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ROGER WATERS on Desert Island Discs

Mar 25, 2024
My castaway this week is the musician Roger Waters. It's been more than 45 years since he and some of his mates formed a band. The Screaming Abdabs never made it, nor did Megadeth, but like Pink Floyd they became one of the most successful and critically acclaimed groups of all. At the same time, their groundbreaking albums included The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, but they are equally known for their extraordinary live shows with towering stages, huge inflatables and monster cartoons. Much of the inspiration came from the dark side of Roger Waters. He was only a few months old when his father was murdered in Anzio and poured into his work the pain and sense of abandonment he suffered.
roger waters on desert island discs
Years of extraordinary success were followed by even more legal disputes, but in 2005 Pink Floyd reunited for Live 8 in a performance. that his fans thought they would never live to see his own career, he says that I have been very lucky that many people die before anyone takes their work seriously, the problem as an artist when talking about the things that are important to you is that you expose yourself and you expose yourself to criticism and judgment about your feelings how comfortable are you with that well, that's how my whole career has been I hope there is no other way to do it the only thing I can do is paint what I see you know and I hope that people buy the photo and you are still painting, it is still important for you to express yourself, yes, I still express myself.
roger waters on desert island discs

More Interesting Facts About,

roger waters on desert island discs...

I keep writing songs like I can't believe I haven't made them. an album since 1992, but I still intend to pick myself up and, you know, organize some of the songs I've written over the last 20 years into a format that satisfies me. Is it a problem with your creativity that maybe you can? Now you are a little happier, a little more content and, as you see, you are building. There is some truth in that. I would certainly be much happier than I was. I'm happy, but I'm not sure I'm not. I'm sure that's exactly what I mentioned live.
roger waters on desert island discs
I mean, I can't go much further without talking about that, yeah, Bob Geldof, so Bob in his own healing of it in the eloquent way that he was, it was a pleasure to see four old guys playing so beautifully. How does it feel to be one of those old guys playing so beautifully? Yes, it was splendid. You know, we went and did a review on Friday night and it all fell into place because we know the music so well and there's a huge empty space in front of the stage with about 60 people working on site, you know, taking out trash cans or whatever. what they were doing and everyone stopped and then at the end everyone applauded so it was pretty sweet that it was actually It was a very touching moment and the day itself was indescribably touching.
roger waters on desert island discs
You tentatively hugged each other on stage at the end of the set, but can you tell me what happened offstage? He didn't seem hesitant to me. Well, yes, we hugged and you know. We had dinner the night before and I'm really glad we did it before Rick died, yeah, because if that was the last time the four of us were going to do anything together, I think it was a beautiful way to underline it. What has been a long and wonderful collaboration, your musical is today, you know, it's a wonderful list, I think, but it's also a very tender list, quite an emotional list is where you are now at this stage of your life, well, maybe.
It's a reflection of that because I didn't think about this list at all. I thought about it first. I started thinking about this. I'll be here for months. Yes, are you happy with her now? Yes, absolutely all the things that are there. are my big favorites perfectly contained, so tell me what about the first option, what are we going to listen to? Well, Neil Young singing helplessly, there is honesty and truth in everything he has done, you feel the integrity and passion of the man that I can feel. The hair on the back of my neck stands up now remembering the purity with which he plays the first notes of this song.
It is extraordinarily moving. I still need a place to go. He was young and helpless. So you're traveling a lot. now Roger Waters and the wall just to remind people of the courses. I mean, at the time it was a big hit for Pink Floyd and it was really the imagery and the scale along with the music that really captured the world's attention like a stage show you literally build a wall and it's the story it's your story the Wall is the story of a young man who builds a kind of emotional barrier between himself and the rest of the world because of the damage he felt when he was a little boy, when that is very well said, it was certainly that in 1979, when we made the album and made the shows for the first time, the program is now very political, there is a very, very powerful anti-war statement in this new production of the wall that we are on. doing, I invited people to send in photographs of their loved ones lost in conflicts, political unrest, demonstrations, anything that didn't really matter, with a story and we used images of some of those people during the program, it's a tribute to that loss of lives and the pain that accompanies it, which I expressed in the matter due to the loss of my father when I was five months old and which I like to think perhaps gives me a better opportunity than some people to empathize with those who find themselves in a similar situation.
People come in person and talk to you. You know, you encourage this kind of request for people's experiences to use in the program. Is there anything personal in particular that has caught your attention? The thread is: This is a photo of my grandfather. he was a republican and Franco's army shot him in 1938 or any Spanish Civil War and it's interesting that people connect with older generations that you know across pretty big time barriers, but also in this show and invite veterans to come to the show one At halftime I went into a room and talked to them and it was very moving.
There was one guy in particular who was standing at one of the shows and he was an older guy. Just as he was leaving, he told me, he said: I'm sorry. for the loss of your father and I said oh well, thank you very much, I appreciate it and then he looked me in the eyes and said he would have been proud of you and I just said, you know, I started crying and I had to leave the room because I was so moved that this guy was telling me this when you know the strangeness of the circle comes full circle in a very emotional way.
That's amazing music. So your second album, Siddi Roger Waters, is what an endless flight is. from the movie Babel and there is something mysterious and tragically moving about this. I like it, it was an endless flight from the soundtrack to the cinematic battle, so let's go back in time. Roger Waters, you were born in Surrey in 1943, but soon moved to Cambridgeshire. What are your first memories? The first memory is VJ night. I described it to my mother. I remember one room and I remember there was a door with a latch. When she opened it, there were stairs behind it and in the room there was a brown sofa. and beyond the couch there was a window and then there's a road, then across the street there are people and they're dancing around a bonfire and she looked at me and said it was a VJ night it was your grandmother's house in Cherian Road in Cambridge.
