How We Met: Nick Mason & Richard Jones
'We've flown together, me in my helicopter and Richard in the Robin, though we were hardly the Red Arrows!'
Richard Jones, 34
Bassist Jones (right in picture) co-founded the Feeling along with four fellow Brit-School students. The single 'Fill My Little World' from their first album was the biggest hit of 2005. They have since released two further albums. Jones lives in London with his wife, the singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor
I'm a huge fan of Pink Floyd. My Dad got me into them and they've been an influence on our band in the progressive sense: epic cinematic moments and guitar solos, and a slight darkness in the thread of the lyrics and music.
Nick's big into cars and I'm into anything with an engine, so when we met at an Audi event, we got talking about music and flying. And when the next [motor event] came along, we continued our chat and we hung out.
The point where we started to become friends was when our families started hanging out a few years ago, in Ibiza. We were staying at a friend's house when Nick turned up at a dinner party there, as he was staying next door. The next year we went back and spent most of the time over at Nick's place, hanging out by the pool.
Having me and Sophie around has bridged the generation gap between him and his kids: I can relate to Nick and what happened in the 1970s and I can hang out with his kids Guy and Cary, too. My wife did a gig and Nick, his wife Nettie and his sons all came to see it: his kids stayed on for the foam party long after we left.
We're both from the rhythm section – a drummer and a bass player – which is one reason why we get on; plus he's got such a dry sense of humour. And though my career has been miniscule in comparison, there's parallels we share in being in touring bands, and how that affects your family.
I think the sound and feel of Pink Floyd, rhythmically, came from Nick. He has a distinct "voice" that's unique as a drummer: a slight looseness and freedom in how he plays.
He's not listened to our new album yet, but I'm going to give him a copy, as there's a couple of moments in there where I'd like to know if he can hear the Floyd!
I remember when, early in 2012, he took me to one side and asked, "Do you have any plans for the Olympic closing ceremony? I'm putting a band together for it and I'd love you to play bass." I cleared my diary. I remember standing on the stage, facing 90,000 spectators, looking at Nick and feeling tingles down my spine, a feeling I won't ever forget.
Last year I got my pilot licence, so Nick invited me round to his private airfield and showed me this old Robin aeroplane. Then he was like, "[The Pink Floyd guitarist] David [Gilmour] and I learnt to fly on this; want to borrow it?" He bought it new in the mid-1980s and they went on to write the song "Learning to Fly", featuring Nick talking on the radio at the beginning – and he lent that plane to me.
Nick Mason, 69
A drummer and composer, Mason was a founding member of rock band Pink Floyd, whose album 'The Dark Side of the Moon' catapulted the band to global stardom. He lives in north London with his wife
We met five years ago at an Audi polo match. The Feeling were playing a set there and though they're a great band, it was not the easiest audience: a group of people sitting at tables having early-evening meals – not exactly a mosh pit. I met them after that. He was reasonably well-spoken, no tattoos, bright and I liked the idea that the band had paid its dues; doing après-ski gigs in [French ski resort] Méribel and on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, where the Beatles first gigged.
Paul [Stewart], the drummer in the band, is into cars, and at some point I realised Richard was interested in flying, as I am. Once you start, it's the sort of thing that you become obsessive about, as there's so much to learn. He was quite far along on his basic exams, so I knew he was serious.
We bumped into one another at Elstree Aerodrome and we got talking. I've got a single-engine Robin DR400 monoplane and I arranged for him to do training in the Robin – it's good for the aeroplane to be used. So we've spent a lot of time together at Rendcomb [the airfield in the Cotswolds in which Mason has a share] and we've done a lot of earnest talking there. We've since flown together, once even flying in formation: me in my helicopter and Richard in the Robin, though we were hardly the Red Arrows!
I think the Feeling are terrific. Richard's now where I was six to seven years into my career, and already a father. Like most bands this day and age, the Feeling are a hell of a lot more sophisticated than we were. These days you have to have good songs and be entrepreneurs, as the labels don't take on so much talent any more. As for our [respective] roles in the rhythm section, I'm rather fond of that line by [the drummer] Gary Wallis, that, "A band is made up of a bass player and a drummer, and some novelty acts."
What does he make of my music? I feel he probably doesn't really like Pink Floyd – he certainly hasn't got down on his knees and worshipped me for it!
The other big thing we've done together was the Olympics closing ceremony last year. I got a phone call asking me if I'd like to play and who I'd like to play with, and I suggested an old friend of mine, [founding member of Genesis] Mike Rutherford, [singer-songwriter] Ed Sheeran, and then I thought of Richard. We did the guide track at Abbey Road, which was a lot of fun, and then we had an awful lot of adrenalin for two-and-a half minutes, performing at the closing ceremony playing "Wish You Were Here". I thought Richard did a great job.
The Feeling's latest album, 'Boy Cried Wolf', is out on 7 October on BMG (thefeeling.com)
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