Q magazine: "I Won't Be Drawn On That."
Roger Waters: flogging the Floyd frame by frame
By J. Aizlewood
So, while Pink Floyd are taking the Division Bell around the world's stadia, trundling from strength to strength, what of Roger Waters, the man who wrote or co-wrote a good deal of the material Floyd are touring with?
He is, in fact, busily engaged in exhibiting and selling animation cells of The Wall film - an animated cell, being, in effect, one of the actual drawings used in the creation of cartoons.
The exhibition, The Art Of The Wall, is to be held at Catto Animation, 41 Heath Street, London NW3, and cells will be available for purchase. The Simpsons had the same deal last year.
"Catto have a gallery which specializes in exhibitions and the sale of cells from animated films, mainly Disney," explains Waters in an accent a minor royal might call posh. "They are going to do the same thing with The Wall. They're doing it in London, Paris, Munich and Los Angeles."
Question: What's your involvement? Did the gallery come to you?
RW: Yes, they did. The rights to the cells are owned jointly by myself and Gerry Scarfe (one-time Floyd's house illustrator and currently husband of Jane Asher). We had an auction 18 months ago at Christie's which went very well and we thought we'd sell some more.
Q: Why are you doing this?
RW: Well, the cells will either end up in boxes or on people's walls. I think they'd be better on people's walls really. People enjoy collecting them and why not?
Q: How much will these cells go for?
RW: The average price at the Christie's sale was 300 [English pounds] per cell, something like that. It's the same as with other films - a cell with Snow White and all seven dwarfs, it's more valuable than one with just Sneezy on it - with The Wall, if you get a set with marching hammers or the really beautiful ones with flowers fornicating, they're worth more than some of the others. It's like anything else in the art world, the demand creates the prices.
Q: How many are you selling?
RW: I haven't looked into any of that. Catto have had access to the store where these things are kept and picked out a selection. I should think they'll be selling a couple of hundred.
Q: It's going to create a phenomenal amount of money isn't it?
RW: I don't know. I haven't done the sums.
Q: Shall we do them now? Say 200 at 300 [pounds]; that's 60,000 [pounds]. That's quite a lot of money isn't it?
RW: It is a lot of money, yes.
Q: You don't need it, do you? A man of your means, surely?
RW: I think that's immaterial.
Q: So it's really only a question of giving people something to put on their walls?
RW: That's what I've just said.
Q: Have you had any flak for what might be perceived as selling off the Pink Floyd legacy?
RW: That's a funny question to ask me.
Q: No it's not. Have people said that to you?
RW: The answer is no, I haven't had any flak.
Q: Well, people do get quite purist and protective about these things.
RW: Do they indeed? I haven't noticed a lot of that recently. I haven't noticed much purity or protectionism about the heritage of Pink Floyd.
Q: How do you mean?
RW: No, I won't be drawn on that.
Q: Oh, go on....
Q: Was The Wall concert in Berlin a success? It was supposed to be a springboard to raising 50 million [pounds] for charity.
RW: That is true, but it isn't what this interview is supposed to be about. I have nothing to hide about any of these issues but if you have any questions about the Catto exhibition, I'll help you with those as far as I can.
RW: I don't think we're at cross purposes here. I don't want to seem aggressive but we seem to be almost at the end.
Q: So you don't want to talk about what you're doing now?
RW: What I'm doing now?
RW: That's another subject again. Do I want to talk about what I'm doing now? In terms of work you mean?
Q: Yes, yes.
RW: I'm doing two things. One is that I'm working on a stage presentation of The Wall and the other is some opera music I wrote about the French Revolution.
Q: Sounds interesting.
RW: It is.
Water's solo career hasn't achieved Floydian proportions since his bitter departure from the band and his disastrous decision to let the others keep the name. His three excellent solo albums The Pros & Cons Of Hitch Hiking, Radio K.A.O.S. and Amused To Death, charted both here and in America, but were unfairly treated by reviewers. His tours, particularly the one to support the Hitch Hiking album with Eric Clapton as a sideman, allegedly lost vast sums of money.
Q: Are you disappointed with the reaction to your solo career?
RW: That's not really an area I want to delve into.
Q: Oh. Presumably you don't want to say whether you've heard The Division Bell or not...
RW: Whether I've heard it?
RW: I have heard it. Actually, I haven't heard all of it but I've heard most of it.
Q: And what do you think of it?
(A 37 second silence where Roger appears to put down the telephone and walk about ensues)
Q: Roger....Hello Roger....
RW: I don't think I want to talk about this.
Q: We seem to be at cross purposes here.
RW: Look, do you understand my position?
Q: Yes, of course.
RW: Last time, Q printed lots of mud slinging between me and Gilmour. I'm not prepared to get involved in that again.
Q: We've covered the exhibition, haven't we?
RW: Yes we have.
He hangs up.