28 March 2010

Pink Floyd Lyrics, Themes & Meanings


All entries have now been added to our sister site:

Pink Floyd Lyrics, Themes & Meanings

Work continues.  Being added over coming days are loads of never-before-seen and behind the scenes photos.  Considering just two hands, entries to this site have been paused until the final touches are completed on the lyrics site.  I'll be back to answer your questions in short time...

14 March 2010

Beds, beds, beds!

Jerry Carlson of Indiana queries: "I have heard there are two different covers for A Momentary Lapse of Reason. If this is true, please describe them both."

There are many slight variations, but the biggest one can be seen if you look at the man sitting on the bed.  On the US cover he is holding a mirror and the bed cover is blue.  On the UK cover he is holding two sticks of some sort and the bed cover is purple.  Furthermore, on the US version the tide is closer, the picture has a black border, and the hang glider is slightly closer.  The US "PF" symbol is red, the UK is orange.  The squiggly lines on the bottom right corner on the US are orange, and the UK are blue.  Overall, the US cover has a glossy finish while the UK has a matte (dull) finish.  There are many other animal and human variations of each, but quite simply two different photos taken at the same session.  Also, to confuse matters further, there were two different US covers. The current stock copy and a misprint, which had a very blurred front cover photo and different colored logos. It was briefly available in the shops before being withdrawn.

11 March 2010

Spritual Now

Sarah Walkowiak of Denver attempted to pick my brain cell by asking: "Do the two stone/metal heads that appear on the cover of The Division Bell have any significance, or are they just there to look interesting and confuse fans?"

Gilmour said he doesn't believe in a spiritual afterlife, but rather a spiritual now.  That is, once life ends all is black, so you better grab your bliss while you can.  Thus searching for the meaning of life requires a person to reach deep inside themselves to unlock the riddle.  Could the reflective faces on The Division Bell be a visual metaphor for such a quest?  And alas something the Publius hunters have failed to train their eyes upon.  What a shame.

One of These Days/Seamus Japanese 7" single

Michael Christensen of Denmark asked: "I have One of These Days/Seamus on Japanese 7" vinyl EMR-20388 (SHUL 795A1-5). Is it a reissue?"

Yes.  Floyd's original Japanese releases were on the Odeon label.  This single was released on red vinyl (Odeon OR2935). What you have is the first reissue with a different cover.  It was reissued again on EMR-29388 with a cover similar to the previous except for a yellow band around it.

Abbreviated setlist in Pompei

Simon Brough from England wonders: "Why did Floyd not perform their entire setlist at Live in Pompei which at the time would have included Embryo and Fat Old Sun?  Similarly, why doesn't the re-issued CD of Ummagumma have the recorded Interstellar Overdrive on it?"

Live in Pompei was recorded from October 4th to the 7th, 1971 and the tracks were chosen as a representation of their live show at the time.  Coupled with the interview and Dark Side of the Moon footage, the film constituted a fairly conventional 81-ish minutes.  Embryo was not in contention for a release as the band were pissed off with Harvest Records for releasing a demo version of the track on the "Picnic" compilation.  Both Fat Old Sun and Embryo are very long songs and time limitations versus variety of material to make and interesting and balanced release are also necessary factors.  In concert faves at the time also included Atom Heart Mother and Cymbaline (at that point still).  So be thankful we were spared the full monty!  Ummagumma omitted Interstellar Overdrive because, it is said, the tapes of the track in question were disappointing.  That was the official reason.  John Peel had a 30-minute tape of Interstellar Overdrive recorded by the Floyd at Mothers until a thief added it to his collection.  John reported it was a marvelous performance, comparing it to the sound of dying galaxies.

08 March 2010

One of these axes, Dr Phang...

Phoenix resident Kevin Stewart asks: "What is One of These Days, and Careful With That Axe Eugene about?  Also, exactly how rare are the Nice Pair vinyls depicting the Dr. Phang picture?"

One of These Days (I'm Going to Cut You Into Little Pieces) marked Nick's debut vocal outing.  It was simply an instrumental which seemed fairly violent, so the title had to reflect this.  It originally had some inspiration in UK radio presenter Jimmy Young, going by the initial demo of the track which samples Jimmy (and basically rips the piss out of the guy!).  Careful With That Axe can be explained similarly.  As for A Nice Pair, Dr. Phang covers are the only ones you can easily pick up, with the non-Phang covers being rarer now.  In explanation for all unaware readers, Dr. Phang was a real dentist.  He was prohibited by law from advertising, so when the picture appeared on the top right hand side of the cover, it was determined to be just that (advertising).  It was swiftly substituted, but not before most of the pressing was distributed.

