Roger Waters Condemns George Floyd Killing
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press
Roger Waters and Brian Eno have appeared in a new episode of podcast The COVID-19 Chronicles hosted by political journalist Frank Barat.
In the episode Waters discusses the death of George Floyd, a US citizen who died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a police officer’s knee May 7.
Floyd’s death sparked widespread outrage.
Waters, it seems is, no exception.
“A Black man in [Minneapolis] was choked to death by four guys two days ago!” he exclaims amidst a broader discussion of human rights.
“They choked him to death, murdered him in broad daylight,” Waters continues. “Nothing has happened, they have been fired. No judicial proceedings have been started against them.”
“Obviously,” the former Pink Floyd creative visionary contends, “that iceberg is not just the tip showing, that iceberg sits on this country. The endemic white supremacist bulls**t of American exceptionalism and racism sits on top of everything, choking the life out of it and making it almost impossible for we human beings to collaborate with one another, transcending our color or our religion or whatever else it may be. These f***ers are trying to build up the bricks of the things that prevent us from acting together… I know I’m rambling.”
While not an American citizen, Roger Waters has resided in the US as a permanent resident since the 1980s.
Later, Waters defends his right to hold and publicly express such opinions.
“I care about my brothers and sister all over the world,” Waters contends, “and they care about my art.”
Waters also reflects on the recording of Pink Floyd’s 1975 single ‘Welcome to the Machine‘.
“When I wrote ‘Welcome to the Machine’, all those years ago in the 1970s,” Waters shares, “I was in a pop group and I was recognising we were just f***ing fodder. They don’t give a sh*t about any of this! What they care about is never playing a Black Artist a single cent of royalties. If they do that for the whole day that’s a job well done. I shouldn’t be tarring them all with the same brush but…”
Waters then describes the music industry’s approach to art.
“‘What’s this? It’s very hot!’” he remarks, “‘Let’s cool it down. Let’s put a plastic coating around it. Let’s put a bikini on it and make it twerk and then everything will be alright because nobody will ever think about anything again.'”
Roger Waters then adds he thinks ‘Is This The Life We Really Want?‘ from his 2017 album of the same name further builds upon the same feeling.
Eno, Waters, and their host also discuss the role of art in society, the decline of the pubs as a social hub, the Israel-Palestine conflict, Nick Cave, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, and the Magna Carta.
The full podcast here.