Radio Interview, Toronto Canada
JL: Live from the studios of Q107 in Toronto, Canada. Welcome to Album Network's world premiere of Roger Waters long awaited new album Amused to Death. I'm Jim Ladd and I'll be your host for this live two hour musical press conference. Joining me in studio tonight along with Roger Waters will be Carter Allen of WBCN in Boston, Dan Near of WNEW FM in New York, Red Beard from KTXQ in Dallas, Texas, and John Derringer of Q107 right here in Toronto. You know it was 25 years ago that the world first heard of a new band out of England called Pink floyd. [Arnold Layne] [See Emily Play] From this beginning, in a group which included Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Rick Wright, and Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd would become one of the most important and influential bands in the history of recorded music.
In 1973, after the departure of Syd Barrett and the addition of guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour, Roger Waters came into his own as the song writer and intellectual leader of Pink Floyd. And it was this album, Dark Side of the Moon, that would launch Pink Floyd into the rarefied heights of rock's most important contributors. [Brain Damage] From Dark Side of the Moon to Wish You Were Here. From Animals to the epic double album, The Wall, and on through to The Final Cut, it was Roger Waters who provided the lyrical and conceptual vision for a body of work unequaled in its scope and imagination. [Have a Cigar] [Pigs (Three Different Ones)] [Another Brick] [Final Cut] Roger Waters left Pink Floyd after the release of The Final Cut and went on to record two highly aclaimed solo projects, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking and Radio Kaos. [Radio Waves]
Now with the release of what critics are calling a record that goes beyond even The Wall, you are about to hear the world-wide premiere of Roger Waters' latest work Amused to Death. [What God Wants]
JL: Dan Near of WNEW FM in New York.
DN:: Hi Jim.
JL: Carter Allen from a historic radio station, WBCN in Boston.
CA: Hi Jim.
JL: And John Derringer of Q107 right here in Toronto.
JD:: Hi Jim.
JL: And some guy named Roger Waters. How are you doing Roger?
RW: Hello Jim.
JL: Wonderful to see you.
RW: Thank You.
JL: Congratulations. I know it's been five years in the making, but tonight is the world-wide premiere of Amused to Death. How do you feel?
JL: Good. Let's start with the overview of this album. Give us kind of a...(laughter) I know it's hard to do a synopsis. And I know you were looking forward so much to this question. But give us an overview of Amused to Death.
RW: Well, all I can say really is that the album has come out five years of me wondering about what is going on in the world and getting my information by sitting up late at night watching TV. So the theatre of the album is characterized as a gorilla or some other primate, like you (laughter) possibly, or carter. Umm, checking out the idiot box and taking in the information and wondering what the bleep is going on.
JL: The front of the album is a gorilla in fact watching....
RW: A baby one.
JL: Television. There is also, to kinda follow the story line as we go tonight, there is references to not only a gorilla watching television, but the alien anthropologist. Give us sort of what that's about too.
RW: (some type of sound followed by laughter)
JL: Hmmm, there he is now.
RB: I can't believe how you do that Roger.
CA: That's pretty wild.
JL: Mr. Sound Effect.
RW: Well, that's a lyric from the song 'Amused to Death,' which is the last song on the album. And it's a rather depressing scenario (monkeys screaming)...That's interesting. I wonder if that's going out. I'm going to ignore it and pretend it isn't going out. Right, and the idea is that...which is where the album title came from...which is a book by somebody called Neil Postgate (ed: actually Neil Postman). I hope that's his name. Who wrote a short book called 'Amusing Ourselves to Death.' Which is about the history of media, particularly as it relates to political communication. i.e. how things have changed since you had a bill to read, you know to read Lincoln's speeches. And stuff. And I had at one point this rather depressing image of some alien culture seeing the death of this planet. And coming down in their spaceships and sniffing around and finding all our skeletons sitting around our TV sets and trying to work out why it was that our end came before its time . And they come to the conclusion that we had amused ourselves to death.
JL: Interesting. So as we hear the album tonight we can keep that general premise in mind. Red Beard you got a question?
