Roger Waters Was Delighted To Have David Gilmour After Syd Barrett’s Condition, Steve Howe Says


Yes guitarist Steve Howe recently appeared as a guest on Classic Album Review and revealed that he was pretty disappointed when he couldn’t get the opportunity to perform with Pink Floyd. The rocker also reflected on what made Roger Waters happy when Syd Barrett’s addiction affected the band.

Pink Floyd’s co-founder and original frontman, Syd Barrett, was the creative force behind the band’s early works. However, the singer also started using drugs during these times, which shifted the direction of his music career. Barrett became increasingly unpredictable due to his heavy drug use in later times. He started to behave erratically, and his contribution to the band’s works also diminished.

During Pink Floyd’s UK tour with Jimi Hendrix in 1967, the band had to hire a substitute guitarist since Barrett could not perform or failed to appear on several occasions. The remaining band members got tired of Barrett’s irresponsible manners on the stage, and they eventually expelled the guitarist from the band in 1968. Syd Barrett tried to hold on to the music industry, but he left the scene entirely after a few failed attempts.

Steve Howe recently stated that he was one of the names that Pink Floyd invited to stand in for Syd Barrett at the time. Howe accepted the offer and excitedly went to perform with them. He was there on time with his guitar, yet Syd Barrett showed up, so he couldn’t get the chance to appear on the stage with Pink Floyd. The guitarist said he was happy for Barrett that he could come but was also heavily disappointed since he wanted to go and perform with the band.

In addition to saying that his return was beneficial for Barrett, Howe revealed Roger Waters was particularly happy with how things turned out. If you ask him, Waters was delighted to get David Gilmour around that time and play guitar apart since Barrett’s condition partially led to Gilmour’s tenure with the band.

Howe speaking on Pink Floyd:

“I was asked to go to an audition for Jethro Tull and Atomic Rooster. The Nice was another one. All of those could have changed the direction of my work within prog, but certainly, that one happened in. I think it was 1967, actually. I was asked to stand in for Syd because they’d lost him; he’d lost himself somewhere.

I was immensely disappointed not to get that opportunity because I did get to the show on time, and I was ready with my guitar, but Syd showed up, so I thought, ‘good and bad.’ I mean, good for Syd but bad for me. I know the way that played out, particularly with Roger Waters, was most probably that he was delighted to get David and play guitar.

Somebody like me who is a solid player, you can rely on me. I’ll show up, I’ll play, I’ll play the right notes in the right order, but Syd was another plateau. The dude had some indulgences we won’t go into, but basically, he was a bit of a space cadet. That was the reputation the group had. So, yeah, things could have been very different. I was itching.”

You can watch the entire conversation below.