Roger Waters: Impossible To Defend?

Roger doesn’t make it easy, does he! I stand by my defense of Roger’s right to freedom of speech, I remain disgusted with how he was shut out of his own band, of which he was the creative engine and impetus; however considering his last two interviews, (one with the London Telegraph, which is right wing to the point of being nauseating, and one with the Berliner Zeitung – a rag which originated in East Germany in 1945 – therefore under Russian control, and is left wing and increasingly populistic) I have to say Waters is becoming absolutely indefensible. I simply cannot stand by my defense of Waters and his actions and words.

I respect Waters as an artist, and as a human being who sticks by what he believes in. However, what he believes in seems to be increasingly twisted and sickening. I do not want world war 3. No right thinking person wants to be dragged into a nuclear conflict hellscape, and I agree with Waters about stepping away from the brink of ‘two suns in the sunset’ as he put it so eloquently in The Final Cut. However, this little exchange in the Berliner Zeitung he seems to be irredeemably antisemitic in my opinion. I wanted to believe the best of Roger, but comparing Israeli Jews to Nazi Germany is stereotypically antisemitic. I don’t know how he dares to say such things. Here is the exchange between Waters and an interviewer from the Berliner Zeitung:

Isn’t it a bit easy to label these people as idiots?

Of course, they are not all idiots. But they probably read the Bible and probably believe that anyone who speaks out against Israeli fascism in the Holy Land is an anti-Semite. That’s really not a smart position to take, because to do so you have to deny that people lived in Palestine before the Israelis settled there. You have to follow the legend that says, “A land without a people for a people without a land.” What nonsense. The history here is quite clear. To this day, the indigenous, Jewish population is a minority. The Jewish Israelis all immigrated from Eastern Europe or the United States.

You once compared the state of Israel to Nazi Germany. Do you still stand by this comparison?

Yes, of course. The Israelis are committing genocide. Just like Great Britain did during our colonial period, by the way. The British committed genocide against the indigenous people of North America, for example. So did the Dutch, the Spanish, the Portuguese even the Germans in their colonies. All were part of the injustice of the colonial era. And we, the British also murdered and pillaged in India, Southeast Asia, China…. We believed ourselves to be inherently superior to the indigenous people, just as the Israelis do in Palestine. Well, we weren’t and neither are the Israeli Jews.

To label Jewish people ‘fascist’ and compare them to Nazis is beyond antisemitic: it is dangerous and grotesque. I was wrong about Roger. I liked to think that the man who had his finger on the pulse of the fight between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ had no hatred in his heart. Perhaps because his father, who was killed in Anzio, died defending the Jewish people, he somehow blamed the Jews, not the Italian fascists for his father’s death. After all if daddy had not been out there fighting ‘for the Jews’ then he would not have died. Whichever, whatever, there is not much to be gained by playing amateur psychologist of Roger Waters’ twisted psyche.

I am disappointed. They say not to meet your heroes, and Roger was always one of mine. As a teenager his words meant so very much to me, and lets face it, it was his words, his vision, his creative life that fans of Pink Floyd bought into. In this case, the entire band, apart from Rick Wright and Nick Mason….and the darling madcap, Syd, suck. The Gilmour-Samsons have over the last twenty years made a muzak elevator supermarket tinkle outfit out of the lean mean social justice machine that was Pink Floyd. Talking about Roger, the attack on Rick Wright, who is no longer alive to defend himself, was absolutely abhorrent.

Yesterday’s Telegraph interview and article is a scattergun mess of Water’s fury. Waters rightly opined that his former bandmates could not write songs. Something ‘demonstrably true’ (at least of the Mason/Gilmour/Samson incarnation of the band) to use the phrase Gilmour employed to agree with his wife’s Twitter attack on Waters. “Well, Nick [Mason] never pretended,” said Roger …But [David] Gilmour and Rick [Wright]? They can’t write songs, they’ve nothing to say. They are not artists! They have no ideas, not a single one between them. They never have had, and that drives them crazy.” Roger carried on to say that Rick’s final solo album, Broken China (1996) was “not as vacuous as Drake, but it’s pretty vacuous”. I don’t think Drake deserved to be caught in the crossfire between these angry old men! He has absolutely nothing to do with any of it. Roger liked to try and smash down the British class system, but here he showed such a total lack of decency and class, he made himself look foolish.

