Tony Iommi + Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason Recorded a Song Together

Black Sabbath legend Tony Iommi has confirmed that he’s recorded a new charity song with lone Pink Floyd constant, Nick Mason. Other notable musicians are said to be involved and Iommi speculated that The Rolling StonesRonnie Wood could be one of them.

Speaking with Spain’s La Heavy magazine, Iommi was first asked if any progress had been made regarding the collaborative effort between him and Queen‘s Brian May that had been in discussion.

“We’ve been talking for years about doing something together and we haven’t gotten around to it yet,” said Iommi, who chalked most of the difficulty up to scheduling and touring. “We haven’t really gone any further with it,” the guitarist continued as he also took stock of May’s current situation (he suffered from a torn gluteal muscle and a heart attack this year). “At the moment Brian has been going through a lot of medical things, but who knows? It’d be nice at some point to do something.”

Then, Iommi turned his attention toward new music that he has actually been working on and confirmed one big name while another legendary rocker could be in the mix as well.

“At the moment I’ve started putting some ideas down myself now and I played on a track with Nick Mason a few weeks ago,” Iommi revealed, noting, “We’re doing a charity record for cancer. I was asked if I’d play and come up with some riffs for it. There’s a lot of other celebrities doing something for this album so I said, ‘Yeah, it’d be nice to do that.’ I think there’s Nick Mason, myself and I think Ronnie Wood is going to play a bit on this track as well. I’m not sure.”

Hopefully there will be more new music from Iommi sooner rather than later. The 72-year-old metal icon said he has “loads” of new material earlier this year. Time will tell if it amounts to a new record.

Tony Iommi Reveals Collaborative Charity Song With Nick Mason

See Black Sabbath in the Best Metal Song of Each Year Since 1970

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How Mick Jagger and Pink Floyd Could Have Been in a ‘Dune’ Movie

The first serious attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s Dune to the screen nearly had music by Pink Floyd and Mick Jagger in a key role.

Following the mid-’70s success of avant garde movies El Topo and The Holy Mountain, cult writer-director Alejandro Jodorowski was given the opportunity by French producer Michel Seydoux to make any movie he wanted. Jodoroski chose Dune, even though he hadn’t yet read the novel. (“I have a friend who [told] me it was fantastic,” he said.) Seydoux bought the film rights from Planet of the Apes producer Arthur P. Jacobs, whose own plans hadn’t gone far.

Within months of his appointment, a far-reaching plan for an adaptation ranging anywhere from 10 to 20 hours was underway. Jodorowski had no intention of making a feature that was faithful to Herbert’s book; instead, he had a far weightier and personal proposition. He wanted to tell the story of a messiah for the psychedelic generation, and to create the effects of an LSD trip without anyone actually taking any drugs.

“I wanted to create a prophet to change the young minds of all the world. Dune would be the coming of a god – an artistic, cinematic god,” he explained in the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.

He got to work with the pre-production budget. He hired the artists H.R. Giger, Gene “Moebius” Giraud and Chris Foss, each of them tasked with creating a different visual aspect of the Dune universe. Dan O’Bannon was to oversee the visual effects. The director told spaceship designer Foss, “I wanted jewels, machine-animals, soul-mechanisms … womb-ships, antechambers for rebirth into other dimensions … whore-ships driven by the semen of our passionate ejaculations … humming-bird ornithopters which fly us to sip the ancient nectar of the dwarf stars giving us the juice of eternity … caterpillar-tracked hot rods so vast that their tails would disappear behind the horizon … machines greater than suns wandering crazed and rusted, whimpering like dogs seeking a master … thinking wheels hidden behind meteorites, waiting, camouflaged as metallic rocks, for a drop of life to pass through those lost galactic fringes to slake thirsty tanks with psychic secretions.”

Giger later spoke of the first commission he’d been given for the movie, that of creating Castle Harkonnen, which he called “a symbol of intemperance, exploitation, aggression and brutality” that was built of “jagged bones and excrement.” He added: “The only link with the outside world is a drawbridge which can be lowered like an enormous penis to admit visitors. The main gate is only an entrance, never an exit, for it has barbs like sharks’ teeth which prevent anyone from turning back. The two walls of the drawbridge can be brought together hydraulically, crushing visitors who are hostile to the castle. … Every visitor is materially or spiritually exploited (as I was for this film project).”

