». C’était un exemple d’une chose complètement ordinaire, et il a dit ça tout de suite. J’ai bondis, je suis sortis et j’ai été shooter une vache (dans l’Essex, à côté du Potters Bar) (rire). J’ai pris une photo telle que je me souvenais en avoir vus en classe, dans un livre sur les animaux. C’est supposé être la photo ultime de vache. C’est totalement une vache…. ça doit vous crier « vache! ».

Mais à tout ça il faut rajouter toutes ces réflexions qui se sont greffées dessus, bien qu’il ne s’agisse que d’une vache, n’est-ce pas? Parce que toutes ces réflexions ont été greffées consciemment. Si vous mettez une vache sur un album de Matt Monroe ou des Wombles, ça ne prendra jamais l’ampleur que ça a pris sur un album de Pink Floyd. Et en lui donnant un titre aussi bon, aussi hors du commun, ça donne un résultat très bon. Et oui, ça sort clairement de l’ordinaire (rires), ce n’est certainement pas un non événement.

Nicky Horne : Comme Ron Geesin l’a dit plus tôt, il avait le sentiment que le Floyd avait des problèmes de personnes pendant l’enregistrement de Atom Heart Mother. J’ai demandé à Nick Mason si le groupe n’avait jamais été sur le point de casser.

Nick Mason : Absolument pas! Nous sommes aussi proches qu’on puisse l’être, c’est un grand honneur et un grand plaisir de travailler avec les autres membres du groupe. Oui bien sûr, on a été près de casser. Je veux dire, travailler dans un groupe est… quelque chose de très, très difficile! En effet; très difficile. Parce que c’est une relation très proche, parce que vous travaillez ensemble et pas simplement parce que vous vous appréciez. En fait c’est à cause de tout ce qui entoure le groupe. Tout ce désir de succès, d’amour, ou de quoi que ce soit qui fait que les gens rejoignent des groupes de rocks. C’est destructif. Je veux dire la plupart du temps c’est horrible d’être obligé d’être avec des personnes qu’on n’aime pas vraiment. Inévitablement, il y a des moments où tout le monde semble enfermé. Et… ce n’est pas comme si quelqu’un voulait seul quitter la pièce, ça ressemble plus à des vagues qui touchent tout le monde, je pense. Peut -être… que ça dépend de ce qu’on est en train de faire. J’ai tendance à penser que j’en ai assez avant chaque fin de tournée américaine et je me dis que tout est finis. En fait je me suis dis ça mais rien n’est finis.

Et je pense que beaucoup de tout cela a à voir avec la frustration, particulièrement lorsqu’il s’agit de gens qui écrivent, ce que je ne suis pas vraiment. Je parle en particulier de Roger je suppose, qui pense peut-être que ces idées ne sont pas reconnues, ou qu’il a à ce battre pour les imposer. A un autre moment, Roger peut-être cool et c’est Dave ou Rick qui sont frustrés par ce qu’ils font… qui n’arrivent pas à imposer leurs idées. Je veux dire que tout le monde dit : « c’est comme ça » et qu’une carrière solo est aussi douloureuse qu’une carrière dans un groupe. Je pense à la proposition des trois autres de faire chacun un album solo, et je ne pense pas que ça ferait de différence, je veux dire de ne pas en faire, j’en ai bien fait un. C’est comme pour Ummagumma si vous vous forcez (rires), vous pouvez faire quelque chose.

Épisode 3

Diffusion : 31 décembre 1976.

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

David Gilmour : 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.

Nicky Horne : But why “One Of These Days (I’m Gonna Cut You Into Little Pieces)”?

David Gilmour : 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?

Nicky Horne : “Dark Side Of The Moon” IS Pink Floyd. I asked Roger Waters how it all came about:

Roger Waters : 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!

Nick Mason : 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.

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

Nick Mason : 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…

David Gilmour : 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…

Nicky Horne : 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:

Rick Wright : 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…

Nicky Horne : 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:

Roger Waters : [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.

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

Roger Waters : Any way you like…

Roger The Hat : Ooohhh…

Roger Waters : You want me to ask you some questions?

Roger The Hat : I think that would be better, man.

Roger Waters : …‘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…

Roger The Hat : Dig it. Dig it!

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

Roger The Hat : Right.

Roger Waters : Now, something that’s very interesting for instance, is what’s your personal opinion… why do you think a lot of bands split up?

Roger The Hat : 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.

Roger Waters : I think I’d go along with that…

Roger The Hat : MMMMM! I mean - you should know what musicians are like?!

Roger Waters : What are musicians like?

Roger The Hat : 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.

Roger Waters : Why do you think they’re temperamental?

Roger The Hat : Because of the… nature of the work they’re doing.

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

Roger The Hat : No - definately not. I would say too much stress on themselves. Given false ideals. How’s it going?

Roger Waters : Alright.

Roger The Hat : FAR OUT!

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

Roger The Hat : Help yourself.

Roger Waters : Right…

Roger The Hat : The initial shock’s over!

Roger Waters : OK. That was a very good answer.

Roger The Hat : Thank you. Do I get ten out of ten for that?

Roger Waters : Yeah.

Roger The Hat : Far out.

Roger Waters : 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…

Roger The Hat : Oh yeah. I’m into that.

