Waters versus Pink Floyd: 35 years of conflict | Culture

The last image of David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright together, after Pink Floyd’s performance at the Live 8 festival in London’s Hyde Park on July 2, 2005.

Pink Floyd marked the history of music, but the writing of this one is not quite finished. A new song, a controversy over the war in Ukraine and a big financial deal in the works are some of the details waiting to be ironed out.

Guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour announced the breakup of the band in 2014 after the release of the album The endless river, which featured unreleased material dating as far back as 1994. Since the death of keyboardist Richard Wright in 2008, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason have lost all desire to carry on. Gilmour’s announcement was seen as a final farewell to the iconic progressive rock band, whose success peaked in the 1970s. “It’s a shame,” he told the BBC. “But this is the end.”

Thirty-five years earlier, bassist and vocalist Roger Waters, the despotic leader who succeeded founder Syd Barrett in 1968 when Barret left due to mental health issues, had left the band. His departure sparked a legal battle over continued use of the name and material; teammates won. Now Gilmour and Waters are clashing again over politics: one backs the Ukrainian resistance and the other blames NATO, rather than Russia, for the conflict. Meanwhile, a deal is in the works to sell the band’s vast catalog of songs for around 500 million euros.

Despite announcing the band’s final end in 2014, Gilmour and Mason resurrected the band last April to do a track with Ukrainian vocalist Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox. The song is called Hey hey get up and is an explicit and impassioned call to support Ukrainian resistance against Russia. The song was Gilmour’s expression of sympathy for the country of his daughter-in-law, the mother of his granddaughters. The question is why they didn’t just do the song under his own name.

Justifying his decision, Gilmour said Rolling stone: “When I spoke to Nick, and he said he was ready to do it as Pink Floyd, it seemed like a no-brainer. We want to spread this message of peace and we want to lift people’s spirits. defending their homeland in Ukraine, so why not?

Meanwhile, Roger Waters sparked controversy last August during an interview with CNN in which he explained why he had shown the image of Joe Biden during his last tour under the slogan: “War criminal”. He explained that the US president was guilty of inflaming the conflict in Ukraine instead of forcing Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy to negotiate. “This war is basically about NATO action and reaction pushing right to the Russian border, which they promised [former Soviet leader Gorbachev] they wouldn’t,” he said. Waters previously called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine “a criminal mistake in my opinion, the act of a gangster”, but argued for negotiation rather than resistance. Previously, he had supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea and criticized what he saw as Western “propaganda” against Russia. In the interview, which followed US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, he argued the island belonged to China and told the interviewer he should know. more. A week later, at a concert, Waters addressed the audience, telling them that CNN had edited his remarks to make him sound stupid.

Ukrainian organization Myrotvorets has put Waters on its unofficial blacklist. The musician told Russian news agency Tass he was not worried, calling it a futile effort by propagandists. Gilmour was laconic when asked about Waters’ political stance: “Let’s just say I was disappointed and move on. Read in there whatever you want,” he said. The Guardian in April.

Politically, the paths of the members of Pink Floyd diverged considerably. The lyrics of their glory years were decidedly anti-war, though masked with symbolism in order to remain ambiguous. Launching his solo career, Waters sharpened his left-leaning profile: On his previous tour, there were anti-Trump messages and imagery in the form of the former U.S. president as a floating pig wearing a Klu Klux Klan balaclava and endowed with a very small penis, causing boos and walks.

But the band’s legacy is strong enough to survive these controversies. songs like Silver, wish you were Here and comfortably Numb continued to be enjoyed in concerts by its two main band members. Waters staged dramatic performances – in 1990 he gave a live concert of The wall where the Berlin Wall once stood. In 2018, the us+them The tour also shone with a stage brilliance, which was documented in a film by Waters and Sean Evans. Now Waters is touring North America with Roger Waters: This is not an exercise.

Much more restrained in his performances, Gilmour’s voice on stage still managed to transport us to the golden age of Pink Floyd until his retirement in 2016 – the year he performed the Living in Pompeii concert to promote his solo career in the same Roman amphitheater in Pompeii where Pink Floyd recorded the album of the same name in 1972.

Songs requested by the public at concerts are usually those composed by both Waters and Gilmour. The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and wish you were Here (1975) were team-created albums, and the band’s best songs were a joint effort – in some cases with Wright also in the mix. But Waters’ need to be at the forefront was evident on Animals (1977) and more on the 1979 album, The wall, whose lyrics reflect his own personal trauma very well. He took the reins so firmly that he went so far as to fire Wright and rehire him as an employee – a humiliation for Wright which, however, saved him from The wall disastrous financial fallout from the tour.

At the time of the next album, The final cut was released in 1983, all of the songs were by Waters and featured his vocals to such an extent that there was virtually no room for Gilmour’s vocals or guitar work. In 1986, Waters called for the group to be disbanded, disregarding the fact that the other three could continue without him. Since then, while Pink Floyd has maintained its style and performed well live, it has failed to match its earlier creative prowess, nor have Waters’ solo albums reached the dizzying heights of the band’s heyday in the 1970s.

There was a significant reconciliation in 2005, a truce which brought together the four main band members on stage in London to perform four songs at Bob Geldof’s Live 8 festival, broadcast worldwide. Only Syd Barrett was missing: his sister Rosemary confirmed that he was unable to participate. At the time, Barrett lived an isolated life and wanted nothing to do with his former bandmates; he died the following year.

Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason played for 24 minutes at the festival, a performance that could have put an elegant end to the band’s history. But a few collaborations followed between Waters and Gilmour during a concert in Palestine in 2010, and between Waters, Gilmour and Mason during a single performance in London on The wall tour in 2011.

The closest thing to a reconciliation we can expect today is an agreement to sell Pink Floyd songs. As Bloomberg reported in June, the band members are negotiating with Sony, Warner and BMG through representative Patrick McKenna. The Financial Times revealed last week that giant Blackstone is also making an offer. This investment group is not new to the business: its subsidiary Hipgnosis already owns the rights to the work of Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shakira and Justin Timberlake. A transaction of this magnitude, which would include both the compositions and the exploitation of the brand and its merchandising, would be a less emotional end than the Live 8 concert, but much more lucrative for the band members.

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