DID YOU READ

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason on flying pigs

Nick Mason on "The Wall" tour

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Race car driver and 1960’s/70’s handlebar moustache model, Nick Mason, is best known for being the drummer of Pink Floyd. He is also the only founding member who remained from start to finish in a band that had three distinctly different frontmen over the course of four decades. The final piece of the “Why Pink Floyd?” reissue series will be revealed at the end of this month, culminating in two special editions of the climactic Roger Waters’ classic, “The Wall.” I talked with Mason about this forthcoming release, the early days with Syd Barrett, and about making the right sounds at the right time.

 

One can’t help but notice that you’re the only person who’s been in the band unbroken from start to finish. It seems like you’ve maybe brokered some peace agreements in the past too. Are you the easy going one?

I think I am and I think I’m probably the one, unlike the others, that requires other musicians to make it happen. Solo drummers tend to be rather dull. Whether I’m a peacemaker?  I don’t think so, I think it’s hard to broker peace between two people, but you can certainly sort of keep your head down and stick it out.

How has it been to revisit “The Wall” then?

Oh great! Although we have the reputation of being at each other with knives, clubs and guns most the time, that’s actually not quite how I remember it. Even “The Wall,” that has a reputation for being the most difficult period, a lot of it was actually very pleasant. it was people getting on and making the record and enjoying working on it. And I like the music, I’m proud of it.

What’s your favorite recording now?

The jewel in the crown is the “Wish You Were Here” tape with Stephane Grappelli on it. Because I remember the moment that he came into the studio so well, I mean, I was a big fan of his anyway. It was one of those things where I remembered he played on the record, but I thought we’d recorded over it. So it was an absolute delight when someone went, no, no, we’ve got it. We found it in the vaults, it’s still there. The most peculiar thing about that is why didn’t we decide to use it at the time.

Why didn’t you?

I have no idea! There must have been discussions saying no, it doesn’t work, or we’ve got something else that has to go on. I have no idea. I keep meaning to ask the others. I don’t think they can remember either.

A few days ago NASA released video of the actual dark side of the moon taken by an orbital space craft. Looking back how did the space age influence your sound at the time, or was it more just the tools that were becoming available, new synthesizers and the like?

Funny enough, I don’t think it was the space age that influenced that nearly as much as the music technology that was changing, as you say. There was the Moog, although we were very late in Moogs, there was this whole new development keyboards. There were things like the Mellotron and there were things like a lot of guitar effect stuff happened around that time. So fuzzboxes, flangers, you know, all that sort of thing. I think it was “Echoes,” part of the sound was actually plugging, plugging foot pedals in, back to front. And of course, all these sort of electronic sounds work very well with the sort of lunar themes and programs on space exploration of which there were a lot at the time. So the things just became sort of intertwined I suppose really.

A happy coincidence then.

Yeah, absolutely. But I think that’s very much part of music and success, and all the rest of it, making the right sounds at the right time.

And you did that distinctly well over several different phases, starting with Syd Barrett and that psychedelic sound. But even without the crazy diamond himself, you guys were deeply psychedelic, putting it mildly….

Yeah, except don’t forget if we hadn’t had Syd, it wouldn’t have got off the ground in the first place. There would have been no lift off.

He’s inseparable then from the idea of Pink Floyd?

I think so. If you just look at that first album, the first songs — which were the things that got us a record contract into Abbey Road and all the rest of it — without Syd, I mean, you wouldn’t even have Interstellar Overdrive. It’s just impossible to evaluate what would’ve existed without Syd in my opinion. I think Roger, at some point, something would’ve happened, but completely different.

He was very far out there but, you are all pretty far out there, weren’t you?

Well initially, I think the rest of us were probably following Syd at the time. And it might have sounded far out, but once Syd was gone, it became much more technical, we became more industrious. Even though part of that was to make the sound become more abstract, but  in order to achieve that, it was a matter of just going into the studio and messing about, so to speak. There was a lot more thought into how to make it work.

Do you have any regrets, to this day about how things were handled with Syd?

Oh God yes. The band politics were handled appallingly from beginning to end. You know, every step of the way. But having said that — we didn’t know any better — is what my lawyer’s going to tell you [laughter]. I think we all regret that we didn’t know how to look after Syd better. And the split with Roger. If we had all known what we know now, I think we could have dealt with it a hell of a lot better. But we didn’t.

“Live at Pompeii” is one of the best music films of all time, sometimes it’s hard to imagine a band that cool, that authentic today. What was going through your head in that ancient amphitheater?

[Laughs] Well, I think, we were unaware of just what a good idea it was. I mean, I’d love for any us to be able to take credit for it, but it was very much an idea that had been sprung by Adrian Maben, who’s the director of the film. That combination of the venue, which was romantic in its own right, and the fact that it was outdoors with the wind blowing and empty, you know, which meant that we were completely free to re-shoot things, gave it a live feel without actually having to go through the process of curtailing the show because we had a real audience to please. I thought it was a fantastically successful formula that unfortunately owed nothing to the band’s, [laugh] creativity.

Well that’s all right, it wouldn’t have been much without you either! What would it take for the remaining three of you to tour again? Pigs flying, or is it a maybe a little easier than that now?

No, I think it would take flying pigs. Very hard to, to see it happening. Roger’s really happy working on his own. David, I think, would be very wary of doing the big shows and working with Roger full time. It’d be lovely to be able to give people good news. But I think if we did ever manage to do anything, it would be generated by a something like a Live 8 situation where we could make a difference to something that mattered.

So tell me, what car are you driving these days?

An Audi RS6, which is the estate bodied version, with a very powerful engine. So it means you can sit and drive it like a hooligan, but you can actually put a drum kit in the back of it too.

 

What’s your favorite Floyd era? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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