Roger in his Fascist Pink persona.
"Don't look so afraid, I'm only joking!" George Roger Waters
The alien comic lied
The jackass and hyena took the feather from its hook
The monkey in the corner wrote the joke down in his book
—Roger Waters, "What God Wants, Part I"
(He dropped his first name at the start of his career) (born 6 September 1943) is the former bassist, singer-songwriter and second leader (After Syd Barrett
) of Pink Floyd
. Waters left the band in 1985 (see more on the Pink Floyd
page), but his solo career started earlier. Though he (understandably) is most famous for his work with Pink Floyd, he has had respectable success as a solo artist. Waters has released 4 solo albums so far. Three of these, The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
, Radio K.A.O.S.
and Amused To Death,
are rock-oriented concept albums
similar to the work he did with Pink Floyd, but his most recent to date, Ça Ira,
is an opera. In addition to his albums, Roger does a lot of touring, most notably his The Wall
tour of 2011-2012, in which he played the entire Pink Floyd album
. It remains the most successful tour of all-time by a solo artist. He also co-wrote the 1970 soundtrack album Music From The Body
and significantly contributed both original songs and score to the 1986 film When The Wind Blows
Studio and Live Discography:
- 1970 - Music From The Body note
- 1984 - The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
- 1986 - When The Wind Blows note
- 1987 - Radio K.A.O.S.
- 1990 - The Wall - Live In Berlin
- 1992 - Amused To Death
- 2000 - In The Flesh – Live
- 2005 - Ça Ira
- 1987 - "Radio Waves" note / "Going To Live In L.A."
- 1987 - "Sunset Strip" note / "Get Back To Radio"
- 1987 - "The Tide Is Turning" note / "Get Back To Radio" note
- 1988 - "Who Needs Information" note / "Molly's Song"
- 2004 - "To Kill The Child" / "Leaving Beirut"
- 2007 - "Hello (I Love You)" / "Hello (I Love You)" note
This page has troped itself to death:
- All-Star Cast: The Wall - Live In Berlin features performers like Joni Mitchell, The Scorpions, Bryan Adams, Cyndi Lauper and The Band, as well as cameos from Tim Curry and others.
- Armchair Military: "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range".
- Black Comedy: Occasionally. Jim the DJ giving the score of a baseball game immediately after announcing that everybody has five minutes left to live and Marv Albert narrating a war like a sporting event stand out.
- Celebrity Resemblance: The older Roger looks a lot like Richard Gere.
- Censor Box: Columbia Records put one on the cover of Pros and Cons after feminist groups complained that the cover art, depicting a nude female hitch-hiker, played by model/softcore porn actress Linzi Drew, shown from the back, constituted an advertisement for rape.
- Concept Album: All of them.
- Continuity Nod
- "4.58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin)" consists of the narrator describing how he did everything to make his marriage work (also see Determinator below) and it still fell apart. It ends with him declaring that he's going to throw up, leading right into the chords of "In The Flesh", the opening track from The Wall.
- Control Freak: Has this reputation.
- Cool Shades/Sinister Shades: Roger loves his Aviators.
- Darker and Edgier: Each of his successive solo albums is darker than the last, at least lyrically. In order, we have "guy dreams of cheating on his wife with a hitch-hiker," "disabled boy saves world from nuclear threat," and "the media are evil. Do not trust anything they say."
- His solo albums as a whole are much darker (or at least much more blatant) than his work with Pink Floyd (with the possible exception of The Final Cut).
- Dream Within a Dream: The whole of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
- The End of the World as We Know It: Radio K.A.O.S. barely avoids turning the world into a radioactive wasteland, while Amused To Death ends with aliens finding the remains of the human race huddled around a TV set.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The cover of Amused To Death, which is a reference to a recurring motif on the album itself. The "monkey" on the cover is actually a chimpanzee, though.
- Fur and Loathing: Evoked in Pros And Cons:
"We adopted a fox cub, whose mother was somebody's coat".
- Although Roger seemed to contradict this stance by protesting against anti-fox hunting legislation in the early 2000's, this was more due to encroachment of the government upon sportsmen than any real siding with the practice.
- Humans Are Bastards: A common theme in his albums, especially Amused To Death.
- Insufferable Genius: In the past, he could come across this way in interviews, especially in The Eighties when he was suing the rest of Pink Floyd over the rights to the band's name. He's mellowed a bit after reconciling with the surviving members in The Oughts and The New Tens.
- Large Ham: Especially on Pros and Cons, where he frequently launches into bombastic, histrionic borderline shrieking. He'd toned it down quite a bit by Amused to Death, but still had his moments, such as the last chorus of "Too Much Rope".
- Though well-known for being reasonably low-key physically in the past, since returning to performing in 1999, he's been more and more extroverted from tour to tour (and the Pink Floyd Live 8 reunion), mouthing the lyrics off-mike while other singers take the lead, being much more animated with stage movements, facial expressions, gestures, and with his bass playing, etc. Clearly, he's much more directly engaging as a performer and seems to be having a lot more fun performing live than before.
