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January 21st 1977 - Capital Radio PF Story - part 6 Print E-mail

The following is one part of the legendary Capital Radio Pink Floyd Story - the history of the band, told by the band themselves in a set of interviews undertaken in 1976, and broadcast at the end of 1976/start of 1977. This transcription done by Matt Johns, Brain Damage - please seek permission from us before using elsewhere.


The programme presenter was Nicky Horne. Abbreviations used as follows:
RW: Roger Waters, NH: Nicky Horne


NH: In this, the sixth and concluding part of the Pink Floyd Story, Roger Waters explains the Floyd's new album, "Animals". The front cover of "Animals" features a picture of Battersea Power Station, here in London, with a pig flying between the enormous chimneys. So why Battersea?

RW: I think it's a very nice building. It's very doomy and inhuman...

NH: It's a very doomy picture as well, isn't it?

RW: Yus.

NH: Very sort of, depressing... oppressive...

RW: Yus.

NH: Is that the general atmosphere that you wanted to convey for the album, or was it just a...

RW: Yes. Yes, I mean I... quite like the very crude symbolism of BPS anyway; and I like the four phallic towers, and the idea of power I find very appealing, in a strange way.

NH: But why the pig between the phallases?

RW: Erm... well that came up because of that little song about, you know, it's the, that's the flaw, you know, the pig, the flying pig... I dunno, I've never tried to put it in words really. The flying pig is the...? Symbol of hope.

NH: But the opening sequence on the album, the acoustic bit, is for you, almost a rare love song.

RW: Yes, this is true. That's why... I've written a lot of love songs but they tend not to find their way onto... there was a certain amount of doubt as to whether that one was gonna find its way onto this album, but I thought it was very necessary, otherwise the album would've just been a kind of... scream, you know, of rage!

NH: But it's a very direct love song for you.

RW: Yes... well, I'm in love. Let it be said that although the violence is tempered with sadness, and even a smidge of compassion here and there, it is a very violent album. It's, you know, when you're doing... and note that they're quite violent songs. And so I think that's why our music is a bit punchier than our older stuff is. I've had the idea for "Animals" in the back of my mind for many years... many years. It's a kind of old chestnut, really, isn't it? Sometime during the middle of recording it, it seemed like the right thing to tie it all together.

It gave me the lead to re-write the lyrics to "Sheep" - "Raving And Drooling", and turn it into "Sheep", 'cos "Raving And Drooling" was just another shout, but it was a rather incoherent shout of abuse, in a way that "Pigs" is very... well, "Pigs" is a kind of, fairly compassionate scream of abuse, if you can scream abuse in a compassionate way. Just by virtue of the last lines... whereas "Raving And Drooling" as it used to stand was [laughs] just a real, you know...

And I found myself getting deeply depressed about it, so I took it off and I haven't listened to it since. And I'm not going to listen to it until I get, you know... "Not For Sale Factory Samples" and then I might have another listen to it. But, rehearsing the tracks off it, in fact it's going to be the first half of our show, the live show... and rehearsing it's great, terrific. So, it's probably alright. I've probably just had too much of it.

NH: Part two of "Animals" starts off with a track called "Pigs (3 Different Ones)" and one of the verses mentions anti-pornographic campaigner Mary Whitehouse:

RW: I kept throwing that verse about Mary Whitehouse away. I've been throwing that verse away for 18 months. But I never managed to write anything else, you know, and I kept coming back to it and changing it a bit and it worried me a lot at the time 'cos I thought really she doesn't really merit it, she doesn't really merit a mention, you know... except that in a way, she does. I think maybe the reason I didn't want to do it - use it even though I'd written it - I obviously did want to do it otherwise I would've never written it in the first place. But the worries that I had about it...

NH: I was going to say I didn't think she meritted the...

RW: Attention. No, well, she doesn't really merit the attention, but... you know... she is "really a cry". I mean she's a terribly frightened women, isn't she? Don't you think?

NH: Frightened?

RW: Yeah. Terrified. And why does she make such a fuss about everything if she's not motivated by fear? Why doesn't she just quietly get on with... she's frightened, isn't she, that we're all being perverted.

Maybe you're right, maybe - certainly the lyrics are easier to understand, but they're not... why I say they're less direct is because they are not the direct expression of my feelings, as the lyrics on WYWH were. They're - more of them, anyway - are put into a third person and about more distant events. Particularly something like "Sheep", right, which has got nothing to do with me at all really; it's a kind of weird tract; a kind of weird jumbled tract... some kind of agonition, and a warning but it's not really you know, 'cos it's confused. A song about revolution, Nick!

