Everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
Roger Waters (Eclipse)
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Pink-Floyd.ru > Архив > Сжигая мосты: статья Марка Блэйка о войне без особых причин

15.12.20 Сжигая мосты: статья Марка Блэйка о войне без особых причин

Мало кто будет оспаривать силу и совершенство партнерства, лежащего в основе Pink Floyd 70-х, — возможно, только сами эти двое: Роджер Уотерс и Дэвид Гилмор. В мае 2020 года боевые действия между ними возобновились на новом уровне, но когда именно начался этот «водоворот душевных мук»? В какой момент "Us and Them" стали "Me or Him", и кто из них думает, что «мы должны просто сменить название группы на Spinal Tap»?

Текст: Марк Блейк

Портреты: Вольфганг Хайлеманн

Глядя в камеру и поглаживая кончиками пальцев бороду, Роджер Уотерс выглядел обеспокоенным. Это было 19 мая 2020 года, и много лет назад отчужденный от Pink Floyd басист ругал своего гитариста и певца Дэвида Гилмора через Twitter.

Видео Уотерса продолжительностью 5:41 началось с жалобы на то, что www.pinkfloyd.com и связанные с ним социальные сети не публикуют его сольные работы. Через несколько секунд он потревожил свою старую рану: «Дэвид Гилмор думает, что раз я покинул группу в 1985 году, то это он и есть Pink Floyd, и он владеет Pink Floyd, а я не имею отношения к делу и должен держать язык за зубами...»

Так продолжалось, пока Уотерс не добрался до "любимой мозоли". С тонкой улыбкой и нервным кашлем он утверждал, что фанаты недовольны тем, что его игнорируют, в то время как официальные каналы Флойд способствуют продвижению «Театра для мечтателей» — романа супруги Гилмора, поэтессы Полли Сэмсон. «Это неправильно, — проскрежетал он. — Мы должны сделать всё в точности наоборот... или просто изменить название группы на Spinal Tap». Поклонникам творчества Флойд можно простить стремительно настигшее их чувство дежавю.

As a musical partnership, Gilmour and Waters had scaled epic heights. The contrasts the two men presented — the anger, ambition and intellectual rigour of Waters' songs and concepts; the contemplative and cathartic qualities of Gilmour, embodied in the bell-like peal of his guitar — resolved in music of great grandeur and emotional weight.

The Syd Barrett Pink Floyd had been unique — the vehicle for one man's extraordinary version of reality — but post-Syd Floyd belonged equally to Waters, who made it happen, and Gilmour, who made it popular. To what extent The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall — the Floyd albums that conquered the world — were the products of their friction, or harmony, or both, is moot, but the volatility of their relationship in and out of the band, is not.

In October this year, Waters released Us + Them, a concert film of his 2017-2018 solo tour, on DVD and Blu-Ray. A month later, came a remixed version of Pink Floyd's Delicate Sound of Thunder live album and film, recorded in 1988, in the immediate aftermath of Waters' departure from the band. Both releases included some of the same songs; both illustrate the turmoil at the heart of a once fruitful partnership.

"There's this strange magic," said David Gilmour in 2014, describing Pink Floyd's ability to make music together while struggling to look each other in the eye. With shots still being fired over half a century since he and Waters first worked together, one wonders what went wrong — and was it ever right?

* * *

"Dave Gilmour and I are not mates, we never were and I doubt we ever will be," stated Roger Waters in 2017. But they were thrown together by an accident of birth. Both grew up in Cambridge, and in a world of academia. Waters was the son of schoolteacher Mary and army lieutenant Eric, whose death at the Battle of Anzio would have a profound impact on his son's future outlook, politics and song-writing, Gilmour's parents were Cambridge University zoology lecturer Doug and teacher-turned-film editor Sylvia. Waters, two-and-a-half years Gilmour's senior, attended the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys, known as 'The County', while Gilmour enrolled at its rival, the Perse School for Boys. Waters' combative nature was evident early on. The County's principal, Arthur Eagling, caned him multiple times, and he was discharged from the Combined Cadet Force for refusing to attend drills and declaring himself a conscientious objector. The die was cast. The boy who'd lost a father he never knew in World War II was already challenging authority, and would turn the cane-wielding Eagling into The Wall's sadistic headmaster.