Original contributors to the soundtrack were to include prog bands Magma and Henry Cow plus composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Then, Pink Floyd were signed to cover the majority of the music, with a double album expected. (Hans Zimmer’s take on Floyd’s “Eclipse” features in the trailer to the 2020 Dune movie.)

His casting was equally ambitious. Salvador Dali was to play Emperor Shaddam IV at a fee of $100,000, to which Jodo agreed, for only an hour of work. Orson Welles was to play Baron Harkonnen and Mick Jagger would appear as Feyd-Rautha, the same role that Sting played in David Lynch‘s 1984 version. David Carradine (Duke Leto) and Gloria Swanson (Reverend Mother Mohiam) were among other leading roles, with Jodo’s son Brontis cast as Paul Atreides.

The art team put together a complete storyboard of what they planned to put on screen, with lavish illustrations of the spacecraft and structures needed. Everything was assembled into a large, thick book, of which around 20 copies were made. Jodo set off to sell the project to a movie company, but no one took him up.

Among the criticisms leveled at the project were its scale, the fact that the story promoted the concept of following a charismatic leader while the book argued against it, and the argument that many of the things Jodo wanted to achieve on screen weren’t possible at the time. However, there’s potentially another reason – while moneymen were impressed with what they were shown, they may have been far more cautious about risking their cash on Jodo himself. Seydoux, who’d backed Jodo all the way and accompanied him on the fundraising trip, remarked, “Everything was great except the director.”

Perhaps Jodo’s comments about actually raping actress Mara Lorenzio during the production of El Topo made it difficult for the mainstream to accept him. “After she had hit me long enough and hard enough to tire her,” he said in a 1972 book about the film. “I said, ‘Now it’s my turn. Roll the cameras.’ And I really… I really… I really raped her. And she screamed. Then she told me that she had been raped before. You see, for me the character is frigid until El Topo rapes her. And she has an orgasm.”

In the 2013 documentary he described what he’d done to Herbert’s book as a similar sexual assault: “When you make a picture, you must not respect the novel. It’s like you get married, no? You go with the wife, white, the woman is white. You take the woman, if you respect the woman, you will never have child. You need to open the costume and to… to rape the bride. And then you will have your picture. I was raping Frank Herbert, raping… But with love, with love.”

With no takers, work was abandoned after $2 million had been spent on pre-production (the estimated completion cost was $15 million, compared with George Lucas spending $11 million on Star Wars). But Jodo’s Dune found a future of its own – his four “spiritual warrior” artists went on to create Alien. In the documentary a number of industry professionals testify that their work on Dune went on to influence Star Wars, The Terminator, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lynch’s Dune movie and The Fifth Element, among others. Jodo and Moebius went on to create The Incal graphic novel series, which also made use of the abandoned work.

Frank Pavich, who directed the documentary, said that he’d personally seen the storyboard sketches that he could identify as having appeared in other movies. “[W]e were kind of discovering it as we were going along, and they were these amazing revelations that we would come across,” he said.

He added: “[P]eople laugh at that… a 20-hour movie, who’s going to watch 20 hours? But how many people do you know that sit at home on a weekend and binge-watch an entire season of a TV show? I think people are looking for longer narrative, a longer story that they can become completely immersed in. And maybe that’s what he was going for. So it stopped at this kind of perfect moment of closure with that book. And maybe that’s as far as it was supposed to go.”

Jodo himself blamed the movie companies for refusing to accept a story that wasn’t “enough Hollywood,” insisting: “Almost all the battles were won, but the war was lost. The project was sabotaged in Hollywood.”

Perhaps that didn’t upset Herbert too much, although he’d said he had an amicable relationship with the director. But while taking part in promotional appearances for Lynch’s Dune, the author described himself as happy with the version of his story that had made it onto screens, and added: “Dino [de Laurentiis] called me… and said that he had hired David Lynch. And this was after a couple of, um, well, I think they would have been disasters! And David knows why.”

