Pink Floyd are, obviously, quite a big deal. I won’t waste space here on the mind-boggling statistics surrounding their album sales or tour revenues, or indeed their place in the fabric of twentieth century pop culture. What I will say is that to me, personally, they are one of the most important bands ever. I listen to them less these days, but ‘less’ is a relative term, and frankly anything is ‘less’ when compared to how much I used to saturate my brain with The Floyd. From my early teens up until my mid-twenties, Pink Floyd wasn’t just a band, it was a prism (ha! …sorry) through which I viewed life and understood the world. The relationship between a person and the culture they consume is an interesting one. Does a person choose the culture that reflects their already existing worldview, or does the culture they choose end up shaping that worldview? Who knows what ratio of chicken to egg that is, but the answer is that it’s some mixture of both. The point is that ‘art’—whatever you might choose to class under that slippery label—doesn’t just refer to the created object being observed or consumed; it’s also the space between the creator, the object, and the observer. ‘Art’ doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It doesn’t even exist in a medium. It is the medium. It’s the living electricity that charges the air between all the agents in that exchange. It’s the dialogue that enriches all interlocutors.
And, uh. Where was I?
Oh yeah! I dig Pink Floyd, man. A lot. Even if I don’t listen to them that much right now. Fun fact! I used to play in a band. We covered a fair few tunes in our time. Some covers went better than others. ‘Fire Woman’ by The Cult sorta worked. ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by Thin Lizzy…did not. Try as you can you just can’t do that Lynott smoothness or swagger justice. But as much of a failure as that was I always used to think, ‘Well, at least we didn’t try cover Pink Floyd.’ Pink Floyd have such a unique sound and presence to their music, I always thought that to cover them was peak foolishness. There is a pretty huge touring band called The Australian Pink Floyd Show who travel the world, drawing quite large crowds to their version of the Pink Floyd live experience, but despite that I just could never get behind the idea of a Pink Floyd cover.
That is, until now. ‘Have a Cigar’ is a song that originally featured on Pink Floyd’s 1975 album (and my personal long-time favourite) ‘Wish You Were Here’. Its lyrics deal with the band’s distaste for their experiences with the business side of the music industry. The song is shot through with Roger Waters’ trademark cutting lyrics—including the iconic line, ‘The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think, oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?’—that are delivered by guest vocalist Roy Harper. American funk band The Main Squeeze have covered the bitter, caustic Floyd song, and they have honestly kinda nailed it. Yes some of the acidity is gone, and as covers go it plays it mostly straight, but the passion and power that vocalist Corey Frye brings to the track gives things an interesting twist. Plus, that guitarist is on fire. Check it out:
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