Episode 250: Uncomfortably Numb Pat sits down with Pink Floyd fanatics Murray Valeriano and Darryl Asher (Never Not Notes) to discuss all things Floyd! Kyle Dodson produces while at the same time catching up on some much needed sleep. From April 28, 2016
With your hosts:
Pat, Murray, and Kyle welcome us to the show. Fourth mic alert! It's the keeper of Never Not Notes, the wonderful Darryl Asher. Pat first met Darryl at the inaugural Pardcast-a-Thon in 2009. Murray remembering watching a little of the stream and wondering who the hell the dweeb was sitting on stage with Jimmy (it was Pat). But now they're friends to the end, the lovely chaps. Darryl is actually the reason this website even exists because he started taking notes for Never Not Funny, which inspired Jason Wilcox to take notes for Rock Solid, and now YOURS TRULY has kept this beautiful site up and running for over two years. And now I'm writing show notes about an episode with Darryl in it. Circle of life.
Garon has since taken over for Never Not Notes, but Darryl still does classic episodes. Meanwhile this episode has an audience: Darryl's wife and Kyle's girlfriend. Those poor, poor women. Today's topic is about Darryl's favorite band, and one of Murray's favorite bands, Pink Floyd! A top five band for Murray, U2 being number one, of course. Others include R.E.M., Beatles, and Wilco. On the day of this recording, Darryl will be seeing David Gilmour live. He's never seen Gilmour or Waters live because he lives in Montana. And we all now those British rockers love traveling to Montana.
Even when he was younger, Darryl never had the opportunity to go see Pink Floyd in concert when the band was still active. His first concert was Elton John on the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road tour in 1973. He also saw Queen in 1978 on the Jazz tour at the Cobo Arena. "Right now you can buy that arena for $47," says Murray. Pat is jealous that Darryl got to see Queen with Freddie. Has Darryl ever engaged in any elicit drug activities? Nope, never.
Pat never got into drugs and heavy drinking because he was afraid he had an addictive personality (gee, ya think?) while Murray used to smoke pot a lot but not anymore. Oh but enough about these puff puff pastimes, let's play some Floyd! Murray and Darryl brought a ton of Pink Floyd songs, while Pat, the casual fan, brought considerably fewer. Tonight's Gilmour concert is a bucket list item for Darryl.
"Oh, David Gilmour news..."
Before he was rudely interrupted, Murray says David Crosby sat in with Gilmour at a concert. There's a chance Murray might see Gilmour tonight; he has seen Pink Floyd during the Gilmour-led era.
Darryl gives some life advice: if there's a concert you have a chance to see, go see it. Especially since all these rockers are dropping like flies. Darryl had the chance to see Floyd on the Division Bell Tour; nope. Pat could have seen Queen on The Game tour; nope. Alright, seriously, let's play some Floyd. Darryl kicks things off. He's got trivia, he's got photographs. The man is prepared. Of course, let's go over the members:
Syd Barrett - Original member, vocalist, and main guitarist
Roger Waters - Original member, vocalist, and main bassist
Richard Wright - Original member, vocalist, and main keyboardist
Nick Mason - Original member and drummer
Syd Barrett - Replacement for Syd Barrett, vocalist, and main guitarist
Gilmour replaced Barrett after Syd became increasingly difficult to deal with (thanks to mental issues and drug problems).
Pink Floyd is named after two blues guitarists, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Originally they were The Pink Floyd Sound, then The Pink Floyd, and then just Pink Floyd. Darryl starts us off with early Pink Floyd, the single "Arnold Layne" found on the compilation album Relics. That was a top-20 UK single. Sounds nothing like the Pink Floyd we know because in their early days, they were a heavy freakout psychedelic band.
Murray's first pick is off the 1967 debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The song is "Astronomy Domine" and it's much more in-line with Syd Barrett's version of the group.
They're recording this on Easter Sunday. The gang discuss the process of hiding eggs for the kid. In regards to "Astronomy Domine" it's a song that Gilmour still does live even though he wasn't a part of it. Gilmour's a nice guy because he always make sure to include Syd stuff in Pink Floyd compilations so that Syd's family can get the royalties. Lovely chap. Darryl moves on to Pink Floyd's second album, 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets. Darryl plays "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun". When Syd died, Murray saw Waters perform that song with Nick Mason in honor of Syd's memory.
From the same album, Murray brought a deep album cut called "Remember a Day". Good news, Kyle is still awake. Who is winning: this or the Dire Straits episode? Dire Straits. Even Darryl agrees. All this stuff is very experimental and a major label might not have faith in a young band to find their sound over so many albums.
Pat jumps in and takes us to 2014 (!) with the latest Pink Floyd album The Endless River. It's the only full song with lyrics, "Louder Than Words". The whole album is essentially stuff leftover from The Division Bell recordings and is a tribute to the late Richard Wright.