Watch ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ Trailer

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Pink Floyd to Release Restored ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder’ Movie

Pink Floyd will release a restored, re-edited and remixed edition of their 1988 concert movie and album Delicate Sound of Thunder on Nov. 20.

The set will be available in multiple formats, including Blu-ray, DVD, vinyl and CD. The three-LP and two-CD editions feature bonus tracks. The film was rebuilt from more than 100 cans of 35mm footage and overseen by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis, while the audio was converted from the original tapes and supervised by David Gilmour. The new version first appeared on Pink Floyd’s The Later Years box set last year.

“In 1987, Pink Floyd made a triumphant resurgence,” Sony Music said in a statement. “The legendary British band, formed in 1967, had suffered the loss of two co-founders: keyboardist and vocalist Richard Wright, who left after sessions for The Wall in 1979, and bass player and lyricist Roger Waters, who had left to go solo in 1985, soon after the 1983 album The Final Cut. The gauntlet was thus laid down for guitarist-singer David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, who proceeded to create the multi-platinum A Momentary Lapse of Reason album, a global chart smash, which also saw the return of Richard Wright to the fold.”

The resulting tour ran for two years and sold more than 4.25 million tickets. The movie was recorded during a stop at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island in August 1988.

The statement added: “As a record of the creative power of David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright at their incendiary best, Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound of Thunder is an engrossing and uplifting event, to be enjoyed by any rock music fan.”

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The Roundhouse’s Special Meaning for Pink Floyd and Nick Mason

For Nick Mason, everything old is new again.

He’s leading Saucerful of Secrets through a return trip to his pre-Dark Side of the Moon days with Pink Floyd, but – as the recently released Live at the Roundhouse project shows – this isn’t another snoozy rerun.

They’re adding fresh perspective while making bold choices. Songs that had not been played live in decades resurfaced in the set list, mixed in with some rarities like Syd Barrett‘s “Vegetable Man.”

“It’s been absolutely great fun,” Mason tells UCR. “It’s all of the good stuff of being in a band, really, all over again.”

Guitarist Gary Kemp and late-era Pink Floyd bassist Guy Pratt split the vocal duties, joined by keyboardists Dom Beken and Lee Harris, the latter of whom also adds vocal support. They all work together as a unit with Mason to breathe new life into the classic material, recreating certain elements from scratch and flying in other parts from a variety of sources.

Mason’s approach quickly earned the praise of surviving Pink Floyd bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour. Waters even sat in for one show.

“They’ve been brilliant,” Mason enthuses. “It’s one of those things where they might disapprove, but they wouldn’t stop me. But, on the other hand, to get their approval makes it so much nicer. David was really helpful, lending equipment. Actually, David still, every now and again, emails advice to Guy on what he’s doing. And frankly, to get the seal of approval from Roger, with him coming onstage, was just fantastic.”

The first Saucerful of Secrets tour included nearly two hours of music and anecdotes. The audio and visuals were stunning. It was an experience that finally offered music lovers the chance to immerse themselves in an era of Pink Floyd’s work that hasn’t gotten as much exposure as the albums and songs that came later.

Watch Saucerful of Secrets Perform at the Roundhouse

Before moving to theaters, they tried out the sets in clubs. It was the first time Mason had played in those smaller settings since the late ’60s.

“It was very strange for me, because I have to say, I’d not really thought about it very hard,” Mason says. “I just sort of got on with trying to make it work. But there was no doubt – more or less the first few notes of the first show, I had that real deja vu sort of sense. It reminded me so much of going out for the first times with Pink Floyd. I think it’s partly the music, but it was also something being in an environment that I’d not been in for a very long time.”

It was a heady experience for all involved, as Pratt adds in the liner notes to Live at the Roundhouse.

“We were elated,” Pratt tells journalist Michael Hann. “Because I’d only ever been on arena or stadium stages with Nick, I’d never seen him in the context of just a bloke in a band. He has always been part of this vast edifice. But suddenly, I saw for the first time that kid onstage at the UFO club. And that had the knock-on effect of reconnecting me with the 17-year-old me in my first band, onstage at the Marquee. It was a brilliant circle of revitalization.”

