Roger Waters em entrevista ao The Sun

Roger Waters protesta contra políticas externas, o pai que nunca conheceu ... e sobre o "Pink Floyd" não mais se reunir

Durante recente entrevista para o jornal britânico The Sun, Roger Waters conversou sobre a experiência que teve ao realizar concertos em prol dos veteranos de guerra e da sua frustração em não poder ter convivido com seu pai. 

“Nessas apresentações, encontrei jovens ingleses que precisaram ter pernas e braços amputados por conta dos conflitos. Eles não são diferentes daqueles que perderam membros em guerras pelos outros países. A mutilação ocorreu graças à estupidez das políticas de relações externas, independente do país”, comenta Waters manifestando seu repúdio. 

Incisivo, Waters se sensibiliza pela causa há um bom tempo, mas graças aos recentes concertos em questão, janelas se abrem e ele continua a falar deste problema. “Desde a Segunda Guerra Mundial, ficou atestado que os jovens não devem ser enviados para esses conflitos envolvendo outros países”, completou.

Confira a entrevista na íntegra:
"Since WW2, I can’t think of one war I’d have sent men to"
Roger Waters on conflict, the father he never knew... and why band Pink Floyd WON’T ever reunite

Opening up ... Roger Waters speaks to Simon Cosyns

Roger Waters doesn’t hide the pain of never knowing his father.

He hasn’t built some imaginary wall around himself to shut out feelings of loss, helplessness and, it has to be said, sheer indignation.

When I meet Pink Floyd’s chief creative force, he recites a devastating unpublished poem in which Eric Fletcher Waters appears to him.

His voice stumbles but he gets there. “My father says to me, ‘In warm tobacco glow, stay not your tears my son’.

“Then he says something like, ‘Cup that sole badge of strife, it flows but from one river. It was on that, my son, I bet my life.’”

Though Waters confesses afterwards, “I get a bit emotional when I say that,” his handsome face framed by a full head of grey hair has already betrayed his sorrow.

I’m seeing him to discuss his 2013 stadium tour of The Wall (the awe-inspiring arena show just got bigger) and it seems the events of early 1944 are never far from the 69-year-old’s thoughts.

When he was just a babe in mum Mary’s arms, fate dealt him the cruellest of blows.

C Company of the 8th Royal Fusiliers had been commanded by distant generals to hold its lines in the face of Hitler’s fearsome Tiger tank division.

As the bloody Battle Of Anzio raged around Rome, the Tigers broke through the British defences killing all of the company including one of its officers, Eric Waters.

Opinionated ... Roger Waters admits he doesn't
 think soldiers should have gone to Afghanistan

Eric, a strong pacifist who’d driven ambulances during the Blitz, was declared missing presumed dead on February 18, 1944, when his son was just five months old.

Through the medium of song, Roger has channelled his abiding sense of outrage to rail against the futility of war and the misery of oppression.

“I feel enormously privileged to somehow be popular and successful enough to say the things I say and hopefully say them in an adequate way,” he tells me.

“If one has an opinion, I think one has a duty to express it.”

His anger at the death of his father informs universal themes of The Wall and more personal lyrics on his last album with Pink Floyd, The Final Cut.

One song, originally intended for the former but eventually appearing on the CD version of the latter, is called When The Tigers Broke Free.

The scene is set with: “And the Anzio bridgehead was held for the price of a few hundred ordinary lives.” It ends with: “And that’s how the High Command took my daddy from me.”

Today, Waters feels enormous empathy with the soldiers serving in Afghanistan as well as their anxious families. You sense he keeps The Wall alive, including the impassioned Bring The Boys Back Home, because it remains so acutely relevant.

So what, I ask, is his message to David Cameron’s Government?

“I don’t think our boys should ever have gone to Afghanistan,” he replies in a flash. “It’s insane!”

“We’ve been sending boys there for 200 f***ing years and it’s never done any good for anybody except maybe for keeping the spice route open. It’s only ever been commercial. Funnily enough, I knew Cameron from when he was about 15. He was already walking out with Samantha.

“We used to stay the weekend with Annabel (Samantha’s mother) and William (her step-father, Viscount Astor) so I remember this 15-year-old kid being there at Sunday lunch.”

Despite his fervent anti-war stance, Waters is a staunch supporter of Stand Up For Heroes in the States, where he lives with fourth wife Laurie, and our own Help for Heroes.

“Every night at The O2, we invited 20 vets,” he says. “They came from places like Headley Court (the rehabilitation centre).”

The sight of badly wounded young soldiers affects Waters greatly. “At the shows, I’ve met lots of young Englishmen with no arms and legs, who are obviously no different to young Americans or young anyone else with no arms and legs. They’ve all got no arms and legs because of the idiocy of our foreign policies.”

