Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports (1981)

Nick Mason

"Looking under the hood never did any good ..."

Drummer Nick Mason spent some of his time between Pink Floyd's 1979's "The Wall" and 1983's "The Final Cut" involved with a project that resulted in "Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports" album, a mostly oddball collection of experimental pop, rock and jazz, released in 1981. (Of course, he spent a little time in there working on "The Wall" tour, too!)

The project easily could have been called "Carla Bley's Fictitious Sports." It was Bley who wrote all of the album's numbers, played keyboards throughout and co-produced the effort with Mason. But Mason was guaranteed a hefty advance for any solo album — as were all of the members of Pink Floyd. Furthermore, it was believed that a solo album with the name Nick Mason on it would surely sell better than one with Bley's, so it was Mason's name that graced the cover, designed by Hipgnosis.

Mason had become involved with Bley and her brass playing husband, Mike Mantler, in 1976, when he contributed to Mantler's "The Hapless Child and Other Stories" album. This time around, the musician roster included Mason, Mantler, Bley, former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt on vocals, and guitarist Chris Spedding, among others.

Vocalist Karen Kraft was invited to join the project when Spedding brought Bley to hear her play in an R&B band in New York City. "Nick and Carla informed me that they didn't want me to sing in my natural voice, but wanted me to sing like I looked," Kraft explains in an exclusive interview with "Floydian Slip".

"I was then and still am a very petite blueish-eyed blonde with a very big, deep, booming quasi-black singing voice," she says. "Nick and Carla were into the dichotomy of it all.

"They were looking for a 'burbling gospel sound' for 'Hot River,' which is a Pink Floyd takeoff. I volunteered that I could sing and gargle at the same time, so I have the 'gargle solo' on the record.

"We performed live a few times and had a blast. Nick Mason is a lovely man. It was a mighty strange trip for a girl from Bryan, Texas," says Kraft, who's now in Los Angeles, Calif., and records with SoulSkin for Askew Records.

"Fictitious Sports" was produced at Grog Kill Studio in Willow, N.Y., in October 1979. It was released in 1981, and rose to number 170 in the United States.
nick mason's fictitious sports album cover

Release date

May 3, 1981 (US)

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Track listing

  1. Can't Get My Motor to Start
    03:35 (Bley)
  2. I Was Wrong
    04:11 (Bley)
  3. Siam
    04:46 (Bley)
  4. Hot River
    05:12 (Bley)
  5. Boo to You Too
    03:25 (Bley)
  6. Do Ya?
    04:30 (Bley)
  7. Wervin'
    03:56 (Bley)
  8. I'm a Mineralist
    06:15 (Bley)