Tuesday, September 16, 2008
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Richard Wright, keyboard player and founding member of Pink Floyd, has died at 65 after a bout with cancer.
Wright formed the band with Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Syd Barrett in 1965. Later on they were joined by David Gilmour and the band pulsed and mutated, osmosed, and swelled to porcine proportions. They became a huge mainstream hit, even with the squares and fratboys, without ever abandoning their avant garde weirdness. They say "Dark Side of the Moon" sold as many records as there are molecules in the red sands of Mars, and I'm not surprised.
1965: Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, and Richard Wright
Their experimental sounds and Orwellian excursions might rate a dismissive smile from lazy journos who would tweezer them from the petri dish of sixties tumult and subculture and examine them in a vacuum with 20/20 hindsight. You know the drill. It's a standard editor's ploy: write a eulogy that secretly harbors a judgment, the whiff of sulfur, the chill of old ghosts, the terrible and lurid excesses of the day--and give it some sex and drugs and funny hairstyles. There's a template: File photo, End of an Era. Film at eleven.
Don't get me wrong. I won't be joining boorish boomers weeping over their beers and conjuring up past shows like veterans of St. Crispen's Day. I have my tales, sure, but I won't be pissing them away at parties. Some things are best kept private--even for bloggers. God knows, my uncensored Floydian reminiscences might alert the Thought Police, or at the very least ruin my chances for a future presidential bid.
1972: Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Dave Gilmour and Richard Wright
So I'll keep my mouth shut about Pink Floyd. I might wince on the inside when I hear drive time radio jocks jabbering in Cheech and Chong voices about how rad the Floyd were--Dude, they were like totally awesome--but I'll reserve the right to sing along to their music, alone, in my car. If you were there, you know what I mean. We saw something special. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
Richard Wright, RIP
The clip at the top of the post: Pink Floyd reunited in the summer of 2005- for the first time in 24 years - for the Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park. Below, Pink Floyd live at Pompeii, Italy, 1972.