AN INTERVIEW
ON THE DARK SIDE
by
Moody Kriteman

[from
http://www.pink-floyd.org/artint/122.htm]

By Moody Kriteman, London [website dated Nov. 8th '96]

In early '74, less than a year after the release of `The
Dark Side Of The Moon', the album also reached Planet
Hoolon. Those were the twilight days of Golda and post-war
Israel. The most psychedelic thing around, other
than Begin's speeches at the Knesset and Moti Ashkenazy's
demonstrations, were the jam sessions that Saul
Grossberg formed in Bet-Lessin with Haim Krio as Eric
Clapton.

After school I used to get back home, a junior, tired of
Arthur Miller's `All My Sons' and school uniform. Near
my house, to elegentally avoid the scary clues of Miri
Schwartz, a fellow school student who was more developed
than I was, I'd usually remember, just before entering the
building, that I forgot to buy `Ma'ariv,' pretend to turn
back, and after she disappeared past the curve, hurry back
to be alone, unbothered, with the real thing.

In a ritual that repeated itself every day like Miri
Schwartz, I'd set the clumsy needle to the last track on
the opening side. I never bothered to read the little 
letters to know what the track was called. The sounds and 
painful moans, which rose from the instrumental part, would 
hit me straight between the eyes. The sound that later 
entered written history as "the most tempting track ever 
written about death," was also the most poetic, releasing 
and sedative. After four minutes of high decibels, even 
Hadassah, the Roumanian teacher for depressing French, 
became Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

Before the interview with Rick Wright I passed through the
album, to check which tracks exactly he was also
responsible for. From the moans track, which appeared on the
cover under the name "The Gig In The Sky,"
flashed the name Rick Wright. I later learned that the
vocals were improvised by a singer named Clare Torry, who
delivered a pleasing performance that made her salary double
to 30 pounds, but was later greatly compensated,
when the track became Floyd's first to back-up a sedatives
advertising campaign.

SYD'S DOWNFALL
Rick (Richard) Wright, 32 years with the Pink Floyd, is not
speaking for 14 years with Roger Waters, his former
bandmate and the person responsible for `The Wall.' But if
he sees him tomorrow crossing the street, he won't
hesitate inviting him to a drink.

Wright, keyboard player and writer of many of the band's
songs, is putting out his own solo album. Technically,
it is a third solo album. But if you consider what Wright
says about `Wet Dream,' his first ("an experimental
mistake"), his second ("at least I tried a new technology),
and what he's gone through, personally, to get to the
third - it is worth to treat this great album, Broken China,
as the first complete album to come out of the studio of
this gifted musician. And that is not only because Sinead
O'Connor performs two of the songs, and Sting's
guitarist, Dominique Miller, was so good, that Wright used
his playing instead of a solo part David Gilmour
contributed to one of the tracks performed by O'Connor.

The Pink Floyd was founded in '65 by Wright (keyboards and
vocals), Nick Mason (drums) and Roger Waters
(bass and vocals) - all architecture students in London's
`Polytechnic', joined by Roger `Syd' Barrett, an art
student from Cambridge and an admired neighbour of Waters.
Barrett (nicknamed `Syd' due to his use of LSD)
was the person who named the band, by merging his two
admired blues heroes, Pink Anderson and Floyd
Council. He was also the one who provided the band with the
inspiration to its psychedelic musical line. But
Barrett ceased functioning after less than two years from
too much LSD in his brain.

After two successful singles (`Arnold Layne' and especially
`See Emily Play'), their debut album, `The Piper At
The Gates Of Dawn,' was released in 1967. Waters, who
thought, at that part, that some of Barrett can still be
saved, invited David Gilmour (guitars) to join the band.
Gilmour, another neighbour from Waters' apartment in
Camrbdige, and the one who taught Barrett to play guitar,
was supposed to take care of him and save the band.

