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Roger Waters interview on Charlie Rose show Print E-mail
Written by Paul Powell Jr   
Friday, 25 November 2005

On Wednesday the 23rd of November, 2005, Roger Waters appeared on the Charlie Rose Show, arguably America's most intelligent talk show. The nightly program, aired monday through friday on over 200 public broadcast stations, brings together the world's most interesting thinkers, authors, politicians, scientists, athletes, business leaders, as well as the most eclectic mix of personalities from the entertainment world. Host Charlie Rose succeeds in each episode to elicit intelligent and often animated conversation from each of his guests.

Charlie Rose
Interviewer Charlie Rose
The set atmosphere is instantly relaxing, just his trademark roundtable and a dark relaxing backdrop. What really sets the Charlie Rose show apart from all the other talk shows around is on his one hour program the flow of discourse is totally un-interrupted by commercials, allowing for some genuinely entertaining conversation.

Guests on recent and past shows have included former United States president Jimmy Carter, former NBA all-star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Intel co-founder Gordian Moore, international statesmen Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev. Often hour-long shows focus on one guest, such as with Bruce Springsteen and Robin Williams, as well as spending an engrossing week exploring the Human Genome Project. Host Charlie Rose himself is quite gifted with Southern charm, a quick wit and deep knowledge, and is one of the best interviewers around.

Roger Waters appearance on Wednesday night was from what I understand, taped on 11 November 2005, so this was before his Ca Ira Rome premiere and the UK Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Roger's twenty-one minute set began with video clips of Another Brick in the Wall Pt 2, Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking, The Tide is Turning, What God Wants, and Wish You Were Here from his latest live (In The Flesh) DVD.

The actual interview began with some general conversation about how Pink Floyd is regarded today, which Roger commented, "It does seem that the albums in the 70's that Pink Floyd made have transcended the change in the generations," and his recent listening of Dark Side of the Moon in the studio for remixing it into 5.1 (surround sound), Roger kindly commented "I kind of enjoyed it, it does hold up."

With a copy of the Ca Ira CD in Charlie Rose's hand, the tide of conversation turned to Roger's opera; the topics ranged from the timeline of Ca Ira's creation, the Roda-Gil libretto and its translation from French to English, Sony's subsequent involvement in Ca Ira, the opera's amazing cast of singers, the history and politics of the French Revolution, the accurate translation of the title "Ca Ira," and its subtitle of "there is hope."

Roger explained, "I think there is a subtext within this, it's not just a history of the French Revolution, there is a subtext which has to do with the potential that we all have to examine ourselves and how we all feel about good and evil, and how much part we may have to play in the way the world is shaped." You could tell immediately that Roger had the Ca Ira topics well rehearsed from the repetition of recent interviews, but it was interesting nevertheless.

At this point the interview became more direct, with Charlie asking Roger:

Charlie: Do you want to tour again?
Roger: Yeah, I've been doing a number of interviews and that's a question that comes up.
Charlie: I would assume so.
Roger: Yeah, I think I've got at least one more big one in me y'know.
Charlie: You've put together a band?
Roger: I kind of have a band, you know people who'll always work with me when I go on the road. I love them all and we have a great time, and I have you know a considerable audience out there and I'm always slightly surprised at the response. You know we did the tour of South America in 2001 and I've never been there before and it was extraordinary. The kids were all like 18, 19, 20 years old and they knew every word of all the songs and the response was amazing.

More talk of Ca Ira followed, with Roger discussing his love for classical music from the first half of the nineteenth century, then bringing up the recent New York Times review of his CD (which by the way Charlie had a copy of, in his hand), which took some issue with Roger's apparent classical influences filtering through the opera's musical score.

Charlie: When they do question whether this is an opera, do you have any qualms with that observation?
Roger: No, it's theatrical, it's got a beginning, a middle and an end, it's all sung, I think it has every right to call to call itself an opera.
Charlie: Is there anything in this that Pink Floyd fans will recognize or relish?
Roger: I think my voice is pretty apparent through a lot of it, you know there is a way that I handle melody and harmony that I think is very, very apparent in the orchestration and in the writing of the basic themes, and also a lot of it is very direct as well in terms of the way the lyric works with the music.

