Brit Floyd may be the purest tribute band on the planet. The group, who re-create the music and live experience of Pink Floyd, broke off from another group of people playing the same songs that called themselves Australian Pink Floyd. This seems like an uncanny echo of the split between Floyd founder Roger Waters and the rest of the members who carried on without him.
“I suppose it would be the logical thing to think that we’ve taken the tribute idea to its extreme and paid tribute to the actual politics of Pink Floyd itself,” jokes musical director Damian Darlington.
But unlike the original Floyd, Darlington says the division wasn’t bitter.
“There’s no feuding,” he says. “These things happen. People want to go in different directions, so myself and all the other guys in Brit Floyd who have been doing all the tours in North America decided to strike off and do our own thing.”
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And doing their own thing this year means the A Foot in the Door world tour, which celebrates the “Best of” album that their heroes released in November. The show includes career-spanning classics like “See Emily Play,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Comfortably Numb” and “Learning to Fly.” Also in the set is “Echoes,” the 23-minute song that dominated Floyd’s 1971 “Meddle” album.
“I don’t know if it’s the hardest to play,” says Darlington of the opus. “It’s certainly a challenge to do it right. It’s a substantial piece of music and you go through all sorts of moods on your journey through it. It’s very much where Pink Floyd seemed to find their sound.”
But Darlington, who has received direct praise from Floyd members David Gilmour and the late Richard Wright, says his favorite song is from “The Wall,” the album that first exposed him to Floyd as a 10-year-old: “As a guitarist, I’d have to say ‘Comfortably Numb,’ because it’s one of the iconic rock ’n’ roll solos, right up there with ‘Stairway to Heaven.’”
The Pink Floyd Sound
Since Pink Floyd are from Britain, isn’t going by Brit Floyd a bit like calling your U.S.-based Aerosmith act Amerosmith? Darlington says the potential redundancy is almost inherent in the structure of the original Australian Pink Floyd, which he joined in 1994, when “one of the original Aussies had gone home to Australia.”
“It was that whole sort of irony about when we were touring that there were no Australians in it,” he says, and when the group splintered in 2010 “we decided to go our own way, call it the British Pink Floyd, and then we shortened it to Brit Floyd because it’s a bit more snappy.”
You know who else shortened their name to make it sound more snappy? Pink Floyd! The group started in the ’60s as The Pink Floyd Sound, named after two blues musicians.