Dave & Syd arrested in France?

Vicky Owen of South Wales, again:  "On the LP More, 'A Spanish Piece' is credited solely to David Gilmour. Is it definitely Dave speaking in the Spanish accent?  Also, I know that Dave and Syd Barrett were good friends in their younger days at school.  I read that the two were put in jail by the French police for busking. Is this true?"

Yup, that's definitely El Dave speaking.  It is true that Dave and Syd were arrested for busking (performing on a public street for gratuities) in August 1965.  They weren't jailed, but just held for one hour at the St. Tropez police station for questioning before being released.

07 March 2010

The Fantastick Animation Festival

Ron Gagg of Washington asks: "Sometime in the late 70s I attended a movie in Bloomington, Indiana called 'The Fantastick Animation Festival'.  Included in the movie was a Floyd video called something like '2000 Hotels' with the animation set to One of These Days. Could you confirm its existense?"

Actually called "200 Motels", this was a Frank Zappa film.  But the One of These Days animated video was the same one broadcast by The Old Grey Whistle Test (BBC) in 1974, showing Harlequin dancers pogoing in a surrealistic vortex backdrop entitled "French Windows".  The Fantastick Animation Festival did exist; I remember it, but missed it.  Strangely though, I do remember the two featured artists were Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens.

The Other Side of The Wall

Jennifer Click of Kentucky recalls: "Around the same time The Wall was released, another LP entitled 'The Other Side of The Wall' appeared.  it was a single LP with a cover opposite The Wall (black bricks, white lettering).  Was my mind playing tricks on me?"

It was a bootleg, albeit a rare one and unknown to me.  Certainly there was no such official release of that title or description, that much is true.  There was, however, an MTV documentary in the US entitled "The Other Side of The Wall" which aired on July 4, 1982.  It is entirely possible that the LP was a bootleg of this documentary.

06 March 2010

Spot the pigeon

Joe Tocci of Illinois asks: "Why are the Momentary Lapse of Reason and Delicate Sound of Thunder covers 'letterboxed' and not bled to the edges like all previous cover art?  And on the back of Mason's Fictitious Sports there is a figure of a man running.  What does this mean?  Is it regarding Spot The Pigeon?"

Shame on you, you should know better than to ask subjective questions about Storm Thorgerson's work - y'know he can't help it!  But, keep in mind that MLOR and DSOT were the first specifically designed with CD in mind and the look of the cover is helped in these cases with border strips.  As for your second question, more like "spot the player", it depicts a fictitious sport (gettit?) involving a number of footballs and no players.  There is no real deep meaning - just a bit o' fun.

Furry animals in a cave

Mike O'Connor from Tennessee wonders: "On Several Species there is a speech at the end in some foreign dialect. What is the language spoken and, more importantly, what is being said?  Second, in the Crazy Diamond box set booklet, the picture on the front near the saying 'What Colour Is Sound?', there are five people in the picture looking down at the camera.  Who is the fifth person?"

It is the timeless confrontation between the light and dark forces, carried out in a small cave on the coast of Scotland as far back as 300 AD.  The language is ancient and belonged to a tribe of Scottish Picts known for their fiery temper.  Slowing down the vinyl reveals several fragments before Waters fires up with his soliloquy, such as "that was pretty avant garde, wasn't it."  Speeding up the vinyl reveals "bring back my guitar."  The rant however is only Waters speaking English in a Scottish accent, spouting some rather bloody and violent (and poor quality) poetry.  You can bet your amazing pudding on that!  And the fifth person in the photo is none other than Bob Close.  (Note:  For the complete transcription of Waters' poetry in Several Species, and our analysis, see the listing for this track on our Pink Floyd Lyrics, Themes & Meanings site, specifically here... Several Species.)

02 March 2010

Another Beatles and Floyd connection

Rob Yest of Arizona:  "The birds at the beginning of High Hopes are the same that can be heard at the beginning of The Beatles' 'Across The Universe' found on Past Masters Vol. 2. What's your opinion?"

We consulted our resident bird watcher and she reports, "Birds of a different feather often flock together, especially on Beatles and Floyd records."  In the BBC tape vaults, there are tapes of every known feathered vertabrate on Earth.  The bird sounds in question came from an EMI Abbey Road record library volume "Pastoral" which was commonly used by bands recording there.  Listen to Grantchester Meadows and Sheep, just to name two additional Floyd songs with birds.  And no, there is no hidden message in the birdsong.