But the mission failed, and when the band's second LP, `A
Saucerful Of Secrets,' was released, Barrett sank into
the depths of Cambridge, where he is stuck until this very
day in his mother's house: fat, bald, lonely and lost,
with a glazed look, ever staring in his TV screen, except
for a few breaks he took for his solo albums and
surprising visits to Pink Floyd's studio (the last in '75).
But, due to his great influence on his bandmates, Barrett
is considered until today one of the most influential
musicians in history, even though he's not playing with them
ever since the '60s.

Some of the Pink Floyd's songs were written `in his memory,'
for example, `Shine On You Crazy Diamond,'
which was written as a tribute to a "painter, piper,
prisoner and martyr." The bandmates make sure even today to
occasionally check if the TV in his room is still working
and if royalties were transferred to him.

A DANGEROUS STATEMENT
"My best times in the band were in the middle of the '60s,"
says Wright. "In the beginning we used to do jam
sessions. We would start playing long tracks, that we never
knew how and when they'll be over. But maybe also
because this period of the sixties in London was very
special. Nowadays, there aren't many musicians out of art
schools, like it was then."

In March '73, `The Dark Side Of The Moon' was released to
the world, the big bang that made psychedelic music
popular. Wright had part in writing five out of the ten
tracks on the album, including `Us And Them' that was
originally composed, before Waters added lyrics, for the
soundtrack of Antonioni's `Zabriskie Point.'

The idea of writing songs with themes of madness, growing
old, work and death, rose in a meeting the four had in
Mason's kitchen. Statistically, there is no given moment,
including now, that this album isn't played somewhere
on Earth. The album went from place to place on the Top 200
Best-Selling Records Chart in the USA for 800
weeks, more than 15 years, a record that might never be
broken. The sound, produced in the Beatles' Abbey
Road, was so amazing, that all electronics dealers
immediately adopted it when it was out, to use it to
demonstrate
stereo systems to their clients.

After `The Dark Side' Pink Floyd had three additional
albums: `Wish You Were Here' (1975), `Animals' (1977)
and `The Wall' (1979). That last one was a double album that
summed up the seventies of the Pink Floyd, and,
actually, all the rock music in that decade. It included the
band's biggest hit, `Another Brick In The Wall,' but also
represented the end of a period in the band, whose
bandmates' troubled relationships, and especially Waters'
attempt to dictate its way, lead to the brink of a split-up.
Without Rick Wright, the band recorded one more album
(`The Final Cut', 1983) and split up.

Wright is 51. In '89 he met an American model aged 28, from
Georgia, with high cheekbones, named Milly. After
five years they married - the third time for Wright. This
love story, that began in a sail between the Caribbean
Islands on Wright's yacht, almost ended in a disaster, when
Milly suffered a nervous breakdown while swimming
in the pool, was hospitalized in a sanitarium for several
months and went up and down, not sure if she wants to
live or die. This story, that began bad but ended well with
a chubby baby named Benjamin, born in April, is also
the theme story for Wright's new 13-tracks album. Wright and
Anthony Moore, his record partner who wrote the
lyrics, sit in one of the giant rooms in Wright's
mostly-an-office-a-bit-of-a-house in Holland Park, the
celebrities
quarter (Elton John and Sami Shimon) of London. On the
walls, around the the black table with the 12 chairs, are
framed selected posters of the Pink Floyd and gold and
platinum records. Wright, with wavy grey hair reaching
his shoulders, looks like an art teacher. The visual side in
the Pink Floyd's shows was just as complex as their
music, but he swears that he never meant to study
architecture, and that only because the interviewer in
Polytechnic
couldn't understand what he was murmuring, he decided for
him that he will study architecture with Waters and
Mason. "If the band wouldn't have made it, I probably
would've been a photographer. Being an architect never
interested me."

Their last tour, which began two years ago, is considered
the biggest in history. 105 shows and 5.5 million
sold-out tickets. An average of more than 50 thousand per
show. Wright says that in that tour the band was offered
to play in Israel, but, unfortunately, it didn't work out.

