Waters Interview, April 1999
(A REG member transcription)
DJ#1: What can you tell us about what we're going to be in store for on this tour?
RW: ...it's just a question of whittling it down, I'll be doing stuff from the last 30 years of my writing.
DJ#1: ...any opening acts?
RW: No, there'll be no opening acts, I've never done that, and I see no reason to start now.
DJ#2: What kinds of visual things can we expect, and will we see the pig anywhere?
RW: You'll definitely see the pig, whether it'll be there in all its glory or just pictures of it...I'm trying to work a lot with projections, I'm using quad sound, which I always have done, but I'm working with still projections. I'm gonna work with panning? projectors which I used a bit in Berlin, you know there these very powerful projectors that you can light up the sides of skyscrapers with and we'll be using them indoors, so it should be quite bright. I'm not carrying a circular screen or anything like that. I don't like, I don't want to use stage lighting, or very little. I've very much gone off the idea of lots of lights going on and off on stage. So many R'n'R shows, you know, there's vari-lights whizzing around and all kinds of flickering going on all the time and I personally find that rather irritating, so I'm gonna use projections and spotlights and that's it and the rest will be imagination and a few sound effects.
DJ#2: Do you have a favorite era of songs that you like to perform live?"
RW: No. The question is, whittling it down. I mean, The Wall I could easily play the whole thing, but that's 2 hours! So I can't do the whole thing. I play a few songs from that and a few here and there. I wouldn't want to come on and play 2 hours of just all the tunes that people recognize because that might not create the kind of atmosphere that I'd like to create.
DJ#2: I've got to ask a question that's kind of obvious and I'm sure other people would like to ask the same question, but where is your relationship with the other members of Pink Floyd right now? I'm sure you've heard the millennium concert rumors and things like that, where does everything sit right about now?
RW: I haven't heard any millennium concert rumors, but I have heard rumors in the past, (laughs) um, it's sort of... comfortably separate, thank you very much for asking.
DJ#2: I bet you're very excited about the rerelease of the Wall...
RW: You mean the Wall movie?
RW: Yeah, I actually sat in a hotel room with Gerald Scarfe and we watched it together and we did a kind of commentary on it and uh, so that will be on the DVD. And also, they were asking me if I could think of anything extra that we could put on and I remembered that, right at the end of making the movie, almost the last conversation that Alan Parker and I have had, we were talking about it and I said, 'I don't think reel 7 works and we should remove it.' And he said 'ok' and that was Hey You. So that was never in the movie and what we're going to do is tack it onto the end and anybody who buys the movie this time will get 'Hey You.'
Q: Roger, this is a great honor for me to speak with you today, thanks for taking time out...
RW: Not at all...
Q: Roger, first off, you mentioned 'Hey You' from the movie, and I had heard for the longest time that that piece of footage was lost, and had you always had it on file or was it something that you just found?
RW: No, nothing was thrown away, the movie is owned by a company I control, called Tin Blue? Limited and I sign a check every 3 months to Pinewood studios for storage for everything, you know, (laughs) what happened was James Guthrie, the engineer on the Wall and who did the soundtrack of the movie as well, is putting the sound together for the DVD and he came and recorded the sound for me and Gerald Scarfe in Paris and it was with him I had the conversation, I said 'what about reel 7?' and he went 'what a great idea, I'm gonna go and look for it' and he went to Pinewood, and there it was!
Q: Are you doing any fishing while you're there in Barbados?
RW: Yes. [orig.Ed. note: details of the fishing expedition snipped]
Q: When we actually see you here in Syracuse, will you be debuting any new material?
RW: That's a very good question, and I'm toying with the idea of doing one new song. I haven't decided yet, whether to do it or not, I'm gonna try it out in rehearsal and see how it feels, yeah I think it would be good to do that.
Q: Actually, that brings up my next point, I'm also a member of the international RW fan club, which is Reg, and I had wondered if you actually keep tabs on that or any of the internet mailing lists like 'Echoes.'
RW: I haven't checked out any of the internet, but I do get copies sent of Reg, so I am up-to-date on Reg, yeah.
Q: The Wall live in Berlin will go down as an historic performance, my question to you is, do you have any plans maybe for something like that for the millennium?
RW: Well, it's funny you should ask that, because I had thought that I might like to try and do the Wall again in the year 2000, having done it in 1980 and 1990 and, to which end, I was tentatively looking at trying to do it in New York, but it was just too difficult logistically to get it together, because I wanted to do it on Wall St., I thought that would be funny. (laughs) But it meant closing Wall St for about a week, and uh...ehm, I don't think that the locals thought that was a particularly good idea, but, having said that, in Hamburg in Germany, (company name) or something have put up some money and there's some people there who are building an electronic wall, which is 400 meters long and I think, 12 meters high or 18 meters high, it's an enormous thing, and it's made up of screens and it will be run from software through hard drives and as of now, I don't think they have anything for it. So, a friend of mine, in fact, Jonathon Park, who is part of Fisher/ Park and who has work on my shows over the years, is very involved in building this thing with them. They're very interested in me doing a, kind of, virtual Wall performance and storing it on hard drive and so that could easily be a performance that could happen in the year 2000, which would be great, particularly for me, because I would be able to watch it for a change! (laughs) It would be stored on a hard drive, so I could go stand and watch it with Mike! (laughs)
Q: Since Marianne Faithfull worked with you on the Wall in Berlin, I read that you had recently given her an old PF song that you'd written and that she'll be putting that on one of her new albums.
