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  #1  
Old 04-22-2017, 09:51 PM
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Default Nick Mason - Thoughts

I've been listening a lot lately to Pink Floyd. Never got to see them in concert when they were together. Since the tempos are so slow, a lot of what Nick played reminds me of what Nigel Olsson played with Elton John on the ballads.

Obviously Nick's drumming sounded good and appropriate. Also loved the sound of his drums and cymbals. It also sounds incredibly easy to play. I'm in no way suggesting the drummer should throw in stuff where it doesn't belong. But I think wow what a job ... to have played drums for David Gilmour who's vocals and guitar playing were stunning. And the incredible work of Roger Waters, and so on.

In some bands the legendary status of the drummer is that of or surpasses the others like the Who, Led Zeppelin, and so on. Pink Floyd's music didn't call for that from what I can see. In Mason's case it looked like playing simple parts that matched the song and letting the geniuses do their work. Apologies in advance if this sounds stupid on my part.

Any thoughts on Nick Mason's work? I wonder what it was like to be part of that and play the drums behind those musical legends.

And apologies in advance if I'm duplicating anything. I did search the forum for Nick Mason.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:34 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Well...lol...

Confession-Pink Floyd is one of my "desert island" bands so I am completely biased in favor of Nick Mason. I happen to think he is a fine drummer, doesn't get enough credit for his place in rock history or with Floyd, has always had a great feel for the song and I think a disciplined approach to his instrument.

Nick Mason, much like Charlie Watts and Ringo is one of the few people in the rock and roll business who carry/carried themselves with dignity even when surrounded by people fraught with huge ego issues, substance issues, the lure of anything and everything ugly under the sun, and you name whatever else comes to mind. Somehow these guys always seem to avoid the drama, are comfortable with themselves on stage and off, and haven't had to bust up their girlfriends\boyfriends or hotel rooms or anything else.

I think that Nick Mason did as fine a job on the Pink Floyd albums as anyone could have. Played in a way that was "for the song" yet interesting and never got boring (to me anyway). I like the fact that like Ringo and Charlie, Nick's playing is "approachable" and user friendly. Not saying it's necessarily "easy" but it has never been in any way shape or form a "look at me!" chops fest. His drumming was perfectly placed within the context of the songs and allowed you to appreciate the piece without interfering with the experience.

For me, one of the unique things about Pink Floyd is that as a unit they all managed to do that, and somehow kept their humility (well almost all of them lol). Dave Gilmour is probably my favorite guitarist and hits me emotionally and always has since I first heard him. Very few musicians can pull this off like Dave can. I truly believe he is playing from the gut every time.

Anyway, sorry for the book....but yea....

Nick Mason is great!
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Not one of rock drumming's great technicians - but utterly perfect for Pink Floyd.

Much like Ringo with The Beatles, somebody flailing around the drum kit just wouldn't work with Floyd (and I generally much prefer 'busier' players).

His trademark simple ride cymbal work with space between the notes beautifully supports the trippy vibe of their music.

Seems like a thoughtful, intelligent, articulate guy, as well, when I've seen him on TV or read his interviews.

Ideal drummer for a sublime band.
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Have a read of Nick Masons autobio - a very funny, egoless chap. He is the first to admit his drumming is simple and was just enough to get by, from the early days onward - absolutely perfect for Floyd. That said, playing along to Comfortably Numb, exactly like he did, with all the spaces, takes restraint and discipline, not at all that easy.
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Hi DrummerCA35. If you get a chance, pick up the book Inside Out a personal history of Pink Floyd by Nick Mason. This is a must if you are a Mason or Pink Floyd fan. Very well written and the pictures are abundant.
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Another drummer who fits into this category is Simon Kirke of Free/Bad Company. He plays exactly what is required for the music. There's a reason that he has been steadily employed as a drummer since he was around 17 years old. Being able to give band leaders and producers what they want has afforded him a very comfortable life and put his kids through college. That's a huge success in my book.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Floyd is also one one of my desert island band.
Try to imagine Time or Shine on your crazy diamond played with Mike Mangini...
Nick Mason isn't a technician but the way he lets his drumming breathe (pun intended) is really great and not that easy to reproduce. You need to really "enter" the song. Great feeling, I think of Echoes, Atom Heart, have a cigar, Breathe, great gig, mother, in the flesh. ...so many, The drumming is right on. A kind of relaxed stroke yet powerful, every fill in Dark side is bang on and done with taste without trying to show of.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Maybe the most boring drummer, ever? ;) Nick Mason did however, deliver the goods, no disputing that. I can listen to PF for around 5-10 minutes before my internal drummer ADD needs some Zappa or something. ;)
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2017, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Uncomfortably Dumb..........!
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  #10  
Old 04-23-2017, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

A great, great drummer. The first requirement of any drummer is to serve the music and make it better, that what Nick did. Perfectly.