Roger Waters : And it’s called, “Us and Them”, simply because when you’re in a violent situation there’s always like you, who’s…

Roger The Hat : Dig it.

Roger Waters : 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?”

Roger The Hat : 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.

Roger Waters : Do you think you were justified… you put one on him…

Roger The Hat : 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]

Roger Waters : 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.

Roger The Hat : [Strange noise / exclamation] Cor… evil bastard!

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

Roger The Hat : 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?!

Roger Waters : Do you think you ever will - I mean, when you’re a bit closer to it?

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

Épisode 4

Diffusion : 7 janvier 1977.

Nick Mason : The thing about DSOTM is that, I think when it was finished everyone felt it was the best thing we’ve done to date, and everyone was very pleased with it, but there’s no way that anyone felt it was five times as good as Meddle, or eight times as good as Atom Heart Mother, or the sort of figures that it in fact sold. So, I mean, DSOTM was something of a phenomena, and was about not only being a good album - ‘cos I think it was a good album - but also about being in the right place at the right time.

This is the same really as talking about the launching of the band, that it was an idea that people responded to… well, I THINK people responded to the idea, it’s quite often surprising how many people don’t see what it’s about! But the interesting thing… the thing one would never know is whether it would’ve been a successful album 18 months later, or 18 months earlier.

Rick Wright : We approached that album, I would say, in exactly the same way as any other album we’ve done. Except that this album was a concept album. It was about madness, it was about one’s fear, it was about the business - whereas none of the other albums had been like that. They may have been musically tied together, but there hadn’t been a theme like that running from… on both sides. And when I suppose you’re doing that you have to approach it in a concise way; if song A is somehow gotta be connected to the song on the end of the second side ‘cos it is a concept album, then you do keep referring back and forwards. In that way, it was done like that, yeah. But in terms of playing it wasn’t any different I can remember.

Roger Waters : It had to be quick, ‘cos we had a tour starting and I can remember - somebody else would be able to tell you what the time was much better - but I have an idea in my head that maybe it was only 6 weeks or something from starting to write the lyrics to when we had to have something to perform on stage. I’m not sure though - I may be completely wrong - it might’ve been 18 months, and my memory for those kinds of facts is very, very poor. I can’t remember. One of them had been done before… and “Brain Damage” was a song I’d written a long time before. And some of it didn’t get written until after we’d been on the road for a while… the end - all that you touch, and all that you see, all that - didn’t get written until after we’d performed it several times. It seemed to NEED something at the end.

Nicky Horne : You might remember in the last episode of The Pink Floyd Story an interview recorded by the Floyd themselves. It was one of a series they did during the recording of DSOTM. Roger Waters explains why it was done:

Roger Waters : I liked the device of writing out a series of questions on cards, so that it was a series but the people who were answering them didn’t know what the next one was going to be, so they HAD to answer them in sequence. In that way you could make them respond to stuff. And as you say, we did about… 20 people.

Nicky Horne : Here’s the section of the Floyd interviews on “Us And Them”. Remember the interviewees all have cards with questions printed on them. And in this section the questions were, in order:

When did you last thump someone? Do you think you were in the right? And do you still think you were in the right?

The first replies on this tape are from the Floyd’s road crew and the EMI engineer, and the last two replies are from Henry McCullough and his wife. One point to remember is that all the interviews were conducted individually, and no one interviewee knew what the other said:

Interviewé 1 : When did I last thump someone? Erm… quite a long time ago actually, probably when I was at school but I don’t think I hit them very hard. So it doesn’t really matter. I was definately in the right. Why? ‘Cos the person that I thumped was definately in the wrong.

Interviewé 2 : Saturday in Paris was the last time I thumped somebody, when I smacked Chris Mickey straight in the breather.

Interviewé 3 : I was… about 14, and it was in the changing room at school, and somebody pinched my gym shoes which I wasn’t very pleased about and I gave him a punch on the nose. Hmm… I didn’t get hit back incidentally. Oh, I think I was in the right - he had no reason to do that to me…

Interviewé 4 : New Years Eve. Drank too much Guinness.

Interviewé 5 : New Years Eve. [laughs] Yes, I did hit this guy, and I thought I was in the right ‘cos I’d just been thumped, so I thumped back.

Nick Mason : Yeah - “Us And Them” which in fact was written for “Zabriskie Point” years before DSOTM and it was known as “Violent Sequence” for a long time. It was a terrific film, a lot of news stuff of cops and students fighting it out, all with no soundtrack apart from music, and just this very lyrical ballad thing, which Rick played as his solo. And “Zabriskie Point” never used it. Antonioni cut it out and consequently when DSOTM came up there was this section to be filled up and that was used as the basis for that song. Certainly it existed long before we ever talked about it.

Nicky Horne : In the interviews that the Floyd recorded down at Abbey Road, the final question they asked was: what does the dark side of the moon mean to you?

Interviewé 1 : This is a heavy one - sounds good but I’ve never been into it.

Interviewé 3 : Dark side of the moon must be about the side of the moon that the sun isn’t shining on, I suppose when it’s in the Earth’s shadow.

Interviewé 4 : [laughs] This is definately a prying question, this last one! What do I think the dark side of the moon is like? [distant voice: “Is about”] I know - I can read. Hmm… I dunno actually. I think you’ve got me stumped to a certain degree on that. Hmm… I don’t really know on that one - I’ll definately have to leave that last one I think.

Interviewé 6 : Ah, this is something I’ve wondered about… it seems to me that there’s so much in it anyway it only seems to relate to what it’s actually all about at the end. You’ve got… erm… but where the actual dark side of the moon comes into it I’m not sure about at all. I’ve thought about it but… not very hard really.

Interviewé 5 : Well, to me dark side of the moon just taking it as it stands, just means whatever’s out there in the universe. Could be anything. Exciting if anything.

Interviewé 7 : Basically dark side of the moon is about making money - as to whether it’s a complaint against making money, or people having too much money I don’t know. Basically, just to make money.

Nicky Horne : Dave Gilmour on that barrier:

David Gilmour : It does - there’s not a lot you can do about it as the Pink Floyd. I mean there are things you can do about it individually, if one was to go out and do something on one’s own, one can lose all that quite easily, that barrier… but I mean that barrier builds up… with success. I don’t think running tiny halls is really gonna change that.

Roger Waters : DSOTM was a very important point because at that point all our ambitions were realised you see. When you’re 15 and you think right I’m gonna start a group and I’m gonna this and that, the pinnacle that you can see, apart from very vague thoughts about rather smart bachelor flats, and not having to get up ‘til four in the afternoon and things like that - speaking for myself anyway - I had all kinds of weird fantasies, but the pinnacle is the BIG ALBUM - going to number one. And once you’ve done that, a lot of your ambition has been achieved - particularly if it goes on selling like DSOTM did - it becomes one of THE albums of the last 20 years. And then you’re faced with… you realise that it does feel wonderful for a month or something and then you start coping with what you knew to be true anyway, because you’ve been going for so many years before it actually happened. You KNOW anyway that it’s not going to make any difference really to how you feel about it, and that it doesn’t work - it doesn’t really change you. If you’re a happy person, you were before and you will be afterwards, and if you’re not, you weren’t, before, and you will be afterwards. And that kind of thing doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to how you feel about anything. But even though you know that you still… it still takes you a long time to assimilate it really, after the real event, even though you’re fairly sure that’s how everything’s gonna be.

- At this point a section is devoted to the mayhem backstage at a Floyd gig. Recorded at Detroit Olympia Stadium, 23rd June 1973, it records the lighting controller relaying instructions to the light crew. Despite interesting listening, it has been omitted here as it wouldn’t make interesting reading…

Épisode 5

Diffusion : 14 janvier 1977.

Roger Waters : We were all rather badly mentally ill - well, I was! [laughs]

Nick Mason : I was!

David Gilmour : It’s catching! [laugh]

Nick Mason : [laughing] Rick certainly… he’s not even prepared to admit it!

Roger Waters : No, it was… um… I’ll tell you what happened. When we were putting that one together, right, we were all completely exhausted for one reason or another. And although a great deal of effort and energy had gone into doing various bits of it, it was compiled in a mad, mad rush. And…

David Gilmour : We were in a desperate rush to get out of there! [both laugh]

Roger Waters : To be “not there”. We should’ve called it “Wish We Weren’t Here”, you know? [laugher] [mumbles: “It’s all there - it’s all there on the record”]

Nicky Horne : But presumably there were a lot of pressures from record companies, etc.?

David Gilmour & Roger Waters : No, no, no…

Nicky Horne : Well then, what were the pressures?

Roger Waters : Personal problems. Stop being so nosey! [rest drowned out by David’s laughter]

David Gilmour : Personal problems on DSOTM I think.

Roger Waters : He’s got a point there.

Nick Mason : He’s got a point. I think, you know, just a minor thing, an element…

Roger Waters : [simultaneously] DSOTM came into it I think… [mumbles] …must’ve done…

David Gilmour : We were frightened, I think, to some extent…

Nick Mason : Speak for yourself!

Nicky Horne : No, seriously though… [drowned out by assorted laughing and indistinct comments]

Roger Waters : Some of the lads were a bit, you know…! Needed to be jollied along a bit!

Nick Mason : I mean, there was a danger, I suppose… and… the danger that exi… I mean, if it is a danger that bands break up, which is not necessarily the case… um… but there was a point after DSOTM where it could… we might very easily have broken up on a sort of “well, we’ve reached all the various goals that rock bands tend to aim for” - maybe that sounds preposterous but I think one is motivated to some extent by goals in terms of doing well, and so on. And perhaps we’ve… bit nervous about continuing on. Some sort of disbanding might have solved that one - the problem that would follow or whatever. It’s very hard to say whether things get - for all the difficulties that arise in those sorts of directions, on the other hand, hopefully we all get better at living with each other. I say hopefully - I’m not entirely sure if that’s true!

But - that’s really what - I don’t think that the band was much more likely to break up there than at other times. I’ve said before it goes in waves - that sometimes everyone’s thinking “well, this is a pretty wanky way to spend one’s life” and other times everyone’s thinking “well, actually this is really… it’s alright really”.

