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Political Floyd

Waters: I think that parents tend to indoctrinate their children with their own beliefs far too strongly. My mother was extremely left wing and I grew up really believing that left wing politics was where it was at. But of course, all the children of right wing parents all held the opposite view. And it's very difficult for parents to say to their children, 'well now, this is what I believe, but I might well wrong.' Because they don't feel they're wrong. They've sorted it out and they feel they're right, but I think you can waste an awful lot of your life if you just adopt your parent's view of the world--or if you reject it completely as well. - "Innerview" with Jim Ladd, 1980

interviewer: How long ago were you a student?
Waters: I was a student two years ago.
interviewer: I would say that it's only been from about one to two years ago that the student voice has become good fodder for news. Did you notice any signs of student uprising at all [while you were a student]?
Waters: Yes... It was me, for a start. I started a pop group called the Meggadeaths. Which is pretty impressive, don't you think? I tell you, mate, you're talking to the ex-chairman of the Cambridge Y.C.N.D. [Youth Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament], and that wasn't two years ago, that was fucking ten years ago. No, we're all incredibly socially conscious. - British student newspaper interview, circa 1969

interviewer: Dave, you said you have some views on religion, right?
Gilmour: Yes, I said have some views on religion, but I don't wish to discuss them.
interviewer: Have you any views on student politics?
Gilmour: No.
interviewer: Have you any views on the way the country is being run at the moment?
Gilmour: Yes, there again I've got some views, but they're a bit lengthy.
interviewer: Can you sort of sum them up?
Gilmour: No. I don't want to talk about students or politics.
interviewer: Well, what would you like to talk about?
Gilmour: I'm quite happy to talk about Pink Floyd, or our music, I suppose.
interviewer: And that's it?
Gilmour: It takes so long to give an accurate impression of what I do think about any one subject, and I'm sure no one's a bit interested. - British student newspaper interview, circa 1969

interviewer: Is there anything definite that you believe in? It seems, from what I've asked all of you here tonight, that everything sort of centers around your music. It seems to be the only thing that you do know, it's the only thing that you do believe in. Would you say this is true?
Mason: It's our main scene...
Waters: The reason that we talk about it rather than other things that we might believe in--and there are all kinds things that we do believe in incredibly strongly--but the reason we don't talk about those is: why should we? We're not authorities on them. Why should the fact that we get music together make our opinions any more interesting than anyone else's? Why don't you write your own opinions down in the paper? - British student newspaper interview, circa 1969

Waters: I'm not sure that it's really interesting to ask our opinion on very weighty subjects, and say "This is what the Pink Floyd think about very weighty subjects", because most people have their own opinions, and really think, "Well, what's this git telling us about?" - British student newspaper interview, circa 1969

Waters: Another problem was that I was becoming an increasingly political person and I wanted to put some of that into our music. But Dave Gilmour wasn't at all excited about that. He is convinced that you shouldn't combine pop and politics. - Der Spiegel, May 2003

Waters: We saw two different worlds. On our level, the people who came to hear us, everything was fine. But outside, the capitalist society, was, er, tatty. It works all right so long as you don't look too closely. - Record Mirror, September 21, 1968

Waters: "The dark stain spread between their shoulder blades ... and when the fight was over we spent what they had made, but in the bottom of our hearts we felt the final cut." I love that lyric because it expresses my sadness that the promise of the post war dream did not materialize. The failure of socialism in some senses. - CDNow interview, April 1999

Waters: ...that revolution in 1948 was supposed to be against the tyranny of the Mandarins and of the nationalist leaders in China who were murdering people all over the place. And to see the current regime murdering their own young people because they were trying to have their own revolution just seemed to me, not just extraordinarily sad, but also extraordinarily ironic, and also points to how dangerous and difficult it is when you give power to old men whose brains have atrophied to the point where they've lost the ability to recognize that change is necessary, whether it was in 1948 or in 1989. - interview for Sony/Columbia Music, 1991

Waters: I think we too easily buy the whole idea of 'the way politics works at the moment is the right way'. I don't think it is. I think we need to shift towards a consensus politics that has less to do with personality, and more to do with the practical solutions to the problems that face ordinary people. - interview for Sony/Columbia Music, 1991

