True confession – and not one that I’m comfortable sharing: the first time I ever found myself even barely appreciating the music of Pink Floyd was when a friend dragged me along to see the movie The Wall. Maybe I’d heard “See Emily Play” and liked that song, but I had not yet bought Relics and spent any time contemplating how much more I liked Syd Barrett-era Floyd than the stuff that The In Crowd at both my school and in my neighborhood were digging on their hi-fi systems with 5-foot high speakers and all kinds of fancy components I was still years away from owning myself.
When the film came out, the soundtrack album was immediately HUGE. In the weeks leading up to my friend dragging me out to see this flick, I’d already hated the songs from that album, just as I’d hated Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and even that supposedly cooler album from right before they broke, with some long song called “Echoes”. (I did think the album cover for Animals was cool, and I still remember a friendly In Crowder who brought back pictures of that actual building that he snapped on a trip to England.) How The In Crowd with their prime teenage girlfriends and tales of primo weekend parties loved friggin’ “Echoes”! I’m not ashamed to admit that, before I hated everything about Pink Floyd and what they represented to me way back when, just as I’m not ashamed to admit that I pretty much hated myself.
What does trouble me and my pathetic sense of actually having exquisite taste and an inner cool is that it took seeing this stoner rock flick, complete with those animated scenes that never were my cup of tea and still aren’t to this day, to first tune into the humanity and longing of the music of Roger Waters and company. I’m not saying the movie unlocked some profound emotional identification with the band and its music, but it gave me a clue that these dudes at least wanted to be good, that they had something on their minds and in their hearts and they hoped to get it out. Granted, substitute the music of Toto for Pink Floyd and those good intentions would be completely worthless. The “human face” that the movie The Wall enabled me to enjoy what I could out of Roger Waters-era Floyd. I still prefer the Syd stuff – and I prefer Syd’s 2 solo albums to Piper at the Gates of Dawn – but as the movie plays on some cable station in the background, I can’t recall another rock flick opening my mind to a band I’d previously not like and, in fact, even despised. I know rock flicks are usually known for ruining great music – maybe real Floyd fans felt this way about The Wall. But has any rock flick had a similar, positive influence on your liking of the featured band?
By the way, I still don’t like that “Echoes” song. I once tried to watch that Live at Pompeii movie, and boy that was boring!