Nicholas Berkeley Mason CBE (born 27 January 1944) is an English drummer and a founder member of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd. He has been the only constant member since the band's formation in 1964, and is the only member to appear on every Pink Floyd album. He co-wrote Pink Floyd compositions including "Echoes", "Time", "Careful with That Axe, Eugene", and "One of These Days". In 2018, he formed a new band, Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets, to perform music from Pink Floyd's early years. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a member of Pink Floyd.

Nick Mason
Mason performing in 2018
Background information
Birth nameNicholas Berkeley Mason
Born (1944-01-27) 27 January 1944 (age 80)
Birmingham, Warwickshire, England
OriginHampstead, London, England
GenresProgressive rock, psychedelic rock
  • Musician
  • composer
  • record producer
  • author
  • auto racer
  • Drums
  • percussion
Years active1964–present
Member of

Early life edit

Mason was born on 27 January 1944 in Birmingham to Ailsa Sarah (née Kershaw) and Bill Mason, a documentary filmmaker;[1] one of his paternal great-grandfathers was Rowland Hill Berkeley, who was Lord Mayor of Birmingham in 1904–1905.[2]

Mason was brought up in Hampstead, London, and attended the Hall School, Hampstead, and Frensham Heights School, near Farnham, Surrey. While studying architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), he formed a band, Sigma 6, an early incarnation of Pink Floyd, with Roger Waters, Bob Klose and Richard Wright in 1964.[3] In September 1963, Waters and Mason moved into a flat near Crouch End in London, owned by Mike Leonard, a part-time tutor at the nearby Hornsey College of Art and the Regent Street Polytechnic.[4][nb 1] Mason moved out after the 1964 academic year.[5][nb 2]

Pink Floyd edit

Pink Floyd released their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in 1967.[6] Mason has played on every Pink Floyd album since.[7] The only Pink Floyd compositions credited solely to Mason are "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party Parts 1–3" (from Ummagumma) and "Speak to Me" (from The Dark Side of the Moon).[7] The track "Nick's Boogie" was named after him.[7]

The only occasions on which Mason's voice has been included on Pink Floyd's albums are "Corporal Clegg"; the single spoken line in "One of These Days"; and spoken parts of "Signs of Life" and "Learning to Fly" (the latter taken from an actual recording of Mason's first solo flight) from A Momentary Lapse of Reason.[7] He does, however, sing lead vocals on two unreleased but heavily bootlegged tracks, "Scream Thy Last Scream" (1967), penned by original group leader Syd Barrett, and "The Merry Xmas Song" (1975–76). In live performances of the song "Sheep", Mason delivered the spoken section.[7]

Mason and guitarist David Gilmour at Roger Waters' The Wall Tour, May 2011

Despite legal conflicts over ownership of the name "Pink Floyd", which began when Waters left the group in 1985 and lasted roughly seven years, Waters and Mason are reportedly on good terms.[7] Mason joined Waters on the last two nights of his 2002 world tour to play drums on the Pink Floyd song "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", and he also played drums on some concerts of Waters' European tour in 2006, and during performances in Los Angeles and New York City in the United States.

In July 2005, Mason, Gilmour, Wright, and Waters played together on stage for the first time in 24 years at the Live 8 concert in London.[7] Mason joined Gilmour and Wright again for the encore during Gilmour's show at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 31 May 2006. Mason has claimed to be the link between Gilmour and Waters. He also stated in 2006 that Pink Floyd had not officially disbanded, but with the death of Wright in 2008, the band effectively came to an end, as confirmed by Gilmour.[8] While Gilmour and Waters continued to quarrel, Mason remained close to both.[9]

On 12 May 2007, Mason joined Waters on stage at Earls Court to play The Dark Side of the Moon. On 12 May 2011, Mason was featured (along with Gilmour) on the encore "Outside the Wall" at a concert by Waters, who was performing The Wall in its entirety (Gilmour also performed on "Comfortably Numb" that night).