Female Mayans grazing

John Gilbert from Canada asks: "Is there any meaning to the female vocals on Atom Heart Mother?"

Yes.  The chants are those of the Mayan Indians, an ancient civilization of South America who are thought to have build great temples in Mexico.  The chant, found on clay tablets from excavated sites, literally translates as "mind your head".  But it does seem they're wailing about laundry detergent and rubber fetishes... of course there isn't a meaning!  Simply, Ron Geesin's artistry.  Also see Atom Heart Mother.

01 March 2010

Not Now John

After years of wondering, Scott Smith of Hawaii:  "About three minutes into The Final Cut, Roger sings 'I used to read books, but..." what? The lyric sheet doesn't say what Roger Sings after that... is it a secret message also?"

After sending a copy of The Final Cut to our sound labratory, our analyst came up with the following.  3:07 into the track, "I used to read books but now go fishing - kick off!"  The difficult part to decipher is  'kick off', however it could be interpreted as a good football match further distracting him from books.  For the complete lyrics and analysis... go here.

A storm of Nick Mason questions

Tim Silbernagel of Prince George, Canada fires:  "Was Nick Mason's biography 'Life Could Be A Dream' released on video or was it a TV broadcast only? Was The Final Cut video EP ever released in North America? Mason and Fenn have done several advertising jingles; which ones? Mason and Fenn did the soundtrack for the film 'Rooftops'; was it ever released as an LP soundtrack? I have heard of a book on Pink Floyd entitled 'A Day In The Life'; who wrote it, published it, etc? The music in the background during the 1966 interview of the Floyd on CBC is an early version of Interstellar Overdrive. When was this recorded, how long is the complete piece, and is it available without the interview?"

"Life Could Be A Dream" - Nick's 27-minute 1984 film had only two UK cable airings with no video release. Yet for some bizarre reason, an edited version turned up on a commercial airline's in-flight video film service! The Final Cut Video EP was released in both the US and UK for a period, but has long since been deleted.  As for ad jingles, details are sketchy at present, but "Dance of the Ferraris" was used for the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1989 and Nick did the music for Lloyd's Bank 'black horse' TV ad.  Nick has also driven his vintage cars in other ads which initially just wanted to hire them (he wasn't busy at the time, so...).  Rooftops?  Fuck knows, never heard of it.  "A Day In The Life: Voices From the English Underground 1961-1971" by Jonathan Green (Minerva, London 1988: ISBN 07483 90123) includes about 20 pages devoted entirely to Pink Floyd, tracing the counterculture in the UK.  The CBC Interstellar Overdrive was probably recorded in February 1966 and is not available without the interview intruding at some point.  The complete version is 11 minutes and very scarce in listenable quality.

27 February 2010

Thanks to Roger...

D. Hulme of Wolverhampton:  "When I went to the Floyd concerts at Earls Court in 1994, David Gilmour made some sort of remark about Roger at the end of the Dark Side performance.  Can you tell me what he said?"

Not just commenting at Earls Court, Dave made a number of different remarks at the end of all Dark Side performances in the USA and Europe.  Initially of the "gosh, bet that takes you back a bit" type, they turned more respectful, acknowledging Roger as the tour wound closer to a halt.  "Thanks to Roger for the words I have the priviledge of singing each night...", and slight variations on that general theme.

Alan PARSON's psychedelic breakfast?

Rob Phillips of Montreal wonders if "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast was named with Alan Parsons in mind?. If so, is that his voice in the song?  I always assumed it was Nick Mason."

The Alan in question is roadie Alan Stiles, pictured on the back cover of Ummagumma along with Peter Watts.  Nick Mason's voice can be heard, but it is mostly Alan Stiles'.  Also, it was recorded in Nick's kitchen, so there you are, a mystery breakfast!  The live presentation sometimes involved the construction of furniture and the cooking of bacon and eggs, the aroma of which pervaded throughout the concert hall!  Despite oft-quoted 'fact' that it was only performed once live at Sheffield City Hall in December 1970, it was actually performed a number of other times.  But, as Rick Wright said, "It didn't work at all so we had to give it up. Quite honestly, it's a bad number."

26 February 2010

All those BBC Sessions questions...

Between what was recorded in the studio, recorded for a live audience, and the difference between recording and broadcast dates, the questions regarding the heavily bootlegged BBC Sessions can best be dealt with by this entry:

The Pink Floyd BBC Radio One Sessions
Line 1:  Recorded on this date for this Show               
Line 2:  Tracks
Line 3:  Venue and Broadcast Date

3 April 1967 for Monday, Monday
Arnold Layne, Candy and a Currant Bun.
Live session broadcast from BBC Playhouse Theatre, London.

