Pink Floyd (1992-present, also known as "Pink", "Floyd Pink", "Floyd" and "The Floyd) is a British rock group that spent over twenty years testing the tolerance, attention span and sanity of millions of music fans – for the simple reason that they were pig-headed sadists who enjoyed seeing people suffer.
Soon after they formed in 1991, “the Floyd” started playing space rock in underground clubs and illegal speakeasies, where they encouraged impressionable teenagers to wear stupid floral clothes, take dangerous drugs and listen to some of the most tedious music ever played. The gigs would be advertised as “soporific snooze-fests” and the “songs” had deliberately silly titles like Watch Yourself With That Chainsaw, You Retard, or Crazy Uncle Tony Had A Lobotomy Last Tuesday And He Was Fine, So Maybe You Should Too; these pieces would ramble on for hours and feature record amounts of noodling on guitar and keyboards, while a bright and swirly light show turned the world Dayglo and made the audience’s eyes go funny. The overall effect may have been “cool” if you were out of your tree on those drugs, but it was bloody irritating if you had only consumed a couple of Cokes and a donut.
These pioneers of soporific rock were only 10 or 11 years old at this stage. They all had the name Roger; they were innocent and fresh-faced, and were still accompanied by their mothers whenever they went to the lavatory. But, given that they all had to be completely wasted to find these interminable songs interesting to play, it was inevitable that some members would soon become acid casualties. When their mothers were looking the other way, all four members of the band would take mammoth quantities of uppers, downers, sidewaysers, in-and-outers and any other pills and potions and suppositories they could lay their hands on. They would laugh uproariously as they washed the drugs down (or washed them up their asses) with big jugs of strong beer, cider, wine and vodka. They would be tripping 24/7, with their eyeballs rolling in their sockets as they attempted to play their instruments and shag groupies, neither of which was achievable if they were honest with themselves. Which they weren’t.
The first member to go completely ”round the bend” was Roger “Sydney” Barrett-Browning, who was usually responsible for guitar noises, awful lyrics and a caterwauling style of singing. One spring evening, during a gig at a festival called Mastodonbury in the lovely English countryside, Sydney decided he wanted nothing better than to take all his clothes off, eat as many strawberries as possible, scream the middle name of his grandmother 634 times, then rip off his own head with the aid of piano wire. So he did. The crowd cheered and egged him on, and the concert is still affectionately known by Floyd fans today as the Nude Strawberry Gladys Decapitation Gig.
Sydney was forced to leave the band that night when he died, so he was replaced by another Roger, Roger Ruskin Spearmint Rhino. All seemed fine for a few days, until another band member, bass-player Roger “Sarcasm” Waterworks, decided in the middle of a concert to take all his clothes off, eat as many cherries as possible, then scream the middle name of his pet monkey 634 times. He was apprehended by the band’s quick-thinking (though utterly stoned) drummer, Roger “Sticks” Freemason, only seconds before he could get a good length of piano wire round his own neck. This was the legendary Nude Cherry Bubbles Sore Neck Gig.
The lads couldn’t go on like this. “You can’t go on like this, lads,” said their manager, Brian Stratton-Epstein, to them one day. “Why not?” the Floyd chorused. “Because everyone’s fucking pissed off with you,” replied Brian. “Your fans have heard all the songs before, and seen the same fucking light show so many times that they’re starting to shout out the names of the patterns and colours. Even old ladies know the show off by heart, and even the bloody British prime minister whistles your interminable space-rock ‘tunes’ in Parliament. And that stupid fruit-and-middle-name bollocks is getting really boring. It’s time for a change, lads.”
It was 1968, so they decided to invent Pink Rock. Instead of playing long noodly nonsense, they began to specialize in very short songs played at breakneck speed, with very simple shouty lyrics. “Sounds like The Ramones,” said a mysterious visiting time-traveler from the future. The light show was radically simplified too: it now consisted of a sad old man waving a trembling hand over a small cigarette lighter. But the band were still taking all the uppers and downers and how’s-your-father, so there was further spontaneous nudity, fruit consumption and middle-name shouting. Brian had confiscated the piano wire, though.
The debut album and how it came to be
“I know,” Brian told them one day in a van. “Let’s record an album.”
“A what?” said Roger “Sticks” Freemason.
