Connect with us

Why Richