Roger Waters - two interviews in today's Times
Written by Matt   
Saturday, 03 September 2005

Today's edition of the UK's Sunday Times newspaper has two interesting interviews with Roger Waters, covering such diverse subjects as the Live 8 reunion with Pink Floyd and his forthcoming opera, Ca Ira, which will be performed in Rome, in November.

The first of these interviews, "Rock star quits UK over hunting ban" focuses on Roger's decision to leave Britain in protest at the ban on hunting. The article says that he has gone to live in America 'in disgust at what he says is an unfair attack by Tony Blair's government on Britain’s countryside community'.

Roger has never gone fox hunting, but is a keen shooting and fishing man, and appeared at the Countryside Alliance's benefit concert at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2002. He also participated in a couple of that organisation's marches in London.

He said: "I've become disenchanted with the political and philosophical atmosphere in England. It's so mealy mouthed. I'm lucky enough to have the freedom to live where I want because I've made a few quid. The anti-hunting bill was enough for me to leave England.” He added: “I did what I could. I did a concert and one or two articles, but it made me feel ashamed to be English."

At the height of the hunting debate several prominent hunt supporters said they would consider leaving if the bill became law. The Prince of Wales, who hunted along with princes William and Harry, is reported to have told a government minister at a private gathering that if the ban went through he might as well leave the country and spend the rest of his life skiing. Others said they would move their hunting activities to Ireland.

An alliance spokeswoman told The Times: “We have had one or two people who would have left Britain anyway but Roger is the first to quit because of the hunting ban.”

The other interview, "Talking Liberties" focuses more on the Live 8 reunion, and his forthcoming opera. Of that, he is already prepared for the expected media reaction: “The knives are bound to come out,” he says. “People defend their own little islands of culture with great panache. I'd much rather people just accept that it's a genuine piece of work. It's not in any way pretentious. I'm really looking forward to Rome, and seeing what the vibe is in the room.”

Waters is referring to the live performance of Ca Ira he is planning in Italy in November, which he hopes may lead to a series of concerts in America next spring. “I'll use Nadine Roda-Gil's drawings and paintings, and probably bits of old movies as well. It could be good fun. There are a few memorable tunes — actually, more than a few. There's a lot of melody, so hopefully it'll strike a chord somewhere.” We agree, having heard the opera many times now - see our full review of Ca Ira.

Elsewhere in the interview, Roger talks of how proud he was to have taken part in the Live 8 concert: “It made [political leaders] make the right noises before the G8 summit, and it made them make the right decisions. I think Geldof truly had an effect, and I take my hat off to him for doing it.” He told The Sunday Times that preparation for the concert was “like freewheeling downhill with no hands. Easy, but tinged with the exhilaration of potential disaster”. Of the performance, he said: “People obviously love the work, so to be able to see the four of us, who were together when that bit of the work was done, obviously moved a lot of people. It was great to bask in the warmth of that affection.”

The full interviews can be read at The Times website.