Tom Hamilton is the guitarist/vocalist/leader of American Babies.
I received a text message today that said‚ "RIP richard wright."
I think back to the midst of one of several intense Pink Floyd phases I've gone through over the years‚ in which I watched as many interviews with the band as I could possibly find. You see‚ up until a few years ago there really wasn't much to see or read about the Floyd aside from a couple of concert videos and an unofficial biography or two. They were an incredibly private band that always tried to focus the media and fans attention on the music and art that they were producing instead of the individual parts of the whole.
Over the last five years or so we saw the release of a few documentaries‚ a one-off reunion‚ and the band speaking more candidly and openly about their years as one of the most important contributors to contemporary music. All of these developments combined with the emergence of Youtube helped feed my jones for insight into this band and brought me to conclude that Richard Wright was the member of Pink Floyd who I admired most.
As a player‚ Rick's contribution's to PF's sound is immeasurable. It is perhaps no coincidence that his two most popular original pieces ("Us and Them" and "Great Gig in the Sky") appear on Dark Side of the Moon‚ for I feel that album's cover art represents the best metaphor for Wright's role in the band. Acting as a prism‚ he took songs that were straight shots of white light and transformed them into a glorious spectrum of color. From the subtle opening note of "Echoes" to the terrifying synthesizers of "Welcome To The Machine‚" his paintbrush knew no limits on any of their LPs.
That all being said‚ what sticks with me the most are not his traits as a keyboardist and composer but who he was as a person. Keeping in mind that Rick Wright has sold over 20 million records with Pink Floyd‚ when he spoke there was never an ounce of ego or self-importance. Humble and soft-spoken. Handsome and kind. Unanimously loved by his friends and respected by his peers. That is the true legacy that he leaves behind‚ one we should all be so lucky to have.
And so today September 15‚ 2008 marks the official end of Pink Floyd as Richard William Wright lost his short battle with cancer. As the text message I received said‚ may he rest in peace and say hello to Syd for us.