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Interview with Twink, Syd Barrett's bandmate in Stars



Opel #11, 5 December 1985

By Ivor Trueman

'Long, long ago... back in the mid-1980's there used to be a Syd fanzine called "Opel" which was put out by a nice guy called Ivor Trueman. Although he's still alive and kicking about the music scene, his 'zine isn't. Tragically, copies of the excellent fanzine are now practically impossible to locate. They contain several exclusive interviews which are genuinely important to the field of Sydology.Since I've been blessed with all of the issues (except for one) and a fair amount of typing time, I sought Mr. Trueman's permission to provide the interviews to all of you nice Echoesians. He agreed, provided that no money changes hands.This interview is of Twink. Twink, of course, has been long rumoured to have tapes of all of the Stars rehearsals and gigs.Thanks to bear for providing this forum, you for reading this, and especially to Ivor Trueman for taking the time and trouble of conducting the interview and publishing it for future generations. And now.... TWINK!!!'
-Scott Frank, Barrett scholar-at-large

Thinking Pink!

Early in November I met up with Twink in windy East Anglia, but before we get submerged in all that I thought it would be best to provide a little information about Twink's career. (We've also had a few requests to do this.) So here goes:-

In 1963 Twink began playing for an RnB combo called "Dane Stephens And The Deep Beats", after a year they changed their name to "The Fairies" and recorded a single for Decca, "Don't Think Twice It's Alright".In '65 they released two more singles for Hmv, "Don't Mind" & "Get Yourself Home" and split sometime before '67.

Twink then joined The In Crowd, shortly before they changed their name to "Tomorrow" and began playing such gigs as the Ufo.etc. Tomorrow consisted of Keith West-vocals, Steve Howe-guitar, John "Junior" Wood-bass & last but not least, Twink on drums. They recorded a fine psychedelic album called "Tomorrow" & had a minor hit with that great song- "My White Bicycle". However all good things must end sometime & as Tomorrow split Twink was enlisted by the Pretty Things for the first ever concept album "S.F. Sorrow" whilst he also recorded his own solo LP "Think Pink". This was another classic album full of swirling vocals, sitars & other psychedelic fragrances. This album is highly recommended.

During 69/70, Twink played on Mick Farrens solo album "Mona" and helped form the original Pink Fairies with Mick Farren & Steve Peregrine Took. It wasn't until April '70 however that the Pink Fairies got their act together properly (if you can call it that), and the line up at the time consisted of Twink, second drummer Russel Hunter, Paul Rudolf-guitar, and Duncan Sanderson-bass. Hunter, Rudolf & Sanderson had all previously been members of the Deviants along with Mick Farren and had also played on Twink's solo LP.The Pink Fairies landed a deal with Polydor, releasing a single "The Snake"/"Doing It" and album "Never Never Land". Twink left the band in the middle of '71 though he does play on the Glastonbury LP. Twink did later re-join the Pink Fairies for six months in '73 & then for their last gig which was recorded & came out as an LP called "Live At The Roundhouse '75".

Early in '72 Twink played live at a one-off gig with Eddie Guitar Burns, where of course, he was joined on stage by Syd Barrett. They jammed through a blues tune & went on to form the ill-fated Stars.After Stars had collapsed Twink went into hibernation, apart from the already mentioned Pink Fairies re-unions he next surfaced in 77 when he recorded an EP as Twink & The Fairies & sang lead vocals for "The Rings". (Who had a single titled "I Wanna Be Free" on Chiswick records). After that... well this is where the interview began...

Ivor Trueman: I know that you played with Tomorrow & The Pretty Things & The Pink Fairies but after that it all seemed to stop really.

Twink: That was when things had started to go really wrong. I had a drink & drug problem.

Ivor Trueman: You did that "Do It '77" EP in 77.

