Roger Waters

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If a man had as many ideas during the day as he does when he has insomnia, he would make a fortune.
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You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find, ten years have gone behind you No one told you when to run, You missed the starting gun.

Roger Waters (6 September, 1943) is a British musician who was for a long period the lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for the rock band Pink Floyd.

I think that happiness resides somewhere between the extremes of personal, religious, and political. I think happiness resides where we understand someone else's point of view and needs. Happiness resides where we are not lost in the solitary dream.
Will the technologies of communication and culture — and especially popular music, which is a vast and beloved enterprise — help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?


  • At Live Earth on global warming "I think what you can do is vote...This problem will not be solved until we the electorates make it quite clear to candidates running for office that we will not vote for them unless they have a clear policy on the environment and global warming in particular. And also we will not vote for them if they have a track record like this current administration does."


  • Asked what his artistic purpose was: "There is no purpose. We do whatever we do. You either blow your brains out or get on with something."
    • June 1987
  • "What it comes down to for me is: Will the technologies of communication and culture — and especially popular music, which is a vast and beloved enterprise — help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?"
    • Penthouse Magazine, September, 1988
  • "The very early days of Pink Floyd were magical. We played small auditoriums for entranced audiences, and there was a wonderful sense of communion. We got overpowered by the weight of success and numbers - not just the money but the size of the audience. I became very disenchanted. I had to make the choice of staying on the treadmill or making the braver decision to travel a more difficult path alone."
    • USA Today, 1999
  • "I think that happiness resides somewhere between the extremes of personal, religious, and political. I think happiness resides where we understand someone else's point of view and needs. Happiness resides where we are not lost in the solitary dream."
    • November 2005


