Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason says he’s unsure the legendary band would make it if they were starting out now.
The drummer and car racing aficionado was a guest speaker at a Music Matters event at Selfridges in London last night (5th July), which was shining a light on the worrying widespread closures of live music venues.
Despite ultimately becoming one of the most influential bands of all time and notching up a quarter of a billion record sales, Nick says today’s musical landscape would make it difficult for Pink Floyd to break through.
“Things are a lot more complex than they were 40 years ago (sorry to break it to you Nick, it was 52 years ago) when we kicked off,” Nick told the Press Association.
“Live venues particularly are one of the few places where a new band can actually make a living and the big problem is that the money which used to be there from recorded music has all but dried up at the moment.
“It’s really important we try to keep these places where young bands can play and work open.”
Pink Floyd in 1972 © PA Images
Pressed as to whether he thinks Pink Floyd would succeed today, Nick responded: “No I don’t. That’s to do with a whole bunch of different things. I think you need to be in the right place at the right time, however good you are.
“I think The Beatles 10 years earlier or 10 years later might have had trouble, we certainly would have.”
Nick explained that Pink Floyd became who they were from playing underground clubs like the UFO Club, saying “(we) learned about playing in front of an audience in those venues.”
Selfridges is hosting a string of live music events in London, Birmingham and Manchester stores over the next three months aiming to raise money for live venues. There is also a pop-up venue in London called the Ultralounge at the Oxford Street branch.
Of course, Nick isn’t the first eminent musician to speak out about the threat of live music venue closures.
Back in March, Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson strongly condemned the close of grassroots gig venues, telling WalesOnline: "Small venues are indispensable to bands... always have been and always will be.
“I think we miss a trick in this country and some countries in Europe do it better in that they protect their social infrastructure. And pubs and small venues are part of that social infrastructure.
"Just because something would be worth X a square foot, that is a case of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
"These are vital things (small music venues) and the reason why people come to a city centre is to keep it alive. And it's not just people who want to drink posh lattes, there are other people in the world who have cultural needs and rock and roll is pretty fundamental to people's lives these days."