Twink: Yes that was after "The Rings" who I did vocals for , and after that EP came out in 78 I went to Belgium & did some sessions over there. I got a straight job with an American Computer company in Brussels and I stayed with them for five years in fact. The job that I had was relocated to the U.K. in 1981, so I came back over to here. Although I'd always had the idea of getting back into music, I still had a problem. And since May this year, when I admitted to myself that I had a serious drink & drug addiction problem, things have been getting better. Today I don't have to have a drink or take any drugs. I'm focussing on a second solo album, which I've prepared and is ready-although I haven't got a deal yet. I'm planning to go to America by the end of November as I was there in January & made some contacts & there seems to be some interest over there. And I'm also planning an album with Ron Wood, Kim Gardner & Jon Lord, which is a continuation of an earlier project.

Ivor Trueman: Kim Gardner.

Twink: He was in Ashton Gardner & Dyke.

Ivor Trueman: And the Creation.

Twink: The Creation and also The Birds-both groups with Ron Wood. It was around that time when I first met them. I saw The Creation down at Blaises & The Birds at the 100 Club, I jammed with them down there as well. In '68 I was sharing a flat with Jon Lord, Ron & Kim used to come over all the time. That was when Jon took us into Decca studios one Sunday afternoon. And we had this structured jam on 3 titles which later came out on an "Immediate" blues album called Blues Anytime Vol 3, just the three tracks which we did.

Ivor Trueman: Who was that credited to?

Twink: The Santa Barbara Machine Head-and that's the name that we're going to be using for this album, now. I was with Kim in LA last January and a week after I arrived Jon Lord was playing the Civic Centre Longbeach with Deep Purple-on the Perfect Strangers tour. So I went down there & said "I've spoken to Kim, we think it'd be nice for us all to get together & record an album." and he said that he'd love to do it, even though we hadn't seen each other for 15 years. That only left Ron, and when Kim came over to London in June he managed to get through to him. (They're kind of like brothers). And there was a meeting & Ron said 'yeh I wanna do it but I've got to finish the Stones album first'. So that's where we are at the moment.

Ivor Trueman: That's quite a line-up.

Twink: I've drafted a few ideas and I've got the amber light from Ron's manager so we're just waiting for us all to get together.

Ivor Trueman: What about your second solo album?

Twink: It's called 'The Doves' and I've got some great musicians for that. But I don't want to mention any names now 'cos I don't want people to think 'ah this guy's trying to make a comeback on somebody else's name', but there are some really good people on it.

Ivor Trueman: What kind of music will it be?

Twink: Very modern.

Ivor Trueman: So it won't be like the 'Do It '77' EP then.

Twink: No, nothing at all like that. That EP was 50% disastrous from a musical point of view. The new album is going to be far more "musical" than anything I've ever done.

Ivor Trueman: I thought the first solo album was quite melodic & tuneful actually, whereas the EP is more like the Pink Fairies.

Twink: Yeh that's right, well that's what I was going for with that EP. Actually, & I haven't told this to anyone in an interview before, but"Psychedelic Punkeroo" on the EP...

Ivor Trueman: ...is credited to "A. Syd" and has lyrics about him.

Twink: Yeh, that song is a song for Syd, basically. I wrote that song about Syd and I credited it under that pseudonym, which I used just for that song.

Ivor Trueman: Moving a bit further into the past, have you any memories about Ufo? You must have been fairly close to Syd at that time.

Twink: We weren't very close actually at the Ufo, as such...

Ivor Trueman: But you played on the same bill together.

Twink: Oh yeh, many many times and in fact the first time that I went down [to] the Ufo the Floyd were playing. I can't say that I remember them as being fantastically good but I appreciated what they were doing. I knew that it was 'new' & very experimental and I've always been looking for new things & I think I latched onto the fact that it was new.

Ivor Trueman: Do you think it was very different from what came out on the first album?

Twink: Oh yeh, It was much more raw and unstructured and just kind ofjamming-cosmic jamming.

Ivor Trueman: What was Ufo like?

Twink: It wasn't very big but it had a great atmosphere; light shows, incense burning, theatre groups, people just doing things. People in costume and obviously the glittering sparkling things in their faces-the make up. It was fantastic-it was really great & as soon as I saw it I wanted the band that I was with to play there and it affected me immediately, I started to get new ideas myself-things like mime, more free form playing, using light shows & things like that.

