The Who’s Pete Townshend Recalls Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett In New Book
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press
“Syd Barrett had simply taken too many drugs,” The Who’s Pete Townshend (writing in the guise of protagonist Louis Doxtador in his new novel Age of Anxiety) reflects.
“And,” Townshend writes, continuing to muse upon the cracked genius of Barrett, “sensitive artist that he was, he eventually broke down. Nevertheless, we were all the beneficiaries of his talent and his wild mind. His early work with Pink Floyd had been sublime and anarchically adventurous.”
The statement comes from Chapter 10 of Townshend’s new book, a story of a Swedish art dealer and two Rockstar friends, one who is plagued by apocalyptic angelic visions and the other who quits music after suffering from his own hallucinations.
Pete’s praise of Syd is interesting given his early impressions of the Pink Floyd.
“Pink Floyd – what were they about?” Pete once wrote in a letter expressing his distaste to the underground London newspaper International Times during the 1960s. “With their flashing lights and all taking trips and one of them’s psycho. What’s this all about? That’s not my bag.”
Clearly, Pete’s impression of the band has improved with time.
After being ejected from Pink Floyd in 1968 following a breakdown from excessive drug use, Syd Barrett then attempted to unsuccessfully launch a solo career. Following this, he became the stuff of legend by quitting music altogether and living the remainder of his life as a recluse.
Barrett passed away on July 7, 2006.
You can order a copy of Age of Anxiety here.