A musical career seemed unlikely, though. "My mother was tone deaf, and had no interest in the arts," said Waters. But he acquired a guitar, a Norton motorcycle and what he called "aspirations of beatnik cool". One contemporary remembered the young Waters, "always looking rather cross, and zooming around Cambridge on his motorbike."

Waters moved to London in 1962 to study architecture, forming an R&B group with fellow students, drummer Nick Mason and keyboard player Rick Wright. "I realised I wanted to be closer to the centre of things musically," said Waters, who started playing bass, and organized the nascent Pink Floyd's bookings for college balls. Back in Cambridge, 16-year-old Gilmour was living away from his family. Doug Gilmour had accepted a job in New York, taking most of the family with him. David, who'd previously been bundled off to boarding school, aged five, stayed behind. When the family returned it was with several blues records and the first Bob Dylan album, by which time David had already taken up guitar.

Gilmour, Waters and future County pupil Roger 'Syd' Barrett had attended a Saturday-morning art class together as children, but didn't get to know each other properly until their teens. Barrett was another aspiring guitarist, and he and Gilmour became closer at the Cambridgeshire College Of Arts & Technology, where they'd play music together during lunchtimes.

In summer 1964 Barrett took up a place at Camberwell Art School in London, where he would eventually hook up with, and front, Waters' group. Gilmour abandoned his Modern Languages A-level course to concentrate on singing and playing guitar with covers band Jokers Wild (Everly Brothers and 4 Seasons hits a speciality) with whom he would embark on a formative, year-long European trip, playing clubs and resorts in France and Spain.

Returning home in summer 1967, Gilmour found that much had changed. "When we'd left Cambridge, Floyd hadn't got a record deal," he told MOJO. "Then I heard their first LP, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and, yes, I was sick with jealousy." Experiencing mental health problems likely exacerbated by LSD use, Barrett had "changed most of all. Sullen where he'd once been outgoing, he had also become an erratic on-stage presence in Pink Floyd. Gilmour saw the group supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Royal Albert Hall in November and headlining the Royal College Of Art soon after. "They were awfully bad," he recalled. "Incredibly undisciplined."

Gilmour received a half-invitation to join Pink Floyd after the RCA gig: "Nick Mason said, 'If we said we were looking for another guitarist, would you be interested?" But a formal offer didn't arrive until January 1968, made by a mutual friend rather than a band member. "It was put about in a very strange way," said Gilmour, foretelling communication issues that would later prove typical.

Gilmour's reputation preceded him. "Dave was already a bit of a star with Jokers Wild," recalled Waters, "and did a great Jimi Hendrix." Initially, Floyd wanted him to cover for Barrett on-stage. But after playing half-a-dozen gigs as a five-piece, Gilmour replaced him permanently.

Guilt over Barrett's dismissal flits like a ghost through the Pink Floyd story. But his absence also cast them adrift. Barrett was their psychedelic poster-boy and main songwriter. But had he been the leader? "Syd was the music," said Floyd's former co-manager Peter Jenner, "You went to Roger for the business."

* * *

In spring 1968, Waters insisted the band carry on, but not because of any great idealism. "Turn up, tune in, fuck off," was his assessment of psychedelia, and scoffed at the notion of becoming a songwriter: "I had no idea I would ever write songs. I'd always been told at school I was bloody hopeless at everything." But he had no intention of giving up and becoming an architect.

Gilmour was equally stubborn, but initially struggled to define his role. He was also irked by Waters' bullish attitude. "I walked out of one of the first rehearsals," he told this writer. "Roger had got so unbearably awful, in a way I'd later get used to. But I don't think the band had fixed ideas of what I should do or how I should do it."

