Love Letter To A Record: Fierce Mild On Pink Floyd’s ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Troy Rainbow, Fierce Mild – Pink Floyd – Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Dear Piper at the Gates of Dawn,

You frustrated me for so long after we met. I couldn’t figure you out. Your siblings Dark Side of The Moon and The Wall were so much richer and emotionally developed than you. Your brothers and sisters talked about cool things, like philosophy, politics and esoteric symbolism. You talked about garden gnomes in red dresses. What the hell was with that? I even had the thought that you were just a Beatle’s record left out in the sun too long.

Whereas their world was fantasias, but straightforward and logical, you seemed to start saying things and then just be bulldozed by tangential thoughts.

I know a mouse, and he hasn’t got a house

I don’t know why I call him Gerald

He’s getting rather old, but he’s a good mouse


As a teenager, living in rural Victoria, I listened to metal. It seemed to sum up my isolation

and misdirected anger in ways that you could not. Besides, you weren’t cool. Your siblings were borderline acceptable, so long as they used distortion. It seemed that whatever world you came from made little sense to me or was irrelevant and fickle when compared to the ‘real shit’.

When I started smoking pot, I would put you on and laugh at you with friends. I took on the ignorant mantra of ‘If ya stoned you’ll get it’, as if this would justify my affinity with something that sounded more like The Wiggles than At the Gates, Opeth or Metallica.

You made me giggle then, and you still do. But now I know why. You see, I stopped smoking pot quite some time ago. I figured you would go away, but you absolutely did not. I just wanted to see you more and more. I even learned to play and sing you, performing you at several parties to varied reactions.

I began to realise what you were to me and slowly accepted you into my life as a permanent figure. I learned that we share much more than I ever did with your siblings, Opeth or even The Wiggles.

In 2006, I learned of the death of your estranged father. In 2009, I learned of the death of my mother. Your father suffered schizophrenia, or so I’m told… So did my mother. And, as I peer through pages of my mother’s writings, I see so, so clearly what you did for me then. I just did not appreciate it.

You speak of paranoid fantasies, poverty, the books that you love and cherish and the just plain absurd. Your thoughts are disorganised. They don’t compute with a lot of people. Often people dismiss your world as delusional. But they don’t know that is an interior world, as valid as any other.

In fact, you express the world better than anyone. You express something that most people cannot. It is the essence of childhood and childish expression – done in an adult way, without the restrictions of imposed ‘maturity’ or social contract. You make me cry and laugh at the same time. You make me simultaneously petrified and full of innocent wonder. You make it ok to have tangential thoughts that add to nothing. You bring me back to a state of pure essence and reset me as a human being.

For that, I am forever grateful,


Listen to Fierce Mild’s new single ‘No Sense’ here. They will play a single launch show on Friday, 31st May at Melbourne’s Yah Yah’s.

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