This interview was taken from and was reproduced on the "Dolly Rocker" web site with the official permission of Rob Peets, the author of the fundamental and historic Floyd Site -/\= Set The Controls =/\-

Interview is (c)2000 AtomicSpiderProductions and may not be reprinted without permission.

Roger 'Syd' Barrett's Nephew

A little while ago I recieved an email relating to this Pink Floyd site, the message was from Ian Barrett, and he told me that he was the 22 year old nephew of Roger 'Syd' Barrett; the original writer/guitarist and founding member of The Pink Floyd. He mentioned that he liked my site and he seemed quite open to discussing his uncle and his current situation. So I suggested I give him a list of questions, that I figured most folks would like answers to, and then I could publish the answers here for all of Roger's internet using fans to read. Which brings us to now... the following is the interview he and I conducted via email on the World Wide Web, I think it gives us all a good look into Roger 'Syd' Barrett's present life... Hope you all enjoy it, and thanks Ian!

Set The Controls Interviews Ian Barrett:

sTc: What are your earliest memories of Roger, I assume you were born in 1973 right around the time things were starting to go real bad for him... do you have any memories of the mid to late 70's that you would like to share?

IB: When I was growing up I never really knew Roger at all as whenever we visited the house we would visit my Grandmother; and Rog would stay in his room and we'd hardly ever see him. All I knew was that he wasn't very well and liked to be alone. I had no concept that he might be famous for quite some time and never knew any details about what he might have been through till I was a teenager really.. I remember going to visit Rog in some sort of rehabilitation home out in the country and going for a walk with him through some woods but I didn't have any idea what he might be in there for . All I remember is that the house looked quite scary.

sTc: What's it like being around your uncle, and is there some sort of family rule that's says you should never bring up the topic of his past?

IB: The past is not something Rog ever discusses..

sTc: Has Roger ever talked to you about meeting the Beatles, or Stones or anyone famous like that?

IB: No.

sTc: What kind of music does he listen to these days?

IB: Roger does have a little record player, but he's only got a few records and tapes and they're mainly of classical concerts. He really isn't very interested in music anymore. He does have an acoustic guitar which I assume he strums to himself, but I've never heard him play it.

sTc: What does Roger think of himself... does he care at all about his past, and do you think he realizes that he's had a big influence on many other artists ?

IB: Rog. doesn't care one little bit about the past and is so removed now from the glamour and excitement of the showbiz world he once longed for; that I'm sure it confuses him that anyone else would care so much that he sung a few songs and played bit of guitar in the Sixties.

sTc: Is there something you would like to say to potential well wishing visitors to Roger's home in Cambridge?

IB: The one thing I'd really like to say to people wanting to visit Roger and see how he is - is please DON'T..!!!!! I know many fans are genuinely very caring and are interested in his well-being; but he really doesn't enjoy having people knock on his door virtually every day wanting to wish him well. PLEASE leave him in peace to get on with his life happily. I can reassure anyone concerned that he really is happy and content and he'd be more so if he didn't have to awkwardly meet fans hanging outside the house and nervously knocking on his door. To this end I'd appreciate it if anyone reading this who knows his address would refrain from publicizing it further. please don't tell people where he lives. Surely everyone has the right to a bit of privacy and peace and quiet. If Roger was still involved in the Music Business then he would be more fair game for a lack of privacy; but as it is he hasn't made a record for over TWENTY YEARS.!! please show him some consideration and leave him in peace. I know that Roger is touched by all the concern of his fans but he'd be much happier if you simply let him get on with his life undisturbed.

sTc: What does Roger say to the people who actually do knock on his it just slammed in their face?

IB: Occasionally he may let them into his house; but generally he just closes the door as politely as possible.

sTc: Do you feel that Roger will ever come forward with his story, in book form or otherwise?

IB: I think it VERY unlikely. He simply isn't interested in going back over a time in his life that precipitated his breakdown and retreat from society. The whole Floyd time is so long ago that he simply wants to be left in peace to get on with his painting and reading and whatever.

sTc: You say Roger has been back into painting recently, have you seen any of his work and if so can you describe it?

IB: He likes to explore different kinds of painting; and I've seen various different styles of work - lately he's been very interested in geometric patterns and repeated shapes; the kind of things you might see on tiles or in weaving. I've seen abstracts in oils - naturalistic watercolours - wood block work. I haven't talked in depth about painting with him; so I couldn't give you any detailed information about what he's trying to achieve. In the last few years he's been writing a book - purely for his own enjoyment; about the history of art - tracing it's development through history. I haven't read it and before you ask I very much doubt he would ever want it published; but he's used a word processor to put it together; and I assume it's brought him a lot of pleasure.

sTc: Does Roger participate in family events like Christmas, or there something planned for his 50th birthday?

IB: While it would be wonderful if Roger was able to cope with family events and parties - he doesn't enjoy socializing and finds it very disturbing to be around large groups of people. Saying that he has visited my previous home in Luton several times; just for the day; and in the early 80's he visited us for Christmas which was lovely. I received an electronic game that you can play tunes on as a gift and I have a vivid memory of sitting with him on the sofa and teaching him how to play little tunes and games on the toy..! Unfortunately no primitive renditions of 'See Emily Play' were forthcoming that afternoon..!!!!

sTc: What's Roger's current state of mind?

