The phenomenal Roger Waters of Pink Floyd

By: Magdalene Paniotte, Jul 2, 2014

Roger Waters is a supremely creative musician, humanitarian and co-founding member of the legendary Pink Floyd. Since the band's inception in the 1960s, Roger has immersed himself with other group members to develop what is known as conceptual album artwork, whereby in contrast to unrelated flowing compositions songs are conceived thematically to impart deeper meaning, while conveying a visual sense of the music. The group's original style of progressive and psychedelic rock combines elements of cinematic art, opera and blues to form a purely unique sound. Several years beyond their first album release of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the all-time record breaking sales volume from Dark Side of the Moon established Pink Floyd’s historic presence, followed by Wish You Were Here and The Wall.

With the passage of time Waters has charted new territory, expanding on Pink Floyd’s tradition of spectacular theatrics and visual effects in a recent world tour of the immensely popular re-mastered album The Wall, which was also made into a motion picture in previous years. A strong believer in world peace who feels that to remain silent is never a choice, this latest edition is a collaborative effort to visually reinterpret the fantastic work, only this time with political overtones as opposed to narrative structure. A prevalent theme on the album is to overcome oppression by breaking down barriers that a wall might represent as an obstruction separating human beings from each other.

On a more artistic level, perhaps Roger’s conceptual idea of the wall is to create a psychological distance between performer and audience so as to ultimately empower people to see the big picture, to reconsider the music in the greater scheme of things. Also defined as "the fourth wall" in theatrical terms, the notion of an invisible wall forms a representational illusion permitting a performer to maintain an intellectual distance as opposed to directly engaging with audiences presentationally. A bit similar to viewing a motion picture, the intended outcome of this artistic detachment is to enable concert fans to get the deeper message in contrast to simply experiencing the thrill of being in the company of a rock superstar.

Still going strong at age 70, Waters is a politically sensitive artist who feels that people everywhere have the right to live in dignity and free of fear. An advocate of human rights who wholeheartedly believes in freedom of expression, he empathizes with families of veterans who have lost their loved ones in times of war. In fact, Roger occasionally relates to American Veterans at half-time during shows, and has actually been working with amputees at Walter Reed to musically uplift their spirits... a great musician and family man who’s been quoted as saying that he has nothing to hide but the truth, Waters has recently started writing a personal memoir.

From axs.com


Hear Roger Waters’ Early, Work-in-Progress Recordings of Pink Floyd’s The Wall

June 17th, 2014
by Josh Jones

My first exposure to Pink Floyd’s rock opera The Wall left me feeling nothing less than astonishment. And though I never had the chance to see the outrageous stage show, with its very literal wall and giant inflatable pig, the film has always struck me as a suitably dark piece of psychodrama. Over a great many subsequent listens, the melodramatic double-album can still blow my mind, but I’ve come to feel that some of the strongest material are those songs penned jointly by Roger Waters and David Gilmour, and those are relatively few. (Mark Blake quotes Gilmour as saying “things like ‘Comfortably Numb’ were the last embers of mine and Roger’s ability to work collaboratively together.) The bulk of the album belongs to Waters, its autobiographical details and personal themes, and the album and film can sometimes feel as stifled and claustrophobic as its protagonist does. This is either a creative failing or a brilliant melding of form and content.

Inspired by an incident in which an exasperated Waters spat on a rowdy fan at a stadium show in Montreal during the band’s 1977 “In the Flesh Tour,” The Wall documents the painful rise and even more painful fall of a fictive rock star named, of course, Pink (played by Bob Geldof in the film version), whose life closely parallels Waters’, down to the spitting. It has always seemed an odd irony that Waters responded to the alienation of touring massive stadiums by creating a stadium show bigger than anything the band had yet done, but it speaks to the bassist and singer’s grandiose personality and obsessive desire to turn his angst into theater. Oftentimes the results were spectacular, other times bombastic and confusing (at least to critics, some of whom are easily confused). The recording of the album, as many well know, strained the band almost to breaking, and by many accounts, Waters’ imperiousness didn’t help matters, to say the least.

All of the behind-the-scenes drama may or may not eclipse the drama of the album itself, depending on your level of fandom and interest in Pink Floyd biography. Lovers of Waters’ epic rock dramaturgy will find edification at the extensive online critical commentary Pink Floyd The Wall: A Complete Analysis, an online work in progress that delivers on its title. For a very brief account of the story behind the story, co-producer Bob Ezrin’s interview with Grammy.com offers perspective from someone involved in the project who wasn’t a member of what came to seem like The Roger Waters’ Band. Ezrin describes The Wall as “Roger’s own project and not a group effort,” and his own role as “a kind of referee between him and the rest of the band.”

In the beginning we had a very long demo that Roger had written. We started to separate out the pieces, and when we looked at the storyline we realized what we needed was a through line, something to get us from start to finish.