Gilmour had joined in time to contribute to their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, but his musical gifts were under-utilised as he conjured dissonant noises rather than guitar solos on the title track: "I can't say I fully understood what was going on. It wasn't music for beauty's sake or emotion's sake."

The later suggestion that Gilmour and the classically-trained Rick Wright were Floyd's real musicians has always irritated Waters, but it was partly true. "No, I never learned music," he told MOJO in 2007. "I still don't consider myself a musician in that sense." Instead, Waters became a fount of ideas and lyrics, and encouraged Floyd to experiment: recording 1969's art-house movie soundtrack More and using found sounds and visual effects on-stage. It was the kernel of what he later called "electric theatre"; a dummy run for The Wall stage show. But Gilmour was unsure. "We were floundering," he said.

Despite his misgivings, Waters was soon the group's most confident writer. For 1969's part-live/part-studio set, Ummagumma, he insisted each band member compose a solo piece. Gilmour had previously written a song in France, but told MOJO he was "too ashamed" to discuss it. He asked Waters to write lyrics for his Ummagumma contribution, The Narrow Way: "But Rog said, 'No, do it yourself' — and put the phone down".

In the end, Gilmour's choirboy vocal and bluesy guitar were smothered in divebombing sound effects, as if its composer was afraid to be heard. "I found it excruciating," he said. "It wasn't until things like Fat Old Sun [on 1970's Atom Heart Mother] that I was giving properly of myself."

But the pair quickly became co-dependent. "Roger had ideas, vision and ambition," explained Nick Mason. "David was into form and shape." Future Radiohead producer John Leckie observed their relationship while engineering 1971 long-player Meddle. "Roger took command and sat at the desk, and Dave always objected and was grumpy," he told this writer. "I was different now," confirmed Gilmour. "I was loud and bolshie and letting them know I was there."

Pre-1973, Pink Floyd had been Britain's biggest cult band, stars of EMI's progressive imprint, Harvest. But their eighth album, The Dark Side of the Moon, changed everything. The 29-year-old Waters had proposed a suite of songs exploring the "pressures, difficulties and questions" raised by growing older. "That was always my fight in Pink Floyd," he said. "To drag it kicking and screaming from the borders of space to my concerns, which were more political and philosophical."

Gilmour supported his fight, but didn't contribute to the writing as much as he would have liked. "I wasn't feeling that inspired, but I certainly pulled my weight in the studio," he told MOJO. In a reversal of their earlier roles, he also forced Waters to sing lead vocals on its closing tracks, Brain Damage and Eclipse: "Roger rarely sung leads as he was so shy about his voice. On occasions he would try and persuade me to sing for him and I wouldn't."

Waters' raw voice was ideal for these songs. Similarly, Gilmour negotiated Waters' desperately un-funky time signature on Money and conjured a melody out of thin air. Then they butted heads over how it should sound. Waters wanted the LP's spoken-word segments, in which band roadies and familiars discussed, among other topics, insanity ("I've been mad for fucking years") and violence ("a short, sharp shock..."), higher in the mix, but Gilmour disagreed. "Roger and I had huge rows," said Gilmour. "But they were about passionate beliefs in what we were doing. I liked the voices on Dark Side... but sometimes Roger would be willing to sacrifice musical moments to get his message across."

The Beatles' White Album engineer, Chris Thomas, refereed the final mix; mediating like a parent between two bickering siblings. Dark Side... arrived in spring 1973 and gave Pink Floyd their first US Number 1. It was the best union so far of Waters' vision and ambition with Gilmour's form and shape. On their good days, the pair recognised it too. "Roger was the guy that had the ideas and concepts," reasoned Gilmour. "I was the better musician. We recognised each other's strengths and weaknesses."

