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Music

The concert that made Pink Floyd's Nick Mason want to pursue music

@josephtaysom

One night, future Nick Mason drummer Pink Floyd witnessed a concert so enthralling that he immediately knew that being a professional musician was all he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

The drummer was one of the founding members of Sigma 6 while attending Regent Street Polytechnic, and back then, Mason believed that his future lay in architecture. At the time, music was nothing more than a hobby, an activity he did with his friends in a bid to keep themselves entertained.

Little did he know that in just a few years on from forming his first band in 1964, they’d be the hottest property in London, and his life suddenly went down an unexpected path which he’s still venturing on today.

Mason’s band would often stage concerts at the University, and in 1966, the drummer was blown away by witnessing Cream in action for the first time. That evening is etched permanently into the history books because it also marked Jimi Hendrix’s debut appearance on UK soil, and it remains a night that the drummer will never forget.

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While Hendrix stole the headlines following the performance – and deservedly so – Mason was possessed by the presence of Ginger Baker on the drums, who captivated the Pink Floyd man throughout the concert. After the show, suddenly, there was only one occupation Mason wanted to follow, and his plan to be an architect went straight out of the window.

Speaking about a collection of his favourite tracks of all time, Mason named Hendrix’s cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and refected upon that unexpected moment when the guitarist first entered his life. “Well, I chose this because it was really covering two bases,” he explained to the BBC. “First of all, big fan of Jimi Hendrix. I saw him the first time that he came to the UK. It was an extraordinary evening, he came on as a guest of Cream.

He continued: “That in itself was a pretty extraordinary moment for me. Because that’s when I decided I wanted to be a full-on rock drummer like Ginger Baker rather than an architect, which was the way I was heading at the time. Plus the fact that the song itself was written by Bob Dylan. I’m a huge fan of Dylan as I think so many people in bands are. He is such an influence with his writing”.

Watching Cream in their full flow convinced Mason that playing music to crowds who worshipped your every move was an endeavour that he could get behind, and the idea of working in an architect paled in comparison with touring the world.

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