Waters recently confirmed to David Frost that he is hoping to tour The Wall in late 2010. Waters manager Mark Fenwick has confirmed that Waters will tour The Wall. The tour dates were announced on 12 April 2010, and the name of the tour is The Wall Live.
Born in Great Bookham near Leatherhead, Surrey, Waters grew up in Cambridge. His father Eric Fletcher Waters fought with the British army in World War II as a member of The Royal Fusiliers Company C. He died in combat at Anzio Italy in February 1944 when Waters was five months old.
Waters referred or alluded to the cost of war and the loss of his father throughout his work, from "Corporal Clegg" (A Saucerful Of Secrets, 1968) and "Free Four" (Obscured By Clouds, 1972) to "Us and Them" from The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), "When the Tigers Broke Free", first used in the movie version of The Wall (1982), later included with "The Fletcher Memorial Home" on The Final Cut (1983), an album which is dedicated to Eric Fletcher Waters. The loss of his father and subsequent traumatic upbringing play a central role in the theme and composition of The Wall (1979).
Waters and Syd Barrett attended the Morley Memorial Junior School on Blinco Grove, Cambridge, and later both attended the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now Hills Road Sixth Form College), while future band member David Gilmour attended The Perse School on the same road. He met Nick Mason and Richard Wright while attending the Regent Street Polytechnic school of architecture. He was a keen sportsman and was fond of swimming in the River Cam at Grantchester Meadows. At 15 he was chairman of the youth section of the Cambridge YCND, having designed its publicity poster and participated in its organization.
In 1965 Roger Waters co-founded Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. According to Mason their first recording session took place in December 1964. The band which still included Bob Klose was calling itself the Tea Set, and had managed to secure some recording time through a friend of Wright's who worked at a studio in West Hampstead, and let them use some "down time" for free. The four-song recording session would become the Tea Set's first demo and included the 1957 Slim Harpo song "I'm a King Bee", two Syd Barrett originals "Butterfly" and "Lucy Leave" and "Double O Bo", a group composition which according to Mason was "Bo Diddley meets the 007 theme."
Through 1966 and 1967 Barrett was Pink Floyd's lead guitarist, singer, and primary songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote all but one track of their debut LP The Piper at the Gates of Dawn released in August 1967. Waters contributed the song "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" (his first sole writing credit) to the album, which was a critical success that positioned the band for stardom.
By late 1967 Barrett's deteriorating mental health and increasingly erratic behaviour rendered him unable or unwilling to continue in his capacity as Pink Floyd's lead singer and guitarist. Though several of Barrett's friends, Roger Waters included, claim to have tried to help him by encouraging psychotherapy with the "celebrated" Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing, Barrett refused to cooperate. In December 1967 the band added David Gilmour, initially not to replace Barrett, but to join as the 5th member of Pink Floyd, intending to keep Barrett in the group as a non-performing songwriter.
Working with Barrett eventually proved too difficult, so in early March 1968 Pink Floyd met with then business partners Peter Jenner and Andrew King of Blackhill Enterprises to discuss the band's future. Barrett agreed to leave Pink Floyd and Pink Floyd "agreed to Blackhill's entitlement in perpetuity" in regards to "past activities." The band's new manager Steve O'Rourke made a formal announcement about the departure of Barrett and the arrival of Gilmour in April 1968. Jenner and King, who regarded Barrett as the creative genius of the band, decided to represent him and end their relationship with Pink Floyd. Filling the void left by Barrett's departure, Waters began to chart Pink Floyd's new artistic direction. The lineup of Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason eventually brought Pink Floyd to world prominence, producing some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums of the 1970s.
Waters became the main lyrical contributor and primary songwriter in Pink Floyd after Barrett's departure. He wrote all the lyrics to the five Pink Floyd albums preceding his own departure, starting with The Dark Side of the Moon and ending with The Final Cut, while exerting progressively more creative control over the band and its music. He produced thematic ideas that became the impetus for concept albums such as The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall, written largely by Waters, and The Final Cut, written entirely by Waters. Initially Waters' bandmates were happy to allow him to write the band's lyrics and guide its conceptual direction while they shared the opportunity to contribute musical ideas. This give-and-take relationship began to dissolve circa 1979.
