Credits: Jill Furmanovsky

Nick Mason focuses on early Pink Floyd material with his new band

music news 10/08/2018

In May this year, Nick Mason and his new band, Saucerful of Secrets, played four intimate shows in London that had a major focus on material from Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett era. 

The band will be embarking on their next tour in Europe starting in Stockholm on 2nd Sept, shortly after the release of Mason's solo album box set "Unattended Luggage".

Saucerful of Secrets includes guitarist Lee Harris, Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, bassist Guy Pratt, keyboardist Dom Beken and Nick Mason himself on drums. The idea behind the band sparked from a conversation between Harris and Prat on Mason's musical hiatus. 

“If it had just come from Lee,” Mason explained, “I probably would have thought, 'Hmmm, not really.' But the fact that I’ve worked with Guy on and off for the last 30-odd years, I thought, 'Well, if Guy’s involved, this could really work.' And then Gary joined in saying he’d love to do something. Suddenly there was an actual sort of focus on how this could work." He continued to tell Billboard, "We went and did a couple of days’ rehearsals. Everyone came away from it absolutely buzzing.”

Watch Saucerful of Secrets performing "See Emily Play" at Half Moon Putney.

Their setlist for their London shows included many songs from their earlier albums that were rarely or never-before performed during arena tours. The band had only performed "See Emily Play" during TV appearances in the U.K. and U.S. 

“Once Syd had gone, the move was to try new material so David [Gilmour] can sing things [without] having to really recreate Syd for an audience," Mason recalled.

Mason also noted that it was difficult at the beginning to re-learn the songs. “Being an eternal optimist, I thought it would just come straight back to me. Sadly, I was wrong. Once you start examining Syd’s work carefully it’s quite often more complex than you expect," Mason explained. "It's not necessarily written like so many pop songs with an eight-bar section and the middle eights and whatever. It's quite often a completely different set of bar counts to what you're expecting. And that in a way was fun and challenging to get at the feel of the song, but not necessarily feel that we had to sound exactly like Syd or like David or whatever.”

Mason was surprised that their London shows received positive reactions, he believes they "have found a niche" for themselves as both Roger Waters and David Gilmour, as well as tribute bands, aren't doing.

When asked upon the decision of the band name, Mason indicated that it would be a quick way to explain what their band's focus is. He told Billboard, “What I didn't want to get caught up in were a lot of people going, 'Well, why don't you play "Comfortably Numb"?' or 'Why don't you do something from The Wall?' I think the name itself indicates where we are and what we're doing.”

There could be a real possibility that Saucerful of Secrets will bring their shows to the U.S. “What I underestimated was the enthusiasm, not of the audience, but of the band,” Mason tells Billboard. “Pink Floyd was always enthusiastic, but not like this lot is now. Everyone wants to do everything: 'We want to go to America.' 'We want to go to South America.' 'What about Peru?' (laughs). It's like a travel agency.”