Origins…   Leave a comment


Origins…

Nick Mason (b. 27 January 1944) and Roger Waters (b. 6 September 1943) met at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London, where both were studying architecture. They spoke for the first time with each other in 1963 when Waters asked to borrow Mason’s car. Mason played drums in a band called The Hotrods in his teenage years, and Waters played guitar. Both were avid fans of Radio Luxembourg and their shared tastes led to a friendship based on a mutual appreciation of music.

The pair first played together in a band formed by Keith Noble and Clive Metcalfe, along with Noble’s sister Sheilagh, an occasional singer in the band. They were joined later by fellow student Richard Wright (b. 28 July 1943).[7] With the addition of Wright the band became a sextet, and took the name Sigma 6. Wright’s girlfriend Juliette Gale was often a guest artist, and Waters initially played rhythm guitar, later moving to bass. Early gigs were for private functions, and the band rehearsed in a tearoom in the basement of Regent Street Polytechnic. Sigma 6 played songs by The Searchers as well as material written by fellow student Ken Chapman, who became their manager and songwriter. Wright taught himself to play guitar aged twelve, and also played trumpet and piano, but uncertain about his future he had enrolled at Regent Street Polytechnic in 1962. His first meeting with Waters had been when the latter asked to borrow a cigarette (a request Wright declined). He took private lessons in musical theory and composition at the Eric Gilder School of Music, and although Mason and Waters were competent students, Wright found architecture of little interest and he left the polytechnic after a year of study, moving to the London College of Music.

In September 1963 Mason and Waters moved into the lower flat of Stanhope Gardens, a house owned by a part-time tutor at the Regent Street Polytechnic, Mike Leonard. Leonard was a designer of light machines (perforated discs spun by electric motors to cast patterns of lights on the walls; these would be demonstrated in an early edition of Tomorrow’s World), and for a time performed alongside the band, as a keyboardist. They used the front room of the flat for rehearsals, where all the equipment was permanently set up. Mason later moved out of the flat, and accomplished guitar player Bob Klose moved in. Their name changed several times, from the Megadeaths, to the Architectural Abdabs, and the Tea Set. Metcalfe and Noble left the band shortly thereafter.

Syd Barrett, then aged 17, arrived in London in the autumn of 1963, to study at Camberwell College of Art. Encouraged by his father, who died when Barrett was 14 years old, he learned to played the piano, the banjo, and the guitar. Keen to help her son get over the loss of his father, Barrett’s mother encouraged his band, The Mottoes, to perform in their front room. Waters and Barrett were childhood friends, and Waters often visited such gigs. He joined the Tea Set in 1964, and moved into Stanhope Gardens alongside Klose and Waters. Mason found him „delightful”, and recalled their first meeting:

„In a period when everyone was being cool in a very adolescent, self-concious way, Syd was unfashionably outgoing; my enduring memory of our first encounter is the fact that he bothered to come up and introduce himself to me.”

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