And my two all time favorite drummers are Stewart Copeland and Ian Paice so its not about how little a drummer plays, its simply how they fit the music
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  #11  
Old 04-23-2017, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

When I want to listen to drumming I listen to drummers.

When I want to listen to music I listen to....musicians.
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  #12  
Old 04-23-2017, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

While i completely detest floyd and find them more boring than pretty much any band ever.. (even stoned i can't listen to them).. I will say that Mason was easily the perfect man for the job. Nothing fancy but every fill is perfect.. even beat.. is exactly as needed.. i couldn't imagine someone else in that spot. And when i play along with him it's the only time i can stomach the band.

That being said. before anyone gets mad that someone might not like a band they like... i LOVE gilmour and his guitar work is just amazing. just the songs themselves just don't move me..

P.S. just wanted to add that while i can play other drummers fairly easy at this point and much faster songs easy.. i have a very hard time with Mason. playing slower to me is so much harder than just kicking ass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrummerCA35 View Post
I've been listening a lot lately to Pink Floyd. Never got to see them in concert when they were together. Since the tempos are so slow, a lot of what Nick played reminds me of what Nigel Olsson played with Elton John on the ballads.

Obviously Nick's drumming sounded good and appropriate. Also loved the sound of his drums and cymbals. It also sounds incredibly easy to play. I'm in no way suggesting the drummer should throw in stuff where it doesn't belong. But I think wow what a job ... to have played drums for David Gilmour who's vocals and guitar playing were stunning. And the incredible work of Roger Waters, and so on.

In some bands the legendary status of the drummer is that of or surpasses the others like the Who, Led Zeppelin, and so on. Pink Floyd's music didn't call for that from what I can see. In Mason's case it looked like playing simple parts that matched the song and letting the geniuses do their work. Apologies in advance if this sounds stupid on my part.

Any thoughts on Nick Mason's work? I wonder what it was like to be part of that and play the drums behind those musical legends.

And apologies in advance if I'm duplicating anything. I did search the forum for Nick Mason.
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

He plays drums like a rhythm guitarist - lots of repeating motifs on his fills and a very deliberate approach to playing hats versus ride.

I was just playing along to young lust a few nights ago and was struck by how musical his choices really are. I could shut off the music and hum along to his drum parts they are so ingrained in the chords and changes.
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  #14  
Old 04-23-2017, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

nick mason did a great job with the pink floyd style of music. not sure what you would call his style but i respect him as a drummer and am glad he is still around. atom heart mother was one of my favorites.

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Old 04-23-2017, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Indeed :(

As I play more Floyd songs, my appreciation for Nick Mason grows. I even further simplify Nick's drum parts sometimes. Although it's a rough run through, here's an example where we stripped an already basic structure even further.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV4mYhVh3N0
Sounds good Andy.

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me, there's such an intriguing challenge in doing this & still keeping some sense of journey.
I really like the way you say this; this is a useful thing for me to keep in mind.
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  #16  
Old 04-23-2017, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

I love Mason's overall sound. The sound of his drums and cymbals are great. Love the ride and hi-hat sounds especially. I also attribute Alan Parsons for the great sounds he got on some PF albums. Not sure how many albums Parsons was involved in with Floyd. But Alan Parsons really is great in getting great drum sounds in most of his work with his own band and on others albums too.

One song that isn't Mason on the drums is "Mother." That song has Jeff Porcaro on drums because Mason didn't have the time to learn the odd time signatures and Porcaro came in to save some time in the studio. So it is said.
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  #17  
Old 04-23-2017, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

You nailed it Mike. Very creative and tasteful drummer.
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  #18  
Old 04-23-2017, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruok View Post
I love Mason's overall sound. The sound of his drums and cymbals are great. Love the ride and hi-hat sounds especially. I also attribute Alan Parsons for the great sounds he got on some PF albums. Not sure how many albums Parsons was involved in with Floyd. But Alan Parsons really is great in getting great drum sounds in most of his work with his own band and on others albums too.

