The End of the Beginning
Welcome to the twenty-fifth issue of Spare Bricks. We've come a long way, baby.
Spare Bricks began in the mind of Rick Karhu, who first conceived an online Pink Floyd magazine in 1998. Even in the earliest stages, Rick's vision included a number of features that have become trademark parts of Spare Bricks: a different theme for each issue, opinion columns, Floydian quotes, bootleg reviews, and a regular trivia column. He dragged his feet at first, not wanting to give the appearance of dancing of the grave of Brain Damage, a well-respected Floyd fanzine that was floundering at the time (and has since gone out of production entirely). But eventually Rick decided the time was right, and assembled staff of contributors who were not "walking encyclopedias or Floyd experts. We're looking more for something new and something that comes about as a result of people who haven't actually been a part of anything like this. We're more interested in fresh perspectives."
That original staff included Mike Feeney, who designed most of the early cover images, and later helped redesign the look and feel of the entire magazine; Dave Ward, who shared editorial duties with Rick; Elisa Ward, who offered her skills as a professional copy editor; and a host of others, including Brian "_pink" Davis, Ryan Kearns, Mike McCartney, Andre Terhorst, Patrick Keller, Dennis Howie, Johnny Valenzuela, Richard Mahon, Gerhard den Hollander, and Rick and myself.
The first issue was published in July 1999, after a one-month delay when the issue wasn't ready for the announced June unveiling. Rick had originally wanted Spare Bricks to be published monthly, but knew that would be too much work, so we opted for bi-monthly publication instead. It took us exactly one issue to discover that even this wasn't going to work, so we moved to quarterly publication, which we have managed to maintain with only a few lapses.
Thinking back to those earliest issues, there were a lot of great columns that have now been abandoned, such as Floydian Places and Johnny V's A Visit To... series, Daria Wells' Vinyl 101 column, Rick Karhu's Brick By Brick, and Dave Ward's Heroes for Ghosts. Other columns, such as RoIO Review and The Camera Eye, have been passed around from writer to writer. And Richard Mahon's Gilmour, Guitars and Gear is the only column to have appeared without fail in every issue of Spare Bricks from the beginning. As an editor whose constant struggle is getting the staff to submit their articles on time, I have come to deeply appreciate that kind of dependability.
Last issue, we offered a copy of Lakeshore Records Echoes of Pink tribute album, in honor of the issue's "Women of Pink Floyd" theme. The lucky winner was Brent Ingalls of Ottawa, Ontario.
The theme for this issue of Spare Bricks is "Floyd in Print", in which we examine the books and magazines and other published resources about the band and its music. Biographies such as Nicholas Schaffner's highly-respected A Saucerful of Secrets: the Pink Floyd Odyssey and Nick Mason's recent 'personal history' Inside Out, and collector's resources such as Russell and Povey's In the Flesh and Vernon Fitch's Pink Floyd Encyclopedia have found their way onto the bookshelves of many serious Floyd fans, as have any number of fan magazines (The Amazing Pudding, Brain Damage) and music magazines (Rolling Stone, MOJO, Guitar) with Floydian feature stories fan magazines (The Amazing Pudding, Brain Damage). All told, I think I have more Floyd books and magazines than I do legitimate Pink Floyd records--and I'm sure I'm not alone.
Richard Mahon examines magazine features on Floydian equipment.
Christopher Hughes looks at When the Wind Blows.
Mark Reed and Sean Ellis debate whether Floyd books are worth reading at all.