28 July 1967 for Saturday Club
Session commissioned at BBC Playhouse Theatre, London but cancelled due to Syd Barrett 'freaking out' in the studio.

25 September 1967 for Top Gear
The Gnome, The Scarecrow, Set the Controls, Matilda Mother, Reaction in G, Flaming.
Recorded at BBC Playhouse Theatre, London. Broadcast 1 October 1967 (except for Apples and Oranges, which was not broadcast until 5 November 1967).

20 December 1967 for Top Gear
Vegetable Man, Scream Thy Last Scream, Jugband Blues, Pow R. Toc H. 
Recorded at BBC Maida Vale Studios, London. Broadcast 31 December 1967.

25 June 1968 for Top Gear
Murderistic Woman, The Massed Gadgets of Hercules, Let There Be More Light, Julia Dream.
Recorded at BBC 210 Piccadilly Studios, London. Broadcast 11 August 1968.

2 December 1968 for Top Gear
Point Me at the Sky, Baby Blue Shuffle in D Major, The Embryo, Interstellar Overdrive. 
Recorded at BBC Maida Vale Studios, London. Broadcast 15 December 1968.

20 December 1968 for Radio One Club
Let There Be More Light, Set the Controls, Point Me at the Sky, Careful with that Axe. 
Live broadcast from the BBC Paris Cinema, London.

12 May 1969 for Night Ride
Daybreak, Cymbaline, Green is the Colour, The Narrow Way. 
Recorded at BBC Paris Cinema, London. Broadcast 14 May 1969, repeated on Top Gear 1 June 1969.

9 April 1969 for Radio One Club
Live session booked but the group didn't turn up.

16 July 1970 for Peel Sunday Concert
The Embryo, Green is the Colour, Careful with that Axe, Atom Heart Mother, If. 
Recorded at BBC Paris Cinema, London. Broadcast 19 July and repeated 22 July 1970.

30 September 1971 for In Concert
Fat Old Sun, One of These Days, Echoes, The Embryo, Blues.
Recorded at BBC Paris Cinema, London. Broadcast 12 October 1971 (except for Blues, which was never broadcast in the UK).

Remasters or MFSL Gold?

Bill Hiner of Richmond, Virginia:  "Which is better, the Floyd remastered CDs or the gold disc versions on Mobile Fidelity?"

It really depends on what you're after.  The sound quality of each remastered CD in comparison with their gold counterparts is partially in the ear of the listener and partially determined by the quality of your system.  Early gold releases are not as good as recent reissues in the same gold format due to MFSL's use of better quality masters, or even the remasters.  Ultimately, the remasters should be the best version you can buy.  However, as some of the EMI packaging is very poor, The Wall for example, you would be far better off with the MFSL edition if you have a couple hundred spare dollars lying around.

25 February 2010

Pink Floyd Lyrics discussed in full

Of all questions received, the most common are those asking either what was said in a song or what was meant by it.  Issues regarding lyrics and their meaning can be burdensome and almost always subjective.  Instead of trying to tackle such lofty themes in this Q&A, another column has been started for that sole purpose.

Pink Floyd Lyrics

Not so lost for words in the end, therein lies the most complete examination, review, and discussion of all lyrics and meanings behind every Pink Floyd song.  A daunting task that has already begun full steam.  When you go to that link (http://floydlyrics.blogspot.com), click on the Alphabetical Song Index.  From there you can check out those songs already entered, and monitor new entries as they're added. 

As you will see, it's much more than just lyrics.  Each entry also endeavors to give the story behind the song, quotes from band members and relevant characters, and a discussion of the symbolism and meaning (if any). The success of these listings is dependent on your input, so don't be bashful.  Join in and offer your unique perspective and insight for any songs you wish to discuss.  We endeavor to not only provide a useful resource for fans, but also an enjoyable one.

Beastie Boys and their Floyd equipment

Carter Jahnoke of New Orleans observed: "During the video for Gratitude by the Beastie Boys, I noticed a lot of focus being placed on the amps and speakers, of which on the side was written 'Pink Floyd - London'.  Do you know why they were using Pink Floyd equipment, and were they trying to make some sort of statement?"

