Surviving Members of Pink Floyd Revisit 'Dark Side,' Band Tensions

David Gilmour: Another band reunion is very unlikely

September 28, 2011 8:00 AM ET
pink floyd rem rolling stone 1141
Rolling Stone Issue #1141
Illustration by Joe Zeff Design/EMI Music

The surviving members of Pink Floyd reunited, more or less, for Rolling Stone's new cover story: With Floyd re-releasing their entire catalog, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Nick Mason all spoke with senior writer Brian Hiatt for our latest issue, on stands and available through Rolling Stone All Access on September 30th. They discuss the band's fraught history, the making of their 1973 masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon and the delicate current state of their relationship.

The Dark Side of Pink Floyd: The Illustrated History of the Band's Last Days and Bittersweet Reunions

After years of tension, Waters and Gilmour have played together on three occasions in the past six years – leading to many to think that relations between them are better than they have been in a long time. "You would think so, yeah," says Gilmour, before pausing for a moment. "You could say that, but when I hesitate, it's almost nonexistent. I played on Roger's Wall show here one night a few months ago, and I haven't heard a word from him since."

Other highlights from the story:

• The classic line-up of Pink Floyd reunited onstage after 24 years at Live 8 in London, but don't expect that to happen again anytime soon. "Roger spent a lot of time afterwards saying how he would roll over gracefully for that one occasion, but it wouldn't happen again," says Gilmour. "Which strengthened my views: I understand how other people want that sort of [reunion] thing to happen, but I'm entirely selfish in thinking that I want to enjoy my declining years exactly the way that I want to do it. And that wouldn't be part of it."

Roger Waters Bringing the Wall Tour to American Baseball Stadiums

• Waters remembers being pushed not to sing on Dark Side. "My memory is David and Rick [Wright] were at great pains to point out how I couldn't sing and how I was tone-deaf," says Waters. "And there's this bollocks that Rick had to tune my bass. And you only have to look at the body of work to realize that this is not the case. Maybe their way of keeping me from being totally overwhelming was to point out that I might have vocal and instrumental inadequacies."

• Gilmour quietly retired the Pink Floyd name at the end of 1994's Division Bell tour. "I was launched into being pretty much the sole leader by Roger leaving," he says. "And I was having to bear that hurdle, that burden, all by myself. It was difficult, it was a learning curve, that first album. But you know Division Bell's got a lot to be said for it. After that the weight of carrying the burden was getting a bit much. And I thought I might sort of retire or look into solo things."

Video: 30 Years of Pink Floyd in 17 Minutes
Roger Waters Bringing the Wall Tour to American Baseball Stadiums
Nick Mason: I Can't Let Go of Pink Floyd
Alan Parsons on 'Dark Side': 'Roger Knew Something Great Was in the Making'
Storm Thorgerson: How I Designed the Cover of 'Dark Side of the Moon'
Erykah Badu, Billy Corgan and More on Legacy of 'Dark Side of the Moon'
Behind the Scenes of Pink Floyd's 2011 Reunion
Inside Pink Floyd: Rolling Stone's 1987 Cover Story
The Madcap Who Named Pink Floyd: Rolling Stone's 1971 Interview with Syd Barrett
The Dark Side of Pink Floyd: The Illustrated History of the Band's Last Days and Bittersweet Reunions
Rolling Stone Readers Pick Their 10 Favorite Pink Floyd Songs
Photos: Roger Waters Rehearses For the Wall Tour
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Pink Floyd, 'The Dark Side of the Moon'

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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