Last week, it was the Pink Floyd's turn, which wassurprising, for their latest record "Apples And Oranges" isn'texactly setting the charts alight. Still, I managed to penetratetheir initial unreceptive attitude and asked how they felt aboutthe record bombing after "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play" hadbeen so well received.
"Couldn't care less," was Syd Barrett's answer. For theFloyd don't really regard themselves as primarily a record group.
Barrett is an advocate of musical anarchy. He believes that allthe group can do is make a record which pleases them. If it'snot commercial - too bad.
"All we can do is make records which we like. If the kidsdon't, then they won't buy it." Ideally, believes Barrett,groups should record their own music, press their own records,distribute them and sell them.
He feels that the application of commercial considerationsis harmful to the music. He'd like to cut out the record companyand wholesalers and retailers. "All middle men are bad," hesaid.
Co-manager Peter Jenner said that, anyway, the groups havefar more idea of what the kids want than the record companies.
Barrett said that the reason the kids dig the Beatles andMick Jagger is not so much because of their music, but becausethey always do what they want to do and to hell with everyoneelse. "That's why the kids dig them - because they do what theywant. The kids know this."
I met Barrett and guitarist Roger Waters with managersJenner and Andrew king at the Central Office of Information inLambeth. They had been viewing a colour film insert of the groupfor a magazine programme on Britain networked across America andCanada.
The number they filmed was "Jug Band Blues," written byBarrett which manager Jenner said he had wanted to release astheir single instead of "Apples And Oranges." He said he waspressing for it to be their next single in the New Year.
It is almost a poetic recitation by Barrett, with avantgarde sound effects by the group. The centre passage is almostfree form pop, with six members of the Salvation Army on therecording session told to "play what you like."
After the filming, we retired to a nearby coffee bar whereJenner said: "The group has been through a very confusing stageover the past few months and I think this has been reflected intheir work.
"You can't take four people of this mental level - they usedto be architects, an artist and even an educational cyberneticist- give them big success and not expect them to get confused.
"But they are coming through a sort of de-confusing periodnow. They are not just a record group. They really pull peoplein to see them and their album has been terrifically received inthis country and America. I think they've got a tremendousthings ahead of them. They are really only just starting."
The Floyds entry into the pop arena was as a psychedelicgroup. They came in on the surge of lights and psychedelia whichis dwindling rapidly today. Were they still using lights or hadthey made any decision to abandon them ?
"Not at all," said Roger Waters, "With us, lights were not,and are not a gimmick. We believe that a good light showenhances the music. Groups who adopted lights as a gimmick arenow being forced to drop them, but there's no reason why weshould.
"In this country, groups were forced to provide their ownlight shows, whereas in the States, it was the clubs who providedthe lights."
"Really," said Barrett, "we have only just started to scrapethe surface of effects and ideas of lights and music combined; wethink that the music and the lights are part of the same scene,one enhances and adds to the other.
"But we feel that in the future, groups are going to have tooffer much more than just a pop show. They'll have to offer awell-presented theatre show."