The Reason Syd Barrett’s Family Blamed Roger Waters

It was almost a welcoming tradition for young rockers to use LSD or something in the likeness of the substance in the 60s since it was a simple way to revolt against the system, have an excessive trip into the depths of your mind, and use what you gather from there in creative sessions.

The Beach Boys‘ leader Brian Wilson even took things a step further by once mentioning how he had talked to God during one of his trips. Although that surely motivated the rocker to come up with new and more creative ideas, LSD also had him make some questionable moves too.

Still, it was Wilson’s tunes and arrangements Syd Barrett listened to in the late 60s while sitting on his bed surrounded by numerous Beach Boys records and probably going through an LSD trip himself. His green curtains were often shut, and as some would remark, the rocker’s room would make you feel like you were sitting in a submarine.

That was how Barrett spent his days after his departure from Pink Floyd, a band that he co-founded and named. There was no doubt that the former frontman was disappointed that his bandmates had fired him a short while after recruiting David Gilmour to the band, but he wasn’t planning on sitting on that sorrow.

Syd Barrett already had new projects, and as Pink Floyd’s label had separated ways with the band to score a deal with him, all he needed was to get into the studio and record what would be his solo debut, ‘The Madcap Laughs.’ The singer even got former bandmates Gilmour and Roger Waters to produce the album, though their collaboration wasn’t a commercial success.

Perhaps, he was discouraged that his debut didn’t create the sensation he had hoped for or was just tired from things he had been through; Syd only recorded two more albums after his debut, with one of them seeing release decades later and slowly faded away from the scene, leading a peaceful life away from the curious eyes of the public, while painting and gardening, according to his family.

The former rocker also didn’t like it when people asked questions about Pink Floyd and probably didn’t like the idea of meeting with his former bandmates, so when the magazine asked Syd’s former buddy, Waters, when was the last time he’d seen Barrett in 2005, the bassist had no imminent answer.

It had been years, remarked Roger Waters, discussing Barrett’s mental health and diagnosing him with schizophrenia while recalling that the former frontman’s LSD and substance abuse hadn’t been helpful with his mental health problems, making him go through challenging episodes.

Waters also remarked how Barrett’s family blamed him for his fall down, nonetheless, as they overlooked his mental issues and substance abuse. The rocker then hinted that there was nothing he could do to save Barrett from his personal problems and mental deterioration, blaming the LSD and schizophrenia for the singer’s decline, and those problems were beyond what he could have handled.

The bassist on the last time he saw Syd and how his family blamed him:

“Twenty years ago. Syd’s mother always blamed me for his decline, I guess because she was uncomfortable with the idea that his illness didn’t have anything to do with Pink Floyd or rock and roll. It’s probably that his symptoms were exacerbated by his doing lots of acid, but that didn’t cause his illness. One of the symptoms of schizophrenia is that you hallucinate. So hallucinogenic drugs are a bad idea.

Syd’s been in and out of Fulbourn Mental Hospital in Cambridge for the last 35 years, and he’s well looked after. But he does not want to see me or anyone else from those days. It makes him uncomfortable. It agitates him. He doesn’t want to dig up the past ‘cos he can’t make sense of it. It annoys him. It upsets him.”

It was apparent that the Barrett family didn’t think Syd’s possible mental issues or substance abuse played a major role in his decline, and as the singer never formally received a schizophrenia diagnosis, they felt that his former buddies had let him down and dismissed him from a band he co-founded and led.