To describe to him how the Pink Floyd's name is famous
nevertheless, I proudly report to him that here, just a
couple of months ago, when the tension between the religious
and the secular got hot, one well-known singer, that
got famous worldwide after standing next to Rabin before he
was murdered ("What a horrible way to become
famous," Anthony Moore can't stop from commenting), stated
that, as far as he's concerned, one Pink Floyd track
is more important to him than the Western Wall.

To my anxiety, Wright and Moore take it hard. Instead of
wondering if the poet was referring to, say, `Shine On
You Crazy Diamond,' that Wright wrote with Waters and
Gilmour, he takes a long, serious look at Anthony
Moore and thoughtfully wrinkles his brow. "Wow, that's
really a dangerous statement," he eventually says, "but,
the truth is, I don't really know much about Israeli
politics."

WE DIDN'T DO DRUGS
The album was recorded at Wright's home in northern France.
Moore, a character by himself, a genius of
computerized arrangements, works with the Pink Floyd since
'87 and co-wrote three songs on their last album,
`Division Bell.' In the '70s he was a member of the
avant-garde band, `Slapp Happy,' that made noise without
being noticed by many, and today he's also a professor in
the University of Klen, even though he never officially
studied anything in his life.

Wright admits he's shy about singing, and that's why he felt
well alone in his studio. "I wrote the tunes and sang
only nonsense words. Then came Moore and dressed them with
the lyrics." Wright is responsible for many of the
sound effects, that made the Pink Floyd what it is. He tells
that before writing songs he draws them, like a movie's
storyboard, and then composes them by improvisation. The
special sounds - those of everyday life, like ringing
clocks and a match being lit, that pass from speaker to
speaker - he processes using a digital recording computer.

"We worked very hard to make the lyrics suit the music. I
can't, like Elton John, for example, compose by lyrics.
Elton has a great talent for that. Whatever you give him,
including your questions, he composes in half an hour
and makes a great song out of it."

- - The psychedelic music, the Pink Floyd's and also in your
album, was always connected to drugs. What came
first in your case?

Wright: "Factually, we started during the late '60s with the
psychedelic music, a period that was known as
experimental as far as drugs were concerned. The Pink Floyd
were in the middle of that culture, so everyone
naturally assumed that we were also doing drugs. But that
wasn't the case. In Syd Barrett's case it was, but not in
our case. I think that music was our drug. Of course, we all
did drugs here and there in social events, but I've tried
only once in my life, and it was marijuana, before a show.
We went onstage, I think it was in Paris in '68, and I
couldn't play a single note. Actually, I did manage to play
one note. It's a mistake thinking that drugs supplied
Pink Floyd with the inspiration. The ones who took drugs
were the ones who came to see the shows."

- - During that period it was popular to take LSD before the
show.

Wright (lighting another Marlboro): "We didn't even think of
that. Personally, maybe because of the way I was
educated I didn't feel a need. It's true that there are a
lot of bands who do that, but it's a mythos that the Pink
Floyd did drugs in shows. The most we took was half a glass
of beer."

THE DARK SIDE OF WATERS
The Pink Floyd made millions in the '70s, with which they
bought suites in the islands of Greek and developed
expensive hobbies, such as collecting cars (Mason), guitars
(Gilmour), impressionist paintings (Waters) and
antiques (Wright). But, like many other stars who didn't
learn in the `London School of Economics,' their
financial matters were handled by the wrong people, and in
the late '70s their accountancy company collapsed
together with most of their investments, as well as the
relationship between Roger Waters and Rick Wright, until
Waters left the band.

After four years of solo records and a legal struggle
between Waters and the other three concerning the use of the
name `Pink Floyd' (Waters lost), three- quarters of the band
became active again, recording and performing. Some
of the fans thought that, without Waters, it's not it
anymore. But the four albums released since then, including
two double live ones, the videos, and the tours which always
included the hits from Waters' days - all these had
tremendous success and proved that this band, even without
Roger Waters and even when the term `progressive
rock' is considered outdated, still has millions of fans.

- - Barrett is undoubtly the dark side of the Pink Floyd,
but your quarrel with Waters is just as dark. How,
actually, do two people who know each other from childhood,
fight about music?

