... which is to say to my mind, there is continuous repetition and propotionally they are a bit boring.
May 29, 2006 4:25 PM   Subscribe

On May 14th, 1967, the new British pop group The Pink Floyd makes one of their first ever TV appearances. Despite a stellar performance of the song Astronomy Domine, the pretentious host of the show, Hans Keller, has nothing good to say about the band. During the interview (youtube, performance comes first, interview starts about 5:50 in. transcript here.), he chastises the band for their "continuous repetition", "terribly loud" volume, and their "proportionately a bit boring" sound.

However, it seems that all Hans' show will ever be remembered for is this single interview. Pink Floyd, on the other hand.. Well, we all know what happened to them. Syd Barrett, on the other hand, was not so lucky.
posted by Afroblanco (66 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
we're just two lost souls
swimming in a fish bowl
year after year
running over the same old ground
what have we found? the same old fears
wish you were here
posted by matthewr at 4:32 PM on May 29, 2006

"However, it seems that all Hans will ever be remembered for is this single interview"

or not.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:33 PM on May 29, 2006

I guess I should have said, "all his show will be remembered for"
posted by Afroblanco at 4:37 PM on May 29, 2006

Grumpy old man but we love him so.
posted by Jimbob at 4:39 PM on May 29, 2006

Afroblanco, hilarious and interesting post. Hans Keller was such a negative, idiotic, wet blanket, pompous ass and the Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Roger Waters were delightfully dignified, articulate and intelligent in their quiet-spoken replies. So fun to see this ancient history on YouTube. Groovy.
posted by nickyskye at 4:43 PM on May 29, 2006

Interview with Syd Barrett's nephew, circa 2000.
Tc: What kind of music does he listen to these days?

IB: Roger (Syd) 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.
posted by Jimbob at 4:52 PM on May 29, 2006

Dave Gilmour played guitar once with my classical youth orchestra when I was about 10. I had no idea who he was but had vaguely heard of the murderer Gary Gilmore and assumed it was him.

To be fair to the Keller, he wasn't opposed to all new music (wikipedia), he just didn't like the Floyd.
posted by beniamino at 5:00 PM on May 29, 2006

David Gilmour is my guitar hero.
posted by cortex at 5:06 PM on May 29, 2006

Syd Barrett = the gnome song = genius

I want to tell you a story
About a little man
If I can.
A gnome named Grimble Grumble.
And little gnomes stay in their homes.
Eating, sleeping, drinking their wine.
He wore a scarlet tunic,
A blue green hood,
It looked quite good.
He had a big adventure
Amidst the grass
Fresh air at last.
Wining, dining, biding his time.
And then one day - hooray!
Another way for gnomes to say
Look at the sky, look at the river
Isn't it good?
Look at the sky, look at the river
Isn't it good?
Winding, finding places to go.
And then one day - hooray!
Another way for gnomes to say
posted by matimer at 5:16 PM on May 29, 2006

The most eerie part was that Mr. Keller was accurately describing the music that they would produce some ten years in the future...
I kid... sort of.
posted by horsemuth at 5:21 PM on May 29, 2006

Actually, it is very refreshing to see host of a show to take issue with, and seriously question the talent of an act. Makes a big difference from the current "WOW that was INSERT NAME OF LAME RETRO ROCK ACT HERE, weren't they FABULOUS buy their new cd out now on SONY!" efforts music show hosts make.
posted by Jimbob at 5:29 PM on May 29, 2006

“The Pink Floyd, you’re going to hear them in a minute and I don’t want to prejudice you…” And then he goes on to bash the band.

At least he winds it up with an “…perhaps it’s my fault that I don’t appreciate them.”

Hell…I say the same thing about hiphop these days….
posted by rougy at 5:52 PM on May 29, 2006

Poignant, sad interview with Rog's nephew.
posted by nickyskye at 5:52 PM on May 29, 2006

That was really wonderful, thank you Afroblanco. Fascinating on so many levels.

The grumpy, righteous old man versus quiet, plucky youth.

