Syd Barrett & Stars – Photos Needed!


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Contact Mark

Some of you may remember hearing from me at some point last year when I was looking for material for a Syd Barrett article for Mojo magazine. You may even recall that the article was about Syd’s activities around the period 1972/73, and in particular his band Stars, and I was looking for anyone who had any recollections or materials relating to Syd around this time.

Six months later, and while progress on the article hasn’t been as swift as I’d anticipated, I’ve been able to turn up some great stuff. I’ve been able to speak at length with a number of people who knew and/or worked with Syd around the Stars period, including Jack Monck, Steve Brink, Mick Rock, Clive Wellham and Bernie Elliot (the latter of whom, for those who don’t know, jammed with Syd during the Stars period and ultimately replaced him in the band), and a number of people who were able to give eyewitness accounts of the band’s performances. I’ve also done sufficient amounts of digging to be able to say what happened with the various recordings that have been rumoured to exist of the band, and why they’ve never surfaced, and I’m moving close to being able to categorically say whether or not Syd ever actually recorded, as is alleged, with Steve Took.

So, it’s shaping up to be a good story – and, unusually for a Syd Barrett piece these days, one that for the most part hasn’t been told before. However, I’m facing one major difficulty: the lack of ANY useable Stars photos, or indeed any photos of Syd Barrett at all from the years 1972, 1973 or 1974. Without these, the article cannot go ahead, so finding some pictures is pretty crucial.

Pictures of Stars definitely exist somewhere. Not only is it an absurd notion that nobody took a photograph of Syd Barrett, a well-known public figure, between 1972 and 1974, but I know of two sets of photos that were definitely taken. These are:

  1. A set of pictures of Stars playing an outdoor gig in Cambridge Market Square in February (?) 1972, taken by an unknown Australian photographer. These were briefly circulated shortly after the performance and both Twink and Jack Monck (independently) remember them being excellent quality.

  2. Pictures taken by the American photographer Victor Kraft. Victor Kraft was a professional photographer who had previously worked with Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland before settling in Cambridge in the early 1970s. He attended most of Stars’ performances, and would have taken photographs and made tape recordings of the band. Unfortunately, he died in 1976 and his wife tells me that any possessions that were left in his Cambridge flat were taken (with her permission) by his landlords. Whether these include the Stars material, and what became of it if so, is unknown.

The only picture that I have seen, or even heard of, from either of the above two sources is the one attached to this email. Although poor quality, this shows Syd performing at the Market Square gig and strongly suggests that more photos were taken at the same time.

Another possible source of photos would be if there were any photographers present to photograph the other performers at any of Stars’ performances. These would be as follows:

  • Eddie ‘Guitar’ Burns – Kings College Cellar, Cambridge, January 1972

  • Hawkwind / Pink Fairies – Cambridge Corn Exchange, 27 January 1972

  • MC5 / Skin Alley – Cambridge Corn Exchange, 24 February 1972

  • Nektar – Cambridge Corn Exchange, 26 February 1972

If any photos exist of those bands on those dates then I want to know about it.

In short, I would urge anyone who has any suggestions, however unlikely, as to possible sources of Stars or Syd photos that would be suitable for this Mojo article, to contact me. Anyone who comes forward with material will be paid if it is used; anyone offering other assistance will be credited in the finsihed piece.

Sorry for going on!

Mark Sturdy (Contact Details)

Source: [ Mark Sturdy ]

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