Ezrin recounts that he “closed [his] eyes and wrote out the movie that would become The Wall,” handed the script out to the band, and marked songs missing from Waters’ demo as “’TBW’—‘to be written.’” (Among those songs was “Comfortably Numb.”)

The recordings at the top of the post—which surfaced in 2001 with the title Under Construction—represent a step in The Wall’s evolutionary development between Waters’ rudimentary demos (short excerpts above) and the completed album. (See the Youtube page for a complete tracklist. Contrary to the uploader’s description, Roger Waters certainly does not play all the instruments.) While Under Construction has generally been referred to as a “demo,” Rick Karhu of Pink Floyd fanzine Spare Bricks expresses his doubts about the use of a term he takes to denote “a fairly polished recording”: “Demos are not rough recordings or works-in-progress […]. I doubt very much that Under Construction is a demo of The Wall.”

It’s too rough around the edges—at times shockingly so—to be strictly considered a demo recording. At points, things are haphazardly edited together. Songs cut off abruptly, fade unexpectedly or drop out entirely for a moment as if someone at the mixing desk hit the wrong button at some point. Vocal tracks peak-out, often causing anguish to the listener’s ear drums. Some instrument lines (mostly the bass guitar) meander through the background as if the person playing is making up the part as they go. Equalization is nonexistent on most tracks. Overall, most of it sounds like a 4-track recording by a band who has only the vaguest notion of how the equipment works.

Lest we take this description as disparagement, Karhu clarifies: “It is precisely for those reasons […] that I love them dearly and consider them one of the most valuable, unauthorized Floyd recordings to be unearthed. Ever.” Many Youtube commenters agree, some even arguing that these rough sketches are superior to the final polished product. It’s a debate I won’t weigh in on, though I will say that like Karhu, I enjoy the lo-fi raggedness of this version of The Wall. It seems to convey the emotionally frayed edges of these songs in a way the slick production of the studio album may not at times. Either as a mere document of the album’s early history or an alternate, fragmented—and hence more traumatized—take on The Wall, this unofficial version is haunting and strange. Does it perhaps better represent Waters’ desire to make his psychic unease into art? We invite you to judge for yourselves. And if, like me, you can listen to “Comfortably Numb” (and that incredible guitar solo) on repeat for hours on end, you may be interested to hear David Gilmour discuss the song’s composition in the interview below.

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC.

From www.openculture.com


New Roger Waters "The Child Will Fly" music video

Written by Matt
Saturday, 31 May 2014

Six years ago, Roger Waters recorded a song for the Fundación Alas, a foundation to help improve health and education for children in Latin America. Two years ago, Roger, who was in Buenos Aires performing a record breaking set of nine Wall concerts at the Estadio River Plate, chose the city to film the promo video for the song, which is called "The Child Will Fly".
Working with the Government of the City of Buenos Aires and with the support of the Spanish International Cooperation Agency, Alas made a contribution of $2 million for 22 early childhood centers serving more than 2,000 children in neighborhoods with high poverty levels.
The theme song was intended to help raise awareness about the importance of early education as a tool for children, with financial and cultural projects hopefully opening a world of greater possibilities. The track features the collaboration with Roger of different international and Latin artists such as Shakira, Eric Clapton, Pedro Aznar and Gustavo Cerati, who have worked actively with Alas.
The video features the artistic supervision of Roger Waters and was directed by Argentine Diego Kaplan and has just become available online - as you can see below.

The child will fly (making off)

From www.brain-damage.co.uk


Pink Floyd -The Wall Live at Nassau Coliseum - N.Y - 1980.02.27

Pink Floyd - The Wall Live at Nassau Coliseum - N.Y. - 1980/02/27 - Full Concert.

1º Part
01-Intro/In The Flesh?
02-The Thin Ice
03-Another Brick In The Wall (Part 1)
04-Happiest Days Of Our Lives
05-Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)
07-Goodbye Blue Sky
08-Empty Spaces
09-What Shall We Do Now?
10-Young Lust
11-One Of My Turns
12-Don't Leave Me Now
13-Another Brick In The Wall (Part 3)
14-Goodbye Cruel World

2º : Part
01-Hey You
02-Is There Anybody Out There?
03-Nobody Home
05-Bring The Boys Back Home
06-Comfortably Numb
07-The Show Must Go On
08-In The Flesh
09-Run Like Hel
10-Waiting For The Worms
12-The Trial
13-Outside The Wall

The Band:

Roger Waters - Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Guitars, Percussion, Programming
David Gilmour - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Richard Wright - Keyboards, Vocals, Organ, Piano, Synthesisers, Mellotron
Nick Mason - Drums, Percussion

"surrogate band" wearing masks, with Waters singing. The band consisted of ex-Status Quo's Andy Bown (bass), Willie Wilson (drums), Peter Wood (keyboards) and Snowy White (guitar; later Andy Roberts)

Roger Waters Paris interviews 2006