Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Roger Waters Spar Over Recent Interview

A quiet disagreement just got very loud

Roger Waters performing in front of a red sign
Roger Waters performing during a concert at Arena Monterrey on October 11, 2022
Medios y Media/Getty Images

If you’ve spent any time delving into the history of Pink Floyd, you’re probably aware that the best-known era of the group featured contributions from both bassist Roger Waters and guitarist David Gilmour. Waters’ influence on the band increased, culminating with The Final Cut and leading to his exit from the band. Things have been acrimonious ever since, with the two men calling a truce for a reunion show at Live 8 in 2005.

Since then, relations between Waters and Gilmour have taken a turn for the worse. Waters has made comments increasingly sympathetic to the Putin government, while Gilmour and Nick Mason released the first new Pink Floyd song in years in support of Ukraine’s efforts to remain independent.

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You might think it was only a matter of time before things went even more south. And you’d be right.

On Monday, Gilmour took to social media to co-sign a post made by writer Polly Samson. Samson and Gilmour have been married for many years, and Samson contributed lyrics to (among others) Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell. Samson’s original Tweet criticized Waters for anti-Semitic behavior, and dubbed him “a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac.”

“Every word demonstrably true,” Gilmour added. For his part, Waters posted an update saying that he “refutes entirely” the accusations.

The issue here appears to be a recent interview that Waters gave to the publication Berliner Zeitung, a translation of which is published on Waters’ own website. And — how best to put this? — Waters’ decision to do so does not exactly make him look great.

Waters’ advocacy for the BDS campaign against Israel is well-documented at this point. But few BDS-supporting musicians have argued that they would much more willingly play a concert in Russia, as Waters does. When asked if he would boycott Russia, Waters’ reply was direct: “I think it is counterproductive.”

“I’m not boycotting Russia, that would be ridiculous,” Waters said in the interview. “I play 38 shows in the USA. If I were to boycott any country for political reasons, it would be the U.S.”

Perhaps the most head-spinning moment in the interview comes when Waters describes effectively mansplaining Ukraine to a Ukrainian woman currently living through the war. It’s a lot, but in reading it, it’s easy to see why Samson and Gilmour felt compelled to respond the way they did.

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