* * *

But the entente was shorelived. In the wake of Dark Side's multi-million sales, Waters was quick to diagnose his bandmates' complacency and slow to tire of throwing it in their faces. "We should have split up then," he told this writer in 1992. "We'd reached the point we'd been aiming for since we were teenagers. The only reason we stayed together was fear and avarice."

Reasonably enough, Gilmour disagreed. "We all had to assess music and life," he would note, "and I'd already reached the assessment that, I am a musician and I like being a musician."

Making the follow-up, 1975's Wish You Were Here, was difficult on several counts. Studio engineers remember the band listlessly firing an airgun at a dartboard while experiencing what Waters called "creative inertia". When he grew tired of that, Waters took verbal pot-shots at the diffident Rick Wright. "I'm like a mule," said Gilmour. "Knock me down, I get up again. Rick was thinner-skinned, and he got knocked down and didn't find it so easy to get up."

Somehow, though, they found the perfect symbiosis on Shine On You Crazy Diamond, a slow-burning tribute to poor old Syd Barrett. Yet the two main protagonists still couldn't agree. "I think Wish You Were Here is a near-perfect album," said Gilmour. "Some of it goes on a bit," countered Waters.

The album sustained Pink Floyd's upwards trajectory, but its success confirmed Waters' belief that he, and he alone, was the brains behind the band. On 1977's bleakly brilliant Animals, he shared a writing credit with Gilmour on one song, Dogs. Later, Waters said his bandmates accepted his dominance: "If you're lucky enough to be in a band with somebody who can write something that isn't complete crap, you don't rock that boat. You go, 'Phew! Thank God for that. He's written another song.'"

"It was never agreed that anyone should be the leader, but none of us objected to Roger driving it forward," insisted Gilmour. "I wouldn't have dreamed of putting my oar in about the concept and the lyrics. But I was never willing to relinquish my equality in musical terms." The result was a kind of brooding stasis — the scene backstage at shows around this time described by a friend of the band as "a whirlpool of psychic agony".

But with Gilmour and Wright bringing fewer ideas to the table, Waters had free rein. Two years after Animals, he presented them with his concept for The Wall, a semi-autobiographical tale of a rock star in mental distress. Floyd recorded the album, initially in France, in a toxic environment riven with creative differences. Wright barely contributed and would be gone by the end of the sessions. Meanwhile, Waters explored his neuroses — about his father's death, Syd Barrett's decline and the teachers who'd damned him as "bloody useless" — while Gilmour and co-producer Bob Ezrin strove to accommodate the message without sacrificing the music.

Completing the album in Los Angeles, Gilmour and Waters locked horns over its standout track, Comfortably Numb. There were two mixes: Gilmour wanted the rougher version; Waters the softer one. After a blazing row in a Beverly Hills restaurant, they settled on Waters' choice, but with Gilmour's grand-finale guitar solo dropped in from the rougher mix. "I'm not sure if you played me those backing tracks I'd know the difference now," said Gilmour, 20 years later. "But it seemed incredibly important at the time."

The Wall was a hit, with its live show a ground-breaking piece of electric theatre. For Gilmour, though, it represented "the last embers of mine and Roger's ability to work together."

Wright had left after The Wall, been re-hired as a salaried musician for the tour, and was gone again when his bandmates recorded 1983's The Final Cut. Waters' swansong Floyd album voiced his opposition to prime minister Margaret Thatcher and the recent Falklands War. Gilmour was sympathetic to the message, but didn't rate the music, some of which had previously been rejected: "If these ideas weren't good enough for The Wall, why were they good enough now?"

The atmosphere in the studio was icy, with Gilmour and Waters sometimes working in different rooms with different engineers. "It was a miserable time," said Gilmour, "and Roger was the one making it miserable."

The Final Cut's orchestral arranger Michael Kamen summed up the mood perfectly. He recalled spending hours listening to Waters trying to pitch his vocals. Eventually, convinced he was being punished for some misdeed in a past life, he started obsessively writing the words "I must not fuck sheep" over and over on a pad of paper.