So I was only 18 months or so at the time and you already had an older brother. Yes, my brother Johnny, he was two years old and, like you told us, your father was murdered, Angie, when you were a matter of five months old and what did you do? your mother told you about your father about the type of man he was yes she talked a lot about him because she was excessively proud of him and what he had done and been she felt he was always a discouraged brother so my mother never was extraordinary enough she never thought she was very attractive I don't have much physical confidence in myself and she was because I saw a photograph of her.
I thought she was a striking woman, yes, yes, she was she. I mean, my mother became a politician because she went north to do her teacher training and she did it. in Bradford and it was a harsh winter and it was seeing English children walking to school during a winter in Bradford without shoes or socks that made her think there was something wrong with this picture. You know, we need to share things a little more. Fair enough and my father's story was extraordinarily heroic, he actually heard at the beginning of the war that he was a very devout Christian and therefore a conscientious objector, so he drove an ambulance for the entire 1441 team during the Blitz who was working in London. and that was where he met my mother and they both became very involved politically and both joined the Communist Party.
Once he joined the Communist Party, he decided that the need to fight the Nazis outweighed his Christianity, so he returned to the draft board insider excuse. I changed my mind and then I said very well and I hit Anzio in January and they killed him on February 18 and there is a very striking image in the film, the original film that was made to go with the wall of the boy looking in the mirror and trying one on, of course, it looks like it's his dad's uniform, did you ever touch your face, yeah, that's me, that's me, oh yeah, my dad's uniform was on the dresser, you know, in our house and the Sam?
Brown and I can still see the fusili, you know, blink, thanks for some music, so Roger, we're on record three, tell us about it, so, in Coen, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, maybe they were the two men who We were allowed to believe that there was an open door between poetry and song lyrics and this song of his, A Bird in War, is so simple. You know, the couplets are so simple, so moving and so brilliant. I love it. A bird on a wire, on a wire, like a drunk, a midnight chorus. I have tried in my free self Legba where Leonard Cohen and Bird on a Wire were you described yourself there Roger Waters as if he were a teenager you were quite you know he is choppy I was very tight yes yes who did you face? and what did you do?
Some kind of authority? There really is an entire generation of us who refuse to take school seriously. Oh, the primary school I'm talking about, so you would have a brother, a bright boy, but you were openly rebelling. Was your mother worried about this brilliant boy who didn't really talk to my mother much about it? You know, my mother was very busy making a living. My days began at twenty-three minutes to nine and that was the beginning and I got up. and somehow I made myself a cup of tea and the school was only a 10 minute walk away but I was supposed to be there from 10:00 to 9:00 and I never was but I had a route I could go through for a a couple of gardens and down a side road to get to the forum room while everyone else was in the morning assembly, you know, saying prayers and singing songs and whatever they did, you did it, you mentioned songs that were They were playing at home, what were you listening to there? there was no music at home it was just that I don't know my mother always says she's deaf there's a poem I wrote that I can't recite to you but it's about crouching against hot creosote it's about sitting in the dust against a fence and listening to Ruby Murray sing a song, I said it was heard between the tips of the hollyhocks mixed with the news and in that moment I felt the magic touch the tingle in the spine, you know, that was the first time something really came to me, that's right Like, what an extraordinary feeling, how did that happen?
Yes, it was Ruby Murray and were you learning to play an instrument? You know, one of my aunts gave me a guitar when she was 13 or 14 and I tried it. I learned to play that but I found it too painful and difficult so I abandoned the fingers, yes they were still tightly twisted it was really difficult and if you were close to your older brother I mean not that much we were never close John and I and he would have heard a lot. I mean, I knew he must have been distant, but did he have any memories of your father?
Could he? Yes, she remembered. Do you think that's maybe one of the differences between the two of you? He paid a higher price than me, yes, I think the elder pays, the elder takes responsibility. I mean, I have recurring dreams and there's one dream that I no longer have, which was a dream where he had murdered someone and I had. They're going to catch me and I had this dream over and over and over again for countless years until after a ton of therapy I suddenly realized one day that I think it's about me feeling like I killed my dad, yeah, and as soon as I realized, that's it.
I have never had that dream again. It was how long ago it was about 20 years ago. So when you had that dream that your father would be 50 years old, that's a long time to have a recording, yeah, you dreamed that you were murdering someone, yeah, yeah. Do you think you have arrived? Have you been late to many of those emotional realizations? Do you think so, yes, I think so? Yeah, why do you think it's taken so long? Oh, that's a very good question, but I think it took me a long time to understand that as a man it was okay to have power, okay, hard power, yes, I think for many, many years, because I grew up entirely in the company of women, my mother and all her sisters, I think I intuitively believed that.
The right thing was for the woman to have all the power and consequently I got involved in all kinds of disastrous relationships where I gave all my power away.he was just thinking it was pretty good, so anyway, when he heard the music, he imagined milk bottles falling in slow motion, that was part of the fourth movement of the Hands Symphony. number five performed by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, so Roger, it's time to give you the books, first of all, the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare and what's your book and all the pretty horses, which is the first of the trilogy of crossovers. by Cormac McCarthy right, it's yours and a luxury and well, I lived in north London in 1968, 1969, first of all in a friend's flat very close to Highbury stadium and I've become addicted to Arsenal Football Club, so If they allow me satellite there, I'm sure that's what I want.
I want to be able to watch Arsenal games. you can't configure like that, in that case, Grandpa Anna to Bose and the right of offer is certainly allowed, I will gladly give it to you nine people to expose and Orpha, please, it's us, Roger, and if you had to choose just one of the eight. records which would you choose to say oh my god about mom okay no mom no it's us Roger Waters, thank you so much for letting us listen to your Desert Island records, thank you so much for having me

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