Filming at the Roundhouse also brought things full circle. Pink Floyd performed there in 1966 before the venue was even properly finished. They appeared on a makeshift stage, with power running in from an outside source. As Mason shares in the film, they were onstage for only an hour or so and would have happily gone longer than that – but Pink Floyd had blown all of the fuses.

“Oh yeah, it’s a remarkable building,” Mason recalls. “What’s nice about it is that weirdly it still has some of the character that it had when it was – well, originally, it was an engine shed where they turned the engines around. And then it was used as a warehouse for gin for years. Really, it was just had a floor and nothing to it.”

That space has since undergone a sweeping makeover. “The Roundhouse now is an absolutely stunning venue – and actually, it’s a really interesting place,” Mason adds. “Although the venue upstairs works really well, the under-craft is divided up into small studios and all of the local kids are able to come and borrow guitars or get some help in learning to play. It’s a very worthy sort of entertainment center, as well.”

Whatever the technical issues, Pink Floyd’s stop at the Roundhouse remained historic, since it was their “first actual real gig to more than 50 people,” as Mason recalled in an interview celebrating the club’s 50th anniversary.

Listen to Saucerful of Secrets’ ‘Interstellar Overdrive’

Only four of the songs on Live at the Roundhouse have appeared on previous concert releases by Pink Floyd or any other member. The rest was played for the first time or for the first time since their long-ago original live performances.

Even more familiar tracks, like the opening “Interstellar Overdrive,” had been retired from the Pink Floyd concert repertoire for 50 years. “I think it’s a sort of mission statement in a way,” Mason says with a laugh. “You know, it sort of sets the scene.”

Placing “Interstellar Overdrive” so early in the show also helps set Saucerful of Secrets apart, he notes. “I think one of the things that worried us all to begin with was that people would think – I mean, I don’t mean this in too derogatory of a way, but it was going to be another tribute band playing ‘Money’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’ and ‘Another Brick,’ and so on. I think that whole thing of ‘Interstellar,’ with its breakdown and all of the rest of it, it shows basically what we have in mind for the rest of the evening.”

Like most bands, Saucerful of Secrets are off the road as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but they have concert dates rescheduled for 2021 – and plans to dig further into the catalog. After all, as Mason points out in the Live at the Roundhouse liner notes, they’ve done only 15 percent of the songs. “There’s still a lot of stuff there,” he notes.

That includes both recorded favorites and songs that have never been officially released. The only thing that guides their choices, Mason says, is how the band interacts with the material.

“I think the thing we’re most thinking about is ‘Echoes,’ which we’d really like to have a go at,” Mason says. “But there are some other less well-known things. There’s a couple of things from demos that were done sort of before we had the record deal that we’d like to have a look at. To some extent, we won’t even know until we’ve tried them out. Because it’s extraordinary how you remember the basics of the song, but until you actually get it there and play it as a band, you can’t really tell if it works or not.”

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How Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp Ended Up Doing Pink Floyd Songs

In many ways, the lineup for Nick Mason‘s Saucerful of Secrets makes perfect sense.

The band’s rhythm section, for instance, also includes longtime Pink Floyd collaborator Guy Pratt on bass. Keyboardist Dom Beken previously worked with late Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright. And guitarist Lee Harris’ father was cinematographer on the music video for Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes.”

Then there’s Gary Kemp. Best known as co-founding guitarist with the New Romantic band Spandau Ballet, he arrived with no direct musical connection to Mason’s old group. Instead, Kemp’s friendship with Pratt – who’s collaborated with David Gilmour since 1984 – opened the door for a second career in exploring Pink Floyd’s pre-‘Dark Side of the Moon‘ material.

Nick Mason tells UCR about working with Kemp, their earliest jams together and the prospect of following up the new Live at the Roundhouse with a studio album.

