Pink Floyd Members
The information on this page has come directly from, or
was derived from
The Star Profile Pink Floyd Collectors Book by John
Roger Keith Barret
Vocal and guitar, known as Syd Barret
Born in Cambridge, England, 6 January 1946
At 19, Pink Floyd's defective genius Syd Barret wasn't
sure whether to follow his chosen career as an artist
or concentrate fully on music. The band's early success
solved any such dilemmas although to Syd, music was art
and he was following an established pattern.
John Lennon, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and Ray
Davies of the Kinks had all been art students.
Syd was one of five children and had a happy and loving
upbringing. Curiously for one who would later be drawn
to mind bending, hallucinatory drugs like LSD, young
Syd loved healthy outdoor activities and was a scout
leader who excelled at sport. He also had a gift for
painting and drama.
But at 14, his cozy and priveledged world recieved a
tragic blow with the premature death of his father.
Friends described the loss as the 'first brick' in Syd's
wall and the first catalyst to upset his mind. To make
ends meet, syd's mom did the pragmatic thing and turned
the family home into a boarding house. At the same time,
she encouraged Syd to continue with his music and
suggested his Cambridge band, Geoff Mott and the
Mottoes, hold jam sessions at her home.
At the time, he was a student at Cambridge College of
Arts and Technology where he and David Gilmour would
play guitar during their lunch breaks. Gilmour, a
trained musician, would help his friend master Rolling
Stone guitar licks
By the time he came to London on an art scholarship,
Syd was keen on finding another group, His oppurtunity
came when Roger Waters invited him to join a group he
had formed with his fellow architectural students.
Syd's arrival marked the early departure of an existing
member due to a clash in personalities. Guitarist Bob
Close found the young Cambridge art student too way-out
for his liking and quit, leaving the field clear for
Syd to virtually lead the group.
Although seen by many as the prominent member and creative
genius of the group, Syd's mental condition
deteriorated to the point where Dave Gilmour was asked
to deputize for him on guitar when he was incapable of
playing at an out-of-town gig in January 1968. Two
months later, on 6 April, he quit the band.
After Syd's departure from the group, he stayed in
London for another two years, releasing his first solo
single Octopus in december, 1969, followed a month later
by his solo album The Madcap Laughs. His final solo
album called Barret, was released in November 1970, the
year he left London for Cambridge to be with his mother.
From time to time he would return to London for gigs and
to make further recordings. But by then he was a
changed person, Unrecognizable and sad.
Today, syd's condition has deteriorated even further.
According to various reports, he is nearly blind due to
a diabetic condition and he is recieving medical
treatment in Addenbrooke's Hospital, a famous teaching
hospital in Cambridge. But his influence has not waned.
George Roger Waters
Bass and vocals, known as Roger Waters
Born in Great Brookham, Surrey, England,
9 September 1943
Although brought up by a loving mother, Roger, the
youngest of Mary Waters' three sons, became the little
boy lost. You see, while Syd was judged to be one of the
'walking wounded', Waters also had a cross to bear, or
in Pink Floyd parlance, a brick to add to his wall.
As an infant, the war had robbed him of a father he never
knew but whose loss he never stopped mourning. His
father Eric had been one of many shot in Italy in
September 1943, after bravely trying to capture a Nazi
bridgehead in Italy.
Even so he could never complain of a deprived childhood.
He was popular at school, outward going, and cofident.
As a young boy he created his own special world in which
he would stay awake at night listening to stations like
Radio Luxembourg and the American Forces Network, so
creating an intimate rapport with a medium in which he
could fire his imagination with imagery suggested by
the spoken word.
Musically he was influenced by R&B icons like Billie
Holiday, and Leadbelly as well as contemporary blues
artists. Later, at architecture college, he became a
Rolling Stones' fan and learnt to play the guitar
holding regular jam sessions with fellow students Rick
Wright and Nick Mason. Most of his college grant went
on buying equipment for the band, even though he was
averse to practising scales. Intially his musicianship
was somewhat lacking and it was only when Bob Close
joined the banmd that a more musical arrangement was
Until then, Roger's R&B philosophy was that as an
artist he could express himself rhythmically through
basic understanding rather than having to undergo the
tedium of practice. Needless to say, when jazz guitarist
Close joined the band, Roger was demoted from lead
guitar to bass.
Waters 'took over' as the band's nominal leader after
Syd dropped out but, like his fellow band members,
missed their friend who would afterwards make haunting
appearances at Pink Floyd gigs. Waters' lyrics were
later to lament Syd's absence: "How I wish, how I wish
you were here."
Waters' genius lay in his lyric writing and conceptual
skills. Eventually he and other members of the band
fell out and he wanted to move on. He felt
Pink Floyd had had its day and delcared their reign
over. It was during the recording of The Final Cut,
that Waters finally quit the band, and he allowed the
other members to keep the name Pink Floyd, thinking
that they were through.