NH: Revolution?! [startled]

RW: Yes, that's what that's about, mate.

NH: Well, you certainly with this album lost your space cadet image.

RW: Oh no, we'll never lose that! People will think this is about outer space... I mean people thought - I know it was a bit confusing because it was called the DSOTM - but if anybody can think DSOTM is a space cadet album they'll think anything is. I mean, you couldn't hope to find an album that was more about more earthly... could you, really? Except for that one phrase, "I'll see you on the DSOTM". It's all terribly - not terribly, but very, down to earth. The DSOTM.

NH: This [Animals] is even more - I mean, this is like, bargain basement...

RW: Yeah, right. Maybe, it's a bit less flowery.

NH: One of the things that has come out all the way through this thing is that you have this great ability - I use the word "bastardise" and you disagree with that - to change the lyrics to suit. It's one of the great abilities you have to change things. The concept of the album, I mean the "sound" of the album, is certainly a lot different from anything else you've ever done. Is this something that happens in the studio, that the raunchy aspect of it... changes and becomes something else when you start working on it... do you see what I mean? That it assumes a shape...

RW: No, certainly not for "Dogs" - that was very clear what "Dogs" was going to be like except for the middle section, you know, with the synthesisers and the dogs through the vocoder and you know that bit in the middle of "Dogs". We were quite clear what that was going to sound like, really. There are obviously things that developed in the studio, like, oh, I don't know... the sound behind the guitar solo's, those two... fairly uptempo solo's of Dave's. There's one in the first half and one in the second half with lots of tom-toms in the background. Those sounds developed while we were recording, but basically we knew what the arrangements were gonna be, more or less anyway, and we knew what it was gonna sound like, before we'd started because we'd been doing it live, with slightly different words and in a shorter form than it is now, for a long time, and the same with "Sheep".

"Pigs" has never been done before and that did change a lot because when we started recording it was only a song sung to a strummed acoustic guitar. So that grew a lot in the recording.

NH: Turning to look at the future, I know you're a band that does look to the future. This tour that is being planned is getting terribly complicated...

RW: Yes.

NH: What do you see yourselves doing? It's a very trite question... but what do you see yourselves doing in the future? Because the Pink Floyd gig machine is becoming enormous. The process of recording is becoming more and more complicated...

RW: It's not. The gig machine hasn't grown measurably in the last 2-3 years. Since we started using movies, which was 3 years ago, 4 years ago, something like that... that was the last major thing. We used, in the quad stations we now carry a greater weight with us, simply because we would... what we were taking before was inadequate...

NH: Yes, but the degree of sound sophistication...

RW: That hasn't changed in the last 4 - 5 years. It really hasn't.

NH: Keypax?

RW: Well, yes but I mean that's... what's a few keypaxes? [laughs]

NH: Yes, but...

RW: We've always, yes it's true we've always been like that. We've always tried, within our means, to get it working as well as it could. And to make the sound as good as we could. And we've failed monumentally on many occasions. In fact we reached a kind of "peak" a few years ago and then we completely lost control of it, or... I think it's back under control now... we're making the right decisions again. There was an Earls Court gig a few years ago where we reached a real kind of peak considering the acoustics of the place, we'd really got it under control, and it was very good. And after that we changed our PA and we didn't get it quite right and we were saving money by buying cheap mixers, and things like that... we were buying 36 channel quadrophonic mixers for £1500! [laughs] Which is just silly! 'Cos of course the things are gonna fall to pieces and be endless trouble, but that's all we could afford at the time.

NH: Are you looking forward to going on the road?

RW: Erm...

NH: 'Cos the last tour, you said before, was not...

RW: No... no, the last tour was absolutely appalling. This one's gonna be much better. Yes, I'm looking... I'm quite excited. Definately I'm excited about the first 10 days or so - I dunno about the rest of it. But there are quite large gaps between the gigs, we're not working all the time. So that's a great danger, really, that you're booked into 50 cities, albeit over a very long period of time and, after the first ten, you know, it's [very large yawn] you know, not again! But I think the show is new enough, and with the new film that... the film looks as though it's going to be very good, this time...

NH: This the Gerald Scarfe things?

RW: Yeah. And... the pig won't be a bad diversion from time to time...

 
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