The songwriter, bassist and singer Roger Waters helped to form the legendary British Progressive Rock band Pink Floyd in 1965 and on each album the band released his role as a songwriter increased, even more after the band’s original singer and guitarist Syd Barrett was fired.
He stayed in the band for two decades, until 1985 when he decided to leave after many years of fights with the other members. Since then the musician has a successful solo career touring around the world playing Pink Floyd songs and some of his solo tracks. Over the decades he always gave his opinion on politics and talked about what was going on in the world, what many times made him a controversial person, depending on which side of the subject the person is.
So the musician is used to dealing with animosity from people and he revealed that once a famous singer ignored him when he went to see a band live. But he doesn’t know if he didn’t want to talk to him or he was just shy.
The singer who ignored Roger Waters when they met
During his time in Pink Floyd, Roger Waters was the band’s main lyricist after Syd Barrett was no longer in the group and especially on the last albums like “Animals” (1977) and “The Wall” (1979) that role became even bigger with him writing almost everything. His role as the creative leader sometimes led to discussions and was bad for the relationship with the bandmates.
He released his solo debut “The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking” in 1984, one year before he officially left Pink Floyd. In 1987 “Radio K.A.O.S” was released, followed by “Amused To Death” (1992). He wasn’t happy that Pink Floyd continued with the same name after he left and a kind of rivalry between the group and him was created because he also performed many Pink Floyd songs at his shows.
A very successful songwriter, Waters continued to be a famous and relevant Rock star in the 90s and was also paying attention in the new bands that were appearing in the scene. He used to go and check many of them live and once he decided to go see the American Alternative Rock R.E.M. when they only had a few years on the road.
He went to say hello to the group backstage but the band’s vocalist Michael Stipe just stayed in the corner. Waters recalled that story in an interview with John Edginton back in 2001 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) and said that he didn’t knew if the singer didn’t want to talk to him or was just shy. He also said that by surprise, Stipe performed the song written by Syd Barrett “Dark Globe” on the set. “I went to see R.E.M one day when they were a very new band. Because I heard something and I liked it.”
“(So) I went to the Hammersmith Odeon to check them out. I rang up somebody and I said ‘I want passes’. (So) I thought, ‘Well, I’m gonna go to say hello’. I went backstage and they were very kind of welcoming and rather kind of reverential.”
“We sort of said hello, except for Michael Stipe, who sat in the corner, you know. Kind of refusing to speak, ignoring me, which is fine. It was his gig or they gig. I didn’t mind at all. But I sat and watched the show which was great. I really enjoyed it. Then at the end they went off. (But) then he came back on and he sang ‘Dark Globe’ acapella on his own.”
“I thought that was great. I don’t know if he was having a go at me or not. But I thought it was fantastic. He got some of the words wrong. But by and large it was great. I thought ‘how cool’. He may be one of the ‘Pink Floyd (was) nothing after Syd (Barrett)’ camp, which there are a number.”
“Or it may be that he just wanted to show me that he knew that bit of the work as well. But it was great, he sang it really well of course because he’s got a great voice. It was very moving,” Roger Waters said.
He thinks that “Everybody Hurts” is one of the best songs from the 80s and 90s
R.E.M. was formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980. They reached worldwide fame especially in the 90s when they released many classic albums. Some of them are: “Out of Time” (1991), “Automatic for the People” (1992) and “Monster” (1994).
Their audience grew bigger and they were playing in radios everywhere in the world. That helped them to become one of the best-selling bands of all time. They have sold an estimated amount of more than 90 million records worldwide and were active until 2011.
In an interview with World Magazine back in 2005, Waters listed their famous track “Everybody Hurts” as one of the best from the 80s and 90s. That song was featured on their 1993 album “Automatic For The People”. The record also had other praised songs like “Man On The Moon” and “Nightswimming”.