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Speak to Me: Roger Waters

Editor's Note: Astute readers will recognize this as the column formerly known as "In Their Own Words". Beginning this issue, the column has a new editor (Russ Blomstedt) and a new title ("Speak to Me").

Barrett: "Roger Waters is older than I am. He was at the architecture school in London. I was studying at Cambridge--I think it was before I had set up at Camberwell [Art College]. I was really moving backwards and forwards to London. I was living in Highgate with him, we shared a place there, and got a van and spent a lot of our grant on pubs and that sort of thing. We were playing Stones numbers." -Interview in Melody Maker -- March 27, 1971

Waters: "Syd and I went through our most formative years together, riding on my motorbike, getting drunk, doing a little dope, flirting with girls, all that basic stuff. I still consider Syd a great primary inspiration; there was a wonderful human tenderness to all his unique musical flights." - Penthouse Magazine, September 1988

Waters: "We're being frustrated at the moment by the fact that to stay alive we have to play lots and lots of places and venues that are not really suitable. This can't last obviously and we're hoping to create our own venues.

"We all like our music. That's the only driving force behind us. All the trappings of becoming vaguely successful like being able to buy bigger amplifiers--none of that stuff is really important.

"We've got a name of sorts now among the public so everybody comes to have a look at us, and we get full houses. But the atmosphere in these places is very stale. There is no feeling of occasion.

"There is no nastiness about it, but we don't get rebooked on the club or ballroom circuit. What I'm trying to say is that the sort of thing we are trying to do doesn't fit into the sort of environment we are playing in. On the club scene we rate about two out of ten and 'Must try harder'." - "The Great Pink Floyd Mystery", Melody Maker, August 5, 1967

Waters: "I don't want to go back to those times at all. There wasn't anything 'grand' about it. We were laughable. We were useless. We couldn't play at all so we had to do something stupid and 'experimental'. Syd was a genius. But I wouldn't want to go back to playing "Interstellar Overdrive" for hours and hours." "Who The Hell Does Roger Waters Think He Is?", Q Magazine, November 1992

Gilmour: We were all in a Bentley, going to a gig in Southampton...and Roger said, "Oh, let's just not pick up Syd tonight." I was the new boy. I was in the back. Someone said, "Shall we go and pick up Syd?" And Roger said [in conspirational tones], "Oh no, let's not!" And off we went down to Southampton. - Guitar World Legends presents Classic Rock, No. 16

Gilmour: One day, Roger decided to take some of the techniques that I was developing and try them out himself on bass. And he came up with that basic riff that we all worked on and turned into "One of these Days". - Musician Magazine, August 1992

Waters: "I was never a bass player. I've never played anything. I play guitar a bit on the records and would play bass, because I sometimes want to hear the sound I make when I hit a string on a bass with a pick or my finger; it makes a different sound than anybody else makes, to me. But I've never been interested in playing the bass. I'm not interested in playing instruments and I never have been." -Musician Magazine, December 1992

Mason: "It soon became Roger's 'let's make a show' against Dave's 'let's make music'." - Later with Jools Holland, BBC

Q: What's the best advice you've ever received?
Mason: I think Noel Redding said it best: Get a lawyer, buy a gun. That, or, if you make a mistake, always glare at the bass player. - Q magazine questionnaire

Bob Ezrin: "[Rick] Wright was a victim of Roger's almost Teutonic cruelty. No matter what Rick did, it didn't seem to be good enough for Roger. It was clear to me that Roger wasn't interested in his succeeding." - Pink Floyd: The Inside Story, Rolling Stone Magazine, November 19, 1987

Waters (on The Wall): "There wasn't any room for anyone else to be writing. If there were chord sequences there, I would always use them. There was no point in Gilmour, Mason or Wright trying to write lyrics. Because they'll never be as good as mine. Gilmour's lyrics are very third-rate." - Pink Floyd: The Inside Story, Rolling Stone Magazine, November 19, 1987

Waters (on A Momentary Lapse of Reason): "I think it's a very facile but quite clever forgery. If you don't listen to it too closely, it does sound like Pink Floyd. It's got Dave Gilmour playing guitar. And with the considered intention of setting out to make something that sounds like everyone's conception of a Pink Floyd record, it's inevitable that you will achieve that limited goal. I think the songs are poor in general. The lyrics I can't believe." - Pink Floyd: The Inside Story, Rolling Stone Magazine, November 19, 1987

Waters: "Nobody else in the band could write lyrics. There were no other lyricists after Syd. David's written a couple of songs but they're nothing special. I don't think Nick ever tried to write a lyric and Rick probably did in the very early days, but they were awful." from - "One Giant Step for Pink Floyd", The Washington Post, April 28, 1992

Waters: "I am one of the best five writers to come out of English music since the War." - "Who The Hell Does Roger Waters Think He Is?", Q magazine, November 1992

Timothy White: "It is the poet's responsibility to foresee the future, and it is his neighbor's duty to prevent the worst of it from taking place. With Amused To Death, surely one of the most provocative and musically dazzling records of the decade, Roger Waters has fulfilled his part of the bargain. Amused To Death is a masterful rock parable that ranks with or surpasses the Floyd's finest work. Give this record your full concentration for one listening and be riveted to the point of palpable distress. Play it just once more and you will be hooked in perpetuity, its brilliant design etched in your brainpan, each lavish mise-en-scene invading your dreams." - "Music to My Ears", Billboard Magazine, July 1992

Q: Who is your best male friend and your best female friend?
Mason: I haven't really had one "best" male friend since Roger left the band. My best female friend is my wife. I enjoy her company... and if I said anyone else she'd kill me. - Q magazine questionnaire

VH1: "Might it be fair to say that in the history of the Floyd, somewhere along the line, it ended in tears?"
Mason: "Wh....the story? The whole story, or the...."
VH1: "The relationships, between yourself, Roger Waters and ....and the....the human side, has that hurt?"
Mason: "Yes, but I think the world is fooling itself if it thinks that rock bands are made up of lovable mop-tops who really get on... I mean too many people have seen Help! is perhaps the trouble, um... it is a stressful occupation's not what I mean, the problem is you have these little sort of power struggles going on, you have people who set off on an enterprise, with very similar ideas on what they want to do, and what happens is success particularly changes it, and everyone starts rethinking what they want to do, or how....or you realize it's not everyone wanting to do that, one's wanting to do that....and ....it's inevitable, it ends in tears. What one always hopes for and admires are people who can make those breaks in a more civilized way." - VH-1 UK radio interview, April 1998

Mason: "I would have liked it so much if we could have had the type of arrangement Genesis have with Peter Gabriel, where we supported each other; so that if Roger did come back and did, say Live Aid, we could play with him." - Later with Jools Holland, BBC