Roger Waters Radio Interview
Friday, 30 April 1999
100.7 WZLX, Boston, Mass., USA
Carter Allen: 100.7 WZLX, Boston's only classic rock, and welcome to the
Classic Cafe. You just heard some songs from our number one classic
rock album of all time, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
from The Beatles. And it's quite a day, quite an event for me
here today because I've got a very special guest on the telephone.
On August 4th, Roger Waters, who wrote most of the lyrics and
much of the music to Pink Floyd's albums, is coming for a rare
concert appearance at the Tweeter Center. Tickets are going on
sale this Sunday at one p.m. And I've got him on the phone right
now, so let's welcome to the airwaves of 100.7 WZLX, mister
Roger Waters! Hi, Roger.
Roger Waters: Hi, Carter.
CA: How are you?
RW: How are you doing?
CA: I am fine.
RW: Good to hear from you again.
CA: It's been a long time.
RW: It sure has.
CA: [chuckles] It's been, like, seven years since Amused to Death.
CA: It's gone very quickly. [pause] So you're touring now?
CA: Why tour now?
RW: Well, I'm-- Ever since '92, in fact when I was doing Amused to
Death, when I did a show in the Universal Ampitheatre in L.A.
with Don Henley for the Walden Woods project. And it was a great
evening. It was John Fogerty, Neil Young, me and Don, and we did
a few numbers each. And I loved it. You know? It was just great.
I came off stage and I thought, 'Wow, I'd really like to do that
again.' Now, this summer I have plans to be with my family on
the east coast for four months. And I thought, 'Well, maybe this
is the time to do it.' So we put twenty dates in, in the months
starting June the 22nd and finishing August the 22nd. And so I
thought, 'Okay, fine. I'm going for it.'
CA: You know, the last time you were out on the road, on Radio KAOS...?
CA: ...Doing a full-blown tour, now, I remember you had your kids out on
the tour, and they were getting tutored while they were on the
RW: Yeah, that's right.
CA: Do how old are they now?
RW: My biggest one is 22, and my little one is 21.
CA: So what are they listening to? Do they listen to, like, your albums
from years ago? Are they listening to harder--
RW: I think so, yeah. My son does, but, you know, he's in bands himself.
He's a very good keyboard player as it happens. I had *toyed*
with the idea of him playing some keyboards on this show, but I
think he may be too involved in his own stuff.
CA: Does he have the sort of 'denial mentality,' Roger, like he doesn't
want to acknowledge his rock star father?
RW: I think he understands that it's a double-edged sword, that it opens
doors and it's also a bit of baggage that it might be better not
to carry. But having said that, it was tough on the rest of us
who didn't have famous father as well. It's tough for *anybody*
trying to break into rock 'n' roll.
CA: Roger, who's going out with on your touring band this year, and are
you going to have an elaborate stage set-up like on your Radio
RW: No. Well, I have no plans to do that. It will be a less elaborate
show because it's a much shorter tour, and they're mainly rather
smaller venues. I've got some of the same *players* from that
tour: Graham Broad, who was the drummer with Radio KAOS, is playing
with me, and so is Andy Fairweather-Low. I've got a keyb-- Jon
Carin is playing keyboards, and a fairly new-- I've got a youngish
American guitar player called Doyle Bramhall, who played with
Jimmy Ray Vaughn. So that's basically the band. There might be
one more keyboard player or one more guitar player. I'm kinda
gonna wait until we get into rehearsals to see what we need. And
it kinda depends upon the setlist that I come down with, which
I've been working on for the last few weeks, trying to whittle
it down, to make it a tolerable length.
CA: Roger, a lot of my listeners here at WZLX have been asking if you'll
be doing any Pink Floyd material at all on this tour.
RW: Absolutely, yeah. I'm going right back to the beginning, and I'm
doing stuff from everything.
CA: You never got a chance to tour on Amused to Death, your last solo
album. Are we actually gonna get a chance to hear some music
from that solo album?
RW: No question! At the moment, my list of songs to do from Amused to
Death, I think there's five songs. Well, I won't get to do them
all because, you know, I'd pick three or four or five songs from
*all* the albums that I've made or been involved with over the
years. And if I did that, the show would be like five hours
CA: That'd be excellent! [Rog laughs] Let's do it!