I've been waiting for someone to ask this question.  Around the time before the Gratitude video appeared, the Beastie Boys were on MTV spouting off about how they were searching the world over for vintage instruments and sound equipment such as amps, speakers, wah-wah pedals, fuzz pedals, that sort of thing.  The whole point was to capture that "magic groove" from the 70s (go figure).  Well, it looks like they snatched up some of the Floyd's old sound equipment as used in Pompei, and used a kangaroo instead of ancient statues no less.  The Floyd retired all that equipment after Dark Side of the Moon.  The Gratitude video is so obvious a visual rip-off of Pink Floyd Live in Pompei (specifically Echoes) that I will now set off to remake The Wall film with Oliver Stone directing and starring Duckman in the role of Pink.  As for any statements implied by their use of Floyd equipment, who knows.  They could be saying "for once there's good music being played through these speakers!"  Any Beastie Boys fans around to shed more light?

The Wall is like a box of chocolates

Lara Sawinski wonders: "What movie is Pink watching in The Wall film?  The movie heard on the album is different from the movie in The Wall film.  Also, the movie seen in The Wall film is the same as the one playing in the background in Forrest Gump."

Pink is watching The Dambusters in The Wall film.  This 1954 British film, starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd, depicts the World War II events in 1943 when the Ruhr dams were destroyed by Dr. Barnes Wallis' bouncing bombs.  Incidentally, one of the real-life "Dambuster" pilots was the late Leonard Cheshire.  The film heard on The Wall album is the equally classic World War II epic, The Battle of Britain.  Both are arguably far more interesting than The Wall film itself.

24 February 2010

The missing link?

Steve Elliot of Arlington, Virginia asks: "In a release from Cleopatra Records called The Missing Link to Tyrannosaurus Rex (CLEO 9528-2), amongst the musician credits are these two curious entries:
Crazy Diamond - Guitar and Various Noises
Twink - Drums
It also reads 'All tracks recorded Early 1972 on 8-track, London, England'. Also, track 8 is titled Syd's Wine.  Could this be unknown Barrett work?"

Twink was at one point a fellow band member of Syd's in the short-lived Stars.  Incidentally, tapes of all Stars shows and rehearsals were made, but have since been lost, probably for all time.  All work on The Missing Link to T. Rex does not have any connection to Syd at all and certainly there is no record of him ever recording anything of this nature.  Interesting find nonetheless.

Still First In Space

Pat Jurgaitis of Waukegan, IL wrote: "Dear Uncle and Auntie Custard, I just got my nifty Atom Heart Mother t-shirt when I noticed a satellite emblazoned on the back with the phrase "Still First In Space" tagging along.  What is the significance of this?"

It may have something to do with the Floyd's early stigma of "space rockers", or perhaps that a NASA pilot brought Dark Side of the Moon with him into space, or most likely the well-documented orbital entry of an advance copy of Delicate Sound of Thunder provided by the band to a Russian cosmonaut.  Or, it could be related to the US military's "Bovine Space Entry" projects carried out in the late 40s.  The latter is particularly possible in light of several new Top Secret government documents released to public domain recently.  In reality, large Fresian cows were launched on the back of captured German V-1 and V-2 rockets.  Pink Floyd unknowingly used on of a series of leaked US military test report photos that came into their possession (others included the cow fully clothed in a space suit, helmet and boots) for the sleeve of Atom Heart Mother - hence the motif on the t-shirt.  Furthermore, under the standard 25-year state secrecy laws, it is only now that we can demand to know in what capacity the Floyd were involved in secret government tests.  However, I am in no position to advise you on how to petition the CIA, as I am reminded of how badly the Dali Llama beat me in gambling in Vegas during the "World Conference on Spiritual Development" week.

As for Auntie Custard, have a look at the front of your t-shirt.

23 February 2010

Animals, Pigs, and Gore-Whitehouse

An anonymous writer penned: "I really appreciated Brain Damage's commentary on Animals in issue 37, which is right in line with what I always thought that record was about. The only difference is that I pictured the Pigs not to necessarily have 'higher than normal intelligence' but to have attained their starting wealth through means out of their control (i.e. silver spoons)."

Pigs CAN be born into positions of wealth and power, and these characters are the most dangerous of all, but it is not a prerequisite to being a pig that you inherit your fortune necessarily.  Case in point, compare Mary Whitehouse as portrayed in the song Pigs, a woman bent on keeping sex off British television, to Tipper Gore (wife of Al Gore) who headed up the PMRC (Parent's Music Resource Coalition).  The PMRC's goal was to sticker CDs with offensive lyrics or content as determined by, you guessed it, the PMRC.  These people, as Roger Waters pointed out, are very insecure and terribly neurotic individuals in need of flogging or banishment from public service.  As far as "higher than normal intelligence," it has been documented that pigs demonstrate a rather remarkable ability to solve problems and adapt to their surroundings to a much greater extent than other barnyard animals.  You should try reading George Orwell's Animal Farm.  It may finally twig.