Roger Waters : Because we’d been rehearsing for the show, the live show - we’re doing the whole of WYWH in the second half of the live show. I’ve listened to it quite a lot recently and the only thing that worries me about the album WYWH is the same thing that worried me when we’d finished it. It worried me quite a lot when we were doing it. And that is the very drawn out nature of the… overture “bits” that go on and on and on and on. It’s 12 minutes I think before there’s a voice in it, which I think was a mistake. I thought it was a mistake then and I was constantly trying to cut out things. But it’s very difficult you see because you get something and get to like phrases, guitar phrases in the solo or something, or bits of Moog or something, and you get - you grow to like things. It’s very hard to cut things out once you’ve got them down. I think we made a basic error in not arranging it in a different way so that some of the ideas were expanded lyrically before they were developed musically.

Nicky Horne : As the Floyd themselves said earlier, there were quite a few problems during the recording of WYWH. I asked Roger Waters if all of the band were really committed to the album:

Roger Waters : I don’t think that people were less committed to that album than any others, really. Well, maybe - no, I don’t think they were. People’s level of commitment to what we were doing fluctuates; relationships we have with each other fluctuates; and that was a very difficult time because we were all exhausted, I think. But, I don’t think there was any… I don’t think it was specially worse then than it has been at lots of other points. It was really just a disagreement between myself and Dave. Dave was… I was the main protagonist of making the album hang together conceptually as I saw it anyway - and make it an album of absence of one kind and another… as that is something that we were all experiencing… what I’m saying when I said it wasn’t any worse than, you know, I said it wasn’t any worse than… it wasn’t a specially bad time, it is something that we all experience quite a lot in this band, I think.

Bands that keep going for a very long time with the same people don’t keep going for a very long time with the same people because they’re all committed to the same ideals - they keep going because people get used to the security - emotional, I suppose, and economic and whatever. But it’s mainly… economic security is only a substitute for emotional security anyway. So they tell me. And, so people keep going in the same band really for reasons of security, not because they’re like… the four of us aren’t together because we all think and feel the same way and we all love each other and we’re working to a common cause towards better music or anything like that. It’s… we’re motivated by fear largely - to stay together. I mean, if Nicky was saying about his drumming when we were doing WYWH, Dave was getting well, very pissed off with him because he was being too flowery in his drumming, and Dave likes very solid, straight, kind of drumming and Nicky tends to naturally not play like that… and oh, there’s all kinds of - the problems are absolutely endless.

Nicky Horne : It’s generally accepted that Nick Mason was affected more than the others by a lethargic attitude during the recording of WYWH, and I asked him specifically what those problems were:

Nick Mason : Well, of course, I’m not prepared to even tell you what the problems specifically were, but I mean, for me I clearly remember WYWH as the most… [breathes like knocks on table] my interviews are full of these pauses, with strange breathing [does some more!] Pa, Pa, Pa, Pa, Pause for thought. No, I mean, I just found the time in the studio extremely ‘orrible. I really did wish I wasn’t there. But it wasn’t specifically… to do with what was going on with the band, so much as what was going on for me outside the band.

Because of the way we work, and WYWH was a very typical example, it represents a period of about 9 months of one’s life, day to day living. Because we’d be in the studio maybe 3 - 4 days each week from, say, midday or something like that. So you very much felt as though you… the morning you sorted out all the day to day business of living, then you went into the studios, then you came home, and then you went in again. It just… it’s not an isolated experience so you can say, “well, that’s the record”. It’s… it’s integrated with your… with everything else. With the rest of your life. I just… I suppose I just am very bad at closing off my mind to whatevers bothering me. But my alarm and despondency manifested itself in a complete rigor mortis [laughs] I think I’d describe it! No I mean I just became like something off the Troggs tape - if you know what I mean! That’s really unfair on the Troggs, but I became… eeuurrrggghhh… I didn’t have to quite be carried about, but I wasn’t interested. I couldn’t get myself to sort out the drumming. I think that’s just one of those bits of real life… that, of course, drove everyone else even crazier, because it was almost impossible to get the backing tracks sorted out with this so called drummer who really couldn’t sort it out at all. I’m very interested now listening back to WYWH because it’s a record that I never, until recently when we started work on the film… I never play it. I don’t play any of our records much, but WYWH - I NEVER PLAY!

Nicky Horne : What do you think of it?

Nick Mason : Well, surprisingly good. That’s what’s so odd. But in the end it all got licked, but it took about a million months to do it! I think… it’s alright.

Nicky Horne : One of the tracks on WYWH features Roy Harper as lead vocalist. I asked Roger Waters why he was used:

Roger Waters : I tell you why I think it was. It was because… I’d already started singing “Shine On” and it is right at the edge of my range. I always felt very insecure about singing anyway because I’m not naturally able to sing well. I find it very difficult to pitch notes right, and the whole thing’s really difficult for me. I know what I wanna do but I don’t have the ability to do it well, so I feel very insecure about it anyway, and I’d just been doing a lot on “Shine On” and it is right on the edge of my range and it was incredibly difficult and fantastically boring to record, ‘cos I had to do it line by line, doing it over and over and over again just to get it sounding reasonable. I suppose… there are several reasons why I did it rather than Dave. One is because if it’s right on the edge of my range, it’s outside his, ‘cos my voice goes about a tone higher than his does.

So anyway I was feeling very down about singing and very insecure about it anyway, and when WYWH… and when “Have A Cigar” came up Roy was recording in the studio anyway, and was in and out all the time, and I can’t remember who suggested he did it - maybe I did, probably hoping everybody would go “ooh no Rog, YOU do it!” but they didn’t! They all went “Oh yeah, that’s a good idea”. And he did it and everybody went “Oh, terrific!” So that was that.