RW: Yeah, it'd be all that to you! I've got to *sing* the thing, you
know! [Laughter all around] I'm fifty-five years old, give me a
break! [More chuckles]
CA: Well, we're talking with Roger Waters today on WZLX, and why don't
we listen to something from his first solo album, The Pros and
Cons of Hitch Hiking, and Roger will be right back to do some
more talking to you right here, 100.7 WZLX, Boston's only classic
[The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking plays]
CA: 100.7 WZLX, Boston's only classic rock, and The Pros and Cons of
Hitch Hiking here at WZLX. We're talking to Roger Waters from
Pink Floyd right now who is on the phone from Barbados. We haven't
heard from you in a while. What the heck have you been up to
these last few years?
RW: I've been writing an opera for the last umpteen years. It's going
really, really well. I've recorded eighty minutes of excerpts,
I've recorded all the orchestra, I'm recording the chorus parts
in Paris between June the 8th and June the 21st. I think it'll
be out in the year 2000.
CA: Roger, do you have any plans on the books right now for a live
performance of that work?
RW: There will be concert performances without any question. We've sort
of talked to the people who, like at Tanglewood, and Chicago,
and people at the Hollywood Bowl are very interested in putting
on a concert... Now whether-- when there will be a production of
the opera, that would be years down the line because there's so
much money involved, and it takes so much time to put that kinda
stuff together, that I think people would wait and see whether--
you know, what the kind of reaction was to the music. Because in
the light of what other people out of rock 'n' roll have done
when they have ventured into classical music, I could understand
people thinking, 'Well, you know... [hesitant-sounding voice]
Let's just wait and see.'
CA: Did you find the transition from working on epic rock works like The
Wall to classical music to be easy, or more difficult that you
expected, or-- how'd it go?
RW: I had to learn to work a computer. And with great help from a great
friend of mine called Rick Wentworth in England who's been working
on the orchestrations with me, I had to learn a lot about orchestras
and what instruments can play what, and how manuscript works and
all that kinda thing, which I had a *very*, very sketchy knowledge
of before. But, you know, the thing about dynamics and the
expression of emotion is not really very different when you're
writing an opera or a symphony than it is if you're writing The
Wall. It still has to have a shape, and it has to have loud bits
and quiet bits, and it has to be dynamic and it has to flow, and
it has to, you know, all of that kind of stuff is what I've been
working on naturally for the last thirty years anyway.
CA: Roger Waters, solo performer, classical composer, member of Pink
Floyd. Why don't we go back to The Wall album right now and then
we'll come back and chat with Roger Waters right here at 100.7
WZLX, Boston's only classic rock.
[Another Brick in the Wall, part 2 (single edit) plays]
CA: 100.7 WZLX, the Classic Cafe. We have Roger Waters of Pink Floyd on
the phone here with us. There's been a lot of talk about healing
the breach between you and Dave Gilmour to put you two back together
in Pink Floyd. We've heard so much. Are *any* of the rumors or
RW: Oh, well, the only things that I've heard from them is that they
wanted me to perform Dark Side of the Moon with them in London
the last time they did a great big world tour, but I didn't want
to do that. And I think they kinda want me to pat them on the
head and say, 'Everything's okay guys.' [Rog chuckles] 'You did
good. And it's all right.' You know, I feel fine about what's
happened. It was kind of hard for a while, just realizing just
how powerful the name was. But, you know, a lot of water's gone
under the bridge. I'm really enjoying my life, and I'm really
happy doing the work I'm doing. I can't imagine a 'Hell Freezes
Over' tour, to be honest. [CA laughs] As far as I can see, it
would still be allowing the numbers to rule. I can't think of
*any* reason for me going back and making a Pink Floyd record
and doing a show or a tour or anything other than if I was to
say, 'Okay, you got me. I wanna be a big star, I want all of that, I
want all of that weight that I disavowed when I left, and I want
to re-embrace all of that stuff that I attacked when I wrote The
Wall, I want to change all my philosophies, everything that I've
said and that I feel about music and my own integrity and my
politics and everything about my life, I reneg now, and let's all go
out and make a lot of money together.' That's not gonna happen.
All of those things in my life are really important to me: the
Unfortunately, the RealAudio I have of this interview stops playing
here, and thought there's another 10 minutes or so, I can't get it to
play further. I'll keep trying to get a copy that plays to the end so I
can finish the transcription. If somebody else has a full copy, please
consider either supplying me a complete copy so I can finish this, or
at least transcribe the rest of this interview so we'll have a full
Note: The interviewer, Carter Allen, implied at one point that he had
interviewed Waters before. In fact, he was one of the five interviewers
who together did the interviews for the premiere of Amused to Death on
27 August 1992. At the time Carter Allen was with WBCN in Boston. In
that interview, he asked a few questions about Jeff Beck, and brought
up a point about What God Wants, part 3. He also cajoled Jim Ladd into
reprising his "Radio KAOS" role during the interview.