Nick Mason On His Strange Days With Syd Barrett In Pink Floyd -
Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets

Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets

Nick Mason On His Strange Days With Syd Barrett In Pink Floyd

by Paul Cashmere on May 30, 2023

in News

In the early days of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett was the group’s main songwriter and lead singer. The debut Floyd album ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ (1967) was mainly a Barrett creation. But Syd deteriorated with mental health issues and when the second album ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’ (1968) started Syd transitioned out of the band and David Gilmour came in.

Watch the Noise11 interview with Pink Floyd co-founder Nick Mason.

Founding member Nick Mason spoke to He says, “One of the tragedies of Syd is that when I first met him he was enormously personable and cheerful and a really great writer. The ‘Piper’ album is full of really interesting, really different songs and not one genre. If he hadn’t had the breakdown I think he would have gone on to be a fantastic songwriter and written all sorts of things”.

Replacing a lead singer and main songwriter was incredibly risky for the band. “Looking back, what is so surprising is that we thought we could carry on without Syd,” Nick says. Syd had become so disjointed that it wasn’t a pleasure to be in a band and playing music anymore. The moment when David came in and Syd went out there was an enormous sense of relief even through we had lost our main songwriter and frontman”.

Despite the health issues, the band did consider keeping him as a non-touring member. “He had become more and more erratic,” Nick says. “We had a meeting because we actually thought we could take a leaf out of the Beach Boys book and Syd could stay and write and wouldn’t be coming on the road with us. But I think both management and Syd at the time didn’t think it would work and I don’t think it would have worked, I have to say”.

Syd Barrett remained creating releasing two solo albums in 1970. David Gilmour and Roger Waters both played on Syd’s albums. Nick did not. “Syd basically didn’t need that. At the end of the day, I think Rick (Wright) did also put some music into it. I don’t think at that point I was that keen to get involved with it anyway”.

Five years later Syd resurfaced when Pink Floyd were recording the ‘Wish You Were Here’ (1975) album. “That was very odd,” Nick says. “I say it was very odd because everyone has a slightly different take on when he came or how long he was there. It looks like he came on two days. He came on one day and again on the next. I only say that because I’ve seen photographs of him and he was wearing different clothes, so he must have came a second day. I don’t have any memory of that at all. My memory of that was this very odd thing. I had been recording something in the studio and I came into the control room and there was this large bald guy. I think David (Gilmour) said ‘don’t you know who that is’. I said no, I just didn’t recognise him”.

And that was the last time Nick Mason ever saw Syd Barrett. “Yes, absolutely. That was 1975”.

Syd Barrett passed away on 7 July 2006 from pancreatic cancer at age 60.

When Nick Mason tours Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets in Australia in September the setlist is all pre-The Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd released seven albums before Dark Side of the Moon.

The band is Mason alongside Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, former Pink Floyd touring bassist Guy Pratt, guitarist Lee Harris and keyboardist Dom Beken.


➢ Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 September – Melbourne, Forum Theatre
➢ Tuesday 19 September – Brisbane Convention Exhibition Centre
➢ Thursday 21 & Friday 22 September – Sydney, Enmore Theatre
➢ Monday 25 September – Perth, Riverside Theatre

For tickets and tour information visit

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