Nick Mason: Syd Barrett “didn’t want to be a rock god”

Mason made the comments in a recent radio interview.

Pink Floyd in 1967.

Image: Nick Hale / Getty

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Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has spoken about the band’s late founding frontman Syd Barrett, and his struggles with mental health.

In a recent radio interview, Mason was asked about Barrett, when he noted that his struggles could both be attributed to the effects of LSD and his anxieties about being thrown into the intense world of rock-stardom: “I think the jury’s still out, in a way,” Mason said, “in terms of what really happened to Syd, and I think it’s something that’ll never really be answered because there are really two schools of thought. One was that it was overdosing on acid, which certainly is quite likely. But, it could also be to do with the fact that he didn’t want to be a rock god. He actually wanted to go back and be a painter, and I think we now feel that we probably – well, we certainly weren’t helpful because we assumed that would mean he was mad. I think in hindsight one can look at it and go, ‘Actually, maybe that was the way he would have wanted or want to go.’”

Mason was also asked about a quote attributed to him about Barrett’s struggles and departure. He revealed that psychiatrist Ronnie Lang had actually said the quote, in a conversation with Floyd bassist Roger Waters – saying to him “Maybe Syd isn’t mad; maybe we’re the mad ones” – perhaps alluding to Barrett’s understandable desire to stay under the radar and return to painting.

Mason also discussed his band Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, who will release the live LP and film Live At The Roundhouse next month.

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