Echoes of Floyd will perform at Stone Church on Friday, Jan. 26.
Courtesy photo
Echoes of Floyd will perform at Stone Church on Friday, Jan. 26.

‘I think Pink Floyd is very healing music, very therapeutic music’

Pink Floyd fans ‘are still listening to and drawn to their extensive catalog’ after 50 years, says Geoffrey Williams of Echoes of Floyd, which performs in Brattleboro on Jan. 26

After more than 50 years, more than two dozen albums released, and more than 250 million albums sold, British psychedelic phenomenon Pink Floyd continues to attract a legion of fans all across the globe.

With its universal themes and timeless messages - not to mention the incredible light shows during the band's performances - Pink Floyd's music still resonates with band members, fans, and audiences.

"Pink Floyd's music in general can be soothing and therapeutic. Some of it can be dark and cynical, but much of it is still very hopeful and inspiring," says Geoffrey Williams, guitarist and vocalist of Echoes of Floyd, a New England tribute band that will perform at the Stone Church on Friday, Jan. 26.

Williams says that the band will play side A of the first record of The Wall as well as many deep cuts and other audience favorites.

In addition to Williams on guitar, sax, sound effects, and vocals, Echoes of Floyd includes Mark Grover on bass; Seth MacLean on guitar, lap steel, synth, and vocals; Matt Desreuisseau on keyboards and synth; Rick Mutti on drums; and Melanie Barthel as a lighting designer.

All band members live in New Hampshire except for Mutti and Desreuisseau, who live in Massachusetts.

Pink Floyd started in England in 1965. Its debut record - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - was released in 1967.

"They were one of the pioneers of the British psychedelic sound and were coming up as the Beatles were very big. They started from rhythm and blues roots, copying the Black American artists of the time," explains Williams.

"There were other influences which seeped in and of course mind altering chemicals were involved," he says.

When not working full time as a senior operator in the bottling room at New Chapter, a dietary supplement manufacturing company in Brattleboro, Williams, 42, of Nelson, New Hampshire, who founded Echoes of Floyd with his bandmates, also plays with Wolfman Jack and Tumbledown Shack - N.H. He also provides lead guitar and vocal harmonies for Keene singer/songwriter Jess Hutchins.

The Commons reached Williams recently by phone in between gigs to talk about the lasting impact of Pink Floyd, his favorite albums, and why he thinks there is still such a big following for the original band's music.

Here's an excerpt of their conversation.

* * *

Victoria Chertok: I heard you've been performing in Echoes of Floyd for five years now. How did the band start?

Geoffrey Williams: We started in the summer of 2018, and it's a funny story about how we began.

Some of our members are also in the band Winterland [which plays primarily music from the Grateful Dead]. They had been asked to play a party. But most of the members weren't available, so most of us who now make up Echoes filled in for that party - and we had such a good time doing it and hit it off so well we decided to keep it going.

Since there are so many Grateful Dead bands, we said, Why don't we do a Pink Floyd band?

A few of us still play Grateful Dead on a regular basis in other projects.

V.C.: How do you choose your set lists?

G.W.: So far, we do something off of every album from 1967 to 1983. We do a handful of albums in their entirety, including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals.

We play a different set list every time and think of ways to sequence the songs together to eliminate downtime and to make it an entertaining time for everyone.

V.C.: What can the audience expect at the Stone Church on Friday night?

G.W.: This time we will be debuting side A of the first record of The Wall album. That will be a small portion of the show, and we will mix it up with a varied playlist of hits, deep cuts, and fan favorites.

V.C.: Why do you think Pink Floyd's music is still so popular?

G.W.: I think Pink Floyd is very healing music, very therapeutic music. Not everyone can bring themselves up from being down by immediately jumping to happy, dance-y party music. Sometimes people need to start more grounded to lift themselves up.

V.C.: There are universal themes in all of the albums that Pink Floyd produced. Wasn't the album Animals kind of an homage to George Orwell's book Animal Farm?

G.W.: Loosely, yes.

The Animals album talks about certain archetypes in society [by] having the dogs represent the cutthroat business types, as in "a dog-eat-dog world" - people who are only out for themselves and stab you in the back.

The pigs are the heartless rulers, and the sheep represent the mindless common folk who blindly follow.

V.C.: Which themes emerged in Pink Floyd's music?

G.W.: You look at The Dark Side of the Moon - which was a concept album - with an overlying theme of things that can drive one mad, and it talks about time and growing old, money and finance, war and death.

On Wish You Were Here, there is a theme of absence, longing, and missing someone; these are all things that people can relate to.

V.C.: What are the original band members up to these days?

G.W.: Roger "Syd" Barrett left the band in 1968 and died in 2006. Syd was replaced by David Gilmour, who is rumored to be releasing a new album soon.

Keyboardist Rick Wright died in 2008 of lung cancer. Roger Waters was the bass player until 1985, when he left the band, and they carried on without him. He is still alive and still tours.

Nick Mason, their drummer, is still alive, and he has a band that is active that focuses only on early Pink Floyd catalog, before The Dark Side of the Moon.

V.C.: Do you have a favorite Pink Floyd album?

G.W.: I've gone back and forth, but Wish You Were Here is my favorite album. I like the long instrumental passages. The first solos I learned to play were "Wish You Were Here" and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond."

V.C.: What has Pink Floyd meant to you personally?

G.W.: Wish You Were Here - that is the one for me that has been profound. It's been able to lift me up out of a dark, depressed state multiple times.

V.C.: How did you get introduced to Pink Floyd?

G.W.: I got turned onto Pink Floyd because of my dad. A lot of the music that I listened to growing up is from the 1960s and '70s. My parents would listen to vinyl and radio.

V.C.: Did you study music when you were a child?

G.W.: I took piano lessons when I was 9 years old and played alto sax in Keene Middle School and Keene High School. I was also in the Keene High jazz band. I started playing the guitar at age 14 and started having bands of my own from age 15 on.

I was listening to Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd a lot. I have broadened my horizons over the years, but those two bands have stuck with me.

I have played a lot of classical guitar and have a cumulative eight years of formal instruction. I have studied jazz, but that has largely eluded me. I've also played bass and guitar in metal bands.

V.C.: How do you approach playing Pink Floyd's music?

G.W.: As far as approaching Pink Floyd's music, we look to the album recording first, but in many cases where multiple musicians are used and with multiple layers, compromises have to be made. We look to live versions to see how they would do it with four or five musicians on stage.

We try to make a seamless and unique live performance every time. You have to remember that live performances are never perfect.

V.C.: You've played at the Stone Church several times. What do you like about playing there?

G.W.: It's kind of funny that many of the venues we play at are former churches converted to music halls. The Stone Church is one the first ones we've played and it's one of our favorites because of the acoustics and ambiance of the room, with the high ceilings and open floor, which lends itself to what we do very well. It's one of my favorite venues.

* * *

Echoes of Floyd returns to The Stone Church, 210 Main St., Brattleboro, on Friday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. This will be a show for all ages.

For tickets and more information, visit

For more information about Echoes of Floyd, visit

Victoria Chertok covers arts and entertainment in Vermont for The Commons. She is a classically trained harpist and received a B.A. in music at Bucknell University.

This The Arts item by Victoria Chertok was written for The Commons.

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