During the recording of The Wall, Waters, Gilmour, and Mason became increasingly unhappy with Wright's lack of contribution to the album. Gilmour said "he hadn't contributed anything of any value whatsoever to the album." Mason said: "Alas, Rick's contribution was to turn up and sit in on the sessions without doing anything, just 'being a producer'. Longtime Pink Floyd Studio Engineer Nick Griffiths said "by the time of The Wall, Rick Wright had lost interest in the idea of the Floyd. He was more interested in his leisure time-sailing around the Greek islands and enjoying the life of a rich rock 'n' roll star." Gilmour would later say Wright "wasn't doing the job he was paid to do" and "he got the boot because he wasn't contributing in any way to anything." Waters added, "he was not prepared to cooperate in making the record." and "...it was agreed by everybody. I made the suggestion that O'Rourke gave to Rick: either you can have a long battle or you can agree to this, and the 'this' was you finish making the album, keep your full share of the album, but at the end of it you leave quietly. Rick agreed." Waters threatened to take The Wall tapes and not allow them to be used as a Pink Floyd album at a time when they were nearly bankrupt from bad investments and so Wright, under much duress, decided to leave Pink Floyd.
In 1996 Wright said "I made a decision and left, and then he (Waters) left, and I came back." Wright stayed on as a paid musician while Waters and Gilmour led the band through 25 complete performances of the album. Gilmour acted as the musical director of the shows. Ironically Wright's firing and subsequent position as a paid session musician meant he was the only one of the four to realize a profit from the "Wall" tour - since the financial losses of the expensive shows were paid by the three remaining 'members' of Pink Floyd. The final performance of The Wall was 16 June 1981 at Earls Court London, and would be Pink Floyd's only appearance with Waters until their final one-off performance at the 2 July 2005 Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park 24 years later.
In 1983 the last Waters–Gilmour–Mason collaboration, The Final Cut, was released. The sleeve notes describe it as "The Final Cut: A requiem for the post-war dream by Roger Waters, music performed by Pink Floyd". The Final Cut is the only Pink Floyd album on which Waters is credited with writing all the lyrics as well as all the music. Rolling Stone rated the album 5 stars and called it "a superlative achievement" and "rock art's crowing masterpiece."
In November 1986 Waters began High Court proceedings to formally dissolve Pink Floyd's partnership, saying Pink Floyd was "a spent force creatively." Gilmour and Mason opposed the application and announced their intention to continue as Pink Floyd. The ensuing battle descended into threatened lawsuits and public bickering in the press. Waters' position was that since the original band consisted of himself, Barrett, Mason and Wright, that Gilmour and Mason should not be allowed to use the name Pink Floyd now that it was without three of its four founding members, and because he had written all of the band's lyrics since 1972, and a great part of the music after Barrett's departure in 1968 (Waters has sole credit on 59 Pink Floyd tracks), that Mason and Gilmour should not be allowed to continue as Pink Floyd or legally perform the band's music. Eventually Waters conceded and much like Wright some years earlier, decided to leave Pink Floyd based on financial considerations, stating "...if I hadn't, the financial repercussions would haved wiped me out completely."
According to Mason "We eventually formalised a settlement with Roger." "On Christmas Eve 1987...David and Roger convened for a summit meeting on the houseboat, (Gilmour's studio/houseboat the 'Astoria', moored on the north bank of the River Thames at Hurst Park, Hampton). with Jerome Walton, David's accountant. Mince pies, noggin and festive hats were placed on hold, as Jerome painstakingly typed out the bones of a settlement. Essentially-although there was far more complex detail-the arrangement allowed Roger to be freed from his arrangement with Steve, and David and me to continue working under the name Pink Floyd. In the end the court accepted Jerome's version as the final and binding document and duly stamped it." The new David Gilmour-led Pink Floyd went on to release two more albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987 and The Division Bell in 1994.
Gilmour relied heavily on outside songwriters and lyricists to complete both albums. Only 5 tracks on the last two Pink Floyd albums were written by Gilmour using entirely his own lyrics and music, and no credits at all are given to Mason on either album, four tracks have music credited to Gilmour/Wright. In Waters absence the longtime Pink Floyd tradition of making conceptual albums with thematically linked songs was also abandoned, though not for a lack of trying, in favor of straight forward unrelated tracks.