I think it was a bad idea now. I think I should’ve done it. Not that he did it badly. I think he did it very well. It just isn’t us anymore. And there’s something about people singing things that they’ve written themself. If somebody’s gonna think it’s wrong, it’s gonna be me ‘cos I wrote it, and it doesn’t sound quite right.

Storm Thorgerson : So the cover’s wrapped up in black plastic, okay? So you can’t see it. The sleeve is absent from your first gaze. The sticker on the front is what we have to do in order that people will know this record from Geraldo. I’d imagine they aren’t the same people, who’d buy Geraldo and Pink Floyd, but there’s somebody out there that does… you have to write down the piece of information. So we had to put something that said, “Pink Floyd” on it, okay? Well, Ian… hold on a second. At the time that the album was being made and also in reference to various business decisions that were or were not being made, there were considerations about… the ethics of the business, the way the business people operated; and one of the… this is where I started in fact - one of the greatest… one of the best motifs for indicating absence but presence, or presence but absence, where somebody says “well, of course I’m here” really is the old handshake, which is as phoney as you can get. Specially in rock’n’roll. You shake hands with a whole room of executives and that means sod all. Okay?

So the handshake was a symbol if you like of the whole notion of how you may get hold of somebody, shake them by the hand, and they’re trying to tell you how much they’re really there ‘cos they gripped you, but in fact they’re miles away. Miles away emotionally or miles away intellectualy or whichever you may care to name it. Do you not know what I’m talking about? It’s the shaking hands with an American - they shake the hand quite strongly and say “it’s wonderful to meet you” and all that and it’s bullshit. They don’t know you from Adam. There’s some honesty in it sometimes they mean it, but a lot of times they don’t mean it.

So that means that the currency of that action, the value, the currency of that piece of negotiation between humans is devalued, it’s undercut, it doesn’t contain the weight it should contain.

That’s kind of one of the motifs of presence and absence - a person stands and says “yes, I’m really here” looking you in the eyes and in fact they’re not. They’re miles away. That would refer to the Floyd as well - it’s also about them and how much they are present - see, so that if they, or you, or anybody were to agree or partially agree with my notion of why the album was flawed, then it would be partially a reflection on themselves as well. That they weren’t totally present.

Nicky Horne : That leads me on to the burning man, ‘cos I can’t see the analogy.

Storm Thorgerson : No, well, one of the ways in which Hipgnosis works is that you take a theme, intellectualise it, right, in order that you don’t think of a million images. If you imagine your brain as a respository of possible images, it’s immesurable. There are millions, okay? Whether you can drum them up is another matter. But I mean for everybody they just think of their dreams or their fantasies if you ask them to think of outer space or inner space, or ask them to imagine the 4.15 from Paddington, they can do it. They can do any variation. They can imaginge a train painted pink, but you don’t get pink trains particularly. So the number of images that are in your brain or in your body are limitless. So that for a designer or somebody who has the facility for producing images then it becomes a problem not of finding the image but finding the right one.

So you get a brief - this is for a commercial artist, not perhaps for the artist in his garret - but it’s for the commercial artist. Often it’s not a problem - it is for some - maybe I should just talk about myself; it’s not particularly a problem for me to think of images I like. Pictures or scenes, or events, or things like that. ‘Cos I like looking - voyeuring and all. In all possible ways I like looking. I like seeing things.

So, you need a brief in order to cut down - because of that vast repository, you want to make sure you isolate the right one, or the one that’s appropriate at the time. So we have a brief and we may make it up ourselves a bit. I got this from the Floyd about absence and if I cut it down I start to intellect on it and that gives me a theme for me to hang my images on, so that I don’t get too many. But the image itself is irrelevent to all that. You see, once I arrive at an image - I don’t only work that way, that’s one way in which we work, one way which I work. Okay, so then the image of the burning man has thematic and intellectual explanations, but it seems to me to be pretty irrelevent. You either like it or don’t like it, or usually… I mean people are usually pretty positive in reaction to our stuff I think. They like Hipgnosis sleeves or they don’t like Hipgnosis sleeves. I think they don’t tend to think of them as just mundane… you know, people either can’t stand them - “rubbish” - or they quite like it.

But I think the burning man is… I like it a lot. I find it really moving. And when I thought of it, when it came to me as an image, when it came up on the old telescanner, I thought, “oh yes, that’s definately exciting”. How do you look at it? Do you look at it and think… if you’re moved by it, think that it’s curious, haunting - I think it’s in a haunting place… so it’s got that space, see? Okay? And they’re doing the handshake, right? And that’s where I started. And that’s why there’s a handshake on the front… this sleeve’s actually very complicated [laughs] if you wanted me to go on I could spend half an hour! Explaining, ‘cos there’s quite a lot of other complexity there…

Nicky Horne : What about the splashless dive?

