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STARS: Syd's Final Performance

Terrapin
January 1973


STARS: At Cambridge, SYD CAME ON, PLAYED HIS SONGS AND THEN LEFT. I could end there, but as it was Syd's first stage appearence for four years, detail becomes sacred necessity. He did versions of 'Octopus' and 'No Man's Land from the Madcap album: 'Waving my arms in the Air' and 'Baby Lemonade' from Barrett: and 'Lucifer Sam' from the legendary first Floyd album. Twink played drums and Jack Monke played bass until his amp decided it couldn't cope with Syd's musical journey and went dead! The lyrics were, for the most part, inaudible due to the terrible P.A., and Syd did no talking between the numbers, which were sadly under- rehearsed. But that was a genius on stage and he did show odd flashes of brilliance, but after about an hour Syd decided he had had enough, so he slowly unplugged and went home. Personally I think the band set Syd back considerably. I understand he was pushed into it at very short notice and this was reflected in the music. If Syd is going to do anything worthwhile it must be done when he is ready: and if we have too wait five years for an album as good as "The Madcap Laughs" it will be worth it. Underneath all the mystique bulshit there is an ordinary young English musician who bleeds real blood when he cuts his finger during the final number, and smiles a really warm smile when you thank him afterwards. As he said in the Rolling Stone interview, "You know man, I'm totally together. I even think I should be."


Ivor Trueman discussed Stars with Twink:

Ivor Trueman: After the Pink Fairies you next played in Stars. How did that all happen?

Twink: I was living in Cambridge, after I'd left the Pink Fairies I went back to London for a while & then moved to Cambridge. And while in Cambridge I met Jack Monck & some local musicians, though we didn't do anything serious.

Ivor Trueman: You hadn't known Jack Monck before then?

Twink: No. I met him through Jenny, Jenny Spires who was an ex-girlfriend of mine, and she was also an ex-girlfriend of Syd's. It was Jenny & Jack who brought Syd down to the Eddie Guitar Burns gig at Kings College Cellar. And Syd had a jam that night. And I think, I'm not sure if it's the next day, but within the next day or two Jenny & Jack came round to my house in Cambridge & we were talking & someone said "wouldn't it be great to get Syd playing again." It wasn't just me who said that, it was everyone. So Jenny said 'Oh I'll fix up a meeting with him, we'll go & see Syd & ask him if he wants to play with you & Jack.' So that's what we did. We went round to his house & I think his Mum answered the door & then Syd came to the door & Jenny said, 'This is Twink & Jack, they want to know if you want to form a band, just the three of you.' So he said 'yeh, alright, come in'. And that was that. We started rehearsing down in the basement of his house, that's how it started. I think I'm right.

Ivor Trueman: Did you do much rehearsal?

Twink: Not really, we did about two weeks & then we had this gig come up at the Corn Exchange.

Ivor Trueman: Who arranged those gigs?

Twink: A guy called Steve Brink. And I'm sure Steve's intentions were good but he was just as crazy as everybody else, y'know. If we'd had some sort of management direction then we wouldn't have done any gigs for six months or maybe a year or something, but we went straight into it. He came in & said 'I've got this gig with MC5, I'm going to put you top of the bill.' We said yes & he printed the tickets. This is very important to me actually, the tickets said "Stars-Twink's new band", and it looks as though, from that, that people think that I actually got the bands name on the ticket like that because I was more 'together' than Syd. But that's not true & I'd like it to go on record that it wasn't anything to do with me-it was the promoter trying to be overhelpful to me & I'd never seen the tickets before they came out or anything.

Ivor Trueman: I think the gigs attracted more attention than they should've done, as Syd hadn't been in the limelight for quite some time.

Twink: Yeh.

Ivor Trueman: But you did some gigs in Cambridge apart from the Corn Exchange.

Twink: Yeh well some of the gigs were great, some of them were really good but the Corn Exchange gigs were awful. The one that I remember best of all was the one that I enjoyed-the one in the Market Square in Cambridge, in the open air, that was great. And we did as few in the Dandelion Coffee Bar, I think we did two there & they were also good.

