The Pink Floyd Exhibit: Their Mortal Remains is on its last few months of residency at the Vogue Multicultural Museum in Los Angeles, its first U.S. stop on an international tour.
The audio-visual tour tells the comprehensive and chronological story of Pink Floyd — David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and Richard Wright — through relics of the band’s history, including original artwork, diary pages, tour gear, interviews, personal photos and more.
The tour highlights Pink Floyd’s pioneering work, distinguished by experimental compositions, conceptual lyrics and intricate live shows, spanning over six decades.
Their Mortal Remains first set its tracks back in May 2017 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in England. It will stay at the Vogue Multicultural Museum in Los Angeles up until January 2022. Tickets are on the official website, but for those who can’t make it in person (or want a preview), Billboard summarized a few of the exhibit’s most popular attractions below.
The money used to make “Money”
There are plenty of custom instruments used by the band scattered throughout the tour — some replicas and some originals like Mason’s drumsticks, Waters’ guitar slide, Gilmour’s double-neck steel guitar and Mason’s “Hokusai Wave” drum kit which was painted after the band toured Japan.
You will find entire halls dedicated to Pink Floyd’s sonic invention and use of music technology, but if you look closely, you can track down the string of rustic coins used to make the sound effects on “Money.” And a Zippo lighter (propped atop Barrett’s Selmer Stereomaster) like the one used as a guitar slide for “Echoes.”
Photo of Syd Barrett during Wish You Were Here sessions
One of the most emotional and shocking moments of the tour happens immediately after the success of The Dark Side of The Moon. The band had just finished touring the U.K., performing Dark Side until they eventually returned to Abbey Road Studios in January of 1975 to start recording their ninth studio album, Wish You Were Here.
After having left the band in 1968, Barrett made a rare appearance at the recording sessions of Wish You Were Here. During his visit, a polaroid photo captured a hairless Syd Barrett sitting in a chair. His appearance and persona had changed drastically by then, and the experience shook some of the band members, inspiring them to write and record songs like “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (“Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky, shine on you crazy diamond”) and “Wish You Were Here.”
Nick Mason’s diary, shirts and other personal items
Mason contributed a large collection of items from his own personal archive including two green and orange stage shirts (any vintage buyer’s dream) worn by the drummer during Pink Floyd’s 1968 live performances.
He also contributed several written mementos like his gig diary from 1967, where on a Saturday in March of 1968, he cited: “Probably the worst gig ever! Everything broke. Amp after amp and we all freaked totally, cursing shouting and we eventually gave up completely.”
The other members of Pink Floyd also contributed many artifacts like the letter that Gilmour sent his parents to reassure them about his joining “the Pink Floyd.” He negotiates with them about London’s underground scene and its reputation for drugs and loud music.
The Wall & Animals inflatable puppets
Some of the more sizable (and spookier) contributions to the exhibition are the giant inflatables hung above the larger rooms in the museum. The inflatable pig and evil teacher that the band used during their The Wall and Animals eras are surrounded by darkness, making for an eerie experience as the instrumental tracks play in your headphones.
The tour introduces visitors to the many visual artists behind Pink Floyd’s album art and stage design, including Aubrey Powell who helped shoot Pink Floyd’s Animals album cover. Outtakes of the photo shoot capture the moment the inflatable pig snapped out of control, which eventually led to Powell getting arrested.
The tour does have a replica of the Pink Floyd inflatable pig (which you will find at the very end of the tour) along with the evil teacher inflatable used for Rogers’ solo tour of The Wall. The exhibit also houses art from regular Pink Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgerson, such as the steel heads used for The Division Bell album cover.
Early stage and lighting relics
The mechanics at the earliest stages of Pink Floyd involved plenty of sonic experimentation and engineering but they also involved innovative stage and set design.
Photographer Vic Singh provided the original kaleidoscopic lens gifted to him by George Harrison of The Beatles, which he used to create a prism effect for The Piper at the Gates of Dawn‘s album cover.
Peter Wynne-Willson — one of Pink Floyd’s earliest associates and lighting technicians — also shared some of his personal archive, including his ‘cosmocles,’ a pair of psychedelic goggles that display the world through prisms and colors.
As Pink Floyd’s lighting technician, he experimented with effects like spinning color wheels; he would sometimes use a stretched condom over a lens, splattering it with paint and oil to create Pink Floyd’s signature psychedelic visuals.