Roger Waters: Is this the life he really wants?
Roger Waters has moved on, mended broken bridges and is now looking to the future – but he’s still worried about the state of the world. He opens up to Prog...
It’s been nearly a quarter of a century since Roger Waters released his last solo album proper [1992’s Amused To Death]. In that time he’s become the top-grossing touring solo artist with his immense Wall spectacular, and even reunited with his old Pink Floyd buddies/sparring partners for 2005’s Live 8 concert in Hyde Park.
In 2010, when announcing The Wall shows, which began in arenas and ended up in the world’s biggest stadia, he announced: “I’m not as young as I used to be… But I still have a fire in my belly and I have something to say.” This is certainly true, seven years on, with Is This The Life We Really Want?, his fourth solo venture. As one might expect, Waters is still an angry man, railing over some fine Nigel Godrich-produced music at the world around him. Still exasperated at the injustice he sees on every level of life, if you dig Waters’ themes, which let’s face it, haven’t really changed that much since his Animals-led tirade at humanity back in 1977, the current caustic state of the planet gives the 73-year old plenty to rage at.
Yet as we saw the night before we sat down to talk with him, at the TimesTalks evening at New York’s Florence Gould Hall, ironically just around the corner from Trump Tower, he is in startlingly good form for what Prog’s reviewer [see page 108] pretty accurately calls an “irascible genius”.
“I think it’s the question of giving myself my due,” he muses. “You know that guy who asked me that question about the judge on the shoulder? And I gave him a perfectly reasonable and fairly eloquent answer, because I know exactly the feeling that we all carry this judge around and it’s going: ‘Nee, nee, nee, nee.’
“And all through my career – particularly, though, in the aftermath of that Pink Floyd thing, which was hugely important. I was in that band for 20 years or whatever it was, but there was a lot of baggage, you know? It was a bit like driving away from a dodgy wedding with cans dragging behind the car rattling all the time.”