Roger Waters recalls Pink Floyd dealing with Syd Barrett’s deteriorating mental health: “If the guy who writes the songs in the band goes crazy, you’re fucked basically”

The musician details the moments he first noticed Syd Barett’s deterioration.

Pink Floyd

Image: Chris Walter/Getty

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In a new interview with Joe Rogan, Roger Waters detailed the ‘tragic’ deterioration of Syd Barrett’s mental health and claimed that Pink Floyd were worried about having to end when the guitarist left the band.

In the interview, which took place last week (6 October), Waters recalled the moments when he first began to notice Barrett’s increasingly peculiar behaviour, saying the guitarist was “teetering on the edge” of schizophrenia.

“I remember at Top of the Pops, in the dressing room one day… [Barrett] was looking worried, and a bit frightened. And then going, ‘John Lennon doesn’t have to do this’ – which was kind of wacky,” Waters said.

“[We had to tell him] ‘Buckle up, boy, let’s get on with it’… but he never did buckle up from that moment on, really. He wrote a few more songs, but nothing of any real note. And he just got more and more and more detached until he was completely wacky and not making any sense.”

Waters continues, explaining how the musician’s declining ability to write music became increasingly worrying to Pink Floyd.

“I made a lot of attempts to find out what was wrong and to involve his family… And we tried to get him to a shrink so on a number of occasions, but he would never go in, and then he just got weirder and weirder.”

“[It was] an existential threat as well. ‘Fuck me what are we going to do, he writes the bloody songs!’. I wrote about 20 per cent of them before, but they were nothing – Syd’s songs were the things that were different,” he adds. “If the guy who writes the songs in the band goes crazy, you’re fucked basically, unless somebody else learns to start to write. Luckily I did [but it] was a huge loss. And I did love him.”


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