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Saturday 23 March 2019

We don't need no One Direction: Pink Floyd's Roger Waters in boybands blast

A scene from the concert film Roger Waters The Wall (Roger Waters/PA)
A scene from the concert film Roger Waters The Wall (Roger Waters/PA)
Pink Floyd's classic line-up featured Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Dave Gilmour and Richard Wright

Pink Floyd co-founder and lyricist Roger Waters has criticised One Direction in an attack on the state of the music industry.

Speaking to the Press Association about his concert film Roger Waters The Wall, the 72-year-old dismissed the musical output of the band who finished third during the 2010 run of ITV's hit talent series The X Factor.

"I've never heard One Direction and I never will," he said. "I don't listen to pop music, by and large, I'm not interested in it. I've certainly never been interested in Take That or boybands, whoever they are.

"That's not to say it doesn't have its place and other people shouldn't be interested in it - they always have been. There have always been artists who are controlled by some svengali character in the background."

After 50 years in the business, Waters is not optimistic about the future, saying: "As the years go on, there will be fewer Radioheads and REMs, bands who are serious about what they do, and there will be more and more of The Voice and Simon Cowell progeny and boybands like One Direction."

He added: "You make a band and then you promote them and some strike a chord with a whole generation of eight-year-olds and they become hugely important in financial terms because they sell a lot of tickets for a couple of years and then they're gone."

One of the most influential rock bands, Pink Floyd were formed in London in 1965 and achieved their international breakthrough with best-selling album The Dark Side Of The Moon in 1973.

The Wall, their 11th studio album, was released in 1979 and is the last to feature the classic line-up of Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason.

Supported by a tour which played to 31 cities in 1980-81, The Wall was adapted into 1982 feature film Pink Floyd - The Wall starring Bob Geldof and directed by Alan Parker best known for Bugsy Malone and Fame.

Waters went on to perform the landmark album in Berlin in 1990 (to commemorate the fall of that city's famous wall the year before) before doing so again 20 years later when he commenced The Wall Live's worldwide tour.

Redesigned to create a dramatic visual stadium event, the 2010-2013 sell-out tour was seen by over four million fans; it is now the biggest by a solo artist in history.

For one night only on Tuesday September 29, The Wall Live comes to cinemas worldwide as ground-breaking concert film, Roger Waters The Wall, co-written and co-directed by the singer. It features never before seen footage and includes the hits Another Brick In The Wall, Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell.

There were fears the movie wouldn't match the grandiose spectacle of the live concerts, but Waters recounted a conversation with friend Jim Ladd, a DJ in Los Angeles who will introduce Roger Waters The Wall when it is shown there: "He's seen the concert six or seven times, but he was completely blown away by the film because he didn't believe anything could live up to the live experience."

Beyond the music, the movie reflects on the impact of war and Waters is unequivocal when asked about the current refugee crisis in Europe.

"We must embrace these refugees with open arms," he said.

"It's not their fault they have to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean - hundreds and hundreds of them drowning or being asphyxiated in lorries - these are the innocent victims of a world mismanaged by those with the power to do something about it."

Although the Surrey-born songwriter officially quit Pink Floyd 30 years ago, he is resigned to questions about his former band, saying: "I don't mind. The only things I'm not content to talk about would be the difficult years from 1985 when I left until a few years ago when I licked my wounds, picked myself up and dusted myself off and got back on the road and started feeling OK about mixing my new songs in with the songs that I wrote when I was in Pink Floyd."

Roger Waters The Wall is released worldwide on Tuesday September 29. Tickets are available at www.rogerwatersthewall.com

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