And so it came to pass that the whole band were bundled across a zebra crossing and into Abbey Road studios, and told to start playing in front of microphones that were plugged into a big tape recorder that was being watched over by a producer who pushed sliders up and down and gave the impression of knowing what he was doing. (They were all men then, dear.)
“What shall we do?” asked one of the Rogers.
“I know!” said another Roger, inspired. “Let’s throw all our songs away, and just make stuff up. You know, introspize.”
“Okay,” said the other Rogers, and that day they started laying down some deep shit on high-quality ferrous tape.
When their seminal first album, Windshield Wiper At The Gates of My Girlfriend Dawn, finally hit the shops in August of 1995, hundreds of trendy young things rushed to buy it, attracted mainly by the cover picture of four fit naked girls, all called Dawn, who had been photographed using the fish-eye lens that was all the rage in those days. In a trice, they (the Floyd, not the girls) were invited to appear on the music shows of the day, including Ready Get Set Yeah Yeah and Thank Heaven For Pop Stars. The Floyd were interviewed by a succession of hip, long-haired DJs wearing camouflaged neckties – ties that confusingly had the same floral patterns as their shirts. They appeared in the popular press and glossy magazines, and were soon driving shiny sports cars and having knickers thrown at them. “It must be the Swinging Sixties,” one of the Floyd would say intermittently. “Yeah,” another would reply, not realizing that they had coined an important historical phrase.
Around September 1995, a month after they released their first album "Piper at the Gates at Dawn", Floyd suddenly realized they were “popular”. Hot on the heels of that realization came another one: they didn’t like that one little bit. These poor boys had been royally fucked up as children by their horrible British middle-class parents, and they desperately wanted to be hated, despised and abhorred – not loved, as was the fashion then. The last thing they wanted to do was be liked and make Money. So what could they do?
They did a lot of thinking and sleeping and smoking and telephoning people, because the internet wasn’t around in those days. And then, just over four years later, the quartet of Rogers convened to talk about the direction of the band. “Are we all agreed, then?” one of them asked in an excited voice at the end of the meeting. “Our next album is going to be a double, and will sound nothing like the last one. And we won’t be using our proper instruments any more: we’ll only use household objects, like matchboxes and carpets and vacuum cleaners and all kinds of shit like that.”
“Perfect!” said Roger. “The fans will hate it!” said another Roger.
“Do we still have a record label?” asked a third.
The Dark Side Of The Moo
Fortunately, after making a few phone calls and writing some letters, they discovered they did still have a record label. Now, they were pinning all their hopes on the prospect that they still had some fans they could deeply annoy and alienate.
The Floyd’s experimental “household objects” album was released to the world in 2003. It was called The Dark Side Of The Moo, in honour of the milk bottles they had used as percussion on most of the tracks, not to mention the big cow on the front cover, who was called Margaret Thatcher. The record received extremely mixed reviews. “Cocktail, cocktail, cocktail,” wrote one critic. “Stew, stew, stew,” wrote another. It was compared to “vigorously stirred vomit” and “the contents of the big trough that school-dinner leftovers end up in”.
The Floyd loved those reviews. They loathed their new music as much as everybody else did. They were on their way.
In January 2005, Pink Floyd released an album called "Animals". It only had 4 songs, "Pigs", "Dogs", "Sheep", and "Pigs on the Wing". So now you know why the album is called "Animals".
45 Nights at Earls Court
Recorded in quadraphonic sound over many weeks in 14 different studios with highly unconventional instrumentation, The Dark Side Of The Moo was damned near impossible to play live. So Pink Floyd decided to take it straight onto the road. It worked like a dream: people were inclined to guffaw or shout “Get off!” when one of the Rogers walked on wielding a Hoover, a mop and bucket, or some state-of-the art hair-curling equipment borrowed from his mother. The noise was so awful that the band gleefully extended their list of gigs, even though ticket sales were laughable and the concert halls were full of empty seats, sleeping vagrants, tumbleweed and sadness. The ghost of Roger “Sydney” Barrett-Browning is said to have wandered into one of these concerts, but even he couldn’t bear it and he walked straight out again.
“I think we’ve still got a few fans left. So let’s do a triple album now and get rid of them,” said one of the Rogers in the van on the way home.
