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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 Lisners

Roger Keith Barret (ex member)
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 (ex-member)
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 created.

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 Overdrive.

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.

David Gilmour
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 Newcomers.

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 teenager.

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.