Bus Uncle, anyone?
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:06 PM on May 29, 2006

Call me old fashioned, but a television show host being openly critical of a musical guest strikes me as rude.
posted by davebush at 6:18 PM on May 29, 2006

ooh, good point maggiemaggie.
posted by nickyskye at 6:18 PM on May 29, 2006

I don't know - I mean I'm certainly on the Floyd's side of the argument, but I don't think Keller came across as unreasonable. He didn't particularly like hearing the music and he was honest in saying so, and even-handed enough in explaining why. He didn't agree with their principles, and maybe 'regression to childhood' was a bit ill-considered, but as he said - "after all, why not?" He was willing to acknowledge their efforts.
posted by Drexen at 6:20 PM on May 29, 2006

Also, consider that as a presenter Keller was catering to the biases of his audience.
posted by Drexen at 6:23 PM on May 29, 2006

It's so weird hearing early live Pink Floyd. So much of that band was about intensely good studio production, even the early albums.
posted by Nelson at 6:35 PM on May 29, 2006

well, guys ... now you know what we had to put up with in the 60s

"the beatles? ... they're just noise ... just a fad ... they'll fade away"

"what do you LIKE about THAT music?" ... (said about "beautiful morning" by the rascals)

it was far beyond anything you hear these days about hip-hop or indy music or whatever ... it was pervasive and just about everyone over 30 was saying it ... as they flipped the radio over to some godawful muzak station playing mantovani and the 101 strings records ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:35 PM on May 29, 2006

Guhh!! The 'them' link.. the Billboard piece... mentions Roger Waters... gurhuhnnmn... by himself.. playing DSoTM... in full.. on his next tour... NOOooooooooooooooooooooo!

Yes, I know he is credited solely with Brain Damage and maybe Eclipse, but come on. No Gilmour or Mason or Wright in a full rendition of DSoTM? Fooey. Double fooey.

I guess they'll get compensated for it, but still. Ew.. Radio KAOS was pretty good, but, er, that's enough for me..

That Live 8 reunion was pretty surreal, though.

Sorry, too much Floyd. Thanks for the great post + youtube link!
posted by cavalier at 6:36 PM on May 29, 2006

On second viewing I thought I saw a twinkle in Bus Uncle Keller's eye. And according to the wikipedia entry he was a friend of Schoenberg and a champion of new music.

It's funny though, how he complains that the music is loud and aggressive, yet Roger and Syd are so very softspoken and polite.
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:41 PM on May 29, 2006

Suck it, Keller!

/Sean Connery on Jeopardy

De gustibus, and all that.
posted by darkstar at 6:53 PM on May 29, 2006

maggiemaggie - you are so right about the Hans Keller/Bus Uncle parallel! Something about how Roger and Syd just calmly and casually attempt to explain their music, whilst this Establishment guy just totally disses on their whole thing.

and meatbomb - what do you mean by timebound? Is that your way of saying "dated?" Don't you know that good Britpsych never went out of style?
posted by Afroblanco at 6:54 PM on May 29, 2006

I think, by timebound, he meant "Forced to perform quite a long song in the space of 3 minutes". Chill.
posted by Jimbob at 7:02 PM on May 29, 2006

Hehe, that's cool. I was mostly joking, anyway. You guys should still follow my links to The Bees, though. If you like early PF, you'll probably dig them as well.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:08 PM on May 29, 2006

The Bees are good, as I discovered some time ago. Very good.
posted by Jimbob at 7:14 PM on May 29, 2006

I *love* The Bees.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:32 PM on May 29, 2006

pyramid termite, yeah, so true! The drek that was played then as popular, Liberace for God's sake! blech. Mitch Miller, Lawrence Welk. Stupefying, empty schmaltz. And then pompous pseudo-intellectual snobs like Keller would act like His Royal Daintiness was harmed by the visceral, emotionally provocative sounds of 'the youth'.

Keller pulls a nasty little mind-control by saying: "I do not want to prejudice you. Hear them and see them first and we'll talk about them afterwards"

He doesn't end there, however, he does exactly what he said he was not going to do, he then goes on to prejudice the listener: "but four quick points I want to make before you hear them." He then states he deems their music: "continuous repetition", "a bit boring" and "terribly loud".

And then after the 3 minutes of Pink Floyd he pulls this stuff about how people might become immune to classical music if they listen to rock just because it's loud or fanning the concept that people might express "hostility" to the new music. Puhleez. It's a good thing there were less rigid thinkers who could enjoy both classical music and rock/pop, like George Martin.

Can you imagine what life would have been like if rock hadn't made it past the fuddy duddies? Yikes.
posted by nickyskye at 7:46 PM on May 29, 2006

Damn kids, get offa my lawn! And turn down that music, cut your hair, and get a job!
posted by Balisong at 8:12 PM on May 29, 2006

AFROBLANCO: Less time-bound, but needing the correct drugs.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:14 PM on May 29, 2006

I like how gloriously unafraid of silliness that iteration of Pink Floyd was. The whole "WOOOOooooo" thing and the flapping of the arms and the yelping in the original clip. It was a kind of "regression to childhood" in that it was wonderfully lacking in fear of ridicule.

I think it's high time I go back and listen to Barret-era Floyd. Unfortunately I only have it on vinyl which resides in my parent's basement on another continent. And I don't have a record player anyway.