Wright: "It's a story that I'm not really happy to get into.
We fought during `The Wall,' which was an album
Waters wrote, based on his family story, but we clashed long
before that, during the period of the Dark Side and
`Wish You Were Here.' Actually, we never got along. But it
was in `The Wall' that Roger really lost his mind. He
was convinced that he is Pink Floyd and that he doesn't need
me nor Nick Mason. I wasn't in a state to argue
about that, because we were financially ruined. I made a
decision and left, and then he left, and I came back. Since
then, he's mad at all of us."

- - And you haven't spoken since then?

Wright: "We're not speaking for 14 years. Since `The Wall.'
David Gilmour doesn't speak to him either. We had a
legal quarrel with him concerning the name Pink Floyd, and
in the end we were left with the name, and he was left
with the Wall. But if I see him tomorrow in the street, I
think I'll make contact with him and invite him to a drink.
I'm interested in knowing how he feels and what he thinks
about the band."

- - Is there any chance that Waters might ever return to the
band?

Wright: "There's always a chance. Everyone who loves Pink
Floyd wants it to happen. But I don't feel I need it,
not musically and not personally. Maybe if Roger comes back
as a different person (laughing), charming and nice,
with really good ideas. But Roger still lives on the Wall.
Until his wall falls down, I can't see him coming back."

- - How do you explain it that great bands from the past,
like the Stones, the Who, Status Quo and you, for
example, still stand on stage and don't get out of people's
consciousness with the years?

Wright: "It's probably not because there aren't new talents.
The opposite, it's much harder for us to succeed. The
BBC radio, for example, decided that bands like Pink Floyd
and Status Quo are too old for its line. Status Quo
went to court for it. The fact that people still know us is,
in my opinion, a result of our music and of the big money
that runs the music industry today. The people who control
the industry are accountants who recycle everything in
new, nostalgic packages, and everything else, to make more
money."

- - How, exactly, was your contact with Sinead O'Connor
created?

Wright: "While I was composing the songs, I knew that two of
them had to be performed by a female, and
preferably one who knows what's a nervous breakdown.
Instinctively, I thought of Sinead. I didn't think it's
going to work out, but I called her, and after she heard the
songs, she came to the studio and we recorded."

- - As a man who was never crazy about her voice, I suddenly
remembered John Travolta. Until `Pulp Fiction' we
had a talented flamenco dancer, and suddenly he became an
actor.

Wright (blown away by the compliment): "Tell her that. I
agree. I heard, since we recorded, records of her, and I
think she's very happy with the result."


MADNESS AND SADNESS On the cover of the album, a woman is
seen diving diagonally through a whirlpool.
Her bottom part is intact, and the upper part, on the other
side of the whirlpool ring, is crumbling to pieces. A
minute before she was hospitalized in a sanitarium, Milly
Wright, Wright's wife, was swimming in their pool in
South France. Suddenly she felt that she couldn't swim
anymore. A strange weariness fell upon her, and she was
sure that she's going to drown. Rick was playing that hour
in Pink Floyd's studio. When Milly called him from
the hospital without mentioning the word `mental,' he told
her that he'd come in the evening to pick her up. "No
use," she told him, "just bring my nightgown."

- - Most of your band's song, as well as your new album's,
deal with the depressing side of life. In your case, it
seems that in the end we get out of it. The album describes
a voyage from the depth of depression to the saving
rope.

Wright: "Roger Waters, who wrote the lyrics to most of our
songs, expressed his depressions through them, the
madness, the sadness and the darkness of life. Actually, I'm
not like that at all, but what can I do, I've also been
through something that had to be in this album. Because it
happened, I felt that I had to write about it. But the
difference is that `Broken China' ends with hope.

- - Is there any chance for the Pink Floyd to release a new
album soon as well?

Wright: "At the moment, nothing is happening. The band is
now working in periods of seven years. In '87 we
released `A Momentary Lapse,' and in '94 `The Division
Bell.' By that pattern, the next album will be released in
2001. A very suitable date for a Pink Floyd album. 

SONGS WORDS BARRETT HOP!