RB: Well, my question really ties into the song that we have already...has already been released to radio across North America. And that is the song 'What God Wants, Part I.' It is the most requested song at the station where I work in Dallas- Fort Worth at KTXQ, but as well as being the most controversial song. We were just bombarded with positive requests in the first two weeks and now in the third week there seems to be a contingent that's taking the lyrics of the song 'What God Wants, Part I' quite literally. And I don't want to throw a curve ball to the booth, but I think it would be great to hear the lyrics of the song right now and let me do a follow up question on it. Can we do that?
JL: If the booth is ready, we are ready. This is the first single off the album and it is called 'What God Wants, Part I.' [What God Wants, Part I]
JL: You're listening to the world premiere broadcast of Roger Waters new, and I may say long awaited album, Amused to Death live from the studios of Q107 in Toronto Canada. Red Beard let's go back to you. You've said that not only is it the most requested song it has now become the most controversial song.
RB: Right, and the questions with those finding it controversial, Roger, seems to be some are taking it literally when you say 'God wants crack,' and 'God wants famine, ''God wants war' Who is the singer or what is the singer's perspective on 'What God Wants, Part I?'
RW: Well, it's my perspective obviously. And it is written in response primarily to the notion that human beings can own God, whoever God may be. And that changes depending upon whether you are a muslin, or a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Hindu although we all have our different notions of who God is and what he does. And this song was written, I suppose, as a sort of irritable response to the idea that God can be on somebody's side and not on somebody else's side. I'm not into any specific religious dogma myself. I know that a lot of people are. If god exists my suspicion is that he's not interested whether the democrats or Republicans win the next election or whether it would be right or wrong for the allies to go and bomb Baghdad right now, or any of those questions. His mind is on other things. And that is what this song is about in the ludicrous nature of people's adherence to the idea that God can be incorporated in our side.
RB: If I'm not mistaken that's the first time an artist has rhymed sex with semtex (laughter)
RW: It may well be the case. Interestingly enough semtex is a word that is very little know.
JL: Plastic Explosive.
RW: But it's like Hoover. Hoover all over the world means vacuum cleaner. While in Europe because of the IRA, more specifically than anyone else, and because of some of the middle eastern terrorist activity, semtex, which is a Chzechlsovokian (sp??) plastic explosive, has come to be used or is synonyms with plastique or plastic explosive.
CA: I would like to talk about the musical aspect of that. I mean we're all sitting here playing air guitar. It's pretty obviously, listening to that, you know it's Jeff Beck playing guitar. I'm always interested in what Jeff Beck does ...And how you hooked up with him.
RW: Well, I was casting around looking for someone to play lead on this record. And he's been in the back of my mind for a long time. So, I called his people up and said 'might he be interested' and they said 'well he might be.' So, we went through a big kind of shadow boxing thing and it ended with me sending a cassette of four or five of the songs to his studios so that Jeff could listen to them. I didn't go because it's awful to have that embarrassing this, you know, Jeff Beck sitting there and he goes 'well, it's interesting.' (laughter). You know, get's in the car and goes home. But he didn't say that. He like them. This track was one of the them, 'Three Wishes' was another, and there were a couple of others that I sent. And he said 'Yeah, I really like this stuff. Yeah, when do we start?' And then he came in and started overdubbing on tracks that were almost finished.
CA: He sort of has a reputation of being difficult to work with. Did you find that?
RW: Not at all (laughter)
JL: I'm sorry. I'm laughing. It would be the pot and the kettle. You have also had that reputation...
JL: ...so I certainly would
DN:'t think that would come to his mind at all.
RW: No, Jeff like me is an absolute sweetheart (laughter). He arrives and the thing that staggered me was he opens up his case with fender in it and there's a brand new guitar with all that cardboard hanging off the end. And he takes it out and doesn't appear to do anything, there's none of that like little tuning things or anything. He just picks it up and plugs it in. He's very, very careful with the sound. And although the amplifier that he used was is bassman amplifier that he was given by Budding Going(sp??). It's a valve amplifier. It's one of the new fender amps...
RW: ...yeah tube amp. Valve, tube.
