In the 1960s, it was virtually a welcoming custom for young rockers to use LSD or something similar to the chemical since it was a simple method to revolt against the system, have an extravagant excursion into the depths of your mind, and use what you gathered from there in creative sessions. Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys’ leader, even went so far as to say that he had talked to God during one of his trips. Although this certainly inspired the rocker to come up with new and more creative ideas, LSD also forced him to make some dubious moves. Still, it was Wilson’s songs and arrangements that Syd Barrett listened to in the late 1960s while sitting on his bed, surrounded by Beach Boys records and probably high on LSD. His green curtains were frequently drawn, and as some said, the rocker’s room made you feel like you were sitting in a submarine.
That was how Barrett spent his days after leaving Pink Floyd, the band he co-founded and named. There was little doubt that the former vocalist was disappointed that his bandmates had sacked him just a few months after recruiting David Gilmour, but he wasn’t about to wallow in his sorrow. Syd Barrett already had new projects in the works, and because Pink Floyd’s label had parted ways with the band in order to sign him, all he needed to do was go into the studio and record his solo debut, ‘The Madcap Laughs.’ The singer even enlisted the help of old bandmates David Gilmour and Roger Waters to produce the record, however their collaboration was not commercially successful. Syd only recorded two more albums after his debut, with one of them seeing release decades later, and slowly faded away from the scene, according to his family, leading a peaceful life away from the curious eyes of the public, while painting and gardening. The former rocker obviously didn’t enjoy it when people asked him about Pink Floyd and probably didn’t like the thought of meeting with his old comrades, so when the magazine asked Syd’s former pal, Waters, when he’d seen Barrett the last time in 2005, the bassist had no immediate answer.
It had been years, Roger Waters stated, describing Barrett’s mental health and diagnosing him with schizophrenia while recalling that the former frontman’s LSD and substance usage hadn’t helped with his mental health difficulties, causing him to go through difficult spells. Waters also mentioned how Barrett’s family blamed him for his downfall despite his mental health concerns and substance misuse. The rocker then implied that there was nothing he could do to save Barrett from his personal difficulties and mental degradation, blaming the singer’s demise on LSD and schizophrenia, and that those problems were beyond his ability to handle. The bassist recalls his last encounter with Syd and how his family blamed him: “It was twenty years ago. Syd’s mother always blamed me for his decline, probably because she couldn’t accept that his condition had nothing to do with Pink Floyd or rock and roll. His symptoms were most likely increased by his usage of acid, although this did not cause his disease. Hallucination is one of the symptoms of schizophrenia. As a result, hallucinogenic drugs are a horrible idea.
Syd has been in and out of Cambridge’s Fulbourn Mental Hospital for the last 35 years, and he is properly cared for. But he refuses to see me or anyone else from those times. It makes him feel uneasy. It annoys him. He doesn’t want to go back in time since he can’t make sense of it. It irritates him. It irritates him.” The Barrett family clearly did not believe Syd’s possible mental issues or substance abuse played a significant role in his decline, and because the singer was never formally diagnosed with schizophrenia, they felt that his former bandmates had let him down and dismissed him from a band he co-founded and led.