The album "Wish You Were Here" was released in 1975 with the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" being credited as a tribute to former bandmate Syd Barrett. Syd was a founding member of the band but had long been lost in the darkness of mental illness. He, did, rather randomly, show up during the recording of this album. However, prior to that, according to Wiki, in 1967 and '68 he had become "increasingly erratic" and of course, it was made much much worse by the use of drugs like LSD (and who knows what else was being put into his system). Though his family claims he suffered from no mental illness and that such stories are false (perhaps they're embarrassed as many people are by mental illness). The most widely believed diagnosis is Schizophrenia. He was never officially diagnosed. Now here's the thing about Schizophrenia and LSD use. LSD on its own almost never brings on the disease. But the drug does mimic the disease in the brain. So the two in tandem can certainly overload the system. Barrett would likely have broken down on his own. Probably by the age of 30, as most sufferers of Schizophrenia are diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 30.
So what am I saying in all this? I guess I'm saying that I'm still a hippie at heart. I guess I'm saying that there can be really fahking awesome memories mixed with the bad. I guess I'm saying you can bury your sorrow in Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (and you should!) or anything else that really stifles the darkness and lets in a sliver in of light. I guess I'm saying don't believe everything you hear about music and the industry and mental illness and drugs and disorders and all that fucking media bullshit hype. I guess I'm saying do your own research. I guess I'm saying never, ever, judge someone. I guess I'm saying the guy with the toothbrush he's named Bernie might be high, yeah, but he might be sick, too. I guess I'm thinking listen to you heart and your brain and think before you act. I guess I'm thinking we should keep shining a bright light on mental illness so that the stigma is gone so people like Syd Barrett don't have to be ashamed to get help and his family doesn't have to say he was never sick. I guess I'm saying knowing more about what hurt him and hindered him may have helped a generation of teenagers in the 1990's who loved his music. I guess I'm saying R.I.P. Syd. I guess I'm saying shine on you crazy diamonds.
And here you go, a little shout out to my younger self. How I wish, how I wish you were here.
*NOTE* Want to read more about the incomparable Syd? Do it here! Want to learn more about Schizophrenia? Do it here!