One song that isn't Mason on the drums is "Mother." That song has Jeff Porcaro on drums because Mason didn't have the time to learn the odd time signatures and Porcaro came in to save some time in the studio. So it is said.
Andy Newmark did most of 'The Final Cut' but by then Mason was off with his cars and barely playing at all.

I've always enjoyed Floyd enormously. I remember playing along to them early on in (particularly 'Echoes', I recall) and really felt how difficult it was. Would find it difficult now to get the spaces now. Yep. Mason's cool. Always was.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Nick Mason is right behind Bonham and Ringo for me. I absolutely love him and Pink Floyd.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

I think Nick really understood the power in hypnotic drumming. I remember clearly thinking and being vocal that I felt repetition was boring when I was in my 20's and full of spit and vinegar..

It's a thing that can happen at any age, when you realize the power of hypnotic drums.

More than any other instrument IMO, the drums set the mood, and create the effect, and the very feel of the song. Like if the whole band is doing spikey reggae stabs for instance and the drummer is playing smooth 4 on the floor swing feel with a jazz ride or shuffle pattern, the tune feels more like a swing tune than a reggae song. It might sound like a reggae song but it feels like a swing tune. That's real power. Sound is easier to define than feel. The real superpower of the drums is it's ability to make people feel good. Nick knew that was plenty and had the absence of ego to just leave it there. Winning formula in their case obviously.

Nick must have realized early on where his strengths lie, reinforced by record sales. Number one hit records....back in the day anyway.. generally speaking don't have fancy drums. I'd say it's a fact that a straight drum part sells. Yet to many, a straight drum part is vilified.

Nick could be accused of non inventive-ness, but to me, keeping a great meter, at the perfect tempo, played with the confidence of the full knowledge of the subtle power it creates, it adds up to more than the individual parts alone. It's a cloaked power in a way, when a song just feels good. Substitute a show-offy drummer and watch the song crash and burn. Simple, distilled parts always work well, for the audience, for the other players, for the greater good. Being a team player, not the star of the show, gives you star quality. It's backwards.

I have to wonder how a technical wizard like Mangini would have interpreted "Comfortably Numb" if he was the original drummer and had free reign. You never know, if we were all imprinted with busier drums in Floyd songs, would we feel Nick would be not right for the music? Imprinting is powerful stuff.
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  #21  
Old 04-23-2017, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Can't add a lot here,but at one time I was in a band that hosted an open mic,and we did Comfortably Numb,we had rehearsed it and I found it a challenge to put it in the pocket with the right amount of space,and to keep the groove and tempo steady durin the guitar lead/outro,it really needs that for the vocal to tell the story and for the emotion of the song IMO.

The song ended up being a big favorite at the open mic,and we had about 4 regular jammers that liked to sing it and play acoustic guitar on it. After it became a favorite some of the singers told me they wanted some of the busier more technical drummers to play on it.One of these drummers always sounded like he was pushing the tempo and another just played to busy and never hit the pocket with it.The song still would go over O.K.,but not nearly as well.After a few times of that the singers asked me to play on it again.

I have only done a few Floyd tunes but everyone I have done has had that challenge and required some work on my part,no matter how simple.
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Nick Mason is great. I'm not sure I'd use the phrase "...I wonder what it was like to be part of that and play the drums behind those musical legends" though.

He was one of those musical legends, and one-fourth of Pink Floyd. The band may have been completely different and/or unsuccessful if he hand't been there. His playing was always tasteful and right for the songs, and that's the biggest definition of musician right there. Every time I see a cover band and the drummer decides to "make it his own', there's such a fine line between "awesome" and "I want to vomit and wash my hands".