  • "For us the most important thing is to be visual, and for the cats watching us to have fun. This is all we want. We get very upset if people get bored when we're only half way through smashing the second set. Then all of a sudden they hear Arnold Layne and they flip all over again."
    • Rave UK Magazine, June 1967
  • "We've got the recording side together and not the playing side."
    • Melody Maker, August 1967
  • "Earlier this year we went skiing and I was in a shop, paying a bill and there was a woman standing there whom I knew slightly. I was waiting for my bill and she was buying something, a tea strainer. Quite suddenly she said to me, 'Where was your Father killed?'. I was very surprised and blurted out 'Oh Anzio'. Now this is a woman of about my age, so she's 40-ish. She said, 'My Father was killed in the war'. Apparently somebody lent her a copy of 'The Final Cut' and she had listened to the whole thing and she had found it very moving. In fact she said it had moved her to tears. She told me this, standing in the shop, with some effort I suspect, and I remember thinking: That's enough really. It doesn't matter if the Americans don't buy it."
    • Karl Dallas Interview, 1984
  • "I have nothing against Dave Gilmour furthering his own goals. It's just the idea of Dave's solo career masquerading as Pink Floyd that offends me!"
    • Penthouse Magazine, September, 1988
  • "Either you write songs or you don't. And if you do write songs like I do, I think there's a natural desire to want to make records. So, when I left Pink Floyd, I guess I had two, no three choices open to me: Not to do it anymore, which is daft as I was writing songs, although I suppose I could have written for other people, but I like making records; so I could either do it as Roger Waters or I could have got together with other people and said hey, why don't we start a band? But my view of bands had been jaundiced slightly by my previous experience, so I think that was something I never considered."
    • Gold, 1992
  • "I had at one point this rather depressing image of some alien culture seeing the death of this planet - coming down in their spaceships and sniffing around; finding all our skeletons sitting around our TV sets and trying to work out why our end came before its time and they come to the conclusion that we amused ourselves to death.."
    • Amused to Death syndicate Radio Premiere, 1992
  • "Well, anyway, I am one of the best five writers to come out of English music since the War."
  • "It was very, very hard work organizing that Wall concert but everyone was fabulous to work with - Bryan Adams, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, bloody brilliant. All brilliant. Except for Sinead O'Connor... She doesn't understand anything. She's just a silly little girl. You can't just lie in the corner and shave your bloody head and stick it up your arse and occasionally pull it out to go (_"brogue"_) 'Oh, I tink this is wrong and dat is wrong' and burst into tears."
  • "Andrew Lloyd Webber sickens me. He's in your face all the time and what he does is nonsense. It has no value. It is shallow, derivative rubbish, all of it, and it makes me very gloomy. Actually, I've never been to one of his shows but having put that slightly savage joke on the record, I thought I'd better listen to some Andrew Lloyd Webber and I was staying in a rented house in America this summer and the people who owned the house had a whole bunch of his rubbish so I thought I'd listen to Phantom Of The Opera and I put the record on and I was slightly apprehensive. I thought, Christ, I hope this isn't good - or even mediocre. I was not disappointed. Phantom Of The Opera is absolutely fucking horrible from start to finish."
  • "Michael Jackson performs in stadiums, too - but he's not doing it for himself, he's doing it to save all the little children in the world."
  • "Radio One won't play my fucking single (What God Wants) because they know it's no good. They know it's not as good as Erasure or Janet fucking Jackson. They know that the British public shouldn't be listening to it. It makes my blood boil! If you're not 17 with a baseball hat on back to front, they don't want to know."
    • Q magazine, November 1992
  • "I was never a bass player. I've never played anything. I play guitar a bit on the records and would play bass, because I sometimes want to hear the "sound" I make when I hit a string on a bass with a pick or my finger; it makes a different sound than anybody else makes, to me. But I've never been interested in playing the bass. I'm not interested in playing instruments and I never have been."
  • "I was quite happy standing there thundering about, playing whatever I could - that's "fun". And I see young bands occasionally now doing the same thing. I think it's called "thrash" now. It's the same thing: It's just kids who can't play, pissing about. It's terrific. That's all we were doing. I mean, Dave could play a little bit, but none of the rest of us could."
    • Musician, December 1992
  • "It's like saying 'Give a man a Les Paul guitar and he becomes Eric Clapton,' you know. It's not true. And give a man an amplifier and a synthesizer, and he doesn't become whoever, you know. He doesn't become us."
    • Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii
  • "In the finished article, the only thing that is important is whether it moves you or not. There is nothing else that is important at all."
    • Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii
  • "It's actually quite emotional, standing up here with these three guys after all these years, standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we're doing this for everyone who's not here, and particulary of course for Syd"
    • LIVE 8, Hyde Park, London, July 2005

Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett

  • "On the club scene we rate about two out of ten and 'Must try harder.' "We've had problems with our equipment and we can't get the P.A. to work because we play extremely loudly. It's a pity because Syd (singer Syd Barrett) writes great lyrics and nobody ever hears them."
    • Melody Maker, August, 1967
  • "Well, he's schizophrenic. And has been since 1968."
    • Australian Radio, 1988
  • "Syd was a genius. But I wouldn't want to go back to playing Interstellar Overdrive for hours and hours."
    • Q Magazine, November 1992
  • "Oh, they [the Media] definitely don't want to know the real Barrett story... there are no facts involved in the Barrett story so they can make up any story they like, and they do. There's a vague basis in fact: Syd was in the band and he did write the material on the first album, 80% of it, but that's all. It is only that one album, and that's what people don't realise. That first album, and one track on the second. That's all; nothing else."
    • quoted in Lost In The Woods by Julian Palacios, 1997
  • "I could never aspire to Syd's crazed insights and perceptions. In fact for a long time I wouldn't have dreamt of claiming any insights whatsoever. I'll always credit Syd with the connection he made between his personal unconscious and the collective group unconscious. It's taken me 15 years to get anywhere near there. Even though he was clearly out of control when making his two solo albums, some of the work is staggeringly evocative. It's the humanity of it all that's so impressive. It's about deeply felt values and beliefs. Maybe that's what 'Dark Side of the Moon' was aspiring to. A similar feeling."
    • quoted in Lost In The Woods by Julian Palacios, 1997

Song Lyrics

"Witness the man who raves at the wall

Making the shape of his question to Heaven

Whether the sun will fall in the evening

Will he remember the lesson of giving

Set the controls for the heart of the sun"

  • "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" on A Saucerful of Secrets (Pink Floyd, 1968)

"Music seems to help the pain,

seems to cultivate the brain"

  • "Take up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Pink Floyd, 1967)

"And through the window in the wall

Comes streaming in on sunlight wings

A million bright ambassadors of morning."