Syd Barrett Still Laughing?

Denise Vacca from Pennsylvania: "I love your column and have a question for you! I have an album called Syd Barrett Still Laughing: Rare Studio Outtakes. The label says 'Roger Keith Wouldn't You Miss Me At All?', and a copyright symbol next to Roger Keith Music Co. Ltd.  What do I have?"

Syd Barrett Still Laughing is one of the many bootlegs that have been released of Syd outtakes/alternate versions.  The copyright symbol is of course an attempt by the bootleggers to lend an air of authenticity to the release, and to make unsuspecting purchasers assume that Syd's estate will be getting some royalties from the release (Roger Keith being Syd's real first names).

22 February 2010

Colours of Infinity

Stephen Ouellette of Bellville, Ontario watched a TV program on fractal geometry, featuring music credited to David Gilmour and Pink Floyd.  "Why was Dave named specifically and not Nick or Rick?"
The show in question was Colours of Infinity hosted by Arthur C. Clark (yes, the same visionary bloke who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, and also invented the communications satellite).  The show first aired in the UK in 1994 and was a fascinating and comprehensive exploration of the mathematical phenomena known as fractal geometry.  With the aid of high-speed computers, scientists inspired by mentor and fractal guru Benoit Mandelbrot are creating evolving computer models known as the Mandelbrot Set - a graphical swirl of colors and textures which can only be described as truly psychedelic, even by Mr. Clark despite his firm denial of ever using hallucinogenic substances.  The visuals of the Mandelbrot Set reflect a similar resonance to the ones experienced by brave explorers of the mind's eye.  In such, a fractal is a way of seeing infinity where islands of order float in a sea of chaos.

Getting back to the scientific front, the scientist's findings have forever changed the way we perceive the world around us - the basis of which is called Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness.  Fractals then are an attempt to understand Chaos Theory which is, in a phrase, a turbulent mirror which reveals nature's unseen complexity where order and disorder co-exist in a fragile harmony.  By using Chaos Theory, scientists from all fields now have a better understanding of global weather, neurological and biological systems, the development of artificial intelligence, and the creation of the galaxies.

Got that?  There will be a test.

Now, to answer your first question.  The music from Colours of Infinity show a remarkable similarity to Dave's music in another show, "Ruby Wax Goes To California (1991)", right down to the psychedelic guitar style and Rick's moody French horn emulations.  There is also a bit of the La Carerra Panamericana type of road-traveling blues, as well as a hint of acoustic guitar flourishes as heard in High Hopes.  So as a whole, not too original or surprising, but quite exuberant in an ambient sense at the same time.  Really, this is the kind of stuff the Floyd can spin in their sleep.  As far as Dave's name and the name Pink Floyd being credited separately, the answer becomes obvious from the musical analysis above.  A great deal of recycling, remixing, and editing was conducted on previously existing music in order to adapt it for Colours of Infinity.  Also, Dave did lay down a bit of newly composed music at the time of the show's production in 1993 to 1994, running concurrently with the recording and production of the Division Bell.

Earls Court sole UK venue in 1994

Alan Jepson from Blackpool wonders: "Why did Pink Floyd only play Earls Court on the UK leg of the Division Bell tour?"

Earls Court was the only indoor venue in the world large enough to take the full 1994 stage show.  It only managed it with a few inches at the top to spare!

21 February 2010

Roger's bass all bluff...

Scott Smith of Hawaii: "Roger Waters said in an interview in Musician Magazine (12/92) that 'I was never a bass player; I never played anything.' What exactly does he mean?  I also read that Dave played bass on some of the songs. Is this true?"

By his own admission Roger did not play much bass on studio recordings, such duties usually being carried out by Dave.  In a separate but equally revealing interview, Roger admitted that most of his live playing is "bluff".  As noticed by more than a few attendees of those earlier concerts, Roger would casually saunter over to Rick's organ with Rick twiddling on the keys to tune the guitar for Roger.

Embryo studio recording

Brad Noyes of Tacoma, WA asks: "Why didn't Pink Floyd ever release Embryo on an official album?  Also, was the live version ever recorded in the studio?"

Embryo was recorded in the studio, but never completed to the band's satisfaction.  Hence the band's outrage when Harvest released a compilation album called Picnic (SHSS1/2) which included the track.  They have since relented a little as it appears on the US compilation "Works", and more recently on the video "Rare, Precious or Beautiful".