Mason has worked with other musicians, including Steve Hillage (as drummer and producer), Robert Wyatt (with whom he appeared on Top of the Pops[7]), the Damned and Gong.[10] He also drummed for Michael Mantler.[10]

Mason's book, Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, was published in the UK in October 2004.[7] It is also available, abridged, as a 3-CD audio book, read by Mason.[7] An updated edition was published in paperback in 2011.

He performed in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games on 12 August 2012. He produced and played on the charity single "Save the Children (Look Into Your Heart)", which also featured Beverley Knight, Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood and which was released in May 2015 in aid of Save the Children's Nepal Earthquake Appeal.[11] On 17 October 2012, Mason was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award in recognition of his contributions to music.[12]

Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets edit

In 2018, Mason formed a new band, Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets, to perform Pink Floyd's early psychedelic material.[13] Along with Mason, the band comprises former Blockheads guitarist Lee Harris, bassist and Pink Floyd collaborator Guy Pratt, vocalist and guitarist Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, and Orb keyboardist Dom Beken.[14] As many fans had discovered Pink Floyd with The Dark Side of the Moon, Mason wanted to bring their earlier material to a wider audience.[14] The band toured Europe and North America in 2018 and 2019, with a third tour postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[15] In September 2020, they released a live album and film, Live at the Roundhouse.[16]

Drumming style edit

A selection of Mason's customised drumsticks, from various makers, displayed at the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition

Influenced by jazz and big band music, Mason embraced acoustic drums (both single- and double-headed), tuned percussion, electronic drums and Rototoms, melding all of these into a melodic whole. His snare drum sound shifted from harsh demarcation of beats 2 and 4 ("Careful with that Axe, Eugene") to a fatter and gentler timbre ("Echoes") — a change that reflected growing studio skills.[17] His style was gentler and more laid back than that of other progressive rock drummers of the time. Mason soloed on a few Pink Floyd compositions including "Nick's Boogie", "A Saucerful of Secrets", "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party", "Up The Khyber", "Skins", and "Time". Due to the dynamic live performances of Pink Floyd, Mason's style was more energetic and complex live, and can be heard on such albums as Ummagumma and Live at Pompeii.

He used Premier drums in the 1960s and occasionally in the 1970s[according to whom?]. After that, he used Ludwig drums from 1970 until 1992. He currently uses Drum Workshop (DW) drums, pedals and hardware. His kit is a DW double bass kit with the Dark Side of the Moon logo on the drums. He has also used Paiste cymbals during his entire career with Pink Floyd and currently uses a mixture of Paiste Traditional, Signature and 2002 cymbals. He also endorses Remo drumheads, Latin Percussion and Pro-Mark sticks.

Cars and motor racing edit

Nick Mason
Mason in 1981
Nationality  British
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Years1979–80, 1982–84
TeamsDorset Racing Associates
EMKA Productions
Dome Racing
GTi Engineering
Best finish18th (1979)
Class wins0

As Pink Floyd's recording and touring schedule grew more sporadic, Mason was left with more time to pursue his favourite hobby, motor racing. This interest was documented in the 1986 short film Life Could Be a Dream.[18] He owns (through his company Ten Tenths[19][20]) and races several classic cars, and has competed successfully at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.[21] His racing cars include: Alfa Romeo 8C;[22] Bentley 4½ Litre (his father's racing car);[22] Bugatti Type 35;[23] Jaguar D-Type;[22] Ferrari 250 LM;[23] Ferrari BB LM;[22][23] Maserati Tipo 61;[24] McLaren F1 GTR;[23] and he previously raced a BRM P30.[25]

In 1998, Mason published a book, Into the Red, in which he documents his experience with his cars, along with some histories.[26] It was followed in 2010 by a second book, Passion for Speed: Twenty-four Classic Cars that Shaped a Century of Motor Sport.[27]

Mason is associated with the Italian manufacturer Ferrari, and estimates he has owned 40 Ferrari cars.[25] His first purchase in the early 1970s was a Ferrari 275 GTB/4, which he comments would regularly wet-plug (when spark plugs are coated with unburned fuel).[25] His most notable purchase was in 1977 from his proceeds from the sale of the Pink Floyd album Dark Side Of The Moon, when he paid £37,000 (equivalent to £244,558 in 2021) for one of only 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs – he still owns the car, valued now in excess of £30 million.[24] Mason and Gilmour drove the first two Ferrari F40s back to the UK from Maranello.[25]