  • "Echoes" on Meddle (Pink Floyd, 1971)

Strangers passing in the street

By chance two separate glances meet

And I am you and what I see is me.

  • "Echoes" on Meddle (Pink Floyd, 1971)

"The memories of a man in his old age

Are the deeds of a man in his prime.

You shuffle in gloom of the sickroom

And talk to yourself as you die.

Life is a short, warm moment

And death is a long cold rest.

You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:

Eighty years, with luck, or even less."

  • "Free Four" on Obscured by Clouds (Pink Floyd, 1972)

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be."

  • "Breathe" on The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd, 1973)

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day,

You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way.

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown,

Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine, Staying home to watch the rain,

You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today.

And then one day you find, ten years have gone behind you

No one told you when to run, You missed the starting gun."

  • "Time" on The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd, 1973)

"And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking

And racing around to come up behind you again

The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death."

  • "Time" on The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd, 1973)

"Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way."

  • "Time" on The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd, 1973)

"All that is now

All that is gone

All that's to come

and everything under the sun is in tune

but the sun is eclipsed by the moon."

  • "Eclipse" on The Dark Side of the Moon" (Pink Floyd, 1973)

"How I wish you were here,

We're just two lost souls

swimming in a fishbowl

year after year.

Running over the same old ground,

What have we found?

The same old fears,

Wish you were here."

  • "Wish You Were Here" on Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd, 1975)

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want

He makes me down to lie

Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.

With bright knives He releaseth my soul.

He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.

He converteth me to lamb cutlets,

For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger.

When cometh the day we lowly ones,

Through quiet reflection, and great dedication

Master the art of karate,

Lo, we shall rise up,

And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water."

  • "Sheep" (paraphrasing Psalm 23) on Animals (Pink Floyd, 1977)

"Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream"

  • "Sheep" on Animals (Pink Floyd, 1977)

"When we grew up and went to school

There were certain teachers who

Would hurt the children in any way they could.

By pouring their derision

upon anything we did

Exposing every weakness

However carefully hidden by the kid.

But in the town it was well known

When they got home at night

Their fat and psychopathic wives

Would thrash them within inches of their lives!"

  • "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" on The Wall (Pink Floyd, 1979)

"We don't need no education

We don't need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave them kids alone

Hey! Teacher! Leave them Kids alone!"

  • "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" on The Wall (Pink Floyd, 1979)

"You are only coming through in waves,

Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying,

When I was a child,

I caught a fleeting glimpse,

out of the corner of my eye,

I turned to look but it was gone,

I cannot put my finger on it now,

The child is grown,

The dream has gone,

And I have become

Comfortably Numb"

  • "Comfortably Numb" on The Wall (Pink Floyd, 1979)

"Through the fish-eyed lens of tear-stained eyes

I can barely define the shape of this moment in time

and far from flying high in clear blue skies

I'm spiralling down to the hole in the ground where I hide."

  • "The Final Cut" on The Final Cut (Pink Floyd, 1983)

"And now from where I stand

Upon this hill I plundered from the pool

I look around, I search the skies

I shade my eyes, so nearly blind

And I see signs of half remembered days

I hear bells that chime in strange familiar ways

I recognise........