IB: That's not a Question I can really answer as a) it's an abstract and relative concept and b) I'm not him and couldn't hope to summarize his psychology. All I can say is that Over the past few years I and the rest of my family have felt on meeting him that he is definitely starting to find a sense of contentment that has eluded him since his breakdown. He is happy to just potter about at home; watching television and doing a bit of painting or reading. Having a conversation with Roger is not the same as one with most people as he DOES have quite a strange and fragmented way of speaking; so everyday thing come out sounding quite abstract; but it all has it's own internal logic and it's just his way of expressing himself. If people still want to think that Roger is this wild lunatic he was supposed to be in the Sixties ( even though I'm sure much of this was complete invention ) then they are welcome to ; but I feel that this is a disservice to his contribution to Music and him as a human being and is also a very lazy way to view the situation. What really makes me sick about the media attention of Roger's career is the way he is written off as a 'madman'- a rock genius who was just such a 'crazed madcap' that there is no need to worry about the extent of pain and anguish he went through in the years directly after the band became successful. Without going into details I don't think people are prepared to understand the true extent of Roger's breakdown or the pressures he was put under.

sTc: Does Roger have some sort of scrapbook or anything that he's kept from his life in music?

IB: I honestly don't know what Roger still has from his time in the Floyd; but I doubt if he has much- if any. I have a small amount of material from newspapers and magazines; but nothing that I'm sure hasn't been printed in books already.

sTc: I've heard a rumor that Roger is married. is this true ?

IB: I'm afraid this is very much untrue. Roger has lived alone since his mother - my Grandmother died a few years ago....

sTc: Are you amazed that Syd's music is now being accepted as a big part of rock history and still being purchased by thousands of new fans every year?

IB: I always think it's amazing that there is STILL such a huge interest in Roger's works after all this time , and I never fail to be amazed at the strange stories people tell me about what they've heard he's been up to all these years. He's died about a million times apparently..!!! I've been to so many parties where I've been introduced to people as 'Syd's Nephew' and it tends to annoy me because I've DONE nothing as such other than being born into a family and while I 'm touched that people are taking an interest in Roger's life I'd rather not be used as a trophy to be used to curry favor. My close friends tend to be more sensitive to my feelings and not bring it up but some friends use me as a bargaining tool which can be a pain. If someone is a genuine fan I'll happily talk to them for hours telling them what he's been up to as I realize many people are completely in the dark and would like to know the truth. The reality is that Rog is a lot happier now than he has been for a hell of a long time and while not as stable and sociable as most people might seem he's found a peace he's not had for a long time - if ever.

sTc: Given Roger's difficulties in the past, do you know what his attitude is now concerning drugs. Has ever given you advice on this subject?

IB: I have absolutely no idea what his views on drugs are now; but I don't really think it takes too much imagination to work out what his viewpoint might be after all he went through because of them..!!

sTc: I've heard rumor that Brian Eno and Jimmy Page have been friends of Roger's through the years and/or still are... do you know of any truth to this?

IB: I know that in one of the books on Roger's life it is claimed that both Eno and Page have expressed desire to work with Rog. and I assume that this was the reason for the rumor starting. I don't know fore sure but I wouldn't imagine either men have ever met Roger.

sTc: When PF did the video shoots for the Division Bell a lot of it was filmed in Cambridge. Did Roger know about the HUGE replica of his head which was carried around the streets?

IB: I didn't know about it; and I very much doubt if Roger knew about it.

sTc: I know that there is Syd Barrett material still locked away in some vault somewhere... video/sound from the early days, solo outtakes etc. Was your father and other uncle involved in negotiating the release of Opal? And if say EMI wants to release 'Syd Barrett rarities' would they have to get the go ahead from your family to release such a project?

IB: I'm really not in a position to comment on a question like this. There may well be more recordings lying somewhere; and I would be as excited as everyone else to hear them; but where they might be I have absolutely no idea. I have no dealings with the record company personally and while it's true that my family help Roger out with his dealings with the label we're not involved with the business directly so wouldn't know about any rarities still around.

sTc: How much of a fan of Pink Floyd are you? Do you like all aspects of Floyd, and what do you think of your uncles guitar style from the early Floyd? Also what kind of music are u into?

IB: OK. I may be biased; but I love all the early stuff; but I get kind of bored by a lot of the later Floyd music. It's really nothing personal it's just not really my kind of music. I've always been into psychedelia a lot more than the later more mellow records. My personal tastes are hugely varied and stretch from a lot of Sixties stuff like '13th Floor Elevators' and solo Roky Erickson to psychedelia like Julian Cope, Spacemen 3 - Iggy Pop - Beatles - through to modern stuff like Prince, funk, Indie, techno-dance music, anything and everything basically.. listening to Roger's music - especially his solo albums is a strange experience that I can't really explain. Basically - while my ears hear Roger singing; my mind feels that it's someone else from the Roger I go and visit. You must realize that I wasn't even born when the records were made and it doesn't really feel like it's the same person. When I listen to his songs there is a lot more psychic baggage I have to carry around than most people would have when listening; and while for many people it's easy to block out the real pain the songs put across and convince themselves the songs are just the funny ramblings of a 'rock nutter' I'm afraid I can't do that....

PinkMaster note:
We found some quotes about this Interview, although no one attributes it explicitely to "Set The Controls" site:

From Disappearances can be deceptive by Tom Cox, Sunday April 22, 2001 - Guardian Newspapers:

I tell Waters about a website that has an interview with Syd's nephew Ian, who says Syd 'still talks in fragments' and is uncomfortable about the past but that he's writing a book on art history.
'Really?' exclaims Waters, sounding thrilled. 'That's extraordinary. He must be a lot better. Maybe I will go and see him at some point.'
From the Book Madcap - The half-life of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd's lost genius by Tim Willis:

In 1996, Barrett's 23-years-old nephew by Donald gave an email interview to an internet Syd-site. As well as repeating many of Paul Breen's sentiments, Ian Barrett revealed that Barrett owned an acoustic guitar and 'a little record player', and described his uncle's recent paintings [...]

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