Pink Floyd was a band that was frequently commended for having both eclecticism and curiosity, which are perhaps the two finest qualities in the music industry. Pink Floyd began the 1970s with more focused efforts to push at the set walls of musical history, ushering in the prog-era from humble, intergalactic origins as an early psychedelic rock proponent.
Drummer Nick Mason served as Pink Floyd’s most dependable member, forming the band’s essential foundation both on and off stage. Under the glaring glare of his bandmates throughout the years, Mason has frequently questioned his skill, just like Ringo Starr did. Beyond his role as mediator amid frequent spats, however, his drumming style supplied essential character to Pink Floyd’s music.
Mason responded to questions in a 2015 interview with The Drummer’s Journal, “I still feel that. I’m still learning to live with it.” He was questioned about if he actually felt inadequate as a drummer. He said, “It’s hard to know now, but if I’d had lessons, there’s an argument to say that I wouldn’t have played the way I did. The upside is I’m grateful to have developed my own style.” Like so many drummers before and after him, Mason learned that the art of drumming is much more than just skill.
Nick Mason was questioned later in the interview on Pink Floyd’s immense influence and the possibility of revolution in music. He said, “I think it’s overrated, but there is an element there. Its ability to change perceptions is limited – it actually becomes quite partisan.”
He added, “People often identify themselves by the music they like. In the 1960s, if people were into certain bands it was usually a good indication as to what their politics were, where they were educated, and even their social class. But sometimes, with someone like Bob Dylan, there are people who can send messages of considerable importance.”
Mason naturally focused on The Dark Side of the Moon while talking about the best piece in the Pink Floyd canon. He looked back and said, “It’s the most complete album, There’re lots of others I like, but Dark Side has a lovely mix of everyone contributing to it. I think The Wall was a hell of a piece of work, but it’s probably too long.”
He noted his one minor criticism and continued, “What might have been nice is to have Dark Side a little longer and The Wall a little shorter. It’s got some great songs, and Roger’s [Waters] lyrics are extraordinary. The fact he was only 23 [29 when released] still amazes me. A question I get asked all the time is, ‘Why is Dark Side so successful?’ Apart from the marvellous Rototoms, which was obviously the main selling point [laughs], the truth is Capitol Records decided to make this record work – we had total support from the label.”
Indeed, the impending reality of capitalism was pervasive in the music business, despite the hippies’ best intentions throughout the psychedelic era. Ironically, they had money on their side when they were recording The Dark Side of the Moon. Pink Floyd were able to “grab that cash with both hands and make a stash,” so to speak, because of Capitol Records’ financial support.
The Drummer’s Journal was informed by Mason, “What was blindingly obvious pretty early on was that if you were successful, you could have more studio time, bigger shows, better equipment and better sound.”