When Roger Waters tells somebody off, they stay told. Waters, the legendary front man for the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, has had a long tradition of being political. His Liberal activism has been woven into virtually every lyric he has written, and his poetic gifts ensure that a dressing down from Waters is a scathing experience.
Waters will be releasing Is This the Life We Really Want?, his first solo album in 25 years, and he’s been touring in advance of that release with a show that wields the standard multimedia Pink Floyd experience into a message of protest with just one target: Donald Trump. Here’s a CNN interview where Waters gets to explain himself:
While the tour has had great reception, some concert-goers in red states and predictably miffed, but Roger Waters is un-fazed. Waters, his heart always on his sleeve, says “In my view, you have to make your choice as to whether you do the right thing or the thing that makes you the most money.” That’s the distilled Waters. Pink Floyd, whether under Waters or Syd Barrett, has always been a defiant marcher to its own drummer. Anybody shocked that they can’t go to a Pink Floyd concert seeking “escapism” hasn’t been paying attention or the last four decades.
Why is it important to have big-ticket protest concerts? Aren’t we just “preaching to the choir”? Yes, but sometimes the choir needs a pep talk too! We live in a dark and paranoid time in the United States; we have Trump’s #MAGA squad getting in our face all the time telling us we don’t belong in our country, while the president himself keeps telling us all that we hear is “fake news.” It does us good to see a major activist and established rock star validating our crazy time. It tells us we’re not losing our minds, that this is really happening.
An artists’ primary responsibility is to communicate the truth clearly, and Waters understands that.