Speak To Me

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Speak to Me

Seeing Pink

compiled by Mike McInnis

Peter Jenner: On the original lighting rig Andrew [King] and myself had built, because of the low-powered lights we set them up so they'd throw a huge shadow. It was all very unlike the stunning high-tech flash of the Fillmore. But in a way, the Floyd's was more imaginative." - from A Saucerful of Secrets, by Nicholas Schaffner, page 33

Susie Gawler-Wright: Peter [Wynne Wilson] got into slapping Doctor Martin's inks on slides--very bright colors. We'd drop in different chemicals: it was very messy and very good fun. We'd get a blowtorch to heat it and a hair dryer to cool it. I used to watch the bubbles moving and thought it was really wonderful." - from A Saucerful of Secrets, by Nicholas Schaffner, page 33

Storm Thorgerson: I did volunteer my services to do the cover for Saucerful, when a mutual friend who had been previously asked, declined.
interviewer: So that was 1968.
Thorgerson: It was the turn of '67/'68, isn't it? Because Piper came out in '67. So this would be the turn of '67 to '68. And this mutual friend failed to come up with the goods, and I kind of jumped in boldly. Foolishly! Headstrong. Opportunistic and all the rest of it--never having done a record sleeve. Anyway, that's what I did first. And since they knew me from previous times, they said, "All right." - Floydian Slip radio interview with Craig Bailey, September 1997

Thorgerson: I can't remember precisely when it changed, but I know that for years and years and years either Roger or Dave or Rick, they could walk down the street and nobody would know them. As I think I've written in the book, I think it's quite a feat actually that they were able to do that.
interviewer: That's got to be at least in part because they typically wouldn't have their faces on their albums.
Thorgerson: Oh yes, well, that's not entirely true of course, because they were on Ummagumma, and they're in the middle of Meddle. But I don't know whether it's that particularly. Maybe it's a mixture of things of which a large component might be the music is not--the music and the band's style--is not personality-oriented. - Floydian Slip radio interview with Craig Bailey, September 1997

Gilmour: Dark Side of the Moon is... where we actually really got it right, and we, we got the record right and we got the cover right and the whole package, you know, the whole thing was very good, you know, recording the songs, the lyrics, the idea. The whole thing was a very powerful package. - Australian radio interview, 1988

Thorgerson: Pink Floyd in their infinite wisdom perused our 7 complex detailed roughs for this cover in a drab basement room at Abbey Road--submissions over which we at Hipgnosis had toiled for weeks--but managed to decide within 3 minutes which one they liked. No amount of cajoling would get them to consider any other contender, nor endure further explanation of the prism, or how exactly it might look. That's it, they said in unison, we got to get back to real work, and returned forthwith to the studio upstairs. Appropriateness was the key. The refracting glass prism referred to Floyd light shows--consummate use of light in the concert setting. Its outline is triangular and triangles are symbols of ambition, and are redolent of pyramids, both cosmic and mad in equal measure, all these ideas touching on themes in the lyrics. The joining of the spectrum extending round the back cover and across the gatefold inside was seamless like the seguing tracks on the album, whilst the opening heartbeat was represented by a repeating blip in one of the colours. But to look back now and reflect upon how the actual artwork itself had no colour, being just a tint lay, and how the spectrum was missing a colour anyway, and how the whole design was only cobbled from a standard physics textbook diagram (albeit cunningly), and how there was another album called Dark Side of the Moon only a year previously, all of this just goes to show how such matters pale if a design feels 'appropriate'. How fitting it is to be fitting! - from Storm's official website

interviewer: Has Roger ever talked to you about doing work for his solo projects?
Thorgerson: No, Roger hasn't talked to me since 1980. He stopped talking to me, amongst many others, even before the split. In fact, I don't even know why, particularly. I don't even know if he remembers why, particularly. - Floydian Slip radio interview with Craig Bailey, September 1997

Gilmour: Storm had already been pushed out a little bit by then. Roger was very displeased with him--these are very old stories and I can't claim to remember every detail, but I think it culminated in Hipgnosis putting Animals into a book of album covers and saying it was theirs and didn't put in that it was from an idea by Roger. Roger's keen quest for credit on everything at the time made him rather upset. - MOJO Magazine, December 1999

Gerald Scarfe: Roger is one of those wonderful people as far as I was concerned who seems to understand that when you hire an artist you hire what the artist does, you don't tell them what to do. Obviously, you have discussions, but it was up to me as to how I illustrated it. - MOJO Magazine, December 1999

Scarfe: I think Roger had a strong idea what The Wall cover should look like--completely white with the bricks on it. I did a little rough drawing one evening while we were staying together in France that had all the little characters inside that I'd designed for "The Trial" poking out of the wall.