Ivor Trueman: Was the music of Tomorrow more free form live than on record?

Twink: We used to play very free live, there was a lot more energy live- the album is more or less a condensed version of what we did live. It's more structured on the album-like a three minute song on the album may have been 20 minutes live.

Ivor Trueman: There's a story about one of the Ufo gigs just after the Rolling Stones had been busted. Everyone cleared out of the club to picket The News Of The World and Tomorrow waited until 5am to perform their set.

Twink: Yeh, that's right, & I think we had a lot of daffodils 'n' stuff to throw out into the audience that night as well. And I also think that was the planting of the seed for "Revolution" on the album.

Ivor Trueman: When you were crawling through the audience shouting "Revolution" while Steve played a heavy feedback riff on guitar...

Twink: Yeh, it's amazing. And there were a lot of people going 'No no no' and I was going 'Yes yes yes'... but that was all just youth, rebelling from me.

Ivor Trueman: What about the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream?

Twink: I remember that, we weren't booked to play, we just drove up & played. We just said "We're Tomorrow & we're playing"-bluffed our way onto the stage; and did a really good set, I think. We enjoyed it anyway. But that was the kind of thing you had to do at the time, if you were trying to get into something which had already started, you had to push your way in. The people who were organising the gigs had probably been thinking along those lines for years & then it suddenly became a movement. And the movement had already begun by the time we arrived. It was still early days for the movement though. As soon as I'd heard about Ufo I went down there, it had been going for 2-3 weeks & I went down there one Friday night.

Ivor Trueman: Was that before Tomorrow formed?

Twink: I think we were still called 'The In Crowd'.

Ivor Trueman: So you joined them when they were still called 'The In Crowd'?

Twink: Yes, and a few months after I'd joined them we changed the name.

Ivor Trueman: What happened to Tomorrow in the end? It all seemed to disintegrate.

Twink: Well, that's what happened.

Ivor Trueman: Keith West having his solo hit.

Twink: Yes, that created a bad feeling. It appeared to me that we'd agreed that Keith's record was going to come out as Keith Tomorrow, and Steve was going to make a record as Steve Tomorrow & likewise Junior & myself, 'cos we were trying to push the band. And then of course Keith's record came out as Keith Tomorrow & there was immediately a feeling of "What's going on?". And then it was a hit. We started getting all these strange gigs that we couldn't really play the way that we wanted to because they wanted "Grocer Jack" Keith's single.

Ivor Trueman: That also happened with the Floyd after Emily.

Twink: And the next thing that happened was Keith, myself, Steve & Junior met one day round at Steve's and Keith said that he wanted to go solo but wanted to keep the group together & produce the group. And it was really up to us to decide if we wanted to do that. I think Steve wanted to go on but both myself & Junior were pissed off with what was happening-we really didn't know what was happening-we just didn't like being pushed left, right & centre, so our immediate reaction was 'no we'll go our own separate ways'.

Ivor Trueman: Junior did play on your solo album though.

Twink: He made a brief appearance on the solo album but he did co-write a couple of the songs. We were working as "The Aquarian Age" after Tomorrow and we had a single out called "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box" which we later re-recorded on the album. But after that single Junior decided that he'd had enough & decided to go into Casino's. He became a croupier-got married & went to Greece. And he made a lot of money & now he's got a yacht, he's taken a long vacation & he's sailing around the world. Junior had had a nervous breakdown & cirrhosis of the liver-and all that gave him a very deep insight into where his life was, 'cos he nearly died, & he started thinking about what he was doing & saw through the falseness in the music business & he decided to get out. And of course at that point I'd just joined The Pretty Things. I was asked to join & I said that I'd help out for a month. That was my intention because I believed in what I was doing with the Aquarian Age.

Ivor Trueman: Well, the version of "1,000 Words..." on your solo album is great ifthat's anything to go by...

Twink: It's similar to the Aquarian Age's version but it's a bit different. The Aquarian Age's has a violin solo on it & it was also produced by Mark Wirtz. So, I joined The Pretty Things for a month but ended up with them for a couple of years. I only did "S.F. Sorrow" with them, except for a couple of tracks on that which they'd already started to record. "S.F. Sorrow" is quite a good album-I wrote the stage-play for S.F. Sorrow.

