Pink Floyd and the Gilmour-Waters spat: even crazier than I thought

I’m traveling for work, so have only very limited time to blog, but if you’re a current or former Pink Floyd fan, go read Ed Driscoll’s roundup of the latest antics of Wankers, er, Waters, and the furious response of David Gilmour and his wife and lyricist Polly Samson.

I hadn’t followed Rutger Wassermann’s latest antics, so I hadn’t realize he’d progressed from insane Israel-bashing and anti-Americanism to becoming an apologist for Putin as well as Xi Jinping. Not to mention, dismissing the well-documented history of oppression and (during the Mao years) man-made famine of the CCP regime as “bollocks”, claiming the US has a human rights record “ten times worse than any other country” (does that include Israel now, wacko?) etc. Etc.

All this comes on the background of attempts to sell the rights to the band’s back catalog for an eye-watering 500 million dollars. As Driscoll explains, many aging rock and pop stars sell their entire catalog as a form of estate planning, and music companies see these catalogs as a steady, durable source of income. (This is especially true in an era where the new “talent” is either musical empty calories, or operates indie.) There is speculation that Waters’s latest antics may jeopardize the deal for the other two surviving band members, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, as well as for the estate of keyboardist Richard Wright.

A sad footnote is that Pink Floyd was HUGE in Israel, bigger than the Beatles, and still has a large following. The dreamy side of their music speaks to a certain kind of Israeli soul — interestingly, their hyper-technical opposite pole in the progressive rock genre, Dream Theater, has a smaller but rabid following here as well. (Full disclosure: I’m a fan of both. And if you want a more contemporary Pink Floyd-type atmosphere, you should definitely check out Porcupine Tree or the solo work of bandleader — and producer extraordinaire — Steven Wilson.)

My loathing for Waters as a person has not made, and will not make, me discard my Pink Floyd collection. I’ve always seen Gilmour as the true soul of the band though, since long before the current fracas started — and it’s a fact that the Gilmour-led band was able to record two more best-selling studio albums (A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and The Division Bell) while Waters’s solo work had nothing like the same impact.

One of PF’s best-known albums, Wish You Were Here, was one long tribute to their founding guitarist Syd Barrett who had fallen prey to mental illness. (Gilmour had originally been hired as backup, as Barrett’s onstage behavior and performance became too erratic.) I hate to say it, but he may have been saner than what Waters has become.

3 thoughts on “Pink Floyd and the Gilmour-Waters spat: even crazier than I thought

  1. No one cares about the bass player anyway. Keep listening to the greatness of Gilmour and Pink Floyd and remember that Roger Waters hasn’t been in the band for many years. My feelings for either one haven’t changed because of Waters’ craziness. That’s because I have always loved Gilmour’s voice and dreamy solos and despised Waters egotistical view of the band and their work.

  2. I heartily endorse your endorsement of Porcupine Tree. I’m a bit of an evangelist for them. They should be much bigger than they are.

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