Pink Floyd - What I Needed That I Forgot

My path to Pink Floyd has been a long and strange one. Like other people of my generation, a teenager of the 70s, I grew up with the sounds of Pink Floyd on FM radio, however unlike them, I never owned Dark Side of the Moon at that time. DSOTM was always on my list of "to get" albums, and believe me, I always taped whatever I heard of Floyd on the radio, however my economic situation (I'd starve myself for lunch so that I could save up lunch money to buy records, and I didn't own my own stereo) made it impossible to get all the music I loved. I had a great passion for discovering British Invasion and Psychedelia at the time, which put me at a distance from the rest of my disco-listening, late-70s schlock-loving high school peers. At that time I had a very vague (from what the media presented) notion of punk, and for better or worse, was destined to discover it and later have it take over most of my musical collection at the exclusion of my old favorites.

My first semester in college The Wall came out and I immediately bought it, my first album-introduction to Pink Floyd. At this time in my life I was also listening heavily to The Kinks as well as discovering more of the late 60s, early 70s era of classic rock. However I met some people who were heavily into Punk, one in particular whom I have come to refer to in these later times as "The Fat Sow" or the "Fourth Pig", that led me away from many of my album rock favorites and into her new direction.

Change is good when it leads to the discovery of new and wonderful things, however change is bad when it also excludes things that were still good and wonderful. The Sow's influence on my musical taste (of course, had I not been such a Sheep at the time, this wouldn't have been an issue) created a divide between the old "hippie me" and the new "punk me" to the exclusion of much of the music I formerly liked such as Pink Floyd.

Let me say that good things did come out of this change of aesthetics:

1) I continued to listen to The Kinks as they were regarded by the New Wave as being very influential, as was The Who.

2) I sold back all my Led Zeppelin, which was my OWN decision, not the Sow's (she loved Jimmy Page, ironically enough). I also had another friend at the time that was totally into Zeppelin and had a hard time with my Kinks appreciation, and I saw this rift between us as an ideological and fundamental one, and realized I just couldn't like a band like Led Zeppelin. I still don't like them (although watching a rockumentary on them is fun in a Spinal Tap sort of way), and I never will. They were great when I was 16, but they certainly don't stand the test of time. Their music doesn't mature well.

3) I realized I truly was not a hippie and never could be. I'm an artist, a bohemian, but NOT a hippie. Even at my most 60s-embracing, there was one band I never could get into, and that was The Grateful Dead. I simply do not appreciate their music, and I get a twinge of nausea when I hear Jerry Garcia's voice. In the early 80s I read in some music magazine two categories of music fans...Anglophile and Deadhead. I was definitely the former.

4) I discovered some great new music in the late 70s punk bands and to a lesser degree, the punk aftermath.

And of course the bad thing to come out of it as I see it now was my selling back of The Wall and never letting my interest in Pink Floyd develop further at the time. Of course if one is to say there is a reason for everything, then there was definitely a reason for this, as in "save something for later."

However, Pink Floyd was destined to find its way back to me somehow or other. I do believe music has to find you, that you can't find it. And Floyd's second attempt was about to happen.

My boyfriend at the time, Stan (who would become my husband), played early Pink Floyd for me one night in the very early stages of our relationship. I distinctly remember he played the live record of "Ummagumma" (as well as "Animals" because when I heard "Pigs Three Different Ones" 20 years later, it distinctly rang the memory bell) and I was quite startled when I heard the scream in "Careful with that Axe, Eugene." That memory is very important. Stan owned all of the Pink Floyd collection up through Animals, including Relics, excluding the two soundtrack albums. Unfortunately, I would influence him in favor of punk, and he eventually sold back all his Floyd so that he could afford to buy "new" things. As much as I regret having the same influence over him as The Sow did over me, the sellback was inevitable...if not in 1983, then again in 1988 as we liquidated our entire vinyl collection so that we could move across country to go to graduate school.

Those early 90s were the desolate years of music. We literally didn't listen to anything, and frankly, didn't care. I once even denied I liked music to a professor, mostly to avoid the subject (he was a judgmental Pig), even though I knew I didn't feel it in my heart. As barren musically as that time was for us, we'd still catch ourselves bringing something out of hibernation, even for just a fleeting moment when we felt rages of angst building in our blood: an old Crass Tape "Penis Envy", or "The Stooges," their first album, which was one of the very few albums we decided to keep and take with us in our move, even though our turntable was a piece of junk. We started buying CDs, and the entire collection of Doors albums was one of the first things I got.

Then came the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994. This had a very strange effect on me that made me extremely sad, but also made me realize that I'd been stupid for giving up music the way I had and trying to deny myself as a music lover in those recent years. "Better appreciate it now or else some day it'll be gone" was what it meant to me. Stan and I started buying music again, discovering new things as well as buying back in the form of CD old things we used to have on vinyl. Some of the CDs that Stan found used included David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" (I ALWAYS loved Bowie through all my "changes"), Iggy Pop's "The Idiot", and Roxy Music's "For Your Pleasure". And Pink Floyd's "Piper at the Gates of Dawn."

In 1999 I saw the movie "Velvet Goldmine" and totally got into Roxy Music and Brian Eno after that. Previously I thought Eno was intellectual elevator music, but that movie completely changed my opinion. Stan had always liked Eno, and was quite the big fan of Roxy Music as well, but at the time that he was (15 years prior to that), my ears were not as appreciative. I guess we all change.

In 2001, I saw an ad on TV for Pink Floyd's "Echoes." Stan made fun of it. "But you used to like Pink Floyd!" I reminded him. Around that time I think I caught a video of "Brain Damage/Eclipse" on VH1 or something. It was a rather comfortable feeling, like "home" or something out of your past that you forgot you liked.

In the middle of 2002, Stan and I were forced to make some extremely strange changes in our lives as far as technology. We felt as if our entire beings had been forced through a tube very quickly and we came out of the end into another paradigm. I will not get into the whats and whys as it is pretty boring, however as a consequence of one of these technological changes, we now had VH1 Classic, which was much better at the time than it is now. Every once in a while they would show a Pink Floyd video, namely the above mentioned BD/E as well as Arnold Layne. I got quite the kick out of Arnold Layne and would call Stan into the room whenever they played it.

And then I remember the day precisely. It was Sunday, September 15, 2002. We just happened to turn to VH1 and they were halfway through a John Lennon documentary. We watched it, and decided to keep watching the channel if the following show was interesting. I think Stan was in the kitchen doing something and they announced the next show: "Legends: The Pink Floyd Syd Barrett Story." I called Stan into the room, "Stan, it's Pink Floyd!" This was quite the treat as I loved the "Legends" series and here was one about a band that was pretty much shrouded in mystery, at least to me at the time. I remember thinking that I missed hearing their music all this time (20 years!), and Stan told me "you can get me some Pink Floyd for my birthday or Christmas." Needless to say, I didn't wait that long.

Ever since then, I feel a great sense of connection to the music, and to my own life. It's hard to explain, but both Stan and I feel we've completed something in our lives, and we've righted any sort of wrong path that we were ever on, not just with music, but with other things in our lives as well.

Pink Floyd was the thing that I needed that I forgot. I'm glad I'm remembering again.

More information

This is a journal that contains many of my dreams. Frequently I've been having Floydian-related dreams. To find these dreams, return to my main journal page, scroll down to the bottom of the right-hand column where there is a search box and enter "pink floyd" (without the quotes) as your search request. All searches that return the word "dream" or "dreams" in the title are dreams that I had concerning Pink Floyd. If those words are not in the title, then it's just a Floyd-related entry that wasn't a dream.

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