Roger Waters – RW
Peter Jenner – Jenner
Roger made a rare TV appearance on British Television during the summer of 1996. The program was one in a series by the BBC covering the history of Rock and Roll called “Dancing In The Street.”
It was a massive project involving over 200 interviews with the people who have made Rock and Roll history or who have made the subject so engrossing over the years. These included – musicians, performers, writers, TV – Radio personalities etc., people who have had an important part to play in the business.
The Roger appeared in was titled “Eight Miles High” and was about the psychedelic years of 1966/67. It was broadcast on July 20, 1996. Peter Jenner also appeared. The episode was narrated by Sean Barrett. The program started with the American psychedelic scene portraying artists like the Byrds, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin, etc. Then the focus moved to early psychedelic groups of the UK. With narration by Sean Barrett, Roger Waters, and _then_ Pink Floyd manager, Peter Jenner, commented upon the era giving their perspective and account of Pink Floyd and the beginning of psychedelia in that time period of Rock and Roll history.
Gradually London developed a home grown psychedelic scene with its own distinctive sound. There were strange noises emanating from an old church hall at Ladbroke Grove.
RW: There was a need to experiment in order to find another way of expressing ourselves that didn’t involve practicing playing guitar for 10 years. That time people were standing there in little suits with Gibsons and bass guitars held against the chest going like that (Roger demonstrates and although it wasn’t very complicated stuff it wasn’t something I was interested in doing. In fact if you turned the thing up loud and used a plectrum – and I had a Rickenbacher which I bought with a grant, in fact my entire terms grant – if you ganged it hard it made strange noises and I found if you pushed the strings against the pick-ups ,it made a funny clicking noise.
Jenner: There was a sort of wildness about the British psychedelic scene that was a sort of freedom of expression which you didn’t come across in America. We thought that was part of the psychedelic experience. I don’t think anyone at that time did that, maybe The Grateful Dead did it in terms of guitar solos but they tended to improvise in a far more conventional manner around conventional chord sequences, because I think a lot of the British stuff was…what was a chord sequence?…we’re just playing man! They played one chord until everyone got bored then 1-2-3, back to the song.
British record companies soon cashed in on the new underground scene. Pink Floyd were signed by E.M.I. and Syd Barrett penned the perfect slice of pop psychedelia for their first single.
RW: “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play” were both minor hits. We would not perform them live because we considered the three minute form to be irrelevant to the idea of live performances and so we did a lot of gigs where people would stand on the balcony and pour beer on us because we would not play “See Emily Play” or “Arnold Layne.”
In April 1967, 10,000 people crowded into Alexander Palace for a night of psychedelic abandonment, billed as the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream.
Jenner: I dropped a tab on the way to the gig and it started coming on as we were being directed in. I was having to steer the van through something very tiny and lots of people were wondering about all absolutely out of their crust. There were people climbing over scaffolding and it was an extraordinary building with all the glass in the Alley Palley…as the light came up, because it was the summer…it was a wonderful, really a psychedelic experience. The whole world was there and every band was playing and it was a magical occasion. Any more precise recollections I’m afraid have been wiped out.
When Pink Floyd came to San Francisco in October 1967 there were disturbing signs that their lead singer had taken too much LSD.
RW: By the time we went to America, Syd had gone by and large. We did the Pat Boone show, and we were taping the show, and he would do the run-through and Syd would stand with his Telecaster with silver bits all over it and mime happily. (Roger doing an American accent) Cut, cut, we are going to do it now…He knew perfectly well what was going on, he was just being crazy and they did four or five takes like that. Eventually I mimed it.