Later this year, Roger Waters will celebrate the legacy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall with a 30th anniversary tour that will update what was already one of the greatest stage shows of all time as a 21st century rock spectacle. David Gilmour, who provided the album’s riffs and soaring solos and shared vocals on “Comfortably Numb,” “Run Like Hell” and “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2,” won’t be along for the ride, however. And Waters says the call was Gilmour’s alone.
The years following Pink Floyd’s split were marked by infighting and a lawsuit, but all four members of the classic lineup agreed to perform together in 2005 for Bob Geldof’s massive benefit concert in London. The reunion ended when the group rejected plans for a full-scale tour, and Waters and Gilmour went back to focusing on their solo work.
Waters didn’t explain why Gilmour is reluctant to perform as Pink Floyd again, but it’s likely because Gilmour doesn’t wish to play without keyboardist Rick Wright, who passed away in 2008 after a battle with cancer. After Waters essentially forced Wright to resign from Pink Floyd following The Wall, Gilmour welcomed Wright back into the fold when Waters departed and the Gilmour-fronted band released A Momentary Lapse of Reason. “No one can replace Richard Wright,” Gilmour said after Wright’s death. “He was my musical partner and my friend. In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick’s enormous input was frequently forgotten.”
While Pink Floyd fans may be frustrated with Gilmour for his lack of interest in touring The Wall, Elliott Smith fans are lashing out at Waters for covering up a mural famously associated with the singer/songwriter, who died in 2003. To promote The Wall tour — tickets go on sale to the public on May 10th — Waters is unleashing “street art” ads featuring a quote by Dwight Eisenhower: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” The quotation is written in the Gerald Scarfe font that adorns The Wall and its liner notes.
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In New York, the quote has been projected in heavily trafficked locations like Union Square, but in Los Angeles, specifically at 4334 W. Sunset Blvd., the ad was placed in Banksy-like fashion atop the mural that has become known as the “Elliott Smith Memorial Wall” made famous on the cover of his Figure 8, the L.A. Times reports. When informed about the incident, Waters told the paper, “It was absolutely an accident” that resulted from his New York-based team choosing the L.A. location without knowledge of its significance.
“I didn’t want to disrespect Elliott Smith’s fans, and I’ve instructed [my team] to remove the wheat paste immediately,” he said, noting that the art is made of a biodegradable material. Admitting he’s mostly unfamiliar with Smith’s work, Waters said that after learning more about Smith, “This is only a guess, but it’s my guess that he would have been sympathetic to [the quote’s anti-war] message.”