For the time being I'll put on some Animal Collective :)
posted by Kattullus at 8:34 PM on May 29, 2006

ooh Meatbomb, this is the truly psychedelic flash movie to play with that spacy music. It takes about a minute to get mind-bending, hang in there. No Owsley needed.
posted by nickyskye at 8:43 PM on May 29, 2006

Meatbomb, that was truly, truly awesome. It totally made my day.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:56 PM on May 29, 2006

whoa, that is seriously trippy, nickyskye ... although i've always wondered why tripping is portrayed that way ... because it's nothing like what i've experienced

although i might not have done enough ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:00 PM on May 29, 2006

The animation in flashback seems more DMT and less LSD.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:02 PM on May 29, 2006

I know the other members found Barrett inspiring, but I've never understood the cult of Syd. His songwriting is okay, but not great, and the Floyd really came into thier own as musicians and songwriters after he left. "Wish You Were Here" is a superb, beautiful album, so it's about Barrett, but it's written by Waters/Gilmour.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:08 PM on May 29, 2006

pyramid termite, that is so funny and such a true statement, Tripping isn't remotely like that! But that flashback movie is still trippy. Why is that? Maybe it's a sort of visual metaphor for an internal experience that is in some ways otherwordly?

eustacescrubb, I agree with you. Liked Pink Floyd the most from 1973 on.
posted by nickyskye at 9:38 PM on May 29, 2006

Hans obviously had yet to drop acid.

Other critics from the early Rock and Roll era used the "childish regression" and "repetitive" criticisms, it's not original to Hans, most viewers of the day would have been familar with it and Hans was probably preaching to the choir, standard TV tactic "controversy sells".
posted by stbalbach at 9:44 PM on May 29, 2006

Nice post. I've been a Floyd fan pretty much since I was in high school, and watching that I realized I don't think I've ever seen Syd talk before.
posted by Confabulat at 10:08 PM on May 29, 2006

I guess I should have said, "all his show will be remembered for"

You'd be wrong about that as well. Look of the week, like it's daily counterpart, Late Night Line Up, was the kind of intelligent cultural magazine programme that you just don't see on TV any more. Despite Keller's preference for classical music, the world is all the poorer for the passing of programming of that calibre. And the fact that he was even prepared to have the Floyd on at all was an openness of some sort.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:11 AM on May 30, 2006

Oh come on... I like (not love) Pink Floyd, but that YouTube clip is fecking awful. I'd have told them they were shit based on that...
posted by twine42 at 1:14 AM on May 30, 2006

I like (not love) Pink Floyd

They'd have been better if they'd continued playing 'music to accompany dancing', as Keller puts it.

It was downhill all the way after Emily.

Other critics from the early Rock and Roll era used the "childish regression" and "repetitive" criticisms, it's not original to Hans.

I'm guessing that the 'repetitive' comes from his background as a musicologist, and the 'regression' comes from his background in psychoanalysis. I don't think he was trying to be critical, as much as he was honestly describing what he saw as the key features of the music.

Floyd are striving here to be taken seriously as a 'group that plays concerts' rather than a 'group that accompany's dancing' -- which is why they give the job to a serious musicologist rather than some gushing pop music critic. While they obviously aren't to Hans's tastes, they don't seem irritated or offended by his observations, presumably because he seems to be genuinely interested, if somewhat mystified, in what they are doing.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:38 AM on May 30, 2006

Actually, it is very refreshing to see host of a show to take issue with, and seriously question the talent of an act.

Absolutely. I can't get the clip to play, but from the transcript, I don't think Keller comes off too badly, and the Floyd certainly handle his questions well. In other words, a good little interview.

I'm reminded of the fabulous Simon Anstell, late of Popworld, who has made a career of telling people they're cack or asking completely obtuse questions to get a rise out of his interviewees. (I can't believe I just compared Keller to Anstell, MetaFilter does strange things to the brain.)
posted by jack_mo at 4:46 AM on May 30, 2006

Afroblanco, nice work on the tabs. Trippy. ;)

If The Unintended are ever playing in your neighbourhood, I highly recommend checking them out. Their cover of Astronomy Domine is fantastic.
posted by purephase at 5:08 AM on May 30, 2006

he chastises the band for their "continuous repetition", "terribly loud" volume, and their "proportionately a bit boring" sound.

Except for the "terribly loud" bit, I have to say I agree.
posted by grubi at 5:32 AM on May 30, 2006

I don't understand the cult of Syd either but I can understand it I think. He released (at least one with the help of Roger Waters) a pair of albums after Pink Floyd. I bought them and listened to them, some of it's really good to my ears, some of it I don't like, some of it you can hear the edges of madness creeping in. It's the direction Pink Floyd most likely would've gone down, because Syd was the artistic direction of the band.