JL: You told me that you... I'm just translating for you. We're in North America.
RW: Ok, tube amplifier. And so we worked on the sound with Nick Griffiths, who was the engineer for some time, but once he got the sound together he just said what do you want me to do and where. And he likes to be told exactly where you want it and what kind of thing you want. And then you just sit back and your eyes pop out because it's quite extraordinary.
CA: So what'd you say. 'Well, that's very interesting. Can we do it again?'
RW: We actually said quite a lot of 'that's unbelievable, can we do it again?' And we recorded thousands of tracks. Not because we needed any more, but just because it was just bliss to listen to him playing.
JL: Believable. Let's go to Dan Near from WNEW FM.
DN:: One of the things about this record that struck me was your use of sound effects. I mean you've done it so well in the past, but this is just stunning. The way that you create atmospheres and moods. And you switch from one scene to another through the use of sound effects. Do you specifically record your own sound effects? I mean how do you go about getting that? And then how do you decide what is extraneous and what is essential?
RW: We record some of it and some of it we steal. (laughter) But what's important about the sound effects on this record is the QSound system, which is Canadian. And uh.... CA Oh, you're just saying that because we are broadcasting out of...
RW: No, I think it is an extraordinary system and these guys have been working on it for a long time. And I think Sting had a record out, and Madonna had a record out, and Julian Lennon had a record out with the system on, but that was a while ago. And it's improved a lot since then. And if you sit exactly between the two speakers, well you guys have listened to it, the effect is quite extraordinary. It goes out beyond your shoulders and it improvises a very broad spectrum, so it enables on to produce drama in a wider than stereo thing that was not possible before this system was developed.
JL: For those of you listening throughout North America, if you just tuned in you got here at the right time because we are premiering the brand new world-wide release of Roger Waters' Amused to Death We are going to play now a track called 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range.' And then we'll come back and discuss that particular track. Listen to the lyrics of this one very carefully. You are going to recognize, perhaps, some American leaders referred to in this song. If not by name, certainly by description. 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range.' Roger Waters' brand new album Amused to Death. [The Bravery of Being Out of Range]
JL: Alright, 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range.' Now you are not hearing this album, obviously, in total and you're not hearing it in sequence. There is, as with all of Roger's stuff, a very distinct story line. It is a conceptual album, but we will try to kinda keep that story line going. But that is an extraordinary song called 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range.' Red Beard, you wanted talk about that song?
RB: Oh yeah. Two points Roger. Number one, what I have been reading with the gulf war that was broadcast world-wide there is going to be a rush for people to infer that songs such as 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range,' were spawned by that event. Could you fill us in on the chronology. 'Cause I don't think that is necessarily true.
RW: It's true in as far as the third verse is concerned. The first two verses were written in the mid-eighties sometime and are an evocation of your ex-president Ronald Reagan. But the third verse used to be about Berlin. Berlin babies sing this song it went. And that's gone. So this is the only bit, in fact, on the album that specifically to do with Desert Storm. And is in fact written after that whole thing. So the theatre of the people in the bar watching television and enjoying us winning the war is what that verse is about.
JL: Let's discuss how computer screen targets rather than actual visual targets of human beings, and smart bombs, and high altitude bombing, and missiles. Do you feel it has sanitized the killing by distancing the killer from the slaughtered?
RW: Yeah I do think that that happens as it distances us. I heard Mitch Urors (sp??) thing in the introduction to this, from live aid. Kinda what's sad in a way between what happened in Ethiopia and what is happening in Somalia now is that...I do it myself, it's (missing) turn on to the next page. It has something to do with the way that we look at that stuff in such graphic detail that immures us to the effect of it...to what's going on. And we tend not to look at the root of how we feel about it or what it is that is going on because it is all part a news media who's attempt is to entertain us in order that they will get big ratings on their channels and their sponsors will go on supporting them and they will keep their jobs. And I have a nasty and sneaking suspicion that the war in the gulf was about the same thing.
JL: You know I think it should be underlined again 'cause we kind of passed over this; how prophetic this is. This was written what 3, 5 years...at least 3 years before the gulf war. And that was the first, in quotes, televised war. Vietnam was broadcast on television, but it was not on TV like this one.