The hope you kindle in your eyes"

  • "5.06 AM (Every Strangers Eyes)" on The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (Roger Waters, 1985)

"They like a bomb-proof Cadillac

Air-conditioned, gold taps

Back-seat gun rack, Platinum hub caps

They pick horses for courses

They're the market forces

They like order, make-up, limelight, power

Game shows, rodeos, Star Wars, TV

They're The Powers That Be

If you see them come, you better run"

  • "The Powers That Be" on Radio KAOS (Roger Waters, 1987)

You wake up in the morning

Find some things for the pot

Wonder why the sun makes the rocks feel hot

Draw on the walls, eat, get laid

Back in the good old days

Then some damn fool invents the wheel

Listen to the white-walls squeal

You spend all day looking for a parking spot

Nothing for the heart, nothing for the pot

  • "Me Or Him" on Radio KAOS (Roger Waters, 1987)

"And when they found our shadows

Grouped around the TV sets

They ran down every lead

They repeated every test

They checked out all the data on their lists

And then the alien anthropologists

Admitted they were still perplexed

But on eliminating every other reason

For our sad demise

They logged the only explanation left

This species has amused itself to death."

  • "Amused to Death" on Amused to Death (Roger Waters, 1992)

"And the Germans killed the Jews

And the Jews killed the Arabs

And the Arabs killed the hostages

And that is the news"

  • "Perfect Sense (part I)" on Amused to Death (Roger Waters, 1992)

"Can't you see

It all makes perfect sense

Expressed in dollars and cents,

Pounds, shillings and pence

Can't you see

It all makes perfect sense"

  • "Perfect Sense" on Amused to Death (Roger Waters, 1992)

"The monkey sat on a pile of stone

And he stared at the broken bone in his hand

Strains of a Viennese quartet rang out across the land

The monkey looked up at the stars

And he thought to himself

Memory is a stranger

History is for fools

And he cleaned his hands in a pool of holy writing

Turned his back on the garden and set out for the nearest town"

  • "Perfect Sense" on Amused to Death (Roger Waters, 1992)

" Oh George! Oh George! That Texas education must have fucked you up when you were very small"

  • "Leaving Beirut" on To Kill the Child/ Leaving Beirut (Roger Waters, 2005), regarding the war in Iraq

America, America, please hear us when we call

You got hip-hop, be-bop, hustle and bustle

You got Atticus Finch

You got Jane Russell

You got freedom of speech

You got great beaches, wildernesses and malls

Don't let the might, the Christian right, fuck it all up

For you and the rest of the world

  • "Leaving Beirut" on To Kill the Child/ Leaving Beirut (Roger Waters, 2005), regarding the war in Iraq


  • Regarding the spate of High School shootings of 1999: "in the Colorado shootings, the media seemed to change their tact a bit. Though they attached ghoulishly to it, covered it 24 hours a day and even gave it a logo like 'Horror in the Rockies', they did address issues of alienation and pain rather than just saying, 'oh, these aberrant teen-agers have to be stamped out.' After denigrating self-help ideas for the last 20 years, the media are beginning to look at the psychology and not just the police work."
    • USA Today, 1999
  • "Oh, for fuck sake stop lighting off fireworks and shouting & screaming I'm trying to sing a song! I mean I don't care. If you don't want to hear it. You know fuck you. I'm sure there are a lot of people here who do want to hear it. So why don't you just be quiet. If you want to light your fireworks off go outside and light them off out there and if you want to shout and scream well then go and do it out there.... but. I am trying to sing a song that some people want to listen to. I want to listen to it."
    • During a concert for the "Animals" tour in Montreal, Quebec, 1977
  • "I like to think oysters transcend national barriers, Adrian." - Pink Floyd: Live At Pompeii video, in an interview with director Adrian Maben.
  • "AHHHHHH!!!! are there any paranoids in the audience tonight? (the crowd cheers) Is there anyone who worries about things? (the crowd cheers again)...Pathetic... Is there anyone here who's weak!? (the crowd cheers again)... This is for all the weak people in the audience!... This is for you it's called Run Like Hell (Song starts) Lets all have a clap! Come on I can't hear you, get your hands together, have a good time, enjoy yourselves!! That's better!"
    • During the Los Angeles performance of "The Wall" at the Los Angeles Arena, California, February 1980
  • "Who's got my pig?"
    • During Roger's Dark Side Of The Moon Tour at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Indianapolis when the pig was cut from the line and released into the sky.