Roger Waters would like to see a new resistance movement sweep America.
At a Q&A after a screening of his concert film, Us + Them, in New York on Tuesday night, the artist compared the way he saw younger people take to the themes of humanism in his concert abroad and stateside. When the moderator, BMG’s John Loeffler, said, “I was equally moved [in the film] just to see kids all over the world getting the message that they’re not alone,” Waters explained that he’d like to see Americans more upset by the government.
“Funnily enough, they are [connecting to that message], but unfortunately not fucking here,” he said. “Because if they were, you wouldn’t have Donald Trump as a president, you wouldn’t be having all this nonsense with the Democratic primaries, with them trying to destroy the only candidate who can possibly win against Donald Trump, Sanders.” Members of the audience, which was mostly media, cheered.
“We’re living here in a fool’s hell,” Waters said. “The United States of America is not a fool’s paradise; it’s a fool’s hell. And watching [the film], it reminded me that the great battle is the battle between propaganda and love. And propaganda is winning. And sadly, the buttons of the propaganda machine are being pushed by people who are fucking sick. These sick, sociopathic fuckers, all of them, every single one of them. Believe it or not, Donald Trump is somewhere down here, floundering around in the muddy water at the bottom of the oligarchic pool.
“And this is a man who has failed at fucking everything in his life except becoming the biggest … tyrant and mass murderer and mass destroyer of everything that any of us might love or cherish in the whole [world], only because he has the power,” he continued. “Unfortunately, he has his finger on the button on it, and he’s right. In ‘Pigs,’ when we put up that he has a bigger button and it works, it does. And it’s working all over the world, murdering brown people for profit.”
When the moderator complimented Waters’ passion and anger and said that the message was about love, the former Pink Floyd member joked, “Wait till you see the new show.” Waters will be touring this summer, on a trek dubbed “This Is Not a Drill,” for which he’ll be performing in the round.
At the press event, Waters also joked about how he’d rather not sing one of his biggest hits again. But after rewatching the film, its lyrics rang true to him in a different way. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘Oh, Christ, if I ever have to sing ‘Wish You Were Here’ again, I’m gonna shoot myself,” he told the audience to laughs and “awws.” “But, obviously, I will, because actually I really like the song.… Yes, we did exchange a walk-on role in the war for a lead role in the cage. We all live in a fucking cage, and it is a walk-on role. And it won’t become the opposite of that — which is to not remain enslaved — until we all, we the people, say, ‘No, this is fucking bullshit.’ … Obviously, somehow they’ve managed to convince enough of us that this is a good idea, that we’re prepared to support it.”
Waters will likely expand on these themes on his This Is Not a Drill Tour, and at his keynote talk at the South by Southwest conference in Austin this spring. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore will be moderating that discussion.