More sad news. Yesterday Storm Thorgerson, designer of album covers for Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon, Atom Heart Mother, Wish You Were Here, Animals, et al) and just about every other band on the planet died.
Another inspiration passes on. Time is merciless. Life is merciless.
I had the privilege of interviewing Storm for a certain magazine when he exhibited in Osaka in 2002. He suffered a debilitating stroke in 2003, so that must have been one of his last interviews.
I was pants-pooing scared before the interview. Storm had a reputation for being abrasive, which was almost certainly exaggerated — probably by nervous interviewers like me.
When I arrived at the gallery for the interview there was a large and unfortunate looking gentleman from a Japanese publication waiting for his turn to interview Storm. He emerged from his session looking even more unfortunate and in need of a stiff drink. I gather that his de rigueur J-media questions about Storm’s breakfast preferences didn’t go down well.
In the end, Storm was complimentary about my interview.
He seemed to especially like my question about whether it was possible to judge an album by its cover.
Ignoring the time limit set by the PR people he took me on a personalised tour of the exhibition explaining how he arrived at his images. This should have been the crux of the article, not just the one paragraph in the final version.
Unfortunately the article I wrote was a dog. I had a million things to say in just 1,200 words and instead of being selective I tried to fit everything in.
Storm was a life-long friend of the members of Pink Floyd. They were school buddies. What a gang.
In our conversation Storm told me that Dave Gilmour expressed scepticism that album cover art influenced sales and that Storm was being overpaid for his work, that Pink Floyd were promoting Thorgerson, not the other way around. Words led to other words, and Storm proposed that Gilmour could have ten per cent of Storm’s income from cover art if Storm could have ten per cent of Gilmour’s income from the music sold in Storm’s cover art. Gilmour declined the offer.
On Roger Waters: ‘He stopped talking to me about the same time he stopped talking to Dave and Richard [Wright]. Recently [ie nearly twenty years after the split] he apparently said that he couldn’t remember why he won’t speak to me but figured that if he had a reason at the time, he had a reason now.’
Which reminds me that I gave up listening to Pink Floyd with The Wall, which was Roger Waters’ Raoul Moat moment.
And let’s reflect: what fan of 70s music can distinguish the sounds of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and Peter Gabriel and Yes from that prism, that flying pig, those disturbingly ghostly children, those melting faces, that tomato …
and that Storm Thorgerson’s art is as much of the time as the music it embraced.