So if you were a fan of the early Floyd sound you'd lament his departure and probably think of Water's era Pink Floyd not as Pink Floyd but as Roger Waters. To my friends who were Water's era Pink Floyd fans the Gilmore headed era is really just David Gilmore's band. They might like it but to them it's not Floyd.
posted by substrate at 5:40 AM on May 30, 2006

Regarding the Flashback video, it is probably meant to represent a DMT trip more than an LSD trip, and from what I've read about "seeing aliens piloting a spaceship that is the Earth" as opposed to the LSD reports of "seeing colors stand out and patterns wave", that seems to click.

The song is by Shpongle. Their next album has a track called "A New Way To Say 'Hooray!'", which contains a sample of Terrence McKenna saying "the gnomes have found a new way to say Hooray". The circle is complete.
posted by Bugbread at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2006

If you're into Floyd, you might want to check out Porcupine Tree. Their earlier stuff (particularly "Sky Moves Sideways") is quite Floydish, but over the years they've changed quite a bit. They're still good, and highly listenable. They've been at it a long time... there's at least a dozen PT albums on Amazon. And they seem to be improving over time... their more recent stuff tends to get better reviews than the older albums.

No, they're not as good as Floyd, but definitely worth a try. I'm fairly new to them and don't know what's 'best', yet, but I really like Sky Moves Sideways. Deadwing and In Absentia are also very popular.

I have no relationship with or to them, beyond having bought several CDs after hearing them online.
posted by Malor at 7:37 AM on May 30, 2006

As someone who counts Pink Floyd as his favorite band, thanks for this post and all the nice links. Their last great record was 'The Final Cut' IMHO. Gilmour is great, but without the mad genius of Roger Waters, it just isn't the same.
posted by UseyurBrain at 9:29 AM on May 30, 2006

wow bugbread, can't you believe you found that stuff out. cool.
posted by nickyskye at 9:53 AM on May 30, 2006

Their last great record was 'The Final Cut' IMHO.

Oh, the divisive Final Cut. I can't stand it, and I'd argue it wasn't their last record at all—it was Roger's first solo album, with session work by the other guys.

Roger's a good writer, but god do I hate his production choices. Dave doesn't have that killer instinct on lyrics (or that nasty, wonderful-in-moderation Roger singsong), but he's production decisions are solid, his guitar playing can't be beat, and he's got a gorgeous voice (rough though it has trended as time passes).
posted by cortex at 10:38 AM on May 30, 2006

nickyskye: I'm a big Shpongle fan, and a big Floyd fan, so when I saw the Flashback animation, I was like, "Hey, a fan video for Shpongle!"
posted by Bugbread at 10:57 AM on May 30, 2006

When a band has as long a history as The Floyd, it's inevitable that people will pick their favorite eras. Personally, I favor everything from 1973 and before, as that era tends to be more psychedelic and experimental. However, I think that they are most famous for their material from 1973 - 1981.

Also, I agree with cortex with respect to The Final Cut - I see it as Roger's first solo album. It even sounds like his solo material.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:11 PM on May 30, 2006

bugbread, now you made me curious about Shpongle. Got any good mp3 sites so I can hear them better?

Afroblanco, you're right about the DMT vs LSD on the Flashback vid. I just realized there is a refrain in the music saying "DMT, DMT, DMT", lol. Googling DMT I see it's associated with ayahuasca, which is obviously the trip the animation is depicting.

It's amazing what one learns on MetaFilter.

I like that Pink Floyd were innovative, avant garde pre 1973. The first time I heard their music was in the early 70's hanging out with a group of young Italian communists in a small medieval town near Rome, Zagarolo. They were pretty much Pink Floyd devotees. For some reason I don't clearly understand, Pink Floyd's music had a huge impact on young communists in Italy.
posted by nickyskye at 12:50 PM on May 30, 2006

nickyskye: Sorry, no mp3s for ya. Also, Shpongle is one of those bands with long, organic songs with lots of changes throughout each track, so sample clips (like on Amazon) really don't give one much of a feel for them. They're very popular with people who're into goa/psychedelic trance (even though they are neither), so if you have any p2p software they should be easy to track down...