Ivor Trueman: That was all around the same time.

Twink: Yes, all around the same time, 'cos the band didn't stay together very long. Straight after that gig the bad press that we got, I think it was Roy Hollingworth-Melody Maker, he did a piece & he killed the band in fact, with that review. 'Cos Syd came round with it in his hand the next day, he saw it & says 'I don't want to play anymore'. So that was it. I mean I expected that, I thought that that was a possibility that something like that might happen, but it was a shame that it did.

Ivor Trueman: What about the recording of the earlier gigs?

Twink: Well I don't know where the tapes are.

Ivor Trueman: Which gigs were recorded?

Twink: I think all of them were.

Ivor Trueman: And the rehearsals?

Twink: Syd recorded the rehearsals.

Ivor Trueman: On a portable cassette?

Twink: As far as I remember, yes, just on a cassette. And the other one's were recorded on a really professional set up by a guy from America that was based in Cambridge. He was related in someway to Leonard Bernstein & his name's Victor but I can't remember anything else.

Ivor Trueman: Did you realise that the Eddie Guitar Burns gig was also recorded - a guy in Cambridge has a professional quality tape.

Twink: No, I did have once one of the Stars gigs, between me & Jolly, who was a friend I was working with at the time. He used to make badges. He had a tape but I don't know what happened to it. The tapes were good-they were all Syd's songs, Floyd material. I don't think we had any new stuff, but I can't remember.

Ivor Trueman: So Syd wasn't still writing anything at the time?

Twink: I can't remember. I know he was painting at the time, he was abeautiful artist, he did oil paintings, fantastic abstract paintings. I guess most of those are still at his house, Jenny's got one of them.

Ivor Trueman: Are you still in touch with Jenny?

Twink: No. I don't know if Jack is. They were married but I think they're divorced or separated now.

Ivor Trueman: Have you seen Syd recently?

Twink: No. Well yeh-I bumped into him a few years ago in Harrods. I was going down the escalator & he was going up. But I haven't seen him for a while.

Ivor Trueman: One of the guys writing a book on the Floyd has been to see him recently - Mike Watkinson. [Note, this is my mistake, Mike hasn't been to see Syd yet.]

Twink: Yeh, he's been in touch with me but we haven't got together yet.

Ivor Trueman: How long were the sets that STARS performed? The gig list for the Corn Exchange gig was supposed to have been: Octopus, Dark Globe, Gigolo Aunt, Baby Lemonade, Waving My Arms In The Air, Lucifer Sam and a couple of 12- bar blues

Twink: I can't remember exactly, how long the sets were but I think it was about 40-45 minutes. It's quite amazing actually, when you think about it, that he was keen at the time to do this and y'know he was really 'there'. He's a great guitarist & a great musician.

Ivor Trueman: Did Fred Frith ever play in the Stars line-up? We got a letter from him in New York saying that he played once on stage with Syd.

Twink: He didn't play in Stars but I don't know whether he did play with Syd, it might have even been the Eddie Guitar Burns gig.

Ivor Trueman: Was there somebody else there then?

Twink: I honestly can't remember. It could well have been that though.

Ivor Trueman: There's a rumour that Stars also did See Emily Play in rehearsal.

Twink: Yeh, I think that's right, but I'm not sure.

Ivor Trueman: What happened to the proposed gig at Essex University?

Twink: We tried to do that without Syd, because Syd had said that he didn't want to play anymore-but we had that booked so we all went down there with the intention of playing, I'd brought another couple of musicians in to cover for Syd. But in fact the promoter didn't want us to play 'cos Syd wasn't there-so it was a bit of a disaster.

Ivor Trueman: Were you still going to play Syd's material?

Twink: No. It was going to be other stuff. But it was the wrong thing to do we should've pulled out. But we decided to go down there and it didn't work out.


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