Learning to Fly

The following is an excerpt of Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall by Dave Thompson, as it’s posted on Total Music magazine. Visit their site for the full excerpt.

The Wall was Roger Waters’s first solo album.

He never told the band, such as it was, because there were times when it felt as though there wasn’t really a band left to tell. Pink Floyd’s last tour, shipping Animals across Europe and the United States, had ended fractiously to say the least, with a final night in Montreal, Canada, that saw guitarist David Gilmour absent the stage before the encore, keyboard player Richard Wright admit that the album was decidedly not one of his favorites, and drummer Nick Mason effectively sidelined from any part in the decision-making process whatsoever.

Waters himself was utterly conflicted, on the one side relishing the lifestyle that Pink Floyd’s success allowed him to live so lavishly, but on the other hand resenting the compromises that the success demanded from him—the kowtowing to the industry, to the expectations of the audience, and to his audience itself.

Maybe he regretted the flash point that had already become a legend of sorts, when he spat full in the face of one especially enthusiastic fan on that final night of the tour. But not as much as he regretted the accumulation of all the personal triggers that provoked him to do such a thing in the first place.

Neither did his bandmates seem at all put out by the absence of Pink Floyd from their lives. Gilmour and Wright were both working on and promoting solo albums that presumably allowed them to exorcise whatever musical demons had been caged by Waters’s increasingly firm hand on the Floydian tiller, and Mason was off producing the latest LP by Steve Hillage, Green, not to mention the second album by the Damned, one of the more ambitious bands hawked up by the British punk rock movement. Rumor insisted that the punks had actually asked their record label to procure them the services of Syd Barrett, Floyd’s long-since-absent founder-member. He was unavailable, so they were offered Mason instead.

Keep reading this excerpt on Total Music magazine’s website!

Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall is the first full biography of the author of The Dark Side of the MoonWish You Were Here, and, of course, The Wall. It traces his life from war-torn suburbia to the multitude of wars he has fought since then – with his bandmates, with his audience, and most of all with himself. Packed with insight and exclusive interviews with friends and associates, Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall dismantles the wall brick by brick, revealing the man who built it in all his glory.



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on October 24, 2013, in Music Fans and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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