This is not an anti-drug message, though I don’t exactly recommend them. This is the first of many posts looking at the effect of drugs on music.
And I’m starting with one of the most mysterious figures in recorded music history: Syd Barrett, a founding member of Pink Floyd.
I recently read a book entitled The Mammoth Book of Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘N’ Roll. A 600+ pager that brings together multiple articles and short-stories about some of rock’s most interesting characters. As I think back on the book, there are three sentences that stand out to me, in a big way. Author Jenny Fabian’s contribution to the book is a story called “An Afternoon with Syd Barrett.” Here’s the part I’m referring to:
“By the time I got to Syd, he was permanently tripped-out, and if he seemed more preoccupied with other-worldly things, it didn’t matter, it was the same for me. Acid took us somewhere else, except that Syd never came back. I thought he was being poetic when he spoke about mental exile.”
He really never did come back. The band he had helped form would go on to be one of the biggest of all time. And he basically missed all of it.
I’m listening to Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album, the band’s dedication to their wayward friend. Syd actually stopped by Abbey Road Studios, unannounced, when Pink Floyd was recording the 1975-project. None of the band had seen him in 5 years, and apparently never really did much after that. Syd passed away in 2006.
I don’t know of a better way to prompt thought and conversation about this most-important topic.
More than anything, this just makes me sad.