RW: There is another song on the record called 'Perfect Sense, Part II,' which I don't think we are playing tonight, where I describe something that the last time we saw it was during the fall of the Roman empire. When they used to fill the coliseum with sea waters and have galleons fighting each other. I have a suspicion that both the attack on Tripoli, which I describe elsewhere in the album in 'Late Home Tonight,' and also Desert Storm has something to do with that. It's an uneasy feeling I have that is has something to do with the arms industry and / or with creating foreign policy that is convenient in terms of the domestic situations of our leaders at home. And does not have anything to do with...just let me spit this out before I run out of breath...surprising a brutal dictator. Why aren't we in Tibet?
JL: Well I think it has more to do with creative markets for the product, doesn't it?
RW: Yeah, but why aren't we in Tibet? Why is there all this stuff in the newspaper today about Saddam Hussein being brutal to his people?
RB: I don't think they...
JL: Tibet doesn't have any oil.
RW: Ahh! Why di
DN:'t I think of that?
JL: To change the subject just a little bit. You mentioned the first couple of verses from 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range' going back to the mid-eighties. This obviously then was written over a span of time. When were the earliest lyrics and the earliest music from?
RW: The first track was cut in October 1987 in between the two halves of the Radio Kaos tour. When we decided to do a second bit of that tour the band were together and so we went to Compass Point in Nausau and we cut several tracks there. And I have been kind of mucking about with it ever since.
CA: Roger, have you ever done an album quickly? (laughter) Now fess up.
RW: No, but maybe the next one.
RB: Talking about another album which took a lot of time and if we could discuss this briefly because I know we are going to be listening to 'Hey You' coming up. The Wall album was a hallmark album and obviously you brought it to life in Berlin and I was there and it was just an unbelievable moment. I can't believe that you tied all the treads together, got all the musicians on stage, the incredible production, and the 300,000 people there, and where it was in Potsdamn Platz. Could you just talk about writing that album and how it felt to bring it alive on stage 'cause that was obviously a very important moment in your creative career?
RW: You mean in Berlin, yeah. Yeah it was. I'm glad the sun shone then. If it had rained for three days.
CA: Were you a nervous wreck?
RW: Completely. Absolutely. It completely destroyed me. They came and asked me to do it in October. We went on in July 21st I think it was. And the intervening months were an absolute nightmare. It wasn't just getting the permission. I mean when we first started talking about it there were still guys wandering around with machine guns killing anybody who walked out into that piece of land. But it was also getting the other artists together. And logistically, the team of guys on the ground that put it together; how they did it I'll never know. They didn't set foot on the site until four weeks before the show. And when they got there it was like a field with huge molehills because the East German Army had dug down to five meters everywhere they found a piece of metal to make sure it wasn't an unexploded bomb. And of course a lot of them were unexploded bombs and they dug them all up and threw them away. But yeah, it was a very bizarre thing.
CA: What was it like to record with other musicians as opposed to Pink Floyd when you recorded it originally.
RW: Well, as it turned out, it was great. I mean, I looked at the video a few months ago and I found it quite moving.
RB: It was.
RW: Particularly. Well no, I woul
DN:'t particular anything, but with the actors at the end and just everybody with one notable exception due, but we won't talk about Sinead will we.
JL: No, we won't. No, we won't. But we are going to play a song that has always been a very moving piece of music for me. It's called 'Hey You' and we'll listen to that now and come back and talk more about Amused to Death [Hey You]
JL: You're listening to the Roger Waters world premiere broadcast of Amused to Death and we'll have more right after this.
JL: Welcome back to the world premiere broadcast of Roger Waters' Amused to Death live from the Q107 studios in Toronto. I'm Jim Ladd along with Carter Allen of WBCN in Boston, John Derringer of Q107 in Toronto, Dan Near of WNEW FM in New York, and of course Red Beard from KTXQ in Dallas. And let's go to Dan Near.
