Roger Waters Says He’s “Far, Far, Far More Important” Than Drake and The Weeknd

The Pink Floyd cofounder also admitted he "doesn't listen to much music"

Roger Waters performs during the This Is Not A Drill Tour opening concert at PPG PAINTS Arena on July 6, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Roger Waters kicks off his "This Is Not a Drill" tour on July 6 in Pittsburgh.
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It’s always encouraging when our aging classic rock heroes go out of their way to keep up with the times and sing the praises of contemporary artists, whether it’s Paul McCartney shouting out St. Vincent and Khruangbin or even Mick Jagger (rather dubiously) declaring Machine Gun Kelly to be the future of rock ‘n’ roll. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their taste in modern music, at the very least it signals a refreshing willingness to stay engaged with pop culture rather than falling into stereotypical “everything was better when I was young” curmudgeonry.

In other words, it prevents them from sounding like Roger Waters.

During a recent interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail, the 78-year-old Pink Floyd cofounder noted that it “seemed odd” that his “This Is Not a Drill” tour received less coverage in the Toronto press than a concert by The Weeknd. After the reporter interviewing him mentioned that he was unable to attend Waters’s gig because he was supposed to review The Weeknd’s show happening the same night, Waters delivered a Mariah Carey-level “I don’t know her.”

“I have no idea what or who The Weeknd is, because I don’t listen to much music,” Waters said. “People have told me he’s a big act. Well, good luck to him. I’ve got nothing against him. Would it not have been possible to review his show one night and my show another night?”

The musician then went on to claim he wasn’t looking to make “a personal attack,” but continued, “with all due respect to The Weeknd or Drake or any of them, I am far, far, far more important than any of them will ever be, however many billions of streams they’ve got. There is stuff going on here that is fundamentally important to all of our lives.”

The idea, presumably, is that Waters’s performance is more important because it’s overtly political. (He also told the publication in the same interview that he feels more free to incorporate political messaging into his shows now that he is “not constrained by the rock group that I was with then.” “They were always trying to drag me back from my natural instinct, which is to tell the truth,” he said.) But while it’s certainly important for artists to utilize their massive platforms to speak out for what they believe is right, can we really say in the year 2022 that Roger Waters is any more indispensable than the Top 40 artists he mentioned?

Certainly in the vast rock ‘n’ roll canon he’s more significant — but can he seriously claim to be more relevant to today’s pop cultural landscape? Is anyone who purchases a Roger Waters ticket nowadays really leaving with their mind changed about anything, or is he simply preaching to the choir? And how exactly does nodding along to Waters as he makes a point you already agree with translate to any sort of significant real-world action?

Furthermore, who’s to say that political performance is more important than other art? Isn’t bringing joy to people — especially after the past few years, which have been dominated by isolation, turmoil and mass death — equally crucial? Isn’t there value in offering a brief respite from our current hellscape? Believe it or not, human beings are nuanced creatures capable of caring about more than one thing at once, and despite what buzzkills on Twitter may claim, you can be happy that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez finally got married while also fretting over the current state of our Supreme Court. You can also appreciate Waters’s politics while also admitting that “Can’t Feel My Face” is a bop. Enjoying trivial things doesn’t mean you can’t also be a thoughtful, concerned citizen.

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