Jimi Hendrix Had Harsh Words For The Syd Barrett-Led Pink Floyd

While thumbing through the chronicles of Pink Floyd's history and iconic arsenal of music, you're liable to spend a little extra time on that stretch of years when the late Syd Barrett called himself a member of the group. Barrett, who can be credited as one of the founding members of Floyd, is responsible for some of the band's earliest and most venerated tracks. "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (1967) and "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968) are two rock n' roll records that still retain their captivating majesty all these years later and really only get better with time. 

However, one of Pink Floyd's contemporaries didn't share the world's collective renown for the group in those formative years. According to Far Out magazine, it was none other than Jimi Hendrix who admittedly couldn't stand what he heard coming from the stage the first time he saw Floyd perform in 1967, and he wasn't shy about sharing how he felt. 

Jimi Hendrix hated Pink Floyd's early music

According to Biography, Jimi Hendrix moved to London, England in late 1966 and started cultivating the rudiments of his own musical journey. He immersed himself in the city's local network of musicians and industry leaders, and before long, he found himself in the crowd at one of Pink Floyd's shows. The pioneers of psychedelia had earned a notable fanbase and momentous reputation for their bold, eccentric, and spellbinding sound, but to Hendrix, they sounded like "nothing" (via Far Out magazine).  

"When these cats say, 'Look at the band — they're playing psychedelic music!' and all they're really doing is flashing lights and playing 'Johnny B. Goode' with the wrong chords," he told Steve Barker in a 1967 interview with Unit magazine. "It's terrible" (per Kark Post). At the helm of the Floyd's innovative and bizarre sound sat Syd Barrett, and Hendrix seemed to be the only one who detested the direction in which he was steering the melody (via Far Out magazine). 

Hendrix eventually warmed up to Pink Floyd

The story of Barrett's departure from Pink Floyd is tragic and poetic. According to Biography, the Floyd forefather was experiencing debilitating mental health hurdles near the end of the 1960s that many suspect were amplified by excessive LSD usage. His odd behaviors and blatant deterioration of his cognitive abilities culminated in a psychotic break, and he was forced to part ways with his beloved bandmates on April 6, 1968. 

With Barrett's retirement came an inevitable shift in sound, one that Jimi Hendrix actually took quite a liking to. Sometime in the 1970s, Hendrix expressed his newfound reverence for the group. "People like you to blow their minds," he shared. "But we are going to give them something that will blow their mind. I agree it could be something along similar lines to what Pink Floyd are tackling. They don't know it, but people like Pink Floyd are the mad scientists of this day and age" (per Kark Post).