At this point a short clip of the Ca Ira DVD is shown, showing Roger working in the studio on the musical score and with the musicians. Following this segment, Roger talks about Nadine's illustrations, her illness and personality. As noted above, the recording of this interview precedes the premiere of Ca Ira in Rome since Roger points out that some of Nadine's illustrations will be used as projections when doing concerts in Rome. At this point in the conversation, Charlie and Roger begin to venture deeply into politics, ideology and revolution, the French Revolution, the American and French constitutions, and ultimately a slightly humorous yet serious exchange on the United Kingdom's recent ban on fox hunting:

Charlie: You have a political issue with Britain don't you - didn't you leave?
Roger: I haven't really left, I was spending much more of my time in Manhattan than I am in Hampshire in England. I was very against the ban on fox hunting.
Charlie: Oh that's what it was - fox hunting!
Roger: It was reported that I left on those grounds, but that is not the case.
Charlie: What ever happened to the ban on fox hunting?
Roger: It's this ludicrous thing now that you are allowed to chase foxes on horseback but when you catch it somebody has got to shoot it, and little after the dogs kill it, which is a kind of nonsense I have to say. But why I was against that politically was because you know the central government imposing its will from the inner cities on a group of hard-working good country people who have their own way of life that by and large the Tony Blairs and Tony Banks of this world have no understanding of. We all agree foxes have to be controlled, they're vermin, it's just a question of how. What they (the government) couldn't stand is that people enjoyed hunting, so they were like trying to stamp out fun, and that's by and large what I'm saying. And certainly controlling foxes by hunting them with dogs is certainly no more cruel, in my view, less cruel than shooting them or poisoning them, or gassing.

The conversation now turned more towards world events, specifically the issue of world poverty and the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina:

Roger: Katrina you know has also reminded people that at the heart of the American culture, there is a desire to rebuild the barn and to help the neighbor. When I was growing up in England after the war, there was always this sense....obviously we had the Marshall plan...
Charlie: If the whole barn burned down, we will go over and help them rebuild it.
Roger: Exactly, it seems to me if that's what (it takes), you know if we can focus on that in North America, maybe the USA can give some kind of lead to the rest of the world if it can form more altruistic policies.

The last few minutes of the Charlie Rose show was well spent on the most important topic of all; the possible future of Pink Floyd.

Charlie: You participated in Live 8?
Roger: Yes I did, yeah, yeah we put the Floyd back together to play.
Charlie: That's right! And how was that?
Roger: Oh it was fantastic - it was deeply moving.
Charlie: To be back together?
Roger: Uh yeah, I mean you know most people will know, well a lot of people do know this, but you know when I left (the Floyd) there was a lot of aggravation and a lot of mudslinging, particularly between Dave Gilmour and myself, and uh I kind of regret it, I don't kind of, I deeply regret it, and twenty years down the road. And so to have the opportunity to get back onstage and to play the old songs together, which people loved anyway was really very good for me and for him as well I think, to act like grown-ups instead of kind of spoiled brats throwing their toys out onto the ground.
Charlie: Sometimes it takes an event to get people beyond acting like kids...
Roger: Sometimes it takes the number of the intervening years as well for one's personality to develop and for one to get over some of the you know... stuff.

Roger briefly recalls the initial conversation between David and himself:

Charlie: You know what the next step is?
Roger: What's that?
Charlie: Tour.
Roger: No we won't do that.
Charlie: Why won't you do that - I know you've said that.
Roger: Well, you know what's good about the fact we got back onstage again is that, if you have differing points of view, and y'know it's possible to take entrenched and extreme positions, we see that happening politically, so you can say that this is a model of something larger. And what one has to understand, and as I have gotten older I hope I understand is, Dave and I don't have to agree about everything, or anything really. What we do have to do is understand that we both have the right to our own views, to our own memories, and to our own truths about things and we have to live somewhere here in the middle, accepting the other person's point of view, not trying to control them and change them and say - "you're wrong, no I'm right and so on." We have to come together somewhere in the middle and when you do that you get to the music - or something like that.

Charlie asks where everyone in the band is living now, and is simultaneously trying to think of a way to get them back together again, like right here (on his show) or something. Roger explains David, Nick and Rick live in England, he finds himself back and forth in America and England. Charlie quickly follows up: "So we'll have to do it in London?"

Roger's conversation continues on a roll as only Roger can...

Roger: Listen, if we get back together again, and I absolutely feel in my bones that we will get back together again, it will be for some event like Live 8 where we can perform understanding that we're doing it for a very good reason or a very good cause, and we're doing it in a kind of spirit of harmony, it won't be to go and do a huge tour.

The show wraps up on this high note.

Charlie: Congratulations on this.
Roger: Thank you very much.
Charlie: It's great to have you here.
Charlie: Roger Waters Ca Ira an opera in three acts. Come back, good to have you...
Roger: I'd be delighted.
Charlie: Thank you.

 
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