sTc: What are your
earliest memories of Roger, I assume you were born in 1973 right
around the time things were starting to go real bad for him... do
you have any memories of the mid to late 70's that you would like
IB: When I was growing
up I never really knew Roger at all as whenever we visited the house
we would visit my Grandmother; and Rog would stay in his room and
we'd hardly ever see him. All I knew was that he wasn't very well
and liked to be alone. I had no concept that he might be famous
for quite some time and never knew any details about what he might
have been through till I was a teenager really.. I remember going
to visit Rog in some sort of rehabilitation home out in the country
and going for a walk with him through some woods but I didn't have
any idea what he might be in there for . All I remember is that
the house looked quite scary.
sTc: What's it like
being around your uncle, and is there some sort of family rule that's
says you should never bring up the topic of his past?
IB: The past is not something
Rog ever discusses..
sTc: Has Roger ever
talked to you about meeting the Beatles, or Stones or anyone famous
sTc: What kind of
music does he listen to these days?
IB: Roger does have a
little record player, but he's only got a few records and tapes
and they're mainly of classical concerts. He really isn't very interested
in music anymore. He does have an acoustic guitar which I assume
he strums to himself, but I've never heard him play it.
sTc: What does Roger
think of himself... does he care at all about his past, and do you
think he realizes that he's had a big influence on many other artists
IB: Rog. doesn't care
one little bit about the past and is so removed now from the glamour
and excitement of the showbiz world he once longed for; that I'm
sure it confuses him that anyone else would care so much that he
sung a few songs and played bit of guitar in the Sixties.
sTc: Is there something
you would like to say to potential well wishing visitors to Roger's
home in Cambridge?
IB: The one thing I'd
really like to say to people wanting to visit Roger and see how
he is - is please DON'T..!!!!! I know many fans are genuinely very
caring and are interested in his well-being; but he really doesn't
enjoy having people knock on his door virtually every day wanting
to wish him well. PLEASE leave him in peace to get on with his life
happily. I can reassure anyone concerned that he really is happy
and content and he'd be more so if he didn't have to awkwardly meet
fans hanging outside the house and nervously knocking on his door.
To this end I'd appreciate it if anyone reading this who knows his
address would refrain from publicizing it further. please don't
tell people where he lives. Surely everyone has the right to a bit
of privacy and peace and quiet. If Roger was still involved in the
Music Business then he would be more fair game for a lack of privacy;
but as it is he hasn't made a record for over TWENTY YEARS.!! please
show him some consideration and leave him in peace. I know that
Roger is touched by all the concern of his fans but he'd be much
happier if you simply let him get on with his life undisturbed.
sTc: What does Roger
say to the people who actually do knock on his door...is it just
slammed in their face?
IB: Occasionally he may
let them into his house; but generally he just closes the door as
politely as possible.
sTc: Do you feel that
Roger will ever come forward with his story, in book form or otherwise?
IB: I think it VERY unlikely.
He simply isn't interested in going back over a time in his life
that precipitated his breakdown and retreat from society. The whole
Floyd time is so long ago that he simply wants to be left in peace
to get on with his painting and reading and whatever.
sTc: You say Roger
has been back into painting recently, have you seen any of his work
and if so can you describe it?
IB: He likes to explore
different kinds of painting; and I've seen various different styles
of work - lately he's been very interested in geometric patterns
and repeated shapes; the kind of things you might see on tiles or
in weaving. I've seen abstracts in oils - naturalistic watercolours
- wood block work. I haven't talked in depth about painting with
him; so I couldn't give you any detailed information about what
he's trying to achieve. In the last few years he's been writing
a book - purely for his own enjoyment; about the history of art
- tracing it's development through history. I haven't read it and
before you ask I very much doubt he would ever want it published;
but he's used a word processor to put it together; and I assume
it's brought him a lot of pleasure.
sTc: Does Roger participate
in family events like Christmas, or birthdays...is there something
planned for his 50th birthday?
IB: While it would be
wonderful if Roger was able to cope with family events and parties
- he doesn't enjoy socializing and finds it very disturbing to be
around large groups of people. Saying that he has visited my previous
home in Luton several times; just for the day; and in the early
80's he visited us for Christmas which was lovely. I received an
electronic game that you can play tunes on as a gift and I have
a vivid memory of sitting with him on the sofa and teaching him
how to play little tunes and games on the toy..! Unfortunately no
primitive renditions of 'See Emily Play' were forthcoming that afternoon..!!!!
sTc: What's Roger's
current state of mind?
IB: That's not a Question
I can really answer as a) it's an abstract and relative concept
and b) I'm not him and couldn't hope to summarize his psychology.
All I can say is that Over the past few years I and the rest of
my family have felt on meeting him that he is definitely starting
to find a sense of contentment that has eluded him since his breakdown.
