Roger Waters Opens Up on How Syd Barrett Behaved Before Leaving Pink Floyd, Reveals What He Was Really Like

The story of Syd Barrett is one of the saddest in modern music. Back in the 1960s and the 1970s, people weren’t that sensitive, or educated, about mental health issues. Near the end of his days with Pink Floyd, Syd’s state was getting out of hand. Ultimately, it led to him parting ways with the band in 1968.

He got back into their lives once again while Pink Floyd were recording the “Wish You Were Here” album. He led a very secluded life until passing away in 2006.

Pink Floyd - Syd Barrett / David Gilmour

During his visit to Joe Rogan recently, former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters looked back on those days with Barrett, detailing musician’s mental decline. When questioned whether the whole thing started due to Barrett’s LSD use, Waters said (via Ultimate Guitar):

“No, I don’t think so. But, you know… that’s the narrative, or one of the narratives… And I’m sure he did too much of it. Was he teetering on the edge of what might be called schizophrenia at the time? I think so, probably…”

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Full Length: Parts I - IX) - Pink Floyd

Waters further explained how Barrett behaved during his time in the band, saying:

“I remember, [at the] Top of the Pops, in the dressing room one day… [Syd Barrett was] looking worried, and a bit frightened. And then going, ‘John Lennon doesn’t have to do this’ — which was kind of wacky…”

Pink Floyd - Syd Barrett - See Emily Play - Live Top of the Pops 1967 (rare)

“He had misgivings about being on a miming pop show, you know, and we [said], ‘Syd, this is what we’ve worked towards for the last four or five years, to be on Top of the Pops and make a few quid!’ You know, ‘Buckle up, boy, let’s get on with it.’

“But he never did buckle up from that moment on, really. He wrote a few more songs, but nothing of any, any real note. And he just got more and more and more detached until he was completely wacky and not making any sense.”

“I made a lot of attempts to find out what was wrong and to involve his family… And we tried to get him to a shrink so on a number of occasions, but he would never go in, and then he just got weirder and weirder.”

Photo: Originaltm (Roger waters usandthem tour), Jprw (Syd Barrett 2001)

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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