Nick Mason Declared His Five Favorite Syd Barrett Songs


In a current interview with Rolling Stone, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason named his favorite Syd Barrett songs, lots of which he has performed on his solo tour Saucerful of Secrets.

Nick Mason’s tour tries to get as far away as possible from being a Pink Floyd tribute band. The songs he performs are completely chosen from Pink Floyd’s pre-Dark Aspect of the Moon, pre-1973 repertoire. A lot of the songs written before 1973 had been psychedelic ballads from the mind of Barrett.

Although much of this materials hasn’t been carried out in four decades, this fresh take on Pink Floyd’s discography separates him from bandmates David Gilmour and Roger Waters, who’ve toured on the hits in recent times. For the tour, his pseudo-Pink Floyd is made up of Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, Pink Floyd touring bassist Man Pratt, guitarist Lee Harris, and keyboardist Dom Beken.

Photograph: Rex Features

In the face of his recent tour playing material from Pink Floyd’s pre-Dark Side of the Moon era,Rolling Stone talks to Nick Mason about his favorite Syd Barrett songs.

Take a look at Mason’s choices beneath. All quotes are taken from his recent interview with Rolling Stone.

Astronomy Domine

“I believe it’s got a great science fiction vibe to it. It’s interstellar, however it’s also a bit more astrology. And then there’s a fantastic little bit of Sixties philosophy mixed with a kind of psychedelic lyric. For me, it is also really fun to play due to the tempo. It reminds me a little bit of Ginger Baker, who was a huge influence on me. There’s a Ginger Baker-style of drum fill in this tune. The song starts with our manager reading the names of the planets. Those were the days when management was involved in the artistic decisions as well as the business,” Mason told Rolling Stone.


“From what I remember about this track, all of the clocks on it were recorded for real. The lyrics to this are so very Syd, astonishingly clever. It’s fun, however there’s a depth of sadness to them. When I listen to it now, I realise how young and immature we were and how hopeless we were at coming to grips with Syd’s breakdown.”

Interstellar Overdrive

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“This is a track that’s open to improvisation and reinterpretation. When you play the opening riffs, you can freestyle it so many different ways. At the moment, we have one way of playing it, however I think once we get back on the road, I’m hoping it’ll take some other instructions.” 

Vegetable Man

“A wonderful track. It sounds relatively simple, but it’s actually a bit more complicated and almost punk. It’s sort of 4 snare beats to the bar, which is a very kind of punk way of drumming. So many songs were written by Syd in such a short time interval. It was less than two years from our first public show in October of 1967. At that time we only had two or three original songs. And just about a year later, it was already sort of burning out.”

Arnold Layne

“It is a really uncommon song. It’s a part of the late-1960s thing where suddenly songs are more than just “I’m gonna get you, babe.” The bizarre thing is that I think again in 67, and the end of 66, we thought we wanted to be an R&B band, and somehow got completely distracted by writings songs like this and “Bike” and “The Gnome” and that whole rather weird English way of life.”

Via Rolling Stone.

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