Nick Mason has been the drummer for Pink Floyd before they were Pink Floyd. This is an historically/anecdotally/graphically intensive volume that covers and uncovers everything the psychedelic art band ever laid its hands and ears on.
The author is possessed of that unique English humor that lies somewhere between the irony and self-effacing wit of Monty Python and Nick Hornby. Line one, paragraph one defines this literary style:
"Roger Waters only deigned to speak to me after we'd spent the best part of six months at college studying together."
He goes on to illuminate how the two Pink halves finally became a whole: there was the Cambridge set represented by Waters, Syd Barrett, David Gilmour and various other down-the-road Floyd affiliates; and there was the Waters, Rick Wright, and Mason contingent who found each other at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London.
Every album is dissected and put into a proper context against the backdrop of a
1960's London draped in Carnaby Street finery and reeling from the first doses of LSD. And then, around the end of 1971, work began on the record that would become
Dark Side Of the Moon and this already successful quartet would experience a worldwide fame and acclaim that would follow them forever. The album originally fell under the rather unwieldy moniker,
"Dark Side Of the Moon, A Piece For Assorted Lunatics" - though it was abbreviated as
"Eclipse" and in mid-February the first performances were held at the Rainbow, a former cinema, in London.
All the songs are detailed in terms of the recording sessions and the development of the musical parts. And then comes the dissension. Here, Mason and company are sitting on some of the
most spectacular music ever recorded, and the individual members cannot agree on how the thing should be mixed.
"At times three separate mixes were done by different individuals, a system which in the past had tended to resolve matters, as a consensus normally developed toward a particular mix. But even this was not working.
In the end, the album rocketed to Number One around the world and would remain on the charts for a staggering amount of time - something like
"These were the early warning signals of fundamental disagreements within the band. Lines were being drawn in the sand, indistinctly and involuntarily, but being drawn nonetheless. At the risk of simplifying things too far, David and Rick felt more comfortable with a purer musical solution. Roger and I were drawn towards experimenting with the balances, and making more of the non-musical elements. David always preferred a certain amount of echo, Roger preferred the sound to be much drier."
Post-Moon history is then chronicled, the comings and goings of members, the reunion, solo tours, etc. Mason has done a remarkable job of running down a million different characters and assembling them in one eminently readable, if somewhat sprawling, accounting.