DN:: Oh, it's my turn. Ok. We, just before the break, were talking about the concert you did...the benefit, at the Berlin Wall and the purpose behind it was to raise money for a particular fund that you established. That fund is still active and going so could you talk a little bit about what the fund is and how people, if they can,...how they can contribute to it still?
RW: Well it was, it is the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief and it's the brain child of boot captain Leonard Cheshire who is an English Air Force pilot in the second world war. In fact he was the most decorated pilot in the RAF. After the war he took a damaged veteran into his home and looked after him. 'Cause this guy had nowhere to go. What happened after the war, there were a lot of very damaged people like there are after all wars who...they get sown up in hospitals, but afterwards there's a problem about how they rehabilitate....
DN:: And mentally as well.
RW: And mentally as well. And so he established, eventually, a series of homes for the disabled called the Cheshire homes. Which are all over the world. They're in fifty different countries. And he had this idea...he's dead now, Leonard. He died two weeks ago...
DN:: I'm sorry.
RW: ...Yeah, he eventually died of moten?? urine disease himself. Which was another set of people that he worked for all his life. And he had this dream to create a fund to respond quickly to disasters in the world. And the concert in Berlin was part of his efforts in raising funds for that thing, but it was meant to be a memorial to all the people who have died in wars this century. A number that, unfortunately, is rising fast even as we speak.
DN:: So, if people would like to contribute to this fund, how can they do that now?
RW: Well, I don't have addresses or phone numbers on me, or anything like that, but if we all to get together -- KTXW, NEW, WBCN, and KQ107, and maybe the rest of rock radio in North America -- I'd be very happy to come in and let's make a program of that. Try to stir the thing up again. Because that concert was an extraordinary event for all of those of us who were involved in it and all the people who came to it. And there were a lot of people who came to it from North America to it. There's a couple of guys in the studio wearing t-shirts from it. And I have a strong sense now, particularly that Leonard has died recently, to make certain that his idea doesn't die.
DN:: You could also still at this point buy the video, buy the CD of the concert. Because portions of the sales of those go into the...
RW: Not portions. All the royalties. Everything from the video. It all goes to the Memorial Fund.
DN:: I would very much like that we do enliven this thing. Because it's just as you have mentioned in talking about this current record. You wonder, 'Did I do everything that I could do.'
RW: Let's try and persuade MTV to play the old cut. I don't know about everybody else, but I get bored with teenagers with their hats on back to front. (everyone tries to talk at the same time)
JL: Since you brought that up....
RW: Let's see Bryan Adams singing 'Young Lust.' It was good wasn't isn't?
JL: Exactly. He did a great job.
RW: Didn't he? Wasn't it great? Why can't we see him occasionally on the TV.
JL: Just as a plug for this thing. For those of you listening. If you have not bought this tape and put it on your television set, turned the lights down low, and turned the volume up on ten, you are missing a mind changing experience. You should do that. And also just for MTV, it would be nice if they were a rock channel again-- because they lost that a long time ago. Lets go to John Derringer at Q107.
JD:: We talked quite a bit, Roger, about the Berlin Wall Show. Pink Floyd's wall tour was certainly a legendary tour that gave few amount of shows that were played. Right back to the beginning of the band, you now have a very solid reputation for putting on an unbelievable show. Not only audio, but also a video show. I don't necessarily thing that people expect you to top The Wall as far as the tour goes, but what do you have in mind as far as touring this show. Obviously TV is the main theme. What do you expect to literally bring to the party on tour?
RW: Well if we tour. And we probably will. The indications are that we will next year. I've got a very strong idea of what the show will look like. I can tell you a number of things about it. It will not be outdoors. I haven't done that since the Animals tour in 1977. I've gone on record umpteen times before about the inherent greed of stadium rock. And I still disagree with it. I won't do it. So, it will be indoors and it will very visual. And....
JL: Do you have anyone in mind to play the gorilla. (Laughter)
JD:: Are you volunteering?
JL: If you know the tour schedule...
