How Nick Mason’s New Band Got Together
Former Pink Floyd bassist Guy Pratt revealed how drummer Nick Mason’s new project was formed.
Working under the banner Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, the lineup began performing in May, delivering a set based on early Floyd material.
“Lee Harris, who used to play for the Blockheads, had the idea,” Pratt told MusicRadar in a recent interview. “He pointed out that no one plays the really early Pink Floyd material, and also that no one ever asks Nick Mason to do anything. David Gilmour doesn’t ask him to play and Roger Waters doesn’t ask him to play, but this is one thing that Nick completely owns and that no one else can really do.”
He said the band had come together “incredibly easily." “We did a single rehearsal in this little room, which was hilarious because I’ve only ever been in an aircraft hanger with Nick," he noted. "We rehearsed for a week and then did those four shows. … I don’t think any of us were ready for the reaction, although we knew we had a good band. There were five-star reviews everywhere.”
Pratt described the first show as “totally punk and totally fresh." “‘Interstellar Overdrive’ has one of the greatest punk riffs ever written," he explained. "‘Bike’ is fucking bonkers. ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun’ is the greatest song that Joy Division never wrote.”
He pointed out that, even though his seven years with Pink Floyd from 1987 to 1994 taught him to deal with the intricacies of the band’s bass parts, he was grateful to have Mason’s support during “fluid” time signatures that moved from three-four to four-four as a result of early leader Syd Barrett’s compositions.
“On ‘Bike,’ I’ve actually invented a time signature called ‘Syd/4,’” he said. “You couldn’t count it if you tried, because it has so many different time signatures within it. Nick sails through it, though. He gets it in a way that no other drummer could, because no other drummer played with Syd Barrett.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Pratt recalled a conversation with Gilmour while working on the 1994 Pink Floyd album The Division Bell. “He said ‘I’ll do the bass’ and I said, ‘David, if I don’t play bass anywhere on this record, I’ll look like a real twat,’" he recalled. "So he said yes – grudgingly!”
Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets have five U.K. shows scheduled for April and May next year.