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The Big Huerta Bikes with Syd Barrett

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I will be the first to admit that I do not own Syd Barrett’s entire catalog. I do own Pink Floyd’s “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and Syd’s “The Madcap Laughs”. Syd is one of those legendary flame out rock and roll characters. He did indulge in a lot of heavy psychedelics. This appeared to have helped him along his way to withdrawal and other “anti-social behaviour”. I dig Syd’s songs (“Bike” is my fave) or songs by Pink Floyd about Syd. These are the only reasons that I listen to Pink Floyd.  Like Jeff Beals wrote in a song by Rockford called “My Cousin Flower” and I quote, ”my cousin Flower, she says Pink Floyd’s first album is the best thing they ever did. She liked the band with Syd.” My sentiments exactly.

Now, I know a ton of you peeps know much more about Syd than I do. I do know that Syd was not his real name but a nickname. His real name was Roger. He was also a decent painter and could play many other instruments, unfortunately, the influence of drugs along with mental illness, got the best of him.

Leaving this article a bit, history lesson part one: I get to write these pieces (The Big Huerta) every week for rock nyc  website run by a great person, Iman Lababedi. During the week, I texted Iman, informing him I was emotionally drained and couldn’t bring myself to write anything. In fact, I started two other TBH articles and couldn’t finish them due to an absence of creativity and inspiration. I don’t want to go into my life right now, but I have had a terrible time of things in this past year. I am not complaining nor do I seek sympathy. There are others far, far worse off than I am. It is just something that I have to deal with.  It is one of those times where you wish you could get away from it all, to curl up on the couch, to never go outside, to never have to deal with every day living, to give up, to let someone else take care of you for awhile.

I believe this is what happened with Syd, too. He went back to painting abstracts, took up gardening and went back home to live at his mom’s house. Is this madness? Yes, there are stories of a bald, paunchy Syd with shaved eyebrows, showing up at a Pink Floyd recording date in the studio and not saying a word and being unrecognized by his band mates. There is even a story of Syd walking 50 miles from London to Cambridge. His sister claims that he didn’t suffer from mental illness at all. That he wanted to spend time and his life enjoying botanical gardens and painting. Is this madness?? There are a few people out there, Brian Wilson comes to mind, that are often thought of as downright crazy. I have never thought that with these people. I think that they are truly tortured geniuses and sometimes are putting people on, like Bob Dylan often does. I really don’t see what is so crazy about painting and enjoying flowers and trees and not working anymore. Maybe it is the others out there that work 65 hours a week and numb themselves with alcohol or drugs or food or sex, the ones that are too busy to see what is all around them. Yes, and I understand it is not right to not want to leave the house, or not want to deal with people or not wanting to shower or not wanting to wear shoes…and this is the difference. I know I need to feel better, I strive to feel better, I yearn to feel better.. while others might not see the point of it…and I understand that completely and a bit too much.

The painting is done in oil and I painted half of Syd, the young Syd we all know and love, in bright oil colors. I painted the other half of Syd in black and white, the Syd that was kept private, the Syd that walked away from the spotlight. I encased Syd in a diamond, shining on…but to me, he wasn’t a crazy diamond, just a diamond reflecting back on all of us. RIP Syd Barrett.


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  1. Matthew Wayne Selznick on August 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    “The Madcap Laughs” is on my list of favorite albums. I used to cover “Late Night” in the nineties when I was playing and singing at pretty much every little coffeehouse in Orange County. It’s nice to be reminded of that, and of Syd’s influence on my own work. We forget the quieter influences, sometimes.

    As for the rest… I recently heard Andrew Solomon describe depression (even situational depression) not as the absence of happiness, but as the absence of vitality.

    I’ve been experiencing it. Sounds like you have, too, maybe. Syd, whatever else was going on in his brain chemistry, undoubtedly did.

    I think maybe it’s not mental illness that drives so many artists. Rather, maybe it’s the often defiant struggle to be seen, and see, past the gauze it puts between the artist and the world.

    • Edward Huerta on August 22, 2015 at 11:36 pm

      I truly thank you Matthew for leaving a reply and sharing..Very much appreciated. ..we just keep’s what we try to do..yes, i deal with depression..i take it most of us do..respects..

  2. CrowCorvinus on October 9, 2019 at 4:15 am

    Shine on your crazy Diamond.

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