Darryl and Murray really like The Endless River. But Darryl would not recommend this album. It's a gift for the fans. Darryl's next pick is 1969's More, a soundtrack. It's an important album because it's the first one completely without Syd. Darryl plays a song that Murray also brought in called "Cymbaline". That's where the seeds of the classic Pink Floyd sound were sown.
Also in 1969 is Ummagumma, a double album with studio and live tracks. For the studio stuff, each band member was given half an album side to do a solo composition. None of the people in studio (and presumably the audience) want to hear any of that, so instead Darryl and Murray skip ahead to 1970's Atom Heart Mother. Murray plays the song "If". "How is Dire Straits now, Kyle?" Pat asks. "If" shows Roger Waters' obsession with mental illness.
Pat is incredulous that there is a song called "Fat Old Sun," but maybe it's because he thought it was "son." To him, it's just David Gilmour singing about his diabetic Benjamin Button offspring. Oh well. Pat corrects his mistake by playing the utterly fantastic "Have a Cigar" off of Wish You Were Here. Question: WHO SINGS "HAVE A CIGAR?" Answer: Roy Harper. Hats off to him. Wish You Were Here is Darryl's favorite Pink Floyd album. Murray's favorite is Animals. What is Kyle's favorite Pink Floyd song? He doesn't mind "Have a Cigar" or "Money." Doesn't mind. He does like "Comfortably Numb," which Pat cannot pronounce for the life of him. Murray's also experiencing some pronunciation snafus because of his BRACES!!! Train Tracks Valeriano.
Discussion turns to David Letterman's recent appearance change to looking like a homeless man. "He looks like a crazy man," says Pat. "Yeah, because he's crazy," says Murray. "He's always been crazy." Letterman tangents aside, Murray takes us to 1971's Meddle and the instrumental "One of These Days". Now the classic Pink Floyd sound was really forming. Trivia about the song from Darryl: The only lead vocal from Nick Mason. "One of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces." That's him. Kyle enjoys it, he guesses, but it's too long for him.
Speaking of too long, it's Darryl with the 23-minute saga "Echoes". The dinging at the beginning give Pat and Kyle bad flashbacks of the Batman v. Superman score. "More drumming than Whiplash," quips Kyle. Darryl picked the beginning because it shows how Pink Floyd is not afraid to set a base and build from there, taking their time as they do it. Pat and Kyle are not fans.
"This is what they play in Guantanamo Bay to get people to talk."
- Kyle, on "Echoes"
Rogers Waters claims that the theme from Phantom of the Opera rips off a riff in "Echoes."
The band opened the shows with "Echoes" on the Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour, which Murray saw them on. Murray decides to step things up with 1972's Obscured by Clouds. He plays "Free Four". Very poppy stuff.
Now we come to the heavy hitters, beginning with 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon. Many Pink Floyd fan's favorite album, massive seller. Pat has a question: If he was never a Pink Floyd fan, which two songs should he listen to? Murray recommends "Wish You Were Here." Darryl recommends the live version of "Comfortably Numb" from Pulse.
Murray retells a fun story about the Pulse album. It had a blinking light on it. Murray had a lady friend over, they were doing the sideways nasty, and she thought Murray was recording their love making. To Pink Floyd's credit, though, that light blinked for 11 years. Darryl really picks up the pace with some statistics:
Dark Side of the Moon spent 741 weeks on the charts.
Over 50 million copies sold
Pat wonders then about the 50 million sold claim. The gang look over a number of lists of greatest selling albums of all time. Oh it's a whole big mishmash of numbers.
Through out of all this, the girls in the back somehow haven't abandoned ship. Off of Dark Side, Murray picks "The Great Gig in the Sky" with Clare Torry non-lexically singing her heart out on vocals. She improvised the entire thing for $50 bucks, then sued the band for credit later on. Murray mentions that he did smoke pot once and watched The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side. It works, apparently, as long as you sync it up right. Word to the wise: Sync it BEFORE you smoke weed.
Darryl's pick for Dark Side is "Time". This was Murray's favorite song for so long. Story time: Prom night. Back of the limo. Murray's prom date hates him. Everybody is spent. "Time" comes on the radio and Murray turns it up loud. DING DING DING RING RING RING CLANG CLANG CLANG. "What the fuck, Murray?!?!?" Everyone shouted at him in the limo.
Pat jumps into 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason, the first album without Roger Waters in the band. He plays "Learning to Fly". Big hit for the band, and proof that they could get it done without Waters.
Going back to Dark Side of the Moon, the people talking on the album is a result of Pink Floyd asking people questions. Two of the people interviewed (but not used) were Paul and Linda McCartney. A voice that was on the album was their road manager and audio engineer Peter Watts, father of Naomi. He died three years later of a heroin overdose. Jeeeesus.