Bridge under troubled Waters ... 
Roger says he would never reunite with his former band

He continues: “Since the Second World War, I can’t think of one war that I would have sent men to. Take Korea. Eventually, they had to give up and draw a line through the middle and it’s a mess.

“And I’ve never believed in the domino effect. Vietnam is now one country for better or worse but the whole of South-East Asia didn’t become communist.”

One of the great themes of The Wall is the crushing effect of tyranny, brought to life by the grotesque teacher, the overbearing mother and the fascist marching hammers.

With that in mind, I ask Waters if he believes state regulation of the free Press is good for Britain following the Leveson Inquiry.

“No, absolutely not,” he answers. “Don’t we already have rather strong libel laws?

“One of the things that I bang on about a lot is the rule of law and how important it is. That is why I’m always quoting my verse from The Gunner’s Dream (another song from The Final Cut).”

And everyone has recourse to the law, And no-one kills the children anymore.

“I live in the States and I’m distressed by the fact that President Obama sits in a room with who knows who and they decide who they’re going to kill with no legal involvement at all.

“They say, ‘We’re doing this for you, on your behalf’. But it’s all done in secret and is extremely sinister. Then a drone goes off operated by some kid in Idaho which blows up somebody 6,000 miles away. Often it’s a wedding party.”

Though written in the late Seventies, The Wall’s music is pretty much the same except for a new song that calls British political leaders to task.

The Ballad Of Jean Charles de Menezes tells of a Whitehall “whitewash” over the shooting of the Brazilian man by police and suggests he “remains just another brick in the wall”.

Waters explains: “I got rid of a guitar solo and wrote a musical piece that could go in the same section. Then I thought, ‘This could be a song’ and I started thinking about Jean.”

The show at Wembley Stadium on September 14 promises to be one of THE events of 2013, the crowning moment of Waters’ 33-year journey with The Wall.

He once said it was the work of a “frightened youngish man”. Now he says: “I’m much less frightened and much more comfortable with audiences.

“I was determined this show should not just tell the story of miserable little Roger Waters but make it a much broader and theatrical piece about the walls that divide us... between north and south, rich and poor, Christians and Muslims etc.”

Anyone who saw the O2 shows will tell you this powerful music allied to stunning modern visuals makes for a breathtaking experience. Wembley will take it to the next level.

“We’re going from 28 projectors to 49,” he enthuses. “There will be a lot more detailed information. Close-ups of me, the band... you won’t quite be sure of what’s going on.”

Today, he seems such a confident performer but playing live wasn’t always such a thrilling prospect.

Band ... Pink Floyd in 1978

“Back in 1990, I was thinking this is too much like hard work.

“After I left Pink Floyd, I did The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking and Radio K.A.O.S. tours and it was a real struggle, like swimming uphill.

“Then Don Henley (of the Eagles) did a charity thing and asked me to sing a couple of songs and I said, ‘Yeah OK’.

“I went on stage with nothing to lose and felt this enormous warmth from the 5,000 people. They were really glad to see me.

“I thought, ‘I sort of like this — maybe I’m being a bit hasty in retiring’. So I decided to dip my toe in the water again.”

A series of three Roger Waters “In The Flesh” tours followed in 1999, 2000 and 2002. A few years later still, a letter arrived from organisers of the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.

“It said, ‘Will you play The Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety and bring Nick Mason (Pink Floyd’s car fanatic drummer) with you?’ I thought it was a weird idea but why not?”

The event spawned two more years of touring in 2006 and 2007 and proved another big leap forward for Waters, the solo stadium star.

“Suddenly I’m touring with a brand name, which is The Dark Side Of The Moon, and people began connecting it with me. ‘Oh that’s who Roger Waters is. We never knew that.’”

For someone with such a rich history, it’s strange when he adds: “Being able to tour with my band instead of Pink Floyd was my breakthrough.

“After it ended, I thought that was that but I started to get itchy feet. My wife Laurie said, ‘You should go out on tour again but, if you do, there’s only one thing you can do... The Wall’.”

Waters laughs when he recalls his reply to her: “I said, ‘Be quiet, you don’t understand’. Then I started figuring out whether it was possible. Eventually, I told her, ‘You know what, you were right’.”

The Wall shows have proved phenomenally successful but there’s one question we all need Waters to answer.

Can he imagine performing again with David Gilmour and Nick Mason as Pink Floyd?

“I can’t,” he replies emphatically. “I’m having dinner with Nick tonight. He’d jump back in a heartbeat.

“But I left Pink Floyd for very good reasons and it was the right and proper thing to do. It was over in 1985 and it’s still over.”

His comment pretty much consigns one of Britain’s most iconic bands to the pages of rock history, the 2005 performance at Live8 their swansong.

Yet the overwhelming songs of Eric Fletcher Waters’ genius son will surely be listened to for centuries to come.

The Sun
Published: 04th January 2013

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