- New Sound Album: While Pros and Cons sounds very similar to The Wall or The Final Cut, Radio K.A.O.S., with its drum machines and synths, sounds much more like the product of the '80s that it is.
- Amused To Death went back in tone to the concept records of Floyd and Pros & Cons, but also used QSound, a positional sound technique that was a precursor to bands creating 5.1 surround mixes in Dolby Digital or DTS.
- Power Ballad: "Me or Him," "Every Stranger's Eyes", "Late Home Tonight," and "Watching TV."
- Precision F-Strike:
- "I said 'Fuck it then, take the kids back to town'" from "4:50 AM (Go Fishing)"
- "Billy, you fucked the whole thing up" from "Me or Him"
- "Give any one species too much rope and they'll fuck it up" from "Too Much Rope"
- Real Time: Pros and Cons. The first song is titled "4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)" and the last song is "5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity)." While the events don't unfold this way, the album runs 42:07 and the time when each dream starts is in the title of each song.
- Running Time in the Title: "Four Minutes"
- Sensory Abuse: During "Pros and Cons", he seemed to have the bright idea that people wanted to hear him lick his chops right next to the bloody microphone. Made even WORSE if you wear high-end headphones.
- Shout-Out: His "The Wall" tour contains images of dogs, pigs, and sheep, referencing the Pink Floyd album Animals.
- The animals are holding iPods and have earbuds in, referencing the Apple marketing campaign, with captions such as "iProtect" (for the dogs).
- Some of his music references his work with Pink Floyd, most notably "What God Wants, Part III," which contains the "pings" from "Echoes," the synthesizer pad which opens "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," and the guitar glissando which opens "Breathe."
- "4:33 AM (Running Shoes)" mentions someone as owning a "Fassbinder" face that "only a rather dull child could have drawn".
- Amused To Death ends with another excerpt from the interview with a World War 1 veteran that opened the album, so the line isn't scripted but definitely included as a Shout-Out:
Interviewer: When was it that you saw his name on the memorial?
When I was 87, that would be the year nineteen... eightyfour. 1984
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Nearly any interview, and in lots of his songs as well.
- Soprano and Gravel: The gravel to Paul Carrack on "Folded Flags" and "The Powers That Be", PP Arnold on "Perfect Sense (Part 1", and Don Henley "Watching TV"
- Also capable of doing it with himself. Many songs feature him borderline speak-singing in a fairly low register before suddenly breaking into the high-pitched, nasal screams mentioned under Large Ham.
- He's also been known, especially during The Final Cut and Pros And Cons, to layer a more conventionally sung vocal track with a screamed track in unison (as in the ending of "Southampton Dock").
- Special Guest: Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck play guitar on Pros and Cons and Amused to Death respectively. Clapton also joined the Pros and Cons tour for awhile before quitting due to being fed up with Roger's Control Freak behavior.
- Spoken Word in Music: As with his work in Pink Floyd, he frequently includes both newly recorded dialogue (Marv Albert narrating a war like a sports event in "Perfect Sense") and samples of other works (like an interview with World War 1 veteran Alf Razzell in "The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard").
- Strong Family Resemblance: Here's a young Roger Waters.◊ Here's an even earlier photo of his mum, Mary.◊
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: The reason for The Wall Live In Berlin; The Wall isn't really about the Berlin Wall, but nobody really complained in 1990. Also the reason he substituted "Outside the Wall" for the far more optimistic "The Tide Is Turning".
TEAR DOWN THE WALL! TEAR DOWN THE WALL! TEAR DOWN THE WALL! TEAR DOWN THE WALL!
- Take That: Exceedingly common:
- "What God Wants" towards organized religion and televangelists.
- "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range" towards high-ranking military officials and news channels treating war as entertainment.
- "Towers Of Faith" from the When the Wind Blows soundtrack has, alongside his usual religious and political TakeThats the line "this band is my band", directed at his ex-Pink Floyd band-mates.
- "It's a Miracle" is in general one towards Western consumer culture inundating the entire world...until the last verse, in which the "miracle" is a piano lid breaking Andrew Lloyd Webber's fingers. Waters claims that Lloyd Webber plagiarized part of Pink Floyd's song "Echoes" in "The Phantom of the Opera."
- "Three Wishes" contains one to The Wall producer Bob Ezrin, who also produced Pink Floyd's first Waters-less album:
Each man has his price, Bob, and yours was pretty low.
- Roger lays a very searing one to George W. Bush in his 2004 anti-Second Iraq War track, "Leaving Beirut":
Oh George! Oh George! That Texas education must have fucked
you up when you were very small
- Roger showed a humorous fictional radio commercial during his 1987 Radio K.A.O.S. tour advertising a "Professional Bimbo School", a reference to Fawn Hall, Oliver North's secretary during the Iran/Contra Affair of that same year.
- Trademark Favorite Food: According to a Rolling Stone article, Waters puts Tabasco sauce on everything.
- You Wanna Get Sued?: Roger cut a verse from "The Tide Is Turning" over that very concern:
"Now the past is over but you are not alone
Together we'll fight Sylvester Stallone
We will not be dragged down in his South China Sea
Of macho bullshit and mediocrity"