One of the other two girls i was staying with in Pietrasanta, Deidre, grew up with Stefani, Warren Haynes' wife and manager. She invited us to see their show in Lucca. They were playing with Robert Plant! I was ecstatic.
Coincidentally, just before I heard the news about Syd's death, I had visited Lucca, a walled medieval city. After my visit, looking for the road to take me to the highway and home, I somehow managed to drive my car into a prohibited area meant for the people that worked in some area or other. A brand new Aston Martin sped past the parking lot i was in, and i decided if he was driving that fast, he must know where he was going, so i followed him, blowing through narrow cobbled streets at a tremendous speed - people ducking into doorways to avoid us, and sure enough he emerged on the road I wanted.
When we showed up in Pisola, another walled medieval city, for the show, we discovered that Robert Plant was *opening* for Gov't Mule. And we heard Plant's voice, glorious and powerful and echoing through the stone walls of Lucca, as we fought our way through Security Guards to get backstage. (They finally got Stefani on the walkie-talkie, and were chastised and apologetic for not checking with their boss who had the list with our names on it.)
When we were escorted graciously by the now chagrined security team straight up the stairs to the area behind the stage, I almost ran directly into Plant, who was just leaving the stage. I could barely breath.
Yeah - take a moment ... Robert Plant opened for Gov't Mule? Well, yeah, of course it came about because Robert's schedule prevented him from staying later in Italy. But still . . . they can always say Robert Plant opened for them. Not that they would. For all of Haynes' career (Allman Brothers, David Allen Coe, The Grateful Dead, and his band now, Gov't Mule) Warren is completely unassuming and devoid of ego.
When Gov't Mule went on, we were brought along with them, and ensconced onstage beside them. It was a sold out show and the open-air center of Lucca was packed with bodies. When they did their encore, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," the crowd went wild. Suddenly Lucca was glowing with upheld lighters. I have bad pics of this on my website ... I took so many pics in Italy it will take me a while to find them, but I will update this when I do.
OK, found 'em~! http://www.bitchwick.com/amacker/italia/mule/index.htm#1
A rumour? or truth?
This is what I was told, by a friend who is a professional musician and recording artist, currently living in LA. (He sound-engineers Mark Mothersbaugh (Are We Not Men?) for Nickelodeon, and more um, serious projects.)
During a recording project in 1967-68, either (my friend was specific but I have forgotten) for his solo work or with Pink Floyd, much of which occurred at both Abbey Road and Apple Studios, Syd got bored, or high, and wandered out of his recording session with his guitar and down the hall He walked into a studio where John Lennon was noodling around. Without saying anything, he sat down and started playing with John. The engineer let the tape roll. My friend knew that engineer, and has a whole LP of this session.
But I guess only the one track found in the trash at Apple Records in 1970 has made its way into the public. (I can believe this, as I have several unreleased and unavailable recordings that I will never give out, since I have been in the music business on one level or another since 1982.)
Here is one version of the story surround the mysterious recording of that track, ""Peace of Mind" (aka "The Candle Burns")."This WFMU blog also contains an MP3 of the song, so you can decide for yourself:
"The Making of The Madcap Laughs" by Malcolm Jones, has been out of print for decades, and originally only sold a few hundred copies. (I think it might have been reprinted more recently?) But here it is, faithfully reproduced as best this guy could manage:
An interview with Syd wherein he describes his training as a painter :)