First of all I had to decide what Pink would look like--I saw him as this embryonic little prawn-like figure who was completely vulnerable, because a lot of it is about how we hide behind a wall because we don't want other people to hurt us. The wife I made like a serpent that would strike and sting--I have no idea what his ex-wife looks like so it was definitely not based on her. The teacher was based vaguely on a teacher I'd known myself. That mother was an old-fashioned '50's comforting type with these very strong arms that turned into walls. The hammers came from me looking for a very cruel, unthinking image, something intractable that couldn't be stopped, and then the idea of them goosestepping came from that. - MOJO Magazine, December 1999

Wright: As I saw it, Roger's original concept for the show was literally to build a wall, go home and leave the audience pissed off. But once that wall was built and the visual stuff put on it and the holes so that people could appear, it became a very good theatrical device. - MOJO Magazine, December 1999

Scarfe: "Goodbye Blue Sky" is one of my favorite pieces of animation. For me that was very much a hymn to the Second World War and the sadness of it all. I was a small child during the war so I understood the feeling of bombers and gas masks--they used to make them for children in the shape of Mickey Mouse because they were frightening, claustrophobic things to wear. I designed some creatures called the Frightened Ones who had heads like gas masks and were running into air-raid shelters. Animation doesn't have to be little Disney bunnies running around, it's unlimited, surreal. - MOJO Magazine, December 1999

Ezrin: I had to buy my ticket, but I saw the show. It was flawless and utterly overwhelming. In "Comfortably Numb," when Dave played his solo from the top of the wall, I broke into tears. - MOJO Magazine, December 1999

Gilmour: The shows were terrific. I enjoyed them thoroughly. As they went along, through the 30-odd shows that we did, I became more aware of the restriction imposed by something that was so choreographed--there was not really much room for letting the music go away into its own thing. But you just have to look on it as a different thing--it's as much a theatrical piece as it is a musical piece. - MOJO Magazine, December 1999

interviewer: Is part of the satisfaction for creating a cover like [ The Division Bell ] actually going out and doing, and not faking it on a computer?
Thorgerson: Yeah, I think that this whole business of whether to do it for real or not, or whether it's in a computer or not, is just something that, as it were, we did from quite early on, not only for the Floyd but especially for the Floyd, but also for other people we'd do it. So that if we arranged some kind of, how shall I put it, set or some kind of grouping of people or some kind of event, or some kind of sculpture or installation, we would set it up and shoot it. We might shoot it in bits, but it would all be shot for real. And that, I think, is because in some ineffable fashion, it's always better. It's always better. Obviously you can do all sorts of things in a computer that look better for doing them in a computer, but they are computer things. Where as what I do mostly is to rearrange bits of reality according to what the idea might be in an attempt to represent the music. Which is why [the book is] called Mind Over Matter, because it alludes to sort of little tinkering, as it were. --Floydian Slip radio interview with Craig Bailey, September 1997

interviewer: You listen to an album before you design the cover, correct?
Thorgerson: (laughs) Yeah, of course we listen to it. Yeah! We listen to albums mucho. We also read the lyrics mucho. And we also often talk to the band mucho. It depends on the band, really. Obviously in the case of the Floyd, over time a certain degree of communication is, as it were, established. However, the communication also can fall down like it did on The Division Bell. Ironically, because one of the themes was about communication, or the lack of it, we managed to exhibit the very act of it in doing the cover. Because we thought we'd done a great design, which is the one we used in the end, but David didn't like it at all. No, that's not true. He didn't like it very much. So for three or four weeks it was in a state of lukewarm rejection. And that is after many years of working together. -Floydian Slip radio interview with Craig Bailey, September 1997

Thorgerson: The films that we made for concerts--there were quite a few I made for the '87 tour and for the '94 tour--and a couple previous to that have varied quite a lot. (laughs) They've varied in terms of how good they are! But they have been made, by and large, to complement and go with the songs, which is quite difficult, because the live experience is not the same as a video. So video, in a sense, is easier. Because your music is fixed. Because where in a concert, of course, they might play it differently. So you have an interesting problem. But I think, by and large, they worked out reasonably well. I mean, certainly in the last concert, some of them --"High Hopes" worked very well I thought. - Floydian Slip radio interview with Craig Bailey, September 1997

Thorgerson: Then there is Echoes, the so-called "Best of Pink Floyd". Not your normal 'Best of'--more an interesting distillation, with some tracks edited & newly segued. Purists may complain but since the album was compiled under the direction of the band themselves its OK with me. The cover design is an infinite regression 'echoing' Ummagumma, exploring one dimension beyond another, layer beneath layer, meaning within meaning. Through windows within windows, one sees an alleyway, into a further room and on into the real countryside beyond. The scene is littered with physical objects imbued with PF reference and meaning, all of which are like clues to a puzzle. An image of contrasts light/dark inside/outside, and graphic strength (trapeziums), of endless perspective & loads of detail looking much better, I'm afraid, when big like a poster or vinyl. Done for real in a building set outside in two very English landscapes, one of which is by the river in Cambridge where the band swam as teenagers, diving in from the grassy banks of Grantchester Meadows. So many echoes. - from Storm's official website