Overall, this band is incredible. You have someone like Guy Pratt, who has such a long running association with Pink Floyd. But each of these guys are students of this music. There’s such a dedication and a reverence for the material that elevates this experience so far beyond it just being a band playing Pink Floyd music.
I’ve known Gary for a few years before, but I had no idea how passionate he was about it – and how well he knew the songs and knew the music. I think he’s been one of the great surprises and assets to this whole enterprise. Because everyone knows that he’s a great songwriter who has written a couple of really mega-hits, and Spandau Ballet was seen as the New Romantics – hardly Pink Floyd territory – but he just seemed to slide straight into it.

Watch Gary Kemp Perform With Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets

As this band was starting to come together from a lineup perspective, what it was like when you guys started jamming?
It was absolutely terrific. It’s a very old-fashioned concept, really. Because the band was put together, not with auditions or me going out looking for the right people. It was actually being approached by Lee and then by Guy. Then Gary wanted to join in. In a way, it was a very sort of old-school version of how you put a band together – which is people that you like, deciding that it would be fun to work together. We had no idea, really. I certainly had no idea of whether it would work or not. I think we booked two days in the rehearsal room. It was a really sort of pretty glossy room. To keep it really simple, I didn’t even bring my own drum kit in. We just used one that they had in the room. By the end of the day, we all looked at each other and went, “That was great! Let’s do more!”

I don’t think we did more than 10 or 12 days of rehearsal before we actually went into a pub and performed. At the end of that, we just went, “This is great.” There were a couple of people, various management people and agents and so on, they said: “We’ll find you the work. This could work on the road.” To which everyone went, “Great!” We started packing.

Would you like to make new music with this band at some point?
My first reaction is to say, “Really, I don’t think so.” What I really feel is that it may be possible and it might be something to look at, but it won’t be in the next year or so – because there’s still so much of this enterprise to work through. There’s still so many songs that we’d like to have a go at. I think it’s quite difficult to actually do new music in this day and age, but particularly for a band of people who sort of already have done other things. Starting from scratch at this stage, it would be difficult. Having said that, a songwriter of Gary’s caliber, maybe, but it’s not something I would plan to do in the next year.

You Think You Know Pink Floyd?

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How Hans Zimmer Covered Pink Floyd’s ‘Eclipse’ for ‘Dune’ Trailer

The version of Pink Floyd‘s “Eclipse” found in the new trailer for Dune was recorded using social distancing, with Hans Zimmer, the film’s score composer, overseeing the sessions remotely.

According to Variety, Zimmer hired choral contractor Edie Lehmann Boddicker to bring 32 of the top session singers in Los Angeles to his Remote Control studio in Santa Monica, Calif. To minimize risk of exposure to the coronavirus, the vocal parts were recorded over eight separate sessions, with four singers allowed in the studio at a time. Lehmann Boddicker was on-site, while Zimmer observed from his home studio via FaceTime and offered input.

“We followed all the [COVID-19] protocols,” Lehmann Boddicker said. “Everybody wore masks except when they were in their separate cubicles, divided by glass, all with their own mic’s, and everything was wiped down between sessions.”

Twelve of the singers performed the lyrics, while the other 20 contributed the background vocals. Zimmer would only tell Variety that recording “Eclipse” for the Dune trailer was his doing, but Lehmann Boddicker added that the composer “wanted to pay homage to the original, very back-phrased sound, a little spaced-out, so the vocals would not sound urgent. There’s a kind of joy happening in the track, a lot of hopefulness. It’s not despondent, just very peaceful and sounding not of this planet.”

There was also the matter of getting Roger Waters‘ approval for the Dark Side of the Moon closing track. Allegra Willis Knerr of BMG U.S. noted that it took “multiple departments and territories across BMG. Our Synch team got involved early in the process when the studio first showed interest in ‘Eclipse.’ We wanted to get this in front of Roger Waters and his team as quickly as possible. All of us could sense this had the potential to be something very special. We’re absolutely thrilled with the final result and enthusiastic reaction to the spot.”

Following the trailer’s release last week, digital sales of “Eclipse” increased 1,750 percent. You can hear “Eclipse” beginning at 1:12 of the trailer embedded below.