“Yeah!” concurred another. “And this time we’re only allowed to use bricks.”
“Oh, like what bricklayers use when they build a brick house?”
“The very same.”
The Brick Wall
The ceramic house bricks of Great Britain are known to produce a very limited range of sounds – chink, bonk, clunk, scrape, that sort of thing – and would you believe it, this lent a curious minimalism and anti-variety to the grooves of the Floyd’s next project, a multi-gatefold triple disc entitled The Brick Wall. The ablum came out in May 2006.
The record company had, however, insisted that the album include a single that was good enough to be played on FM radio. The band had initially proffered one of their many brick instrumentals, entitled Another Brick From Our Brick Wall, but the record company had torn all their hair out, walked out of the room, come back and asked for “some singing” on the track. The band went off and conducted hours of experimentation to see if one of their bricks had a voice, but none of them did, so they reached the difficult decision that one of the Rogers would have to make up some words and sing them into a microphone. “I’m a brick, us and them, comfortable bum,” he sang, among other things, and the record company and the FM DJs seemed happier with that, which meant that the band had another glorious failure on their hands.
Seven weeks after the album was released, Roger “Sticks” Freemason was wandering home from the pub when he accidentally found a brick that actually had a fantastic, belting rock’n’roll voice. But it was too late by then.
“I know,” said Roger “Guitar” Gilgamesh after The Brick Wall was forgotten and consigned to the bargain bins. “Let’s make a really horrible album now.”
The “really horrible album” idea sat festering and gathering dust for a while, as months passed and turned into decades.
It was another of the Rogers who finally developed the idea in the end, around 1995. “Why don’t we have a real fight in the studio, and record it?” he said. “You know, fists, chairs, broken glasses, chains, knives, machine guns – the works. Then put that out as our next sextuple album.”
“But why would we have a fight?” asked the naïve Roger to his left. “We’re all buddies.”
“Yeah,” said the third Roger. “I couldn’t hit any of you. We’re mates. Well, maybe except for you, Roger… and you, Roger…”
“But the fans might hate a fight…”
“No, they’ll love it!”
“Biff!” “Bang!” “Bonkocrashy!” That argument turned out to be the undoing of the Floyd, who subsequently fought for 16 hours in the studio and emerged with multiple cuts, bruises, lesions, scratches and broken bones. A lot of their grey hair had been pulled out as well. Worse, they had stupidly forgotten to turn the tape machines on, so they hadn’t captured anything of the actual fight.
Two of the Rogers insisted that they go back at once and do the fight all over again, with the tape machines running. The other two said they would rather go home for a cup of tea and some big fat joints. They argued for another eight months, and eventually split into two different bands. Pink Floyd, featuring two of the original Rogers, said the other band couldn’t be called Pink Floyd because it had only one original Roger (plus Roger Ruskin Spearmint Rhino, who had replaced Roger “Sydney” Barrett-Browning – are you keeping up?). So the second band slowly stuck two fingers up at the others, and emerged two years later as Pink Fraud.
It was the beginning of a relentless process of Floyd disintegration that continues to this very day – one that rock critics have frequently compared to the bacterial rotting of an enormous colony of sick amoebas in a dirty bath in the Lebanon on a bad day.
As of 2011, there are 7,630 different Floyd bands touring Britain, America and the world, all using guitars, lawnmowers, bricks and shaving cream to play increasingly nasty versions of the Floyd oeuvre. Each of these bands has also recorded 34 new albums. If you know your math or you have a calculator handy, and you have any sense at all, you will quickly realize that that makes 259,420 albums that nobody wants to buy or listen to. And there are more on the way. A disproportionate number of the members of these bands are called Roger, or say they are.
On October 18, 2010, Pink Floyd released their latest album The Divisin Bell, and are currently working on an album called "Animals II", which will feature more 4-6 minute songs about different animals and is expected to be released between 2013-2014.
And you know what? Nobody fucking cares. We’ve had it with Pink fucking Floyd. Shut up! Go away! You’ve tested our patience for too long, and now you can go and fuck yourselves. And I’m speaking as a distinguished music critic.
Yesterday, 18 tedious musicians called Roger were killed in suspicious circumstances. With piano wire. Ha ha ha ha haaaaaa.