Freaking Out
With the Pink Floyd
an unknown author

[from ]

From "Terrapin" #12 (A Syd Barrett Fanzine), Oct 1974

[author unknown]

Being asked to interview the Pink Floyd - Is an ordeal I
would have wished only to my worst enemies. I was shaking
like a leaf an hour before our first midday appointment.

The thought of having to talk to a psychedelic group brought
me out in sugar-cube shaped goose pimples. What language do
these musical Martians speak? Would they hallucinatory gaze
turn me into an orange? What would be the horrible
consequences of freaking out with a bunch of transvestites
in Cambridge Circus? Pre-conceptions flooded my already
busting mind. This was going to be sixteen hours of
terrifying, heart-halting experiences.

Nervously I tiptoed to the door of lead guitarist Syd
Barrett's house just off busy Cambridge Circus in the middle
of London's vice-ridden West End. The front door was painted
an ominous purple. Why wasn't I being paid danger money? Was
this one trip on which all expenses weren't going to be
paid? Oh to be a golf correspondent on International Times
and forget these blasted astronomic, hippie rebels. Syd
Barrett tumbled out of his bed and donned his socks. I
peeked around the small attic room looking for women's
clothing that the Pink Floyd say Arnold Layne tries on in
front of the mirror. Instead his girlfriend materialised at
the door and brought in a cup of coffee. Well so far there
was little evidence of the terrible Arnold Layne being in
the vicinity -- the Pink Floyd were covering up well. I'll
shoot Barrett a question.

"Syd, why did you write such a dirty, filthy smutty immoral
and degrading song as "Arnold Layne"?

Syd blinked blankly: "Well I just wrote it. I thought
"Arnold Layne" was a nice name, and it fitted very well into
the music I had already composed".

"But isn't it true," said I, "that Radio London, quite
rightly, banned the record because they thought it was

Instead of reeling into the wardrobe and revealing a
cupboard full of feminine clobber, Syd began to explain : "I
was at Cambridge at the time. I started to write the song. I
pinched the line about "moonshine washing line" from Rog,
our bass guitarist - because he has an enormous washing line
in the back of his house. Then I thought, "Arnold must have
a hobby", and it went on from there. "Arnold Layne" just
happens to dig dressing up in women's clothing. A lot of
people do - so let's face up to reality. About the only
other lyric anybody could object to, is the bit about, "It
takes two to know" and there's nothing 'smutty' about that!
But then if more people like them dislike us, more people
like the underground lot are going to dig us, so we hope
they'll cancel each other out."

Organist Rick Wright walked in and said : "I think the
record was banned not because of the lyrics, because there's
nothing there you can really object to -- but because
they're against us as a group and against what we stand

It's only a business-like commercial insult anyway," thought
Syd. "It doesn't affect us personally." Roger the bass, and
Nick Mason the drummer joined the happy throng. "Maybe they
were the evil people," I thought.

"Let's face it," said Roger seriously, "the pirate stations
play records that are much more 'smutty' than "Arnold Layne"
will ever be. In fact, it's only Radio London that have
banned the record. The BBC and everybody else plays it. I
think it's just different policies -- not anything against

That sounds like sense. Syd got up and moved stealthily to
the tape recorder. Ah-hah, they're going to try subliminal
brainwashing. They're going to lock me in a revolving echo
chamber full of laughing gas and pipe Stockhausen through
the portholes while Suzy Creamcheese writhes on the
transparent roof in a "Matey" bubble bath, being watched
intensely by the inmates of the Asylum of Clarentoe under
the direction of the Marquis de Sade.

Syd put on one of the new Pink Floyd album tracks instead.
And, Gadzooks, it's foot tapping stuff. Quite interesting
pop music actually. "Avant garde" I think it's called.

Warming to the Floyd's tape of numbers like "interstellar"
and "Flamin'", I began to think that maybe I was wrong --
maybe beneath the hustle and bustle of the in-crowders and
the newspapers reports, here was a group not quite as weird
as everyone makes out.

"Let's go for a drink," they said. A drink? surely hippies
don't drink? But sure enough there we were in the pub
downing good old fashioned brown beer. And another, and

And then it was off to EMI studios for the group's recording
session. Quite a normal affair. No kaleidoscopic lighting,
no happening or freaking -- just a lot of hard work.

Where does the group think they fit in the pop music

"We would like to think we're part of the creative half in
that we write our own material and don't just record other
people's numbers or copy American demo discs", said Nick
Mason. Our album shows parts of the Pink Floyd that havent
been heard yet."

"There's part we haven't even heard yet" chipped in Roger.
"It's bringing into flower many of the fruits that remained
dormant for so long" added Nick. "It all comes straight out
of our heads" says Syd, "and it's not too far out to
understand. If we play well on stage I think most people
understand that what we play isn't just a noise. Most
audiences respond to a good set."

And despite those terrifying premonitions and the
misinterpreted facts, and the blown-up rumours, interviewing
this so-called "psychedelic" group was an enjoyable
experience. They were very normal people.

In a cacophony of sound played to a background of
multi-coloured projected lights, the Pink Floyd proved they
are Britain's top psychedelic group before the hip audience
at UFO Club, tottenham Court Road, on Friday night. In two
powerful sets they drew nearly every conceivable note from
their instruments but ignored their two hit singles. They
included "Pow-R Toc-H" and a number which received its first
hearing called "Reaction in G" which they say was a reaction
against their scottish tour when they had to do "See Emily
Play". Bass player Roger Waters gave the group a powerful
depth and the lights poured onto them on an impressive

Many of the audience found Pink Floyd's music too much to
sit down and in more subdued parts of the act the sound of
jingling bells from their dancing masters joined in. It is
clear that the Floyd prefer playing to UFO-type audiences
rather than provincial ones and are at their best in an
atmosphere more acceptable to them. Supporting the Pink
Floyd were the Fairport Convention making their first