Attacking Rick, after throwing him out of the band allegedly for his drug use, is disgusting; especially considering for all the band’s bleating about how they were not a drug band, they produced the most druggie music out there. Their early and mid back catalogue is LSD made into music. Its amazing what people will say to get play time on the BBC! Their later stuff has so much bombast I can smell the cocaine dripping off its bones.

Roger even goes so far as to step back from his earlier assertation that Putin was a ‘gangster’ and takes Putin’s side! I mean, I dig the ‘all politicians are gangsters’ position. I tend that way myself – they are all bad, and none of them have the little people’s best interests at heart. However, to take the side of an aggressor, whose troops have committed absolute horrific acts against Ukrainian civilians, whose rulers are the kind of people that Waters has always railed against is not being a peacenik, fight for the little person horse-faced hippy, but instead showing a mean streak which makes me sadly feel as if the entire Pink Floyd oeuvre has been sullied.

I saw Water’s This Is Not A Drill show. He seemed measured and devoted to his usual cause of peace and no war. Putin invaded and started a war with the Ukraine, and now instead of speaking against the gangster politicians of all countries who kill our sons, fathers, daughters, and mothers, he is now kissing Russian ass and cozying up to Putin.

I am done defending Waters. He doesn’t want to talk, he is a one man vengeance machine who is determined to destroy the legacy of a band he helped to create and nurture. He is throwing peace under the bus, and in exorcizing his anger through hatred he is alienating the very people who made him a very rich man indeed: his fans. I hope Roger keeps on talking, keeps on showing the world who he is now. I wonder who has his ear and who is influencing this old fool with a mean hardened heart? Whoever they are, they are doing a great job of making a war-apologist out of a man who used to be devoted to peace and justice, and that is beyond sad.

He has ruined my memories of a great night out at his show, ruined my love for the albums and I will never listen to or review another one of his solo endeavors again. Allegedly he is reworking Dark Side of the Moon alone. Roger by himself has far too much freaky ‘diggidy diggidy’ off the wall experimentalism to be truly great. That is why he needed the rest of the band to mitigate his crazy, but brilliant ideas. Roger without the rest of Pink Floyd is a mapcap with a cause to flog. Syd was sweet but insane. Roger is far too assured of his own brilliance. With Pink Floyd, and the rest of the band’s input into the music, Pink Floyd were truly great. Without the rest of the band, he is unlistenable in the most part. His new Floyd-less material is ok, but it is not in the same league. Roger would have not been able to make that music without the rest of the band…and neither would the rest of the band be able to make it without Roger. They were a band greater than the sum of their parts, unfortunately with a man who is showing his true colors to be not the white flag, rainbow colored haven of the peaceful, but rather like those red and black banners that fall from the ceiling when he performs In The Flesh. I always thought Roger was being sarcastic, but perhaps he was showing us, the audience his darkest fantasy: to stand on the stage in a black leather duster and tell us what he really really thinks of us all. Roger is truly Pink in all his horrible gory glory.

I would no more go to the bar with Roger than I would drink with Putin, or share a joint with Nietzsche. Rog is not the superman he thinks he is, he is just another washed up rock star flaming out of control and ruining the beauty he once created. I still can’t stand Gilmour’s Floyd. In fact I think I am going to retire the entire band from my listening. I have had enough of their public warring, and distasteful politics (and I am including Gilmour’s self-congratulatory superior stuck-up bleatings) that they foist on the world like they are not just rock stars who once made Dark Side of the Moon and now just make unfortunate headlines.

/ (Zeitung Interview) The Telegraph one is behind a paywall, but easily found.

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