Why David Gilmour and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd hate each other?

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and David Gilmour have always had a somewhat dysfunctional relationship, despite selling millions of albums, performing world-beating tours, and establishing themselves as one of the most successful bands in music history. It’s a relationship that appears to be becoming increasingly strained over time.

Waters, who possesses a searing artistic vision, has always been wary of collaboration and would prefer to be the captain of his own ship. Gilmour joined Pink Floyd in 1968 with great success, just as lead singer Syd Barrett had become an untenable leader. As the years progressed, a power struggle unfolded between the two men as their creative visions collided. And, eventually, Waters quit the band in 1985.

When Waters initially left the group, he immediately engaged in a bitter legal battle with Gilmour that would last for years. To announce his departure, Waters sent a statement to EMI and CBS invoking the contract’s ‘Leaving Member’ clause. He stated that as the band’s main creative force, he did not believe Pink Floyd could continue without him. As a result, in October 1986, Waters initiated High Court proceedings to formally dissolve Pink Floyd. Water called the band a “spent force creatively.”

However, David Gilmour and Nick Mason denied the claims, claiming that Pink Floyd would not fold and that Waters could not declare it dead while the band was still working on new music. Waters eventually reached an agreement with his former bandmates, which resulted in his resignation after careful legal considerations in 1987. However, he did acknowledge that the resignation was entirely due to commercial constraints. “If I hadn’t, the financial repercussions would have wiped me out completely.”

In a 2013 interview with the BBC, Waters admitted that attempting to dissolve the band was a mistake. “I was wrong! Of course I was,” he said, before adding: “Who cares? It’s one of the few instances in which the legal profession has taught me something.”

Waters elaborated: “Because when I went to these guys and said, ‘Listen, we’re broke, this isn’t Pink Floyd anymore’. They went, ‘What do you mean? That’s irrelevant; it’s a label with commercial value. You can’t say it’s going to disappear; you clearly don’t understand English law.”

Despite an unlikely reunion in 2005 for a performance at the charity Live 8 benefit, during which the band managed to put aside their differences for a cause far greater than their own. The Waters-Gilmour days are long gone. And another Pink Floyd show appears to be out of the question. However, there is a lingering belief that all hope is not lost. After all, in 2008, the duo still had disagreements, but they “agreed to roll over for one night only” to complete the show.

It goes without saying that the performance was a complete triumph. Following their comeback, someone offered Pink Floyd a staggering $150 million payout in exchange for a US tour following their Hyde Park appearance. To back up their initial claims that the reunion was not about money, not even that amount of money could get Waters and Gilmour back on the road together.

It’s amazing that the two were able to come together for Hyde Park, even if it was only for charity. One would assume that this would put an end to all of the snide remarks they’ve made about each other over the years. Despite leaving Pink Floyd nearly four decades ago, Waters continues to find things about Gilmour that irritate him.

In a five-minute video posted on his official Twitter page in 2020, Waters lamented the decision not to grant him access to Pink Floyd’s social media channels, despite the fact that Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, was able to use the platforms to promote her novels. “One and half million of you have viewed our new version of ‘Mother’. Which is lovely – it really warms my heart,” he said. “But it raises the question of why this video is not available on the Pink Floyd website. Well, the answer is that nothing from me is on the website; David Gilmour has banned me from the website.”

Waters continued: “David believes he owns it. I think he believes that because I left the band in 1985, he owns Pink Floyd, that he is Pink Floyd, and that I should just shut up.” Waters then attacked Gilmour’s wife, claiming that some of his friends had recently asked him: “Why do we have to sit and watch Polly Samson, year after year, month after month, day after day. And the Von Trapps reading us excerpts from their novels to get us to sleep at night?

“We’re not allowed to even mention [my projects] on the official Pink Floyd website,” Waters said with a sigh. “This isn’t right. We must rise up…Or, just change the band’s name to Spinal Tap, and everything will be fine.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2018, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason speculated on the two men’s feud. “It’s a really strange thing in my opinion. However, I believe the problem is that Roger does not respect David. He believes that writing is everything, and that guitar playing and singing are skills that. While, not everyone possesses, should be judged based on their ability to write. I believe Roger is upset because he made a mistake in leaving the band, assuming that it would fold without him.”

He went on to say, “It’s a constant source of irritation that he keeps returning to it. I’m hesitant to get too involved in this one because it is between the two of them rather than me. I actually get along with both of them, and I think it is very disappointing that these rather elderly gentlemen are still at loggerheads.”

