The principal creators of Pink Floyd's masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon all spoke with Rolling Stone senior writer Brian Hiatt for our latest issue, on stands and in the digital archive on September 30th. In this interview with Nick Mason, the drummer expresses his disappointment that his former bandmates are mostly unwilling to reunite.
In your mind, does Pink Floyd exist only as a former entity? I mean technically, you and Dave are still Pink Floyd.
I think it’s one of those things where I’m not quite ready to say it doesn’t exist anymore. And, you know, it might be I’m a sad person and just can’t let go of something, but it’s just that feeling that, you know, who knows? I suppose I live in hope that there might be another Live 8 or something like that. I don’t seriously expect anyone to suddenly announce that we should get back into studios and knock out an album. I’m quite keen on not saying it’s all over. It’s partly to do with me hating the idea of conceding any sort of retirement. I’ve always held the door open. I absolutely know that David [Gilmour] wouldn’t want to do anything at present but, you know, people change. In a year’s time, a few years' time, whatever.
I assume you had a chance to listen to some of the remasters and some of the outtakes.
I certainly have. I’ve had to start leaving the room I’ve heard them so often.
When you hear Dark Side itself now, after all these years, what do you hear that you couldn’t hear when you first completed it?
I think, actually, I listen to it and think how I’m pleasantly surprised by how technically good it is. And how smooth, how well it’s put together, I suppose. You know, it’s lasted really, really well I think. And I sort of get some pleasure from that. It’s interesting, because I tend to be very critical. I would never willingly put on any of our old material, you know.
It’s fascinating to watch Live at Pompeii, which includes live footage of your band from 1969, and you made this big leap from that free-form stuff to the very composed music on The Dark Side of the Moon. How did that happen?
Dark Side was the last record where any music was played live prior to the recording, which I guess was sort of relevant to it. But I think that that was one of the things that was actually a five-year history of doing exactly that. Every song on Piper at the Gates of Dawn was something we had played live. And the studio version was inevitably the cut-down version. So I think we got quite sort of geared to that as an exercise. You know, "Interstellar Overdrive" was by far the shortest version ever recorded.
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• The Dark Side of Pink Floyd: The Illustrated History of the Band's Last Days and Bittersweet Reunions
• Rolling Stone Readers Pick Their 10 Favorite Pink Floyd Songs
• Photos: Roger Waters Rehearses For the Wall Tour
• The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Pink Floyd, 'The Dark Side of the Moon'
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