Just finished reading a very astute, Rolling Stone article about the early days of Pink Floyd, in which Nick Mason, the drummer, was interviewed about various aspects of the band’s evolution.
They, like The Who, have just released an epic box set of their primordial material; and similar to the Stones, Mason is working with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in creating an exhibition of Pink Floyd’s ascent to stardom.
My last entry in this journal of sorts reminisced about my grammar-school days, which culminated and coincided with the British Invasion, firstly for me by the Beatles, who stimulated my musical juices to flow as a drummer in a garage band, playing the Fab Four’s music at birthday parties mostly, mixing in stuff from the Stones, Kinks, Troggs, Animals, Herman’s Hermits, the Ventures, and whoever else was popular on top-40 AM radio at that time.
We obtained a manager who booked us at a few high-school dances and community functions until the two other members of our trio, called “The Trends,” disbanded to join more established groups, leaving me feeling dejected and deserted.
My father evidently got tired of hearing my practicing to 45s on the living-room stereo phonograph, and convinced me to sell my drum kit for purchasing a guitar. My growing insecurities, unfortunately, kept me from pursuing any further involvement with musical ensembles, learning to play a new instrument and mostly performing as a solo act later on after high school.
FM radio came into vogue during my high-school years, spawning my appreciation for acts like The Who and Doors, whom I was fortunate to see playing live together in 1968 at the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, New York City; Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and a host of others, opening up my eyes to a more eclectic blend of music.
My friendship with the former band mates, who were my best friends, had waned totally, during which time I hung out with different kids, amongst whom was crazy Artie, the person who turned me on to Pink Floyd.
Then there was Rat, short for his last name. He worked at a bakery after school. We’d pick him up after he got off at night, and the three of us would cruise around town, up and down the main drag in Hackensack, looking for chicks and listening to Pink Floyd on an eight-track cassette player in the car.
The most striking thing I remember about Rat was that he smelled like donuts all the time, due to his close proximity to rolling dough into pastries and such.
Artie mostly identified with Syd Barrett, birds of a feather, I suppose; but along with the band’s psychedelia and off-the-wall compositions, we’d be head-banging to their music, way before it became popular at the spawning of Heavy Metal.
I’ve often wondered what happened to those two guys, Artie and Rat, having lost touch with them after graduating high school. Funny how music sweeps away the cob webs from one’s memory when hearing favorite songs, or reading about musicians who had a lasting effect on one’s psyche.
Now, I’m still a one-man band, playing various electronic instruments for my personal enjoyment, one of the things to help kill time during my retirement. My latest attempt, or “Cover Your Ears,” is rather apropos and found at the end of this essay, which, by the way, makes it almost at the last minute for the deadline of this week’s feature.
Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for your continued support.
Above photo was of yours truly in 1972, playing on the grounds of McGill University in Montréal, Québec, Canada.