In 2006 Waters launched his nearly three-year The Dark Side of the Moon Live Tour starting in Europe and North America. The first half of the performance was a mix of Pink Floyd classics and Waters' solo material. The second-half included a complete performance of 1973's Pink Floyd classic, The Dark Side of the Moon, ending with an encore from The Wall. Elaborate staging designed by Marc Brickman, complete with projections and a full 360 degree quadrophonic sound system were used. Former Pink Floyd bandmate Nick Mason joined Waters on some of the tour dates and Richard Wright was reportedly invited to participate, but declined to work on other projects. Waters continued touring in 2007 starting in January in Australia followed by New Zealand then going through Asia, Europe, South America, and finally North America in June. On 7 July 2007, he played on the American leg of the Live Earth concert, an international multi-venue concert aimed at raising awareness about global climate change, featuring the Trenton Youth Choir and his trademark inflatable pig. Waters has also become a spokes-person for Millennium Promise, a non-profit organisation that helps fight extreme poverty and malaria, and wrote a commentary for CNN's website on 11 June 2007 about the topic. After performing at California's Coachella Festival in April, Waters continued his The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour with some shows in Colorado and Texas in 2008. Waters was to be among the headlining artists performing at Live Earth 2008 in Mumbai, India on 7 December 2008. This concert was cancelled in light of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai throughout November 2008. He finished the world tour in 2008 with several shows in Europe and the US.
Syd Barrett died on 7 July 2006 and shortly after his passing Waters remarked: "... this is very sad ... Syd Barrett was one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. He left us long, long ago and although he only died just a few days ago fans have mourned him for decades."
Following Wright's death on 15 September 2008 Waters stated: "Rick's ear for harmonic progression was our bedrock. I am very grateful for the opportunity that Live 8 afforded me to engage with him, and David and Nick that one last time. I wish there had been more."
In March 2007 the science fiction film The Last Mimzy was released featuring an exclusive Waters song, "Hello (I love you)", which played over the end credits. Waters described it as "...a song that captures the themes of the movie, the clash between humanity's best and worst instincts, and how a child's innocence can win the day."
Waters confirmed in December 2009 to David Frost that he is hoping to tour The Wall in late 2010. Waters' manager, Mark Fenwick, confirmed 6 April that Waters will tour The Wall, and the American tour dates were announced 12 April 2010.
Waters is a supporter of the Countryside Alliance and has played concerts to raise funds for the organisation. A strong supporter of fox hunting, Waters claimed he left Britain due to the Hunting Act 2004:
“I’ve become disenchanted with the political and philosophical atmosphere in England. The anti-hunting bill was enough for me to leave England. I did what I could, I did a concert and one or two articles, but it made me feel ashamed to be English. I was in Hyde Park for both the Countryside Alliance marches. There were hundreds of thousands of us there. Good, honest English people. That’s one of the most divisive pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in Great Britain. It was disgusting.”
Waters opposes the barrier being built by Israel, calling it an "obscenity" that "should be torn down." In December 2009 he pledged his support to the Gaza Freedom March. Waters has voiced his opposition to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War in Afghanistan (2001–present):
“The loss of a father is the central prop upon which (The Wall) stands. As the years go by, children lose their fathers again and again, for nothing. You see it now with all of these fathers, good men and true, who lost their lives and limbs in Iraq for no reason at all. I’ve done Bring the Boys Back Home in my encores on recent tours. It feels more relevant and poignant to be singing that song now than it did in 1979.”
Waters first played a Höfner bass that was soon replaced with a Rickenbacker 4001S. Circa 1970 he switched to a Fender Precision Bass. He often plays with a pick but is also known to play fingerstyle. Waters uses RotoSound Jazz Bass 77 bass guitar strings. Throughout his career he has used WEM, Hiwatt and Ashdown amplifiers. He is known to use delay, tremolo, chorus effect and phaser effects in his music.
While usually credited only as a bass guitarist and vocalist, Waters is also known to play electric guitar (as he did on Wish You Were Here and Animals, where he played rhythm guitar on tracks "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" part 9 and "Sheep") as well as synthesizer and tape effects, both to Pink Floyd and his solo works. He also plays acoustic guitar frequently during his live tours, mostly on tracks from The Final Cut and on the track "Mother".
The following is a list of equipment Waters has used on his recordings and tours.