Storm Thorgerson : What? Yeah, right. The dive. Well, yes. So one of the ways of doing absence, one of the favourite ways in graphics is to do the traces and not the person. So a bed is sort of rumpled; so we just just turned it around. But maybe it harks back to the thing I was saying earlier about how there might be recurring riffs or tunes that go through… something like Paul McCartney who must write an awful lot of material, I mean it can’t all happen consecutively, sequentially. You might come up with something that you were half toying with two - three years earlier, and the same for me. So maybe that comes back… the diving, right? And the splashless dive… I dunno, just tickled my fancy, I suppose you could say. But… in discussing pictures I think it’s down to whether they move you or not, really. Same for the music. If it moves you, it doesn’t matter which way, and it’s worth giving your time to, ‘cos you’re getting something back from it.

Nicky Horne : I asked Roger Waters why he keeps going back to Syd Barrett:

Roger Waters : I don’t keep going back to Syd Barrett.

Nicky Horne : Well, “Shine On” is…

Roger Waters : Well, that’s one instance. The ONLY reference to Syd in the last, what, 8 years, in any of our work, to Syd Barrett. It’s YOU LOT that keep going back to Syd Barrett. That’s the only instance, and it seemed like a very natural progression from DSOTM… was a statement about, much more an obvious statement about… state, our contempory state, and WYWH is a less obvious statement about the same thing.

Nicky Horne : And as you said to me the other day “and when your band starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the DSOTM”… that’s a direct reference to…

Roger Waters : Alright, yes, okay, that is a direct reference. This is true.

Nicky Horne : And “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, the madness, the paranoia element… as I said to you the other day, was something that you continue to write about all the time… seems to be a major preoccupation…

Roger Waters : It IS a preoccupation of mine. Yes. It is.

Nicky Horne : Why?

Roger Waters : Well, because… continually with it, as are we all, from within my own feelings and from what I see and experience, of other peoples feelings. The way people behave, people including me behave in a very… bizarre way. The quality of life is very bizarre. I think. And very, very full of stress, and pain. And a kind of real despair is very close to the surface in most people that I meet.

Nicky Horne : And in yourself?

Roger Waters : Yeah. And in myself, yeah. Yes I would say so, the kind of… you know, the… kind of feeling of not really being able to grapple with it or… ‘cos everything is too complicated… and it’s all too quick and everybody knows too much… because, I dunno why. I think probably it’s the telly that’s done it mainly. Since the War. I think news changed quite a lot after the Second World War… a kind of… very severe social revolution…

Rick Wright : Why he’s preoccupied with writing things like that, you’d have to ask Roger. We have asked him. I think it’s probably getting less now… but as I said, I’ve noticed that and I’M not sure that I really like it either. This… it’s all the time, and it’s a phase of his life obviously, that he’s going through… [laughs] as I say, speak to Roger!

Nicky Horne : Why? It affects you all…

Rick Wright : Yeah, well…

Nicky Horne : Not just the emotional, but also the fact that you’re playing in it, and you’re involved in it…

Rick Wright : It does, yes. And it gets very heavy, obviously. A lot of personal differences, anyway, all the time through this… “Dark Side” and “Wish You”. Roger’s preoccupation with… madness, the business, is something that I didn’t feel nearly so strongly at the time. So that made it very difficult for us to communicate about it.

Nicky Horne : One of Roger Waters’ other preoccupations seems to be about the music business:

Roger Waters : I don’t… I’m not really preoccupied with it, it’s just that, you know, it does impinge on you and it’s… I suppose it’s because those are the only people - record company executives, particularly a couple I’ve met at CBS are the only people who are like that, that I ever speak to. I’m sure marketing executives are the same whether they’re selling baked beans or LPs. It doesn’t make any difference. Completely irrelevent, what you’re selling, and… so that’s why I wrote the song. Just because something impinged upon me strongly, so strongly enough so that when I’m sitting somewhere, the whole thing starts bubbling out, or one phrase does and that’s enough really. Because songs are so bloody thin on the ground, songs and ideas and things, so difficult, that once a bit of one comes out of you, you work on it and try and finish it.

Épisode 6

Diffusion : 21 janvier 1977.

Nicky Horne : Dans cette sixième et dernière partie de « The Pink Floyd Story », Roger Waters nous explique le nouvel album du Floyd, Animals. La pochette d’Animals représente la Battersea Power Station, ici, à Londres, avec un cochon planant entre les gigantesques cheminées. Alors, pourquoi la Battersea ?

Roger Waters : Je trouve que c’est un bâtiment très chouette. Très sépulcral et inhumain…

Nicky Horne : La photo est elle-même très sépulcrale, n’est-ce pas ?

Roger Waters : Yup.

Nicky Horne : Vraiment déprimante… oppressante…

Roger Waters : Yup.

Nicky Horne : Est-ce qu’il s’agit de l’atmosphère générale que vous vouliez transmettre avec cet album, ou s’agissait-il simplement de…

Roger Waters : Oui. Oui, je veux dire, je… j’aime assez le symbolisme assez grossier de la BPS, en fait ; et j’aime ces quatre tours phalliques, et l’idée de la puissance (power) me paraît très attirante, étrangement.

Nicky Horne : Mais pourquoi ce cochon entre les phallus ?

Roger Waters : Euh… eh bien, ça provient de cette petite chanson sur, vous savez, c’est le, c’est le défaut, vous savez, le cochon, le cochon volant… Je ne sais pas, je n’ai jamais essayé de vraiment formuler ça avec des mots. Le cochon volant est le… ? symbole de l’espoir.

