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.
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.”
• 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.”