Thursday, September 16, 2010

Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular HeadSyd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head by Rob Chapman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My heart sank when I heard the news in 2006 that Syd Barrett passed away. Yet for many he has been dead since the early 1970's. Overall he left one Pink Floyd album and two solo albums - plus various singles - and all I think are quite magnificent.

Anyone who loves the rock mythology knows the Syd Barrett legend. Man burned out by LSD, and became a total eccentric recluse - which is basically true, but the important aspect of him is not his life really, but his music. And that, according the author (and I agree)is not caused by his mental problems or madness.

Barrett was a man who knew what he was doing. Insane, perhaps, but there was logic behind his insanity. The author Rob Chapman pretty much poo poos over all the legendary stories about Barrett, like he tried to stop a jet from taking off as if he was causally calling for a cab, or mixing pills & hair cream for his hairdo for a tv appearance and other such tall tales.

I think one of the appealing aspects of this book is Chapman has such a strong love for Barrett's work - that he gets upset regarding the half-truths, the no-truths, and just basic silly gossip. So, perhaps this is the first biography of the man who is not honored for his 'eccentricity' but for his skills as a songwriter and performer.

Chapman does a good job in interviewing old chums of Syd as well as interviewing Barrett's sister. A great rock bio on a truly great genius. Even though it lasted for only a little while.

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