But if you like that track, I'd recommend just going out and buying an album. They've only got 3:
Shpongled (very very good. Mostly ambientish, with the exception of the more upbeat flashback animation song: "Divine Moments of Truth")
Tales of the Inexpressible (Amazingly excellent. Sounds a lot more like "Divine Moments of Truth" throughout)
Nothing Lasts, but Nothing is Lost (Good, but not great)

Now you have me itching to listen to Shpongle again. I think I've worn out a laser in my CD player from how often I've listened to Tales of the Inexpressible.
posted by Bugbread at 1:15 PM on May 30, 2006

I loooove Pink Floyd. I have every album (yes, I say album and mean it) But I really don't think much of their earlier stuff. Too disjointed and annoying. It's like they're trying too hard to be odd. I agree it was better after Syd left.

I am going to see Roger Waters do DSOTM and I'm excited. Yes, I wish it was all of Pink Floyd, but that's not going to happen. So I'm taking what I can get. I'm thrilled to be able to see it live.

Great interview & video. Thanks!
posted by aacheson at 1:19 PM on May 30, 2006

Dammit, now people have got me talking about Shpongle. I'll never stop. So one last bit of Shpongle/PinkFloyd similarity (99% likely to be intentional):

posted by Bugbread at 1:20 PM on May 30, 2006

lol, bugbread, love your passion and practical reviews. Thanks :) Got a tiny taste of Tales of the Inexpressible.

I was amazed to hear there is something called "goa/psychedelic trance". Can you name a goa trance cd for me? Sorry to bug you and for the thread derail.

A cool little YouTube clip about the Pink Floyd song, Money, and how they made it.
posted by nickyskye at 2:11 PM on May 30, 2006

nickyskye : "Can you name a goa trance cd for me?"

Oh, man, you're opening the big can of worms here.

Well, I'll just mention some of the folks I like:

Hallucinogen (one guy: Simon Posford, who also forms half of Shpongle) - Straightforward goa trance, with very good production values (the guy was a recording technician before making music, so he's very good at getting the audio just right). Recommended album: The Lone Deranger

Infected Mushroom - Very upbeat, also very good production values. Very energetic. Recommended album: Classical Mushroom

Pelinpala - Crazy psytrance from Finland (the Fins make the craziest psy). Recommended album: My CD Has Landed on the Next Door Neighbours Dog.

However, it's important to note that "psy trance", as a genre, is like "metal": there's a big, big range represented (think of the difference between 70's Black Sabbath type metal, 80's hair and spandex metal, 90's brutal gutteral death metal, etc). There are psytrance groups that are all about being dark and scary and minimal, and there are groups that are all about being really melodic and trippy and excitable. So my recommendations above are just the end of the spectrum I like (fast, melodic, not-too-repetitive), and you might find that they all suck, but that there is some creepy abrasive minimal stuff that tickles your fancy better.
posted by Bugbread at 2:53 PM on May 30, 2006

Gosh, it'd never occured to me to link Pink Floyd to Goa before, but they're two sides of the same pomp coin, really.
posted by jack_mo at 3:39 PM on May 30, 2006

bugbread, thank you for your generous references and interesting reviews! Much appreciated. The titles of those CDs gave me a good laugh. I'm going to look them all up.

Pink Floyd was certainly played enough in Goa, it makes sense.
posted by nickyskye at 3:50 PM on May 30, 2006

Gosh, it'd never occured to me to link Pink Floyd to Goa before, but they're two sides of the same pomp coin, really.

close, but not quite ... the real connection went from pink floyd to gong (and solo steve hillage) to goa/psych ...

truth is, the elements of just about every current musical style were around in one form or another in the 70s, except possibly d&b

as for myself, as much as i liked the later albums, i had always wanted them to drop the grandiose concept albums and do another one like "obscured by clouds" ... my first pink floyd album was ummagumma ... meddle and darkside weren't out yet ... i was shocked when they became so big ...
posted by pyramid termite at 1:12 AM on May 31, 2006

Heh, my music brain is way too micro-compartmentalised - I think of the Floyd and Gong as being almost wholly unrelated, and am strangely troubled by the idea that this thinking is obvious nonsense.
posted by jack_mo at 3:33 AM on May 31, 2006

pyramid termite is on it. I'd say that the order of causality might be pink floyd -> gong -> ozric tentacles -> goa/psych, but that's just because Simon Posford (Hallucinogen) is considered one of the granddaddies of goa/psych (not one of the originators, per se, but one of the influential early folks), and he has stated that he was heavily influenced by Ozric Tentacles. Still, my worship of Posford is probably influencing me too strongly.

Last random Posford-Floyd comment: I saw a great Hallucinogen live set up in the mountains in Japan. All tracks were Hallucinogen tracks except for one (presumably because he had to go take a pee or something), and that non-Hallucinogen track was "On The Run" by Floyd.
posted by Bugbread at 5:13 AM on May 31, 2006

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