But like many others in the music industry, he
underestimated the power of the beast in whose creation
he had played such a leading role.
Richard William Wright
Born in London, England, 28 July 1945
Although he trained to be an architect, jazz loving
Rick Wright had always wanted to be a musician.
Educated at private school and brought up in a
comfortable middle class home, Wright's childhood was
uncomplicated and happy.
Rick was attending Regent Street Poly in London when
Rick met his fellow students and future band mates,
Roger Waters and Nick Mason who were then sharing a
north London flat. Very soon he became a founding member
of their band.
Another member of Sigma 6 - (the first name for Pink
Floyd), was Juliet Gale, who Rick married. Rick, a gentle
-natured and sensitive soul, became very close to Syd
Barret whose brillance he admires today. Although some
band members ribbed him for his playing style, Rick
would often tune the band's guitars. One critic
described Rick's early appearances as maintaing 'a
spectral presence, hanging ghost like chords up to wave
gently in the background.' But even in those early days,
underlying animosities existed between the band members.
Rick and Waters were never close and it was Waters who
eventually asked Rick to leave the band. Like Syd,
Wright was more interested in experimentation than the
trappings of fame. As early as 1967, he almost walked
out of the band after a gig in newcastle when the band
were heckled during a performance of Interstellar
Most of Wright's songs became a confession of his
failings, as in Wearing The Inside Out. In this song he
elegized about being an emotional cripple, and reflected
on the past when he was thrown out of the band and
deteriorated into a state of depression and self-abuse.
Wright had lived a hedonistic lifestyle on yachts and
indulged in drugs rather than create songs. After Waters
departure from the group Dave Gilmour, who at the time
had backed the decision to get rid of Wright, welcomed
him back. Wright quickly regained his old confidence
and Pink Floyd now represented by Gilmour, Mason, and
Wright, continued to flourish.
Lead guitarist, vocals
Born in Cambridge, England, 6 March 1947
The fact that Syd Barret had been brought up with David
Gilmour made it even harder on the damaged genius when
his friend was brought in as a replacement. But Gilmour
had the right credentials. He was a known quantity, had
played in other bands, and had even helped the Floydians
improve their guitar techniques. After Waters left the
group, David Gilmour took over the helm of Pink Floyd.
Cambridge born Gilmour's father was a Genetics professor
and his mother a film editor whose careers were
important to them and who were not fussed by the trivia
of family life. Gilmour was encouraged to be
self-sufficiant and his parents had a liberal, relaxed
approach to child rearing. David showed an early interest
in music and was particularly keen on Bill Haley. He
taught himself to play the spanish guitar (a gift from
a neighbor) at 13 and later formed a band called The
Both David and Syd Barret attended Cambridge College of
Arts and Technology, Gilmour to study modern languages.
While they had already known one another at high school,
it was at college that they became firm friends and played
music together during breaks as well as performing the
occasional gig at a local pub. They also busked together
in southern France after which David, on returning to
England, joined Joker's Wild.
After a moderate success with Joker's Wild, he was asked
to join Pink Floyd. Replacing Syd Barret became an
embarassing task. The easy-going and amiable Gilmour was
subject to ocular stalking campaigns during which Barret
would turn up at gigs, move to the front of the audience,
and doggedly stare at his old friend. While not freaking
out, Gilmour was a little unnerved by this paranoid
behavior and said it took hima long time before he felt
a part of the group.
Like his fellow band members, Gilmour's personal traumas,
and pleasures (like flying airplanes) were duly recorded
for posterity in the Pink Floyd sound. He suffered
emotionally during the breakdown of his marraige with
his American wife Ginger and was helped by his new love
Polly Samson who features in A Great Day For Freedom..
Polly also helped him write the lyrics to the song
What do You Want From Me?
Nicholas Berkeley Mason
Born in Birmingham, England, 27 January 1945
Born in the Midlands, Nick Mason's well-to-do family
moved to London shortly afterwards and he was brought
up in the fashionable, north west London suberb of
Hampstead Heath. His father Bill Mason was an accomplished
documentary film-maker and an amateur racing car driver
whose enthusiam for the motoring world infected his son.
The family's wealth was such that Nick was the proud
owner of an Aston Martin sports car while still a
Like many of his peer group in the area, Nick was sent
to boarding school. His class mates at Frensham Heights
school in Surrey were continually amused by his
subsersive antics. But he showed a greater maturity
when he went to architechural college where unlike some
of his bandmates, he took his studies seriously.
Once Pink Floyd was underway, he continually experimented
with sounds at his Islington home where he kept several
Revox quarter-inch machines for making different loops.
At one point he incorporated the sound of a ringing
cash register for an instrumental piece. For the
opening in The Grand Vizier's Garden Party, he used
tom-toms sent through tape delay to provide an ascending
repeat while his wife Lindy improvised on the flute.