The Final Cut reached Number 1 at home, but was a hollow victory. Gilmour and Waters disappeared to record solo albums. Gilmour's accomplished, if rather slight About Face arrived in March 1984. Waters' The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, a largely tune-free psycho-sexual concept LP, followed a month later. Both highlighted their respective strengths and weaknesses, while the sales proved neither musician could match Pink Floyd's pulling power.

* * *

In October 1985, Waters took out a High Court injunction to prevent the others using the Pink Floyd name. Two months later, he told EMI he was quitting the band. Waters' actions related to his ongoing dispute with band manager Steve O'Rourke. The court case wouldn't be heard for 12 months, though, and Gilmour and Mason announced their plans to continue as Pink Floyd.

"Roger said, 'You'll never get it together to make a record,'" recalled Gilmour. "But I'd been working on ideas while Roger decided whether he was going to fuck off into the ether or not." "Roger saying that to David was like a red rag to a bull," noted Mason.

Gilmour's new collaborators soon included The Wall's producer Bob Ezrin and a returning Rick Wright, whose contributions, along with Mason's, were mostly excised from the final record. "Both Rick and Nick were pretty ineffective back then," said Gilmour, who blamed Waters for destroying their confidence as musicians.

Songs came together on Gilmour's new houseboat studio, Astoria. Its bucolic setting on the River Thames was undermined by persistent phone calls from lawyers, and failed to inspire a concept or much in the way of lyrics. "It was tough not having Roger there, to say, 'Shall we do this or this?'" admitted Gilmour, who co-wrote three songs with lyricist Anthony Moore, previously with the experimental groups, Henry Cow and Slapp Happy.

An amused Waters watched from the sidelines and told Bob Ezrin that "the muffins" were doomed to failure. But when Floyd announced their intention to tour the US, he threatened to sue any promoter who put tickets on sale. Gilmour and Mason stumped up their own money as a guarantee. When the first show in Toronto sold out, promoters came flocking.

The new Pink Floyd album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, was released in September 1987. There wasn't a concept, but there were lots of guitar solos and vogueish MIDI sequencers. "We got trapped in this '80s thing, and were a bit too thrilled with the technology," said Gilmour. Seventeen session musicians were listed in the credits, and when Gilmour remixed the album for 2019's The Later Years box set, he reinstated Mason's and Wright's original parts to "restore the creative balance".

Waters declared the new Floyd a "clever forgery", but it reached Number 3 in the UK and US, while his latest solo LP Radio KAOS, only just made the Billboard 50. Waters and Floyd soon found themselves touring the States simultaneously, but in very different-sized venues.

"I'm out on the road in competition with myself — and I'm losing," grumped Waters, who lashed out at his old bandmates with a $35,000 writ to stop them using his copyrighted flying pig from the Animals artwork. Floyd changed its sex and gave their new inflatable boar a pair of oversized testicles.

* * *

The pig fiasco encapsulated how pretty the feud had become. The gist of their respective criticisms never changed: Waters, always the more bellicose in press interviews, mocked the new Floyd's songwriting ("Gilmour's lyrics are very third rate"), while they derided his perceived lack of musicianship.

"I played the bass on at least 50 per cent of Floyd's recorded output," said Gilmour.

"I think the problem is Roger doesn't really respect David," said Mason in 2018. "He feels that writing is everything, and everything should be judged on the writing rather than the playing."

While Gilmour never stopped crediting Waters for his ideas, he raged at his lack of respect for his bandmates' contributions, and, above all, his attempt to 'retire' Pink Floyd. "He is an egomaniac," said Gilmour in 1992, "and very good at belittling people."

Ultimately, "the muffins" won the war. A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and its subsequent tour (which played to 4.25 million people over two years) proved audiences accepted Pink Floyd without Roger Waters. "I also realised no court in the land cared about what is or isn't Pink Floyd," admitted the bassist.