Waters: Most of us make good followers, and very few of us make good leaders. The good leaders are often hidden away in cabins in Colorado writing poetry, or on some university campus, you know, running the department of philosophy and politics or something. Those are the good leaders but we don't listen to them. We don't read our poets, we don't listen to the troubadours anymore, because we're interested in the larger view. We're interested in the people who are characterized as our leaders who are actually, by and large, very, very sick people. My view of the world is that most successful politicians--by virtue of the road that they've had to walk in order to arrive at the end of that path--there has to be something seriously wrong with them. Can you imagine all those boring meetings that you have to go, all that baby kissing? I mean there's this presidential election coming up now, you see them standing outside the factory gates doing there photo opportunities, shaking the hands-- "Hi, how are you?", "Hi, how are you?", going through all that bull. Nobody with the right credentials to become a good leader for us would do that, in my view. - interview for Sony/Columbia Music, 1991

Waters: "You have a natural tendency to squeeze off a shot". It's a song for your great ex-president.
Jim Ladd: All right, that was my next question. Was this based on Ronald Reagan?
Waters: Yeah, it was. It's good isn't it? Don't you think it's a nice portrait of him? That amazed me, that whole Reagan thing... that somebody that inconsequential could aspire to the highest office in the land is an extraordinarily interesting facet of the democratic process. - interview for Sony/Columbia Music, 1991

Waters: There is no longer room for a Charles James Fox or Pitt the Younger to express their views at length with passion and eloquence because our attention span has been reduced to a few seconds of soundbites. Populist politics has become everything. - the London Telegraph, May 13, 2000

Waters: You know, Saddam Hussein may well be a complete swine and a madman and everything else in the way he's characterized over here, but we didn't really get his point of view through any of that. Those people are different out there than we are here. And it might well be that, as far as a lot of them are concerned, George Bush might be just the monster that most of us think Saddam Hussein is. I'm not saying he is, I'm just saying that we have no way of telling. - interview for Sony/Columbia Music, 1991

Waters: "What God Wants" derives at least in part from George Bush's statements during what came to be known as Desert Storm--all that crap about God being on the side of the American people, which is always crass, but within the context of what was going on there, a 'holy war,' is ludicrous and obscene. The idea of whose side God is on is 600 years old--can we please move on from the fucking "Crusades"? - Musician magazine, December 1992

Waters: I get angry, gobsmacked in fact, when I hear George Bush saying that God was on their side during the Gulf War. It's amazing that in 1992, one of the most powerful men in the world can reduce political rhetoric to that level. But that's what he has to do, to get votes and maintain power. - Rock Compact Disc Magazine, 1992.

Waters: My experience with governments, whether they're democratised or not, is that there seems to be a flaw in every system. I think it's unwise to trust people who rise to power in governments. We have a situation where the top man of the most powerful country in the world, the US, is clearly an idiot. I mean, he's almost educationally subnormal. He can hardly speak, and yet he has the most powerful position of any man. - The Nation (Bangkok), April 10, 2002

"In spite of feeling 'terrible' about the attacks in the USA on Sep 11th, Waters says he understands the motivations of the hijackers of the planes." -- - Folha newspaper, Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 26, 2001

Waters: I think it's quite interesting, the response in America is, because they're so isolationist, and because they've never come under attack on their own soil their response is extreme and rather infantile in lots of ways, by and large, obviously this isn't true of all the citizens in the United States, but by and large they tend to go off in a terrible flurry, they won't travel, they won't go on airplanes, and they don't look at the thing very objectively in my view. [...] I think it would be a very good thing if they were spending all the money they were spending on bombs dropping on Afghanistan on security measures at airports and so on and so forth." - London press conference, October 2001

Waters: This war [in Afghanistan] is politically convenient for Bush and Blair, as much as the Falklands war was to Thatcher. [...] When you see Bush on the media, he becomes less trustable each time he opens his mouth. [...] I get sick with the fact that we have in this country such a weak and programmed Prime Minister, as this man [Tony Blair] is. He's the school boy who wanted to be a rock star, but couldn't and now is dropping bombs on people. - Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 26, 2001

Waters: "Us and Them" probably stands the test of time as well [as], if not better than, any of the other songs on the album. "With, without, who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about". It's strange thirty years later to be seeing us about to embark on this punitive adventure in Iraq. I find it hard to believe that it's about anything other than the oil." -- Dark Side of the Moon 30th anniversary interview, 2003

interviewer: What do you as an old socialist think about the fraternity between the Labour government and the Bush administration?
Waters: The power and force with which American materialism is turning inside out English habits is pretty shocking to me. I even wrote a song about how the traditional English bulldog has turned into Uncle Sam's poodle. All that political deceiving in the last couple of months quite reminded me of Madonna's records: much ado about nothing! The more enthused I was to see how Germany, France and Russia stood their ground. - Der Spiegel, May 2003