Ahead of his latest North American Tour (which kicks off on May 26th), Roger Waters sat down with Dan Rather of AXS TV to participate in episode of a series they call “The Big Interview” (which also features many other fine musicians – notably Billy Gibbons and Gregg Allman).
The complete interview will be premiered on April 4th, but AXS TV have provided a couple sneak peeks which you can view below.
In the hour-long interview, Waters discusses the inevitable questions of Syd Barrett’s tragic tale, and fields questions about some of his proudest moments with Pink Floyd.
You know, he was a charming, ebullient, talented friend. And I miss him. But I’ve been missing him since 1968.
Perhaps, if us lowly fans could be so lucky, Roger will open up a little bit about his relationship with David Gilmour. If I had an hour to interview him, my first questions would be “will you and David ever write music again?” and, after his inevitable answer, “why not?”. I digress, Roger’s new album is sounding EXCELLENT even without Gilmour’s presence.
Anyway, here’s the videos!
- Dan Rather: With Syd [Syd Barrett], what do you want the world to know about him?
- Roger Waters: You know, he was a charming, ebullient, talented friend. And I miss him. But I’ve been missing him since 1968. You know, because he succumbed to some sort of mental illness, which you might call schizophrenia…you can kind of call that combination of symptoms anything you want, but the fact is that it…if it happens to somebody, it prevents them from communicating with their friends, loved ones, with anybody. They become…they really do develop a wall, and Syd developed a wall and it was extremely sad, but he was very talented. But the work is there, and people love him, and people love his work, and new people discover the songs that he wrote as the years go by.
- Dan Rather: When you were writing the music for the Dark Side of the Moon, did you have any sense at that time how extraordinarily successful it was to become?
- Roger Waters: When we’d finished making it, I took a quarter-inch home and I played it to my (then) wife and she burst into tears, and I thought “well she feels the same way I do”. This – we finally cracked it, so it’s at THAT point, which is 1973, where I felt we’d been at this since 1965 so it was 8 years later – I said during those 8 years, we HAVE honed our craft to the point where we’re capable of making a piece of work that is homogenous and well-crafted and well-put-together. If we were cabinet makers, we could stand back now and look at that cabinet or chair and go “you know what? THAT is well made – that’s a nice piece of furniture”. And it was. So I think we were all confident that it would strike a chord. How big a chord, no…nobody could predict that. But it was something we were proud of at the time.
- Dan Rather: Well I’m thinking of a phrase that my late grandmother was fond of saying: “we are above average blessed”. And it occurs to me that you are above average blessed – not that you haven’t worked hard for it, but you’ve had so many successes. Both as a recording artist and a touring artist. When you look at what we call in television “the wide shot”, of what are you most proud?
- Roger Waters: Right now I’m going out on the road because I care about stuff, so I’m really very very very blessed that I still care about things and that I still have my health and enough strength to fight the good fight. I’m proud of it, although it’s not my doing, there’s no way that you can dictate that any of these things should happen. But as long as I’ve got my health, I should keep doing something like this because I need to. I have a sort of need to do it. As I’ve said often to people in the past “I know you believe this too, I know – I look in your eyes and I know you believe this” – the work is its own reward. We don’t need another reward, it’s the doing of the work that’s the reward. Music – it comes in the moment…I like to sometimes use the analogy of painting. So, it’s like when Van Gogh puts that last bit of yellow on his sunflowers or whatever, in that moment when he stands back – I dunno what he’s thinking, but this is what happens when I’ve written a song or recorded a piece of music – there is one fleeting moment where you go “THAT is good”…and then it’s gone. And it never comes back, you never hear it the same way. Whether Van Gogh ever saw a painting again in the same way after that moment when he knew it was finished, I don’t know. I don’t know why I told you that.
- Dan Rather: Well, can you think of a time when you were writing music, writing a song, when you had that moment?
- Roger Waters: Um…yeah, I mean just recently (because I can only think about recent work) but when you say that, there’s a song on the record called “The Last Refugee” which is really beautiful. And it’s got these lines at the end – it talks about “you’ll find my child down by the shore digging around for a chain or a bone, searching the sand for a relic washed up by the sea – the last refugee”. That’s making me nearly, I know it sounds ridiculous talking about that, but the idea of being in a future where the idea of a refugee being a relic from the past is so moving to me.