Mason was invited by Ferrari to purchase one of the 400 Enzo models. He appeared in an episode of the BBC motoring programme Top Gear in which he allowed Jeremy Clarkson to borrow it for a review, on the condition Clarkson promote the release of the book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd.[28] Skirting BBC advertising rules prohibiting product endorsements, Clarkson referenced Pink Floyd songs and album titles in the review of the Enzo and the Stig drove around the Top Gear test track with "Another Brick in the Wall" playing, despite the fact that the Enzo does not come equipped with a stereo.[29] Mason later sold the Enzo,[30] and replaced it with a Blu Scozia-coloured LaFerrari.[31]

Mason appeared on Season 2, Episode 8 of The Grand Tour. He competed and won against Stewart Copeland for the title of "fastest rock drummer from a band that begins with a P" (driving not drumming) in the show's Celebrity Face Off segment.[32]

24 Hours of Le Mans results edit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1979   Dorset Racing Associates   Brian Joscelyne
  Tony Birchenhough
  Richard Jenvey
Lola T297 Ford-Cosworth S 2.0 260 18th 2nd
1980   Dorset Racing Associates   Peter Clarke
  Martin Birrane
Lola T297 Ford-Cosworth S 2.0 263 22nd 3rd
1982   EMKA Productions   Steve O'Rourke
  Richard Down
1983   Dome Racing   Chris Craft
  Eliseo Salazar
Dome RC82 Ford-Cosworth C 75 DNF DNF
1984   GTi Engineering   Richard Lloyd
  René Metge
Porsche 956 C1 139 DSQ DSQ
Annette Lynton in The Optimist (1984)

Personal life edit

Mason's first marriage (1969) was to Lindy Rutter, with whom he had two daughters.[citation needed] Lindy is an accomplished woodwind player; she played flute on "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" from Pink Floyd's 1969 album Ummagumma.[citation needed] The couple divorced in the late 1980s and Mason is now married to his second wife Annette Lynton (Nettie), an actress known for her adjudication role on the second series of Treasure Hunt in 1984.[citation needed] They have two sons and live in Hampstead, London. Since 1995 they have also owned Middlewick House, the Grade II listed former home of Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles, just outside the Wiltshire town of Corsham.[35]

His wealth amounted to £75 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2015–2016.[36] He is a qualified helicopter pilot, and flies an Aerospatiale AS 350 Squirrel helicopter in specially painted colours.[37]

Mason is part of Football Ventures, a consortium that bought Bolton Wanderers Football Club out of administration in August 2019.[38] He is a supporter of Arsenal F.C.[39]

Mason's portrait was painted by semi-finalists in a December 2021 episode of Portrait Artist of the Year.[40]

Views and advocacy edit

Mason's Paddington Bear statue—themed "Wish You Were Here"—outside the O2 Arena in London, auctioned to raise funds for the NSPCC

In common with Roger Waters, Mason has played concerts to raise funds for the Countryside Alliance, a group which campaigned against the ban on fox hunting with the Hunting Act 2004.[41] In 2007 they both performed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire in support of the group.[42]

He is a board member and co-chairman of the Featured Artists' Coalition.[43][44] As a spokesman for the organisation, Mason has voiced his support for musicians' rights and offered advice to younger artists in a rapidly changing music industry.[45]

In 2014, Mason joined Waters in expressing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel over the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and urged the Rolling Stones not to play in Israel.[46]

Also in 2014, Mason designed a "Wish You Were Here"-themed Paddington Bear statue, exhibited outside the O2 Arena in London (one of 50 placed around the city). The statues were auctioned to raise funds for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).[47]

Mason is an atheist.[48]

Honours and awards edit

On 26 November 2012, Mason received the Honorary title of Doctor of Letters from the University of Westminster at the presentation ceremony of the School of Architecture and Built Environment (he had studied architecture at the university's predecessor, Regent Street Polytechnic, 1962–1967).[49]

Mason was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours, "for services to music",[50] and was presented with the award by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace on 2 May 2019.

