2007 Festival of Speed
Nick Mason, posing with Carlos Ghys.
Nick Mason is the drummer of Pink Floyd and the only member to have remained in the group for its entire existence. Born Nicholas Berkeley Mason on January 27, 1944, in the Downshire Hills area of Birmingham, England, he met future bandmates Roger Waters and Rick Wright while studying architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic. He began playing with them in Sigma 6 in 1963, then the Screaming Abdabs the following year, and finally in 1965 the Syd Barrett-led blues/R&B outfits that soon became Pink Floyd. Although drumming for Floyd was far and away Mason's primary concern over the next few decades, he did occasionally delve into extracurricular projects. He moonlighted as a producer during the '70s (particularly during the latter half of the decade), working not just with fellow proggers like Robert Wyatt, Gong, and Steve Hillage, but also post-bop jazz eccentric Michael Mantler and punk group the Damned. In 1981, Mason released the first album ever under his own name, Fictitious Sports. The music was a quirky blend of jazz and rock composed by Carla Bley, who also played keyboards; other supporting musicians included vocalist Wyatt, trumpeter Mantler, and guitarist Chris Spedding. In turn, Mason played drums with Mantler off and on over the '80s, including on the albums Something Else (1982) and Live (1987). Mason also formed a production company with former 10cc guitarist Rick Fenn, which produced music for films (including White of the Eye), television, and advertisements. As Mason + Fenn, the two also recorded a pop album in 1985, called Profiles, which produced the David Gilmour-sung single "Lie for a Lie." As Floyd's recording and touring schedule grew more sporadic, Mason was left with more time to pursue his favorite hobby, auto racing.