Ivor Trueman: What was that???

Twink: We performed it at the Roundhouse twice-it was mime, I took the lead part, the main character-S.F. Sorrow, and the rest of the group & their girlfriends took part; all miming to the tape with dialogue in between the songs..spoken by Phil May.

Ivor Trueman: Pete Townshend wasn't in the audience was he?

Twink: Well he listened to S.F. Sorrow while they were recording Tommy 'cos they phoned Phil May up & said 'hey Phil, we think it's great & we're working on something very similar'.. But I think it's gone on record now that S.F. Sorrow was actually the first concept album.

Ivor Trueman: Yeh but Tommy got all the critical acclaim.

Twink: I think Phil May was very disappointed with that-still, that's life.

Ivor Trueman: What about your solo LP.

Twink: That was done while I was with The Pretty Things & some of them appear on the record: Wally Allen, John Povey, Victor Unit, & Phil May, I think in retrospect that album could have been a lot better than it was content/material wise. It was experimental.

Ivor Trueman: It's got a lot of nice sounds on it-voices, sitars etc.

Twink: Yeh, in fact when I put a band together & do some gigs I'm actually going to put some of those ideas into the live show-some of the actual vocal things. There's a track called "The Dawn of Magic" which I want to do getting the audience to participate in the vocals. At the time of that album I was really influenced by what the "Living Theatre" were doing. They were a theatre group which used a lot of audience participation, very free & relaxed kind of shows. I remember them opening their act with the stage pitch black & there'd be fifty people on stage all with incense sticks held in their hands, and you'd just see all these little coloured dots which they kept moving around for 10 minutes-for me, it was great. I was really influenced by them-Dawn Of Magic was influenced by them & some of that carried on into the Pink Fairies. A track called "Thor" which consists of a vacuum cleaner just going backwards and forwards, with a guitar folded over backwards. If you listen carefully you can hear the hoover...

Ivor Trueman: Some of the other people who played on your solo LP were from The Deviants & later on The Pink Fairies. How did you form The Pink Fairies?

Twink: I didn't form original Pink Fairies. We just used to go out together & found ourselves doing gigs together-we just found ourselves being together and I think Mick Farren put the name together after Tony Wiggins (who was the Deviants road manager) sort of threw in Pink Fairies at some point & then Mick Farren said yeh, 'We're the Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club & All Star Rock N Roll Band, that's who we are.' and that's how it started.

Ivor Trueman: 'cos you were in a band called The Fairies before.

Twink: Yeh, I don't know if that was in Tony's mind when he actually threw the Pink Fairies in...

Ivor Trueman: What about Mick Farrens solo album, Mona?

Twink: I play drums on that.

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

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. Iguess 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'redivorced 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.

Ivor Trueman: What do you think of all this new psychedelic stuff?

Twink: I don't know much about them all really. I don't focus on them when they come, I know the Rain's Parade's management very well. Malibu Management-they're real nice people-but I have no idea about their music. I've heard the Church, have you heard of them?

Ivor Trueman: Yeh, a bit poppy.

Twink: Then there was something the other day, I heard one track by The Fall on 'The Tube' & what I heard was like something out of the UFO. It's all a bit dated, but I understand that the kids have got to draw their inspiration from somewhere-so that's where they're coming from & they'll obviously go onto better things.

Ivor Trueman: That just about concludes the interview, I'd like to say a big thanx to Twink for the interview & to Allan Thompson for putting me in touch. Also I'd like to wish Twink all the best in '86 & look forward to The Doves with immense interest. If you're into other psychedelia/hippy stuff you won't be disappointed in the self named Tomorrow LP or Twink's solo album "Think Pink"; both are rated highly by most people I know with copies. There's also a cheapish compilation of Pink Fairies stuff called Pink Fairies (what else) which is ok & the Glastonbury album is worth hearing for "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout". Stamp collectors are probably more at home with "Do It '77", the EP which came out in 78 & features "Psychedelic Punkeroo."


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