Roger Waters on BBC Radio 2 Programme - "What Mozart Did For Us"
Presented by Charles Hazlewood - marks the 250th Anniversary of Mozart`s birth.
[Broadcast Tuesday 24th January 2006, 8.30pm GMT]
A bit of BBC programme preview....
"The absolute highlight is hearing Roger Waters, founder member of Pink Floyd, realising, as he discusses his and Mozart`s approach to collaborating with other artists, what it is about his own nature which really drove Pink Floyd apart. He also reveals why pretending Paul McCartney has written everything is a good way of avoiding conflict in the studio these days (anything that doesn`t work, simply attribute it to Paul)."
Roger Water`s interview bits transcribed:-
[Excerpt from "Money"]
Comparing record company intrusion with Mozart`s writing for cash commission....
C.H. Founding member of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, was lucky enough to arrive at a point in his career, relatively early on, when he could already "call the shots".
R.W. After Dark Side Of The Moon, when we kind of "hit the jackpot", there was never a question of them interfering after that, funnily enough...and then to "hit it" again ten years later, or whenever it was, it was sort of "history" then. But at the end of the day, I pay for my own work...I foot the bill...I`m my own benefactor.
C.H. Roger Waters has just written an opera called "Ca Ira", but then...all his work is "operatic", isn`t it?
R.W. It`s absolutely second nature to me to organise not just the lyric, but the music and the way the instruments fit together...and the sound...and to mix it all in, in a way that seems cogent; and I`m absolutely certain that it was true of Mozart..that was not something that he ever learnt. Clearly, he was born with an extraordinary gift. I wouldn`t presume even to...you know...speak about myself in the same sentence, but I know when I`m in rehearsal; whether it`s with a rock band, or whether I`m with an orchestra...I can hear instantly what I want.....
[excerpt from ABITW 2]
C.H. Is that your view from "Ground Zero", as it were, of the creative process? That moment where suddenly there`s an idea, and you know it`s the idea, and you can see the way it`s going to unfold? You may not have all the detail, but basically your gut tells you...that`s the one!?
R.W. Yeah...that`s a very exciting moment. Usually it`s just with a guitar, or piano, and a voice. It`s normally only two or three lines of a lyric that are the "bones" of what the piece is gonna be about, and where it is; and it sounds like a cliche, but that is the moment of truth. It resides there. And then there`s a long journey from that to the finished thing where, hopefully, you don`t lose the essential clarity of the pencil-sketch, if you like, by putting too much paint on. Sometimes we have to remove a bunch of stuff. Having applied a lot of lead, you then have to remove bits, to get back to the essential truth of what it`s about.
C.H. Mozart was a great collaborator...specifically with people who were not musicians (i.e. librettists, etc.). The idea of collaborating with other musicians was unthinkable!....Roger Waters....
R.W. ["Shine On" intro playing in the background] When we came to make "Wish You Were Here", I had this very, very powerful and specific idea of what it was about. I think this is where Dave (Gilmour) and I first came to blows, musically. He wanted to it to be something completely different. There were some other songs that I`d written, that appeared later on "Animals"...."Raving and Drooling", one was called,...which became either "Sheep", or "Dogs"...I can`t remember!!....(reminds himself of lyrics)..."Raving and drooling, we fell on his neck with a scream"...it must have been "Sheep"...which sounded sort of great in the demo form that I`d made...you know...(mimics Dave...child-like) "Whoa...we should put this on the album"...NO!! It`s not to do with what the record is about! It`ll find its place...the record is about absence!!...and that`s ALL it`s about!...You know? It`s about the loss of Syd, and it`s about absence in a general way...whatever. So the vision that I have, is a vision that other people don`t necessarily share, but I (menacing) CANNOT be gain-said!!...I have to follow my truth through to the end, and I think that`s where the problems in Pink Floyd all developed - from that. I can`t be a member of a committee...it`s just...(exasperated)...I can`t do it!! [more Shine On].
C.H. Don`t you wish you were the sort of artist that, of course, had to make momentous statements, but could also write things that involved less "life-blood". Mozart wrote pieces "to commission", because he needed cash. He didn`t care about them at all. Of course they were still phenomenal works of...[Roger cut`s in, bored "yeah, yeah"]...creative genius, but were things he "tossed off". But you`ve never been able to do that?
R.W. Yeah, (testy)...Mozart clearly had a technical facility that I could never even hope to look at over the horizon...so I`m in a completely different place.
[Excerpt from "Eclipse"]
R.W. I have a compulsion to express an emotional truth, and it is a compulsion, and it has to be truthful, and it has to be real, and I can`t have it interferred with by other people. I arrived at that place in 1973 or 1974, so for years after that until, you know, we finally parted company after "The Final Cut", were really difficult. And I think for that reason...and strangely enough (moment of epiphany) I`ve never really identified what it was, until sitting here, talking to you! But I`m quite certain that that`s what it is. (suddenly earnest) The discomfort of not following my own emotional truth is so intense, that I can`t do it. It`s not cos I wanna be "bolshy", or tell everybody what to do...I`m compelled to follow it, you know...and to fight for it. It`s like fighting for the life of a child, almost...that`s what it feels like.
[excerpt from "Ca Ira"]
C.H. Since leaving Pink Floyd, Roger Waters no longer has the inevitable fight with the other members of the band. In a way the conflict, such as it is, has now become an internalised one. How does he, himself, sort out the wheat from the chaff?
R.W. We`ve developed what I think is a very good way of dealing with the politics of the control-room, which is this..... - we pretend that Paul McCartney is thinking of all the ideas...and so when it`s a really bad idea, I`ll wag my finger and say...(amused)..."that was `Paul` wasn`t it!...that came through there!"...and we can have a laugh about it, and it diffuses the situation. And whoever suggested "something"...you know...we laugh. So, I wrote a poem about it, that I`ll share with you:
Sometimes when I`m working and I get a good idea,
A thought occurs that`s frightening; a small voice in my ear (says)
"It`s probably not you mate, you`ve been hard at this for hours,
It`s probably Paul McCartney, using telepathic powers!!"
[both break into howls of derisive laughter]
R.W. (humorous, placating) Paul and I had a long chat at Live8, and he`s a lovely fellow, but I just...(diffusing) had to share that with you!!
C.H. Did Mozart have a scapegoat, one wonders...a musical stooge, like Roger Waters suggests...well perhaps only subconsciously. The fact is, by the time the music came out of him, it had a perfect and natural completeness about it.
[long excerpt from "The Great Gig In The Sky"]
R.W. I did a big tour in `99 and another in 2002, and the experience of being on the stage, and singing the songs, and seeing all the, you know...we`re in the middle of Venezuela or somewhere, and there`s thousands and thousands of people, and they`re all about 20 yrs. old, and they know every single word to every single song...and they`re all totally, passionately devoted to the idea...they know it all, you know...it`s unnerving kind of...wonderful.
C.H. And they know the little "stand still laddies", and all the...
R.W. Yeah...they know all that...they know what it means as well..they get it...it`s not...I absolutely sense that my audience absolutely understands exactly what it is, that I`m talking about.
[fade up ABITW pt.1]
Icy wind of night be gone...this is not your domain