He was not boring at all.
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

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Originally Posted by DrummerCA35 View Post
Any thoughts on Nick Mason's work?
Love it. "Animals" is my favourite Pink Floyd record.
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:49 PM
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Love it. "Animals" is my favourite Pink Floyd record.
Yes. I wholeheartedly agree. The best social commentary they ever did. I strongly believe that whilst other Prog (and with Floyd, I'd just about call them that, maybe) bands were in decline and Punk kicks them out (and rightly so) they survived on the strength of that record. It's hard, aggressive, cold, violent and vitriolic and it's bloody brilliant.
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

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Originally Posted by Ruok View Post

One song that isn't Mason on the drums is "Mother." That song has Jeff Porcaro on drums because Mason didn't have the time to learn the odd time signatures and Porcaro came in to save some time in the studio. So it is said.
Per Mason in his cover issue of Drumhead magazine, he did record Mother in England.

After Floyd recorded all their tracks in England, the tapes were send to Los Angeles for mixing. During the mixing process, someone decided the drums needed to be re-cut and Mason wasn't in Los Angeles that day, and off working on another project. So Jeff was called.

Rodger Water's also said in a recent interview he fought with Gilmour over which tracks of drums and bass parts should be used, and often used multiple takes as a compromise, but now admits all the fighting was over things that all sounded the same and it was just ego. Rodger Waters also fought with keyboardist Richard Wright so much that Wright was fired from the band during the recording process, only be to brought back as a hired hand for the tour. The point being, many tracks recorded for "The Wall" were thrown out over issues of ego and band drama rather an actual lack of skill.
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Personally, I think Nick Mason is a great drummer and a good friend of mine.

Oh wait, were talking about the Pink Floyd's Nick Mason. :-P

I think Nick Mason is great and big influence.

I disagree he played simply due to lack of skill, or lack of ideas to come up busier parts. There are some pre-Dark Side videos of him floating around youtube where Mason is much more in a Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchel mode of filling up space. OK, so maybe he doesn't have Giner's technique per se, but Mason could play a lot of notes if he wanted to.

What makes Mason's playing on the legendary Floyd tracks amazing his Mason's ability to play the spaces between the notes.

His feel, his choice to leave space, his choices of what NOT to do when he could have done more is just epic.

I also disagree Mason lacked skill in that many Pink Floyd songs were in odd time, or have odd bits, and Mason not only played them, but made them sound great. "Money" is largely in 7/4, and yet Mason made it sound like a song you can dance to.

His incredible lack of ego is also something to be admired. Look how many drummers quit a band because they didn't get on such and such song or record. Nick's take? If Jeff re-cut Mother, if Andy newark of Jim Keltner makes more sense, then do it.

Jim Keltner said in his Drumhead cover issue that when he was recording drums for "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" that Mason was there, in the next room reading magazines, not the least bit phased about it (some other articles suggest it was actually Mason's idea to have other drummers record drums on that album).
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

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Originally Posted by Ruok View Post
One song that isn't Mason on the drums is "Mother." That song has Jeff Porcaro on drums because Mason didn't have the time to learn the odd time signatures and Porcaro came in to save some time in the studio. So it is said.
i still think nick mason did the drums for atom heart mother. it has his and roger waters signature on it as one of the early on and great pink floyd arrangements IMHO.
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

I recall seeing him sitting in the middle of his double kick, clear kit and the line of roto-toms during the Dark Side of the Moon show and thinking to myself "That guy has the best seat in the house!". Great job by Nick, killer show, 'nuff said.
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Old 04-24-2017, 07:41 AM
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i still think nick mason did the drums for atom heart mother. it has his and roger waters signature on it as one of the early on and great pink floyd arrangements IMHO.
'Mother' is a song from The Wall. 'Atom Heart Mother' is the title of an album and the first song from that album...
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Agreed, he was one quarter of a great band, and they were a band in the truest sense. Waters may have had the main ideas for the albums but the finished article was always dependent on the input of the whole band. With the exception of the Final Cut.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:37 AM
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Andy Newmark did most of 'The Final Cut' but by then Mason was off with his cars and barely playing at all.

I've always enjoyed Floyd enormously. I remember playing along to them early on in (particularly 'Echoes', I recall) and really felt how difficult it was. Would find it difficult now to get the spaces now. Yep. Mason's cool. Always was.

He's not on much/any of Division Bell either, and allegedly when they toured live after that, a substantial amount of the drumming that came over the PA was Gary Wallis, the percussionist, rather than Nick.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

I think Nick was pleased not to play on The Final Cut as, apparently, Waters was so far up his own a**e by that point that even the very mild mannered Gilmour said "It was a horrible album to make". My least favorite Floyd album as I see it more of a Roger Waters solo rant.
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Yes...it is good to separate Pink Floyd from Pink Waters...lol....
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  #34  
Old 04-24-2017, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Grist to the mill for some of his fans on here I shall say this...