He is happy to just potter about at home; watching television and
doing a bit of painting or reading. Having a conversation with Roger
is not the same as one with most people as he DOES have quite a
strange and fragmented way of speaking; so everyday thing come out
sounding quite abstract; but it all has it's own internal logic
and it's just his way of expressing himself. If people still want
to think that Roger is this wild lunatic he was supposed to be in
the Sixties ( even though I'm sure much of this was complete invention
) then they are welcome to ; but I feel that this is a disservice
to his contribution to Music and him as a human being and is also
a very lazy way to view the situation. What really makes me sick
about the media attention of Roger's career is the way he is written
off as a 'madman'- a rock genius who was just such a 'crazed madcap'
that there is no need to worry about the extent of pain and anguish
he went through in the years directly after the band became successful.
Without going into details I don't think people are prepared to
understand the true extent of Roger's breakdown or the pressures
he was put under.
Roger have some sort of scrapbook or anything that he's kept from
his life in music?
IB: I honestly don't
know what Roger still has from his time in the Floyd; but I doubt
if he has much- if any. I have a small amount of material from newspapers
and magazines; but nothing that I'm sure hasn't been printed in
sTc: I've heard a
rumor that Roger is married. is this true ?
IB: I'm afraid this is
very much untrue. Roger has lived alone since his mother - my Grandmother
died a few years ago....
sTc: Are you amazed
that Syd's music is now being accepted as a big part of rock history
and still being purchased by thousands of new fans every year?
IB: I always think it's
amazing that there is STILL such a huge interest in Roger's works
after all this time , and I never fail to be amazed at the strange
stories people tell me about what they've heard he's been up to
all these years. He's died about a million times apparently..!!!
I've been to so many parties where I've been introduced to people
as 'Syd's Nephew' and it tends to annoy me because I've DONE nothing
as such other than being born into a family and while I 'm touched
that people are taking an interest in Roger's life I'd rather not
be used as a trophy to be used to curry favor. My close friends
tend to be more sensitive to my feelings and not bring it up but
some friends use me as a bargaining tool which can be a pain. If
someone is a genuine fan I'll happily talk to them for hours telling
them what he's been up to as I realize many people are completely
in the dark and would like to know the truth. The reality is that
Rog is a lot happier now than he has been for a hell of a long time
and while not as stable and sociable as most people might seem he's
found a peace he's not had for a long time - if ever.
sTc: Given Roger's
difficulties in the past, do you know what his attitude is now concerning
drugs. Has ever given you advice on this subject?
IB: I have absolutely
no idea what his views on drugs are now; but I don't really think
it takes too much imagination to work out what his viewpoint might
be after all he went through because of them..!!
sTc: I've heard rumor
that Brian Eno and Jimmy Page have been friends of Roger's through
the years and/or still are... do you know of any truth to this?
IB: I know that in one
of the books on Roger's life it is claimed that both Eno and Page
have expressed desire to work with Rog. and I assume that this was
the reason for the rumor starting. I don't know fore sure but I
wouldn't imagine either men have ever met Roger.
sTc: When PF did the
video shoots for the Division Bell a lot of it was filmed in Cambridge.
Did Roger know about the HUGE replica of his head which was carried
around the streets?
IB: I didn't know about
it; and I very much doubt if Roger knew about it.
sTc: I know that there
is Syd Barrett material still locked away in some vault somewhere...
video/sound from the early days, solo outtakes etc. Was your father
and other uncle involved in negotiating the release of Opal? And
if say EMI wants to release 'Syd Barrett rarities' would they have
to get the go ahead from your family to release such a project?
IB: I'm really not in
a position to comment on a question like this. There may well be
more recordings lying somewhere; and I would be as excited as everyone
else to hear them; but where they might be I have absolutely no
idea. I have no dealings with the record company personally and
while it's true that my family help Roger out with his dealings
with the label we're not involved with the business directly so
wouldn't know about any rarities still around.
sTc: How much of a
fan of Pink Floyd are you? Do you like all aspects of Floyd, and
what do you think of your uncles guitar style from the early Floyd?
Also what kind of music are u into?
IB: OK. I may be biased;
but I love all the early stuff; but I get kind of bored by a lot
of the later Floyd music. It's really nothing personal it's just
not really my kind of music. I've always been into psychedelia a
lot more than the later more mellow records. My personal tastes
are hugely varied and stretch from a lot of Sixties stuff like '13th
Floor Elevators' and solo Roky Erickson to psychedelia like Julian
Cope, Spacemen 3 - Iggy Pop - Beatles - through to modern stuff
like Prince, funk, Indie, techno-dance music, anything and everything
basically.. listening to Roger's music - especially his solo albums
is a strange experience that I can't really explain. Basically -
while my ears hear Roger singing; my mind feels that it's someone
else from the Roger I go and visit. You must realize that I wasn't
even born when the records were made and it doesn't really feel
like it's the same person. When I listen to his songs there is a
lot more psychic baggage I have to carry around than most people
would have when listening; and while for many people it's easy to
block out the real pain the songs put across and convince themselves
the songs are just the funny ramblings of a 'rock nutter' I'm afraid
I can't do that....