Gilmour has refrained from retaliating against Waters’ recent outbursts. However, he did not hold back when he expressed his thoughts on his former bandmate to Rolling Stone in 2014, stating: “Why on Earth anyone thinks what we do now has anything to do with him [Roger] is a mystery to me. Roger was sick of being in a pop group. He takes the reins of his career, propelling it forward with his own force.

Adding: “The thought of him entering something with any form of democracy in it. He just wouldn’t be good at it. Besides, I was in my thirties when Roger left the group. I’m 68 now. It’s more than half a lifetime away. “We don’t have much in common anymore.”

Waters attempted a peace summit with his bandmates at an airport hotel in recent years, but it ended in disaster. He confirmed that there would be no truce between the two men. Despite their changed selves and diverging paths, a flicker of hope remains that they might mend their broken friendship. The schism between the two creators hasn’t dampened fans’ desire for a reunion of Pink Floyd’s two powerhouses. Even in 2022, the two men were fighting again in public.

Waters issued a statement after the re-release of the 1977 album Animals became cancelled. “Gilmour has refused to release the album until these liner notes are removed. This is a small part of the Gilmour/Samson camp’s ongoing campaign to claim more credit for Dave’s work in Pink Floyd from 1967 to 1985 than he deserves,” Waters said. “Yes, he was and is an excellent guitarist and singer. He has been lying for the past 35 years about who contributed what to Pink Floyd during my leadership.

Prior to these inflammatory statements, Gilmour spoke with Rolling Stone about the release. He stated: “A very lovely Animals remix has been done, but someone has tried to force some liner notes on it that I haven’t approved. Um, someone is digging his heels and not allowing it to be released.” Gilmour continued, clearly referring to Waters, “he’s just getting a little shirty. You understand how he is, poor boy.” When asked about the possibility of a reunion, Gilmour flatly stated: “Pretty unlikely, I’m afraid.”

Following those comments, Waters’ press exposure increased once more. He chose to take advantage of the opportunity to express his outspoken political views. This was far from out of character for the rocker. He said: “As far as my contemporaries, I am monumentally surprised how fucking scared my fellow musicians are to stick their heads out.”

However, he received widespread criticism for his uncouth political remarks on this occasion. In October 2022, the musician wrote an open letter to Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska. He urged her to instruct her husband to sue for peace with Russia. This move would essentially shake hands on the current situation with Vladimir Putin, to whom he has also written a letter. As a result, many commentators have condemned his letter, arguing that acquiescing to a war criminal violates ethical principles. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, the musician stated that the accusations of war crimes are “lies, lies, lies.”

Waters stated that he believes his claims have landed him on a Ukrainian kill list. While an extremist Ukrainian organisation is behind a website that lists alleged ‘enemies’. It is by no means an official channel. Even the heavily convicted individuals behind it claim the list is merely a source of public “information for law enforcement authorities and special services”.

Waters then claims that his decision that no war crimes have occurred stems from the fact that they have only been reported in Western media. “It’s exactly the opposite of saying Russian propaganda; Russians interfered in our election; Russians did that. He told James Ball, “It’s all lies, lies, lies.” The former Pink Floyd member later bolstered his political claims during an interview with Joe Rogan. He said: “In my opinion, Israel has a right to exist as long as it is a true democracy, as long as no group, religious or ethnic, enjoys more human rights than any other,” Waters added later. “Unfortunately, this is what is happening in Israel and Palestine. The government claims that only Jewish people should enjoy certain rights. So it can’t be described as democratic.”

Given his lingering association with Pink Floyd, Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, has seen fit to call out these claims and distance the band from Waters’ controversial assertions. “Sadly, Roger Waters you are antisemitic to your rotten core,” Samson tweeted. “Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense.”

Soon after, Gilmour supported Samson’s comments, adding: “Every word demonstrably true.” As of yet, Waters hasn’t responded, but needless to say, the hatchet remains far from buried.

Gilmour and Waters have been feuding for nearly 40 years, and it appears to be getting worse. And Waters is not one to back down. Even outside of the turbulent world of music, he happily believes that he would have made enemies in a civil occupation. “I could have been an architect, but I don’t think I’d have been very happy. As far as I can tell, almost all modern architecture is a silly game.

Despite its irreparable nature, this bitter dispute continues to be a source of sadness for millions of Pink Floyd fans worldwide. Even if a reunion is definitely out of the question, putting the bad blood behind them would at least offer a sentiment of peace for their supporters.

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