Two days before Christmas 1987, Gilmour, Waters and an accountant met on the Astoria. A legal document was drawn up, allowing Gilmour and Mason to use the Floyd name in perpetuity, but giving Waters control of certain assets, including The Wall.

As vindicated as he felt then, Gilmour sounded philosophical when revisiting this era in 2008. "I am pig-headed, but often your best characteristics can also be your worst," he told MOJO. "My refusal to kowtow to what was going down with Roger was destructive to Pink Floyd staying together."

Gilmour, Mason and Wright made one more Floyd album, 1994's The Division Bell, before Gilmour put the band on ice. Even a warmly-received reunion with Waters for 2005's Live 8 charity concert couldn't rekindle the flame. The performance was spine-tingling; the body language excruciating. Promoters threw money at the quartet to play more shows (as much as $250 million, according to one rumour), but Gilmour wouldn't budge, claiming he'd been offered the same amount to tour Pink Floyd "with or without Roger"

"Maybe Dave doesn't get how important the symbiosis between us was during the golden years," suggested Waters, mischievously. "It was a very, very special thing." The following year, Waters toured The Dark Side Of The Moon, with posters billing himself as 'The Creative Genius Behind Pink Floyd', His campaign to reclaim the legacy had begun.

Waters has continued to revisit the catalogue with lucrative results. He staged a mammoth global production of The Wall, becoming the third most profitable solo artist of 2012 (behind Madonna and Springsteen), before scoring again at the box office with 2017-18's Us + Them. On both tours, Waters mouthed the lyrics, while hired hands sung what had been Gilmour's lead vocals. The message was clear: it was me all along.

Since Live 8, David Gilmour has released two solo albums, On An Island (2006) and Rattle That Lock (2015). In contrast to Waters', Cecil B. DeMille approach, Gilmour's live shows subscribed to Frank Zappa's edict: shut up 'n play yer guitar. In 2014, he oversaw the reworked Floyd outtakes collection, The Endless River, dedicated to Rick Wright, who'd died in 2008.

One song, Louder Than Words, with lyrics by Polly Samson, addressed the group's dysfunctionality. "Roger and David were like a bickering old divorced couple," Samson told the Irish Times.

In a quaint twist, Nick Mason, who compares his role in Pink Floyd to that of a ship's cook, has also bagged a piece of the legacy. Pre-Covid, Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets were doing brisk business, playing early Floyd hits and misses.

"I'm having the time of my life," the drummer cheerily informed MOJO.

In 2017, Roger Waters told this writer he'd changed his mind since we last spoke. "I'm glad we didn't break up after The Dark Side Of The Moon. Going through all that pain we came up with some good work — Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall..."

Gilmour agreed. "Whatever bitching we do — and we did — it was a fantastic ride," he said, before adding, "Ninety-five per cent of the time."

* * *

Ни Дэвид Гилмор, ни официальные каналы Pink Floyd никак не отреагировали на майскую вспышку гнева Уотерса. Затем, 6 сентября, в аккаунте группы в Твиттере было опубликовано следующее сообщение: «Поздравляем с днем рождения Роджера Уотерса, который выпустит запись своего недавнего концерта "Us + Them" менее чем через месяц». С тех пор обычное молчание возобновилось.

Прошло почти 53 года с тех пор, как Гилмор пришел в Pink Floyd, и 35 лет с тех пор, как Уотерс ушел. Тем не менее, музыкальное наследие Флойд остается совместной собственностью этих двух человек, сыгравших ключевые роли в его создании. Трудно не вспомнить слова песни "Wish You Were Here": «Две заблудшие души, кружащие в одном аквариуме, год за годом бегущие по одной и той же старой земле...»

Их союз распался давно, но ни Дэвид Гилмор, ни Роджер Уотерс никогда не смогут по-настоящему сбежать друг от друга.

* * *

По материалам: MOJO Magazine

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