1975: Wish You Were Here (my personal favorite Pink Floyd, thank you very much). Syd Barrett comes to the recording sessions; bald, fat, unrecognizable to the band members, and this was only six or seven years later. Just a mess.
"He looks like Uncle Fester."
- Kyle, speaking about 1975 Syd Barrett
"Wow. It doesn't help that there's a lightbulb in his mouth."
"That's his Pulse album."
Oh no, Addams Family talk brings up MC Hammer's rendition of "Addams Groove." Kyle plays a little and it's as awful you can imagine. Thankfully Darryl puts things back on track with Wish You Were Here by reminding Murray to play his choice. It's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)". There is a little riff to "See Emily Play" in there as a tribute to Syd. The whole album is basically about Syd.
Pat plays the title track, "Wish You Were Here". Always a favorite.
A few impressions make their way to the forefront: Pat's David Letterman and Darryl's Byron Allen. Hey, we're an hour and 35 minutes in and we're not even out of the 70s yet. Darryl plays the song that opens Wish You Were Here, "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)". That riff: Dun DUN Dun DUUUUN. So good. Sooooooo good. Meanwhile, massive yawn from Kyle.
Wish You Were Here is Darryl's favorite. He never skips ANYTHING on it. It's the album Murray would sneak away from his older brother to listen to. Darryl's older brother bought Dark Side of the Moon and that's what opened him to Floyd. Meanwhile, Pat's brother Kirk (Kyle's dad) was listening to Andy Williams. You know, like ALL the cool kids. As Kyle and Pat describe him, Kirk Dodson was a 40-year-old man at birth. Perry Como, Neil Diamond, Ed Ames. Patriotic songs. THAT is Kirk Dodson.
Good lord, tangents abound: Murray's album Rusty Cow, the drink Rusty Cow, Laverne and Shirley, Lenny and Squiggy, and the Big Ragu. I don't know, folks. I really don't know. Let's just go to 1977's Animals. Murray plays "Sheep".
That song is a rocker. Animals, like Wish You Were Here, is five songs, with a two-parter ("Pigs on the Wing") bookending the album. Animals is significant for a number of reasons: 1) The In the Flesh tour for Animals was when Waters was getting irritated with the audience, so much so that he spat at one of them during a show. 2) Tensions were building between Waters and Gilmour. 3) Tensions were also building against Richard Wright because Wright enjoyed a little too much of the nose candy. More tangents: Easter candy. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Charleston Chews, Bar Nones, Moon Pies, Chunkies. None of these good for Murray's braces.
"What can't you eat now because of those braces?"
- Oh, Kyle
Murray shakes his head. "And on the birth of our Christ, you're gonna bring that up."
Good lord, this thing has turned topsy-turvy. Ever the professional, Darryl takes us to 1979's The Wall. "Donald Trump's favorite album," says Kyle. THE BOY IS ON FIRE! Pat plays his last pick, "Hey You". Roger Waters doing The Wall live was one of Pat's favorite concerts. Other top contenders: U2 and Taylor Swift. Yup, sounds about right.
Off of The Wall, Darryl plays "Comfortably Numb". Pat awkwardly tries to say "comfortably" along with the song. The lyrics, the sound, the guitar solo. It all spoke to Darryl at a certain point in his life and it's stuck with him since. David Gilmour is one of Murray's favorite guitar players and he's also Darryl's favorite Pink Floyd member.
Murray plays the song "Nobody Home".
When Murray took his wife Mary to The Wall live, she was skeptical. Ten minutes in, she was hooked. Hold on, Donal Trump impressions galore. It's a beautiful impression, a yuuuge impression, the best impression. Let's make Rock Solid great again, people. WAIT A MINUTE, REVELATIONS! Pat doesn't like the original Ghostbusters. One of Murray's favorite comedies, but not Pat. "What about Ghostbusters II?" asks Kyle. "Oh, what a raging piece of shit," answers Murray.
We're hopefully winding down. Hopefully. Murray plays "On the Turning Away" off the 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. At the concert Murray went to on this tour, Murray ran into his 11th-grade English teacher. And she was HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH. The next day at school, it was agreed upon by all to not to talk about it... at least until today's podcast.
Plugs: You can find Darryl on Twitter @DarrylAsher. Murray is heading out to Montana in the summer; maybe he and Darryl will get together, have a few laughs. Flying into Montana is weird because the landing is quite sudden. Kyle finds himself worse with flying. Also go to NeverNotNotes.com to read Darryl's notes from past and present. Kyle has a standup show... on April 14th... so if you have a time machine, you're in luck.
Thanks so much to Darryl for being here and sharing his love for Pink Floyd with all of us, even if said love wasn't fully appreciated by certain people of Pennsylvania origin. Darryl takes us out with "What Do You Want from Me" from the 1994 album The Division Bell.