Nicky Horne : Mais l’ouverture de l’album, le bout acoustique, est pour vous presque une chanson d’amour rare.

Roger Waters : Oui, c’est vrai. C’est pour ça… J’ai écrit beaucoup de chansons d’amour, mais elles ont tendance à ne pas finir sur… il y avait une grande incertitude quant au fait de savoir si celle-ci allait finir sur l’album, mais je la trouvais vraiment nécessaire, sans quoi l’album n’aurait été qu’une sorte de… cri, vous voyez, de rage !

Nicky Horne : Mais c’est une chanson d’amour très directe pour vous.

Roger Waters : Oui… eh bien, je suis amoureux. Qu’il soit dit que même si la violence est tempérée par la tristesse, et même un soupçon de compassion çà et là, c’est un album très violent. C’est, vous voyez, quand vous faites… et que vous remarquez que ce sont des chansons plutôt violentes. Et je crois donc que c’est pourquoi notre musique a un peu plus de punch que nos anciens trucs. J’avais l’idée d’Animals en tête depuis des années… des années. C’est une sorte de marronnier, vraiment, non ? À un moment de l’enregistrement, ça paraissait le bon truc pour lier la sauce.

Ça m’a mis sur la voie pour réécrire les paroles de SheepRaving and Drooling, et d’en faire Sheep, parce que Raving and Drooling était juste un autre cri, mais c’était un cri injurieux plutôt incohérent, alors que Pigs est très… eh bien, Pigs est une sorte de cri injurieux teinté de compassion, si tant est qu’il soit possible de crier des injures avec compassion. Juste grâce aux dernières lignes… alors que Raving and Drooling telle qu’elle était était [rire] juste un vrai, vous voyez…

Et cela m’a profondément déprimé, alors j’ai pris le large et je ne l’ai pas écouté depuis. Et je ne vais pas le réécouter avant d’avoir, vous savez… les échantillons « Not for Sale », et là, peut-être que je le réécouterai. Mais en répétant ses titres, en fait, il constituera la première moitié de notre spectacle, du spectacle live… et en répétitions, c’est grand, c’est terrible. Alors c’est sans doute bien. J’en ai juste abusé.

Nicky Horne : La deuxième partie d’Animals commence avec un titre intitulé Pigs (Three Different Ones), et un des couplets mentionne la militante anti-pornographie Mary Whitehouse…

Roger Waters : Je n’arrêtais pas d’écarter ce couplet sur Mary Whitehouse. Je l’ai écarté pendant 18 mois. Mais je ne suis jamais arrivé à écrire autre chose, vous savez, et je n’ai pas arrêté d’y revenir et de le modifier un peu, et cela m’inquiétait pas mal sur le moment, parce que je pensais vraiment qu’elle ne le mérite pas vraiment, qu’elle ne mérite pas vraiment cette mention, vous voyez… sauf que d’une certaine façon, elle la mérite. Je crois que peut-être la raison pour laquelle je ne voulais pas le faire — l’utiliser même si je l’avais écrit — de toute évidence, si j’avais voulu le faire autrement je ne l’aurais jamais écrit, pour commencer. Mais cette inquiétude qui m’avait pris…

Nicky Horne : J’allais dire que je ne pense pas qu’elle méritait cette…

Roger Waters : Attention. Non, eh bien, elle ne mérite pas vraiment notre attention, mais… vous voyez… elle « fait vraiment pitié ». Je veux dire, c’est une femme terrorisée, non ? Vous ne croyez pas ?

Nicky Horne : Terrorisée ?

Roger Waters : Ouais. Terrifiée. Et pourquoi ferait-elle tout ce bruit si elle n’était pas poussée par la peur ? Pourquoi ne s’en accommode-t-elle pas tout simplement en silence… elle est terrifiée, n’est-ce pas, à l’idée que nous sommes tous pervertis.

Peut-être que vous avez raison, peut-être — il est clair que les paroles sont plus faciles à comprendre, mais elles ne sont pas… je veux dire qu’elles sont moins directes, parce qu’elles n’expriment pas directement mes sentiments, comme c’était le cas pour les paroles de Wish You Were Here. Elles sont placées à la troisième personne, et concernent des faits plus distants — en tout cas, c’est le cas d’un plus grand nombre d’entre elles. Notamment quelque chose comme Sheep, oui, qui n’a vraiment rien à voir avec moi ; c’est un genre de tract bizarre ; un genre de tract mélangé bizarre… un genre d’avertissement, mais pas vraiment, vous voyez, parce que c’est confus. Une chanson sur la révolution, Nick !

Nicky Horne : Révolution ?! [stupéfait]

Roger Waters : Oui, c’est le sujet, mon vieux.

Nicky Horne : Eh bien, vous avez certainement perdu votre étiquette de cadets de l’espace avec cet album.

Roger Waters : Oh non, on ne la perdra jamais ! Les gens s’imagineront que ça parle de l’espace intersidéral… je veux dire, les gens ont cru — je sais que c’était un peu confondant, parce qu’il s’appelait The Dark Side of the Moon — mais si quelqu’un peut croire que Dark Side est un album de cadets de l’espace, alors il croira que tout et n’importe quoi l’est. Je veux dire, on ne pourrait imaginer d’album plus terre-à-terre… le pouvez-vous, vraiment ? Hormis cette phrase, « on se reverra sur la face cachée de la Lune ». Tout cela est terriblement — pas terriblement, mais très terre-à-terre. The Dark Side of the Moon.