On 24 July 2023, ahead of his Pompeii concert with his current band, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Mason was awarded with the honorary citizenship of the Italian city of Pompeii. [51]

Discography edit

With Pink Floyd edit

Solo albums edit

Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets edit

  • 2020 : Live at the Roundhouse

Box set

With Rick Fenn edit

With Michael Mantler edit

  • The Hapless Child – 1976[10]
  • Something There – 1982[10]
  • Live – 1987[10]
  • Review – 2000
  • Concertos – 2008

As a producer edit

Collaboration edit

  • 2008 : Robert Wyatt & Friends – Theatre Royal Drury Lane 8th September 1974 – With Hugh Hopper, Mike Oldfield, Dave Stewart, Fred Frith, Julie Tippetts, Ivor Cutler, etc.

Books edit

  • At the Limit: 21 Classic Race Cars That Shaped a Century of Motorsport (with Mark Hales): Motorbooks International (1998) ISBN 978-0760305706
  • Into the Red: 22 Classic Cars That Shaped a Century of Motor Sport (with Mark Hales) – 3 September 1998 (first edition), 9 September 2004 (second edition)
  • Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd – 28 October 2004[7]
  • Passion for Speed: Twenty-Four Classic Cars that Shaped a Century of Motor Sport (with Mark Hales): Carlton Books (2010) ISBN 978-1847326393