19 February 2010

Langley Iddens

Not coming up for air just yet, again Vicky: "Who is the bloke on the Momentary Lapse of Reason cover? He's also rowing a boat in the video for Signs Of Life, appears in the Learning To Fly video, and takes a flying trip in On The Run!"

The chap on the MLOR cover, in the videos, etc, is actor Langley Iddens, who in certain lights bears an uncanny resemblance to our own dear Roger.

All a big Blur...

Vicky from South Wales:  "How on earth did Blur win "Best British Group" and "Best Album By a British Artist" in the 1996 Brit awards when Pink Floyd deserved both awards a million times over?"

The reason why the Floyd did not win that year's Brit Awards is that they've done bugger all, and therefore didn't qualify.  But, it's all a matter of opinion really, isn't it?  Voters for the awards are drawn on by the general public through magazines that have a readership of younger music buyers, as well as people who work in the music industry, and are casting a vote of admiration for an artist that has made a notable achievement.  Pink Floyd has long had the ability to sell itself, no matter what it is (i.e. a plate of steaming shite with "Pink Floyd" written on it would still sell millions - there is no effort involved).  Do they need awards, recognition, and further ego-stroking at this stage in their lives?  Certainly not.  Besides, it seems Dave would no longer fit the duds he wore to the last ceremony.

Astronomy Domine

Vicky Owen from South Wales: "During Astronomy Domine, who sings the 'weeee', etc bits?  Is it Dave?"

Dave certainly did not originally do the "wooo" bits in Astronomy Domine.  Those vocal duties were carried out by Syd, occasionally assisted by Rick live.  Dave was not in the band at that time.

Dinner in Pompei

Suzanne Schmidt from Pittsburgh asks:  "During the Pompei video when the band are talking in a restaurant, Roger says, 'If you can hear {word} on the second string of pressings, you've got an extremely overactive imagination because there isn't any'.  What is the {word} he is saying?"

The word is "sibilant" (a hissing sound) as in a sibilant consonant when "s" or "z" are used.  He meant, and was referring to, the first string of pressings of Obscured By Clouds having a bit of a sound problem caused by mechanical gremlins resulting in some of the high sounds on the record becoming distorted.  This problem was corrected on the second string of pressings.

18 February 2010

The Sheep Cannon

Paul Powell Jr. asks: "Rumor, speculation, and an old review of the Floyd concert in Cleveland 1977 mention the deployment of hundreds, maybe thousands of toy-sized stuffed sheep parachuting from the heavens before or during the concert to the delight of quick-handed fans. True?"

Yep!  If you look at the book entitled "Rock Sets" by Sutherland Lyall which basically documents the work of set designers Fisher-Park who worked on many Floyd constructions then you'll read about the "sheep cannon".  This device was powered by compressed air and would fire six model sheep constructed of tea-bag paper (and weighted to keep them upright) into the audience during the song, not surprisingly, Sheep.  Apparently, at one particular concert the operator, after several nights of firing problems, was so sick of the sight of all the spares accumulating that he fired them all off in rapid succession during the show at Soldier Field, Chicago, showering the stage well into the next song!

UK Pulse CD in error

Jared Anderson of Ulysses, Kansas asks: "I recently received the UK version of Pulse. On the inner sleeve it lists the setlist as Track 6 Hey You and Track 7 Coming Back To Life.  But on the CD, Track 6 is Coming Back To Life and Track 7 is Hey You.  Are all of the UK editions like this?"

The CD label is correct and the packaging incorrect on the UK CD of Pulse.  The error was likely due to the possibility that the tracks were rearranged after the packaging was printed.  Thusfar, the album has not been reissued in the UK, so the mistake has not been corrected yet.

17 February 2010

The Floyd subversive racists?

Dave, NJ, again: "Were Pink Floyd accused of racism or subversion when The Wall was released?"

On May 6, 1980, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 was banned in South Africa after the song was adopted as a war-cry for the black nationwide school boycott.  As a result, the Apartheid government, specifically the Directorate of Publications, not only prohibited the sale and broadcast of both the single and the album in full, but also directed that these albums be confiscated.  They were.  Reports are that the wienies were good that night.

Of course there was also a big press outcry in Britain over the use of children on the record which caused a bit of a stir at the time.  Otherwise, despite such isolated incidents of ignorance and misunderstanding, the provocative subject matter contained in The Wall escaped such misguided attention.  It must be said for the rest of the civilized world, The Wall was understood to be a dark fantasy and foremost a cautionary tale.

Marching Hammers logo

David from NJ also asks:  "What is the exact meaning and symbolism of the marching hammer sequence in The Wall? Who created the marching hammer logo, Waters, Scarfe, or the Nazis?"