RB: We knew that was coming. (everyone tries to talk together)
JL: And we want to thank John Derringer for joining us because he's got to leave now. (laughter)
RW: No, I enjoyed both the Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking tour and the Kaos tour, but business was kind of thin in the mid- west, I have to say. And for those like twelve hundred people that I played to in Cincinnati on the 'Kaos' tour, I'd just like to say thank you for coming. (laughter) In a way I am serious because although it's depressing to play to twelve hundred people in a ten thousand seat hall, but to quote Henry V, 'the fewer whatnots the greater the share of glory.' And I know they all remember that night and so do I. And there was something about the kind of camaraderie; of there just being a few people there because it was a great show.
RB: True believers.
RW: Yeah, true believers. And there was a kind a community feeling between me and them in that, particularly as I was answering questions from the hall and all that stuff that we did, Jim, on the 'Kaos' tour.
JD:: Can I just say that it is unmanning listening to the two of you, Jim and Roger, talking. I feel like I have been transported to the inside of Radio KAOS. (laughter) I really do.
JL: Are you going to ask Jeff Beck to join you?
RW: No I'm not because Jeff's great at rehearsals, but he's...
CA: He's so difficult to work with.
RW: No, he's not difficult. But he's just...tours aren't his thing.
JL: Let me bring this back to Amused to Death here for a minute. One of the songs that unfortunately we are skipping over is 'What God Wants, Part II' And very quickly I want to quote one of the lines because it's one of the examples of humor in this album. 'God wants credit / God wants blame / God wants poverty / God wants wealth / God wants insurance / God wants to cover himself.' (Someone laughs uproariously) It's always the writer that laughs the hardest. Have you noticed that? But what we are going to play now is 'What God Wants, Part III' and the humor is completely gone here and as you at home when you get this album and listen to it in total; what you will hear is that the monkey who has been watching television through all of this extraordinary storyline. And then we get to 'What God Wants, Part III' and its the saddest thing of all because he simply gets bored with watching the war and goes out. Listen to this song very carefully and then we'll come back and ask Roger about 'What God Wants, Part III.' You're listening to the world-wide premiere of Amused to Death. [What God Wants, Part III]
JL: Ok, we're listening to the world premiere broadcast of Roger Waters' Amused to Death and we'll come back and talk about 'What God Wants, Part III' right after this.
JL: Live from the studios of Q107 in Toronto you are listening to the world premiere broadcast of Amused to Death, the brand new album from Roger Waters. I'm Jim Ladd along with Red Beard from KTXQ in Dallas, Dan Near of WNEW FM in New York, Carter Allen of WBCN in Boston, and John Derringer of Q107 right here in Toronto. We promised to go to Carter Allen.
CA: We just listened to 'What God Wants, Part III' and I have to stress to everyone listening this is an album you listen to, but you should really...you have to sit down with a lyrics sheet and read it. And read along with the album. I mean there's a line in there, Roger, I mean I'm a writer, but you just blow me away with some of these lyrics that you come up with. The one that impresses me the most in that song is 'In banks across the world / Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews / People of every race, creed, color, tint, or hue / Get down on their knees and pray.' And that's twisting a knife in the back of a lot of things.
RW: Yeah well, I'm a little bit worried that the free market has become our God.
JL: Explain that.
RW: No! (laughing) Ok, seeing as you asked nicely....
JL: Explain that, please.
RW: Well, maybe it is. Maybe it is the answer to everything. Maybe this whole trickle down thing works. Maybe eventually if we sell more motor cars than the Japanese do, maybe that fact will eventually put food in the bellies of the people in Somalia. If we care about them.
JL: Why do I get the feeling you should end that statement with 'not?'
RW: Yeah, maybe not. I don't think it works. It's the idea of trade is an answer to life's problems, I think belongs in the 17th century. And I think that we now ought to be addressing the problems that face the whole human race with at least giving some air time, and some credence, and some thought to other ways. Maybe cooperation is better than competition. Maybe. I don't know. But the free market ideology that has been extant certainly in the western civilized countries and certainly in the United States, and certainly in Great Britain for the last ...well almost since the second world war. And it doesn't seem to me to be providing all the answers.