RW: Yeah, well...I wouldn't call it an old PF song, it's one of my songs, it had nothing to do with PF ever, I don't think, it was a song that I wrote in 1968.
DJ#4: Why now, with the big tour, why would you want to go out without an album to promote?
RW: Well, I did a show in '92 with Don Henley for charity, for his Walden Woods Project, and John Fogerty did some, Neil Young did some tunes, I did some tunes and Don did some tunes, and it was a great evening...and I just used Don's band, I rehearsed with them for a couple of afternoons, we did 4 or 5 numbers and I LOVED it, you know, the audience were great, I thought there was a great vibe coming back from them...and so from that moment on, I thought, 'well I've got to do some more of this,' and this year I developed plans with my family to spend the whole summer on the east coast, in Long Island, in fact. And I thought, well, maybe now's the time to do it. I called up Frank Barsalona in Premiere and Barbara and said 'what do you think?' and 'would this make sense?' if I put a band together and did maybe 20 shows just on the East coast, all within reasonable striking distance of where I'm staying, so I called a few promoters and I got a very positive response, so I said 'ok, let's do it.' And, if it's successful, next year I might do the South and, maybe, the West coast, because I always love playing in the South too, you know? There's some great music towns down there like Austin and Phoenix and I'd love to play the West coast, so if this works out, I might do some more next year.
DJ#4: Will you be doing stuff from 'Meddle' or 'Piper?'
RW: Well, I had to look at 'Piper,' and I'm only doing my songs and there's only 2 on 'Piper' and one is 'Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk' and the other is 'Corporal Clegg.' I quite like 'Corporal Clegg,' but not enough for it to find a spot in the couple of hours or so that I'll be doing. So, the answer is no, there won't be anything off 'Piper.' Much as I like Syd's songs, I don't feel that it would be right.
DJ#4: Since you didn't tour for 'ATD,' what are the chances of hearing something like 'WGW'?
RW: Oh, well, we'll definitely be doing that. I'd like to do so much from that album. I was listening to it and I thought, well I gotta do 'WGW' and I HAVE to do 'Perfect Sense' and I really want to do 'Late Home Tonight,' and I must do 'Bravery of Being Out of Range' (laughs) and I can't not do 'It's A Miracle' and I really want to do 'ATD' but obviously I can't do it all, I mean, that record was 72 minutes long, but I will definitely be doing 'WGW' and a couple of other tunes from that album.
DJ#4: What can we expect as far as stage presence?
RW: Well, the plan is to cover the stage, the background of the stage with a reflective gauze, so that there isn't a screen and everything is a screen, you see what I mean?
[Orig. Ed:] Next up, is a journalist. He asks about "Ca Ira" and Roger talks about it for a while. He's half-way through recording it now, and will overdub 2 choruses in Paris in June, one in French and one in English. It will be out early next year. They'll do performances. The piece is 2 hrs and 30mins long. Roger does have some solo rock songs waiting to be recorded, and he'll record them whenever he can get some studio time.
Journalist: How difficult was it for you to turn over control of your material that you wrote, to your ex-bandmates?
RW: Well, it was quite easy because it was taken out of my hands! (laughs) ...by the law court. You know, English law is based on property and the name PF is a very valuable item. If I had wanted to take it for myself, I might've had some chance of achieving that, but what I wanted to do was retire it and I had no chance of achieving that, and that was something I learned about the law...there was no way that the English legal system was going to say 'here's this very valuable thing, nobody's going to have it' and so, the boys got it, and so be it.
J: What about Syd Barrett, have you ever had any contact over the years?
RW: I hear of him often, because my mother still lives in Cambridge, so I get news of him from her, but he leads a reasonably quiet existence. You know, he gets his royalty checks coming through, he has very, I think, simple needs. He's still, I think, in and out of the local hospital, mostly out, but he is, quite seriously and severely schizophrenic and certainly the times I made contact with him, 20 years ago, were pretty uncomfortable for both of us and I don't think there's anything to be achieved from stirring up, you know, when he gets reminded of what was, I think he gets quite, kind of, stirred up and it's quite upsetting for him....so, no I have no contact with him...except, of course, that I remember Syd with great fondness and it was very difficult for us when he became ill, and uh, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a bit of a tear in the eye when I'm performing SOYCD or WYWH, which are kind of songs for Syd that I wrote in the aftermath of his becoming ill.
J: He has, unfortunately, become one of those real empathetic characters in R'n'R history when you speak of the damage that can be done.
RW: I don't think you can blame R'n'R for the damage done to Syd, I think it was inherent or genetic. You could probably blame LSD for enhancing it. It is certainly true that if you are potentially schizophrenic or liable to other mental illnesses or collections of symptoms that we give titles like that, doing a lot of LSD or doing ANY LSD or doing any dope of any kind is a very bad idea, and Syd did a lot, so it may be that he was helped down that road. I think he was always, I mean, the potential was always there for him to...you know, I'm sure that if Syd did LSD now, his symptoms would get a lot worse than they are.