Transcribed by Dave Ward
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 road.
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 KAOS tour?
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 long, so–
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 rock.
[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 rumours or reports true?
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 music is really important to me. The kind of magic that we had before we were successful is real important to me. That connection between the performer and the audience and the ideas in the songs — I want to be part of that. I don’t want a part of this ‘D’you know how much we’ve grossed?’ crap. I haven’t wanted that since 1977 when I said, ‘I don’t want that, and I never want to do that again.’ I still never want to do that again.
CA: Ah… I’ll take that as a ‘no.’ [chuckles] Do you have any desire after the opera’s finished that you might work on another rock-oriented project, a rock ‘n’ roll album?
RW: I’m very glad you asked that question! [raising his voice, excited] I’m booked into a studio in February 2000. It’s already happened! I’ve got an idea that I want to persue, I’ve written a bunch of stuff. I’m quite excited about it. And in order to make sure that I persue it, I’ve said, ‘Right, I’m gonna do it *that* month, I’m going into a studio and I’m gonna start work, or do a lot of work on a new album, because it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for some time. You know, I have never woken up one morning and said to myself, ‘I’ve gotta write something.’ It’s always much more passive with me than that; I get a kind of feeling that builds up in me– some feeling, some emotion builds up, and I know that there’s a song trying to get out. And I will then run to the piano or pick up a guitar or something and write down whatever it is that comes out of me. And a few things have started to pop out of me now. And enough things have started to pop out that I think there’s probably enough material to make another album. And it’s about personal responsibility. It’s funny enough — it’s kind of about what we were just talking about, about going back to Pink Floyd or not. In a way, going back to Pink Floyd would be accepting that I’m not autonomous as a human being, and then it would be about not understanding that the only change that we can make in the world is to change ourselves.
CA: Roger Waters, thanks for spending time with us today.
CA: We’ve enjoyed years of great music from you as a member of Pink Floyd from the beginning, and as a solo artist, and I’m really looking forward to your classical music debut. I’m looking forward to this opera. And of course we’re looking forward to your visit to Boston at the Tweeter Center on August 4th. Thanks so much for gettin’ on the air with us here at WZLX today.
RW: Thank you all.
CA: Take care, Rog.
RW: Yeah, cheers.
CA: Looking forward to seeing you up here in Boston.
RW: Yeah, okay.
[Young Lust plays. The operator says, “He hung up!” and then…]
CA: He hung up ‘cos the interview is over! 100.7 WZLX, Boston’s only classic rock. Here we are on the Classic Cafe. Roger Waters on the phone with us, and great to talk to him. Y’don’t get to talk to Roger very often, and see him very often, so that was very cool that he did call us. ‘Young Lust’ from The Wall, also ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ from The Wall and also a little bit of ‘Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking’ right here at 100.7 WZLX.