RB: Do you find that when we do find some solutions often they are band-aid solutions instead of long term solutions. We've mentioned Somalia a couple of times. We can give them all the money in the world; if we don't educate them it is going to be the same way in another 2...5 years. There'll be another Somalia. I mean it has to be a little deeper than just putting ...it's like putting literally a band-aid on a brain tumor.
RW: Well, it depends on your attitude to what human life is about. If it is about a free market, which is the philosophy that is extant at the moment, well then you're never going to find any solutions to these other problems. What you are going to end up with is a stockade, that you call the United States, with all these other people from the third world hurling themselves up against the logs. And you know eventually the Indians get in because there are a lot more of them of you. And what you need to do, you in North America and we in Great Britain, is to say, 'Well hang on a minute. This is a small planet and it is a small and weak star that is our sun which is dimming slowly. And we can look at our history, and we can look at our future and it's finite. And what we have to decide is what kind of life we all, all we human beings, want between now and when it all finishes'...or doesn't. Who knows, maybe we could colonize the stars. But I doubt if it's going to be! ! 'bleep you. We're going to colonize the stars.' If we are going to do that, it may be that we need to cooperate with each other and use all the resources.
RB: We're looking at this in a big picture sense. How 'bout on a one person sense. What can one person do? 'Cause I think a lot of people get the feeling that 'Hey, this is so out of control. There's nothing I can do about the economy. There's nothing I can do about starvation. There's nothing I can do about another Persian Gulf war.' I think people...
RW: Well, that's the sick thing at the moment is that in lots of cases the only thing that one person can do it die. That's the sad thing. But for the people that aren't going to do it which is...I was...this is leading into the song that I know we are going to play now which is called 'Watching TV' which is about a Chinese girl in Tianamen Square. And all she could do was stand there, and have her meetings, and demand democracy and the tanks rolled over here. Well, the tanks are rolling over the men in Bosnia now. And they did in the Gulf. And they did in...and that happens a lot. I don't know. I don't know that I have the answer to that question. We can ask ourselves questions. How we can try and support the teachers in our schools who are trying to be open minded about the future generations. Who are trying to look towards the future and say, 'What's important.' I don't know. What is important? The important is that we don't accept the dogma that comes fro! ! m pr previous generations. It is very important that we don't say God wants us to go and kill the Arabs in Iraq. It is very important not to get involved in all of that stuff. It is important to look at things squarely. To look at our situation squarely. Which we tend not to do I think.
JL: In this particular work as in all of your work, you are addressing these issues. There was a time that you and I both lived through, I think everybody in this room lived through, called the 60's when there was a movement where we thought we were going to go out and change the world for a better place. Has there just been too much information come at us now? Is it possible to rally people again? How shocking does it have to be? How many people do we have to see rolled over by the tanks? How many great albums like Amused to Death before people will say, 'That's it. I draw the line here. We're going to do something.'
RW: Well, it's more complicated than that. The good thing about television, which is what this album is about, is that it is a two-edged sword. And it can cut through a whole bunch of bullshit. And some of it does. That's why it interests me so much. Is that it either is the prime tool of the market forces, but equally it can the prime tool for us to look at ourselves and to educate future generations. And for us to start thinking about what the nature of human life really is. And what we want it to be. And it does that. It does both those things. And it's doing it really fast. That's the other thing that interests me is that history appears anyway to be speeding up. Events follow one upon the other really quickly now. It doesn't take you like five days to get from Boston to New York or from London to Manchester like it used to when you had to get on a horse and ride.
CA: As you were saying, television is a double edged sword from the fact that for example that in the Persian Gulf we kinda did witness a TV show as presented by our government. We saw only what they wanted us to see. Not like the Vietnam war where we saw people coming back in body bags. Do you remember seeing blood and guts in the Persian war? You don't see it.
RB: Well, hang on. The Vietnam war was a ground war and I think that is the very important distinction between what happened... what we saw on television this time around. And we touched on it earlier, it wasn't a real person being killed with a smart bomb it was a blip on a screen, like a video game.
CA: Right. That's what it looked like to us....
CA: ...but in reality...
RB: That's how it was presented on TV.
JL: Let's hear to the song.