The marching hammers are a multi-faceted symbol for oppression, and were borrowed from the Nazi National Front (a fascist political organization in London at the time) who used the crossed hammers symbol as their insignia before the same was used in The Wall film.  You need only scan the surface of The Wall to find cognizant examples of oppression in all its ugliest of forms - political extremism, belligerent racism and homophobia, misogyny and bigotry, brain-washing, etc.  It was Gerald Scarfe who invented the skinhead militia known in the film as The Hammer Guard, but were actually real members of The Tilbury Skins from Southeast London.  You will remember The Hammer Guard as the chummy bunch of uniformed skinheads who guarded Pink.

Obscured By Clouds live

David from Succasunna, NJ:  "Did the Floyd ever perform material from Obscured By Clouds in concert? If so, where can I find it?"

Yes, the Floyd premiered the bone-crunching song Childhood's End on December 1, 1972 at the Palais Des Sports, St. Ouen, France.  They would later go on to replace Set The Controls for the first six dates of their 1973 American tour with this song, showcasing Dave's natural rock n' roll instincts as a fundamental highlight of the show.  The title track and When You're In were added in January 1973 for Roland Petit's ballet, and served as energetic show openers during the 1973 Dark Side tour (Childhood's End was quickly dropped for some reason).  This tour was well-bootlegged as a visit to your local bootleg emporium will demonstrate.  The first CD that comes to mind is "Obscured at the Rainbow", a Rainbow Theater show performed to benefit ex-Soft Machine member Robert Wyatt, whom had a life-changing accident early that year when he fell out a fourth story window during a party (permanently paralyzing him from the waist down).

Jokers Wild

Alexandra from Portugal asks: "What is the market price for the 7" with two tracks from Gilmour's 1965 band 'Joker's Wild'?  I have a copy from a limited edition of 1000 copies made in 1985 and bought it for 20 Pounds."

20 Pounds for a copy of the 2-track 7" Joker's Wild?  A little high.  Bootleg vinyl 7" (for which this is an example) normally goes for around 6 Pounds in the UK.  This release is in no way related to the official private pressing of the 5-track mini-LP, which can fetch up to 500 Pounds!

16 February 2010

Masters of Rock

Gus from Niskayuna, NY asks:  "A few months ago I saw a vinyl edition of Masters of Rock.  The store owner wanted $300 for it.  Why have I never seen or heard of this album, and is it worth 300 big ones?"

I think the store owner was having a laugh.  Principally there are three releases that could be considered as "Masters of Rock", all European in origin, but nothing to get terribly excited about.

Masters of Rock - Danish 7" on EMI Columbia (MOR1) with 45 second snatches of Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, together with eleven other bands!  This was a radio promo and very rare.

Masters of Rock (originally issued as Best of Pink Floyd with catalog number 5C054-04299) - Dutch LP on EMI Columbia (5C058-04299) which was pretty easy to pick up in Europe in the 90s.  It features a garish, flourescent front cover using the inner sleeve pictures from Meddle, substituting Barrett for Gilmour, coloring in their t-shirts and vests, hand tining their skin, and giving that all rather unattractive lipstick.  $300 would be excessive for this.

Masters of Rock, Volume 1 - German LP on Harvest (1C054-04299).  Rarer than the Dutch flavors with, if memory serves, an orangy-brown cover.  But still excessive if this item is being sold off for $300.  Very expensive at even half that price!  $75 would be closer to the true value.

The music contained on these albums is nothing remarkable, mainly consisting of early singles, B-sides and the like.  File in completist's corner.

The Final Cut tour

Rene, on second thought: "Did Pink Floyd ever tour for The Final Cut?"

The Final Cut tour was never even considered.  The band were not exactly in the right frame of mind (or really in existence properly) in those heady 1983 days.  One of Brain Damage's more down-market rivals, The Amazing Pudding, had an April Fool's Day story that there was a tour planned, printed a fake program cover and concocted a set list as well as the concert staging/format.

Echoes lost in 1987

Rene Gonzalez from Pacoima asks:  "Why did the band drop Echoes from the setlist shortly after the beginning of the 1987 comeback tour?"

Mason, talking in late 1987 about the early Floyd material which was sounding somewhat dated, touched on the briefly played Echoes: "Dave didn't really feel comfortable singing about albatrosses and sunshine."  I suspect the real reasoning behind this was that it was not a track the whole band could be involved in successfully.  Mason couldn't play for bullocks on that tour and Wright wasn't exactly going for it either, so there may have been some difficulty in the live performance.  Pity really.