Nicky Horne : This [Animals] is even more - I mean, this is like, bargain basement…

Roger Waters : Yeah, right. Maybe, it’s a bit less flowery.

Nicky Horne : One of the things that has come out all the way through this thing is that you have this great ability - I use the word “bastardise” and you disagree with that - to change the lyrics to suit. It’s one of the great abilities you have to change things. The concept of the album, I mean the “sound” of the album, is certainly a lot different from anything else you’ve ever done. Is this something that happens in the studio, that the raunchy aspect of it… changes and becomes something else when you start working on it… do you see what I mean? That it assumes a shape…

Roger Waters : No, certainly not for “Dogs” - that was very clear what “Dogs” was going to be like except for the middle section, you know, with the synthesisers and the dogs through the vocoder and you know that bit in the middle of “Dogs”. We were quite clear what that was going to sound like, really. There are obviously things that developed in the studio, like, oh, I don’t know… the sound behind the guitar solo’s, those two… fairly uptempo solo’s of Dave’s. There’s one in the first half and one in the second half with lots of tom-toms in the background. Those sounds developed while we were recording, but basically we knew what the arrangements were gonna be, more or less anyway, and we knew what it was gonna sound like, before we’d started because we’d been doing it live, with slightly different words and in a shorter form than it is now, for a long time, and the same with “Sheep”.

“Pigs” has never been done before and that did change a lot because when we started recording it was only a song sung to a strummed acoustic guitar. So that grew a lot in the recording.

Nicky Horne : Turning to look at the future, I know you’re a band that does look to the future. This tour that is being planned is getting terribly complicated…

Roger Waters : Yes.

Nicky Horne : What do you see yourselves doing? It’s a very trite question… but what do you see yourselves doing in the future? Because the Pink Floyd gig machine is becoming enormous. The process of recording is becoming more and more complicated…

Roger Waters : It’s not. The gig machine hasn’t grown measurably in the last 2-3 years. Since we started using movies, which was 3 years ago, 4 years ago, something like that… that was the last major thing. We used, in the quad stations we now carry a greater weight with us, simply because we would… what we were taking before was inadequate…

Nicky Horne : Yes, but the degree of sound sophistication…

Roger Waters : That hasn’t changed in the last 4 - 5 years. It really hasn’t.

Nicky Horne : Keypax?

Roger Waters : Well, yes but I mean that’s… what’s a few keypaxes? [laughs]

Nicky Horne : Yes, but…

Roger Waters : We’ve always, yes it’s true we’ve always been like that. We’ve always tried, within our means, to get it working as well as it could. And to make the sound as good as we could. And we’ve failed monumentally on many occasions. In fact we reached a kind of “peak” a few years ago and then we completely lost control of it, or… I think it’s back under control now… we’re making the right decisions again. There was an Earls Court gig a few years ago where we reached a real kind of peak considering the acoustics of the place, we’d really got it under control, and it was very good. And after that we changed our PA and we didn’t get it quite right and we were saving money by buying cheap mixers, and things like that… we were buying 36 channel quadrophonic mixers for £1500! [laughs] Which is just silly! ‘Cos of course the things are gonna fall to pieces and be endless trouble, but that’s all we could afford at the time.

Nicky Horne : Are you looking forward to going on the road?

Roger Waters : Erm…

Nicky Horne : ‘Cos the last tour, you said before, was not…

Roger Waters : No… no, the last tour was absolutely appalling. This one’s gonna be much better. Yes, I’m looking… I’m quite excited. Definately I’m excited about the first 10 days or so - I dunno about the rest of it. But there are quite large gaps between the gigs, we’re not working all the time. So that’s a great danger, really, that you’re booked into 50 cities, albeit over a very long period of time and, after the first ten, you know, it’s [very large yawn] you know, not again! But I think the show is new enough, and with the new film that… the film looks as though it’s going to be very good, this time…

Nicky Horne : This the Gerald Scarfe things?

Roger Waters : Yeah. And… the pig won’t be a bad diversion from time to time…



Auteurs de la page : Matt Johns (en) (transcription), Wulfnoth (traduction), manu (traduction, mise en page).

1 Grosse liberté de traduction :“an array of equipment sadistically designed to shatter the strongest nerves.” Si quelqu’un trouve mieux^^
2 Traduction naze de “all-night raves”

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presse & médias

A Pig's Tale

Roger Waters retrace l'histoire de l'accessoire le plus légendaire du rock : du premier cochon fabriqué en décembre 1976 et qui s'appelait Algie, jusqu'à l'échappée belle de celui du concert de Coachella en 2008. Toute une histoire !


presse & médias

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Floyd

Une longue interview de Roger Waters dans laquelle... ça balance ! Et l'interviewer d'UNCUT ne mache pas ses mots non plus.


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Fables of the Reconstruction

1994. David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Rick Wright et Peter Jenner sont autour d'une table pour se remémorer la créative maturation de 12 albums du Floyd. Immanquable.


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The Great Gig in Boblingen

1972 : la meilleure version de Careful with that Axe, Eugene de tous les temps est accouchée, tout simplement démoniaque.

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