I used to think he was really over-rated, and pretty boring until I got up with some friends from other punk bands at a post-gig 'mash up' a couple of years back. We played Comfortably Numb. I enjoyed it and it made me switch on and play along to a couple of albums I like of Pink Floyd. And it dawned on me how wrong I was.

What struck me so intensely was just how hard it is to play SLOW. Yet, ironically most none-drum playing members of the public think it's easy.
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:09 PM
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Grist to the mill for some of his fans on here I shall say this...

I used to think he was really over-rated, and pretty boring until I got up with some friends from other punk bands at a post-gig 'mash up' a couple of years back. We played Comfortably Numb. I enjoyed it and it made me switch on and play along to a couple of albums I like of Pink Floyd. And it dawned on me how wrong I was.

What struck me so intensely was just how hard it is to play SLOW. Yet, ironically most none-drum playing members of the public think it's easy.
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  #36  
Old 04-24-2017, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

Love Floyd. Nick was tremendous in the Pompeii movie. The band had a great understanding and chemistry. Like the Beatles they made richer music together than separately.
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

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Not their greatest fan I'm afraid. But I have tried !!

Well. Confused perhaps would be the best description. On the one hand I think for me they've written two of the top albums in the history of music (The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon). They are worth their accolades just for those two albums. Very much on my 'always go back to' list.

On the other hand I once bought their full boxed set of studio albums as a result of my love for the above two...listened to them...put them back in the box...and sold them back (at a considerable loss :-)) On Ebay. I couldn't bear to listen to a lot of it. However, I'm a stinky, crust, old punk, and therefore have a 2.5 minute attention span on most songs :-)

Having said the above, I've never been a fan of any band really. I'm just not programmed like that. Most bands I like, I like a bit of, but dislike some of. I don't like a song just because I like the band for example. As such I very rarely go to concerts and gigs of established bands who I may like because I know I will come away slightly disappointed and get bored part way through.

Two exceptions - Yes, and Marillion (although even Marillion have been dull the last couple of concerts).

I'm a bit odd I know.
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Old 04-24-2017, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

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Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
Not their greatest fan I'm afraid. But I have tried !!

Well. Confused perhaps would be the best description. On the one hand I think for me they've written two of the top albums in the history of music (The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon). They are worth their accolades just for those two albums. Very much on my 'always go back to' list.

On the other hand I once bought their full boxed set of studio albums as a result of my love for the above two...listened to them...put them back in the box...and sold them back (at a considerable loss :-)) On Ebay. I couldn't bear to listen to a lot of it. However, I'm a stinky, crust, old punk, and therefore have a 2.5 minute attention span on most songs :-)

Having said the above, I've never been a fan of any band really. I'm just not programmed like that. Most bands I like, I like a bit of, but dislike some of. I don't like a song just because I like the band for example. As such I very rarely go to concerts and gigs of established bands who I may like because I know I will come away slightly disappointed and get bored part way through.

Two exceptions - Yes, and Marillion (although even Marillion have been dull the last couple of concerts).

I'm a bit odd I know.
I can see where you are coming from. I am lucky, I love all sorts of music. The way I rationalise it is this. I love some Punk, as its a physical journey, and I love some Prog, and Floyd, as the music is an emotional spiritual journey. Different music for different moods.
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Old 04-24-2017, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

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I can see where you are coming from. I am lucky, I love all sorts of music. The way I rationalise it is this. I love some Punk, as its a physical journey, and I love some Prog, and Floyd, as the music is an emotional spiritual journey. Different music for different moods.
We perform a punk cover of 'Nights in White Satin' (a cover of The Dickies version...so a cover of a cover really).

Nearest I can get the lads to prog rock...I've tried. How I've tried :-)
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:24 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: Nick Mason - Thoughts

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We perform a punk cover of 'Nights in White Satin' (a cover of The Dickies version...so a cover of a cover really).

Nearest I can get the lads to prog rock...I've tried. How I've tried :-)
If you are a covers band and you want an audience, dont play prog.
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