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How Nick Mason Brought Back a Lost Pink Floyd Song

Pink Floyd‘s first attempt at recording a follow-up to “See Emily Play” in October 1967 ended with a shower of laughter. Maybe they never really got serious about “Vegetable Man,” though at one point it was apparently scheduled as a B-side.

The Syd Barrett song ended up sitting unfinished and unreleased for decades. Then drummer Nick Mason stumbled across “Vegetable Man” as part of Pink Floyd’s 2016 retrospective The Early Years: 1965-1972. Intrigued, Mason started playing it with his new band Saucerful of Secrets, who are now set to release Live at the Roundhouse.

Due Sept. 18, the concert film finds Mason, Gary Kemp, Guy Pratt, Dom Beken and Lee Harris exploring Pink Floyd’s rich pre-Dark Side of the Moon discography – including the once-lost “Vegetable Man.” Mason discusses the archival find, how Saucerful of Secrets get their interpretative ideas and what it felt like to lose his friend Barrett to mental illness in an exclusive interview below.

You pulled out and finished “Vegetable Man,” which had never been played live by Pink Floyd in a concert. What was it like preparing that one for the live set?
That is sort of extraordinary. It’s sort of an unfinished work, really. It’s that thing about whether one should put more into it or whatever. But in a way, it’s a nice little cameo of what Syd did. One of the strange things, looking at Syd’s work, is the variety of music styles. Because some people, I think, point at “Vegetable Man” as a sort of early punk thing in a way, which it is. It’s got that driving four-to-the-floor sort of beat. But also then there’d be the rural, almost fairy story – “Gnome,” “Scarecrow”-type of songs. Or “Bike” even. And then there’d be some wilder [songs like] “Interstellar Overdrive,” with improvised sections and, for rock ‘n’ roll, really unusual things where the rhythm breaks down and you’re left with a sort of soundscape for maybe five or 10 minutes.

Listen to an Early Version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Vegetable Man’

I loved reading in the liner notes that you guys went into the archives, and Dom Beken finds a version of “Atom Heart Mother” that’s just you and [Pink Floyd keyboardist] Rick [Wright] playing together, which provides a really important bit of inspiration for the version that the band ends up playing. What was the source material for that stuff? Did you and the band members literally have access to the old session tapes? It didn’t sound like Beken was accessing a version of “Atom Heart Mother” that was released on one of the box sets.
No, it wasn’t. I’ll tell you exactly what he was accessing, which is bootlegs! [Laughs.] Bootlegs of past performances. I mean, virtually everything. We do occasionally go back into our own archives for bits and pieces or a sound effect or something like that. But in general, it’s one of those things [we use] for working out how much improvisation to do with any given song. [We] listen to some of these bootlegs – to see the variation, really, on what’s done and what we did.

Syd Barrett really gets his moment of spotlight in these shows. Going back to his songs, what did that draw out for you? What sort of perspective did you have on Barrett both as an artist and a songwriter, as you return to some of these songs decades later?
I think there’s a lot of mixed emotions with the whole Syd thing. Because in some ways, he was so smart in so many ways. I think there’s a bit of sadness now looking back on it – and a little bit of guilt. Not really guilt, but we handled Syd very badly. We had no idea – and still don’t really know – what the real problem was, whether it was LSD or whether it was something in his character anyway. Or whether, in fact, he was probably clearer than we ever perceived and he just didn’t actually want to be in a band, necessarily. While we thought if he didn’t want to be in a band, it was a sign of madness – because we were all at that point, absolutely committed to doing it. But I think he maybe just thought, “Well, I’ve done that. I don’t really want to do anymore of it.” But instead of just going … we should have probably let him go much earlier or separated from him earlier. But as I say, we had no idea at the time.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Discuss Syd Barrett

You said during a Saucerful of Secrets show, “We ran out of Syd, or perhaps he ran out on us.”
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s it. Absolutely.

I smiled. It was a poignant way of looking at things.
Yeah, but I think it’s great to celebrate the work that he did do. I don’t think we’ve ever wanted to hide it, but I think it just got buried underneath all of the successful later Pink Floyd stuff and hopefully it’s of real interest to people who listen to it now.

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