References edit

  1. ^ Leonard designed light machines, which used electric motors to spin perforated discs, casting patterns of lights on the walls. These were demonstrated on an early edition of Tomorrow's World. For a brief time Leonard played keyboard with them, using the front room of his flat for rehearsals.[4]
  2. ^ Wright also briefly lived at Leonard's.[5]
  1. ^ People of today. London: Debrett's Peerage. 1993. p. 1372. ISBN 978-1-870520-14-0.
  2. ^ "Bill Mason". The British Entertainment History Project. Retrieved 11 December 2021. my grandfather was lord mayor of Birmingham
  3. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 37–38: Mason meeting Waters while studying architecture at the London Polytechnic; Fitch 2005, p. 335: Waters meeting Mason while studying architecture at the London Polytechnic.
  4. ^ a b Mason 2005, pp. 24–26.
  5. ^ a b Povey 2008, p. 14.
  6. ^ Roberts 2005, p. 391.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd – The Music and the Mystery. London: Omnibus. ISBN 978-1-84938-370-7.
  8. ^ "Pink Floyd are 'done', says Dave Gilmour". The Guardian. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  9. ^ Greene, Andy (10 December 2018). "Nick Mason on the State of Pink Floyd: 'It's Silly to Still Be Fighting'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Miles, Barry; Mabbett, Andy (1994). Pink Floyd the visual documentary (Updated ed.). London: Omnibus. ISBN 0-7119-4109-2.
  11. ^ "Beverley Knight, Mick Jagger & Ronnie Wood Charity Single". Save the Children UK. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Gold Badge Awards 2012 in pictures – M Magazine". 23 October 2012. Archived from the original on 7 January 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  13. ^ Greene, Andy (13 June 2019). "Why Pink Floyd's Nick Mason Finally Went Solo at 75". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  14. ^ a b Kielty, Martin (17 April 2018). "Nick Mason Forms Supergroup to Play Early Pink Floyd Music". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  15. ^ Munro, Scott (11 May 2020). "Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets announce rescheduled European tour". Prog Magazine. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  16. ^ Pincombe, Sean (26 March 2020). "Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets 'Live at the Roundhouse' release delayed until September 2020". Retrieved 7 July 2020. Further to the postponement of their 2020 tour, Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets 'Live at the Roundhouse' concert video and audio releases have also been delayed. Owing to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, the release has been pushed from April, and will now hit store shelves on September 18th 2020.
  17. ^ "Artists". Archived from the original on 9 May 2009.
  18. ^ Fitch, Vernon (8 May 2000). "Life Could Be a Dream – The Nick Mason film". Archived from the original on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Ten Tenths Racing Website". Ten Tenths Racing. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  20. ^ "GALLERY: Inside Ten Tenths Racing's Legendary Garage". GALLERY: Inside Ten Tenths Racing's Legendary Garage. 25 October 2017.
  21. ^ Discovery Channel Documentary, "World's Most Expensive Cars"
  22. ^ a b c d carwitter. "A Visit To Nick Mason's (Pink Floyd) Car Collection". Archived from the original on 18 August 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d "Gallery: inside Nick Mason's toybox". 4 May 2012.
  24. ^ a b Frank, Knight. "Classic car investment special: Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason on why he loves his Ferrari 250 GTO".
  25. ^ a b c d "Me and My Motor: Nick Mason of Pink Floyd recalls a "stupid" car investment with a £30m return". 15 March 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Into the Red". Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  27. ^ Passion for Speed: Twenty-four Classic Cars that Shaped a Century of Motor Sport Hardcover (2nd ed.). Publisher: Carlton Books Ltd; Revised & enlarged edition (10 Sept. 2010). 2010. ISBN 978-1-84732-639-3.
  28. ^ Darukhanawala, Adil Jal (4 December 2008). "In Conversation: Nick Mason". The Economic Times. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  29. ^ "Top Gear: Series 5, Episode 2 – TopGearbox". 26 December 2004. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  30. ^ "Ferrari Enzo – Ex Nick Mason for sale at Talacrest". Archived from the original on 18 August 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  31. ^ "Nick Mason's blue LaFerrari is like the dark side of the moon".
  32. ^ Ivie, Dave (11 December 2017). "The Grand Tour Season 2 Goes Back to Its Top Gear Roots". Retrieved 13 December 2017. a future episode [...] will see Nick Mason and Stewart Copeland competing for the title of fastest rock drummer.
  33. ^ "Nick Mason". Automobile Club de l'Ouest. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  34. ^ "Complete Archive of Nick Mason". Racing Sports Cars. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  35. ^ Yilmaz, Tanya (7 July 2015). "Pink Floyd drummer opens his garden for charity". Wiltshire Times. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  36. ^ Sunday Times Rich List 2006–2007, A & C Black (ISBN 978-0-7136-7941-0)
  37. ^ "Stock photography image of Mason of in his special painted Aerospatiale AS 350 helicopter". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  38. ^ Hirst, Paul. "Money from Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason stopped Bolton hitting the wall".
  39. ^ "Nick Mason (Official)". Archived from the original on 26 February 2022.
  40. ^ "Portrait Artist of the Year". Sky Television. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  41. ^ Melia, Daniel (14 March 2006). "Pink Floyd Legends To Play Gig For Pro-Hunt Campaigners". Gigwise. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  42. ^ Povey, Glenn (2008). Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd. Mind Head Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9554624-1-2.
  43. ^ Youngs, Ian (16 October 2010). "Pink Floyd may get back together for charity". BBC Online. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  44. ^ "FAC Chairman Nick Mason in keynote interview at In The City 2010". Featured Artists' Coalition. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  45. ^ Youngs, Ian (18 October 2010). "Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason gives advice to new bands". BBC Online. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  46. ^ "Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and Nick Mason: Why Rolling Stones shouldn't play in Israel". Salon. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  47. ^ Marcus, Lilit (24 November 2014). "Why Paddington Bear Statues Have Taken Over London". Condé Nast. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  48. ^ "Q magazine Questionnaire". Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  49. ^ University of Westminster presentation ceremony programme, 26 November 2012
  50. ^ "No. 62507". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 29 December 2018. p. N9.
  51. ^ "Nick Mason is now an honorary citizen of Pompeii | ABC Audio Digital Syndication".
  52. ^ Kielty, Martin (18 June 2018). "Nick Mason Announces Solo Box Set, 'Unattended Luggage'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  53. ^ "Nick Mason | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 August 2019.

Sources edit

External links edit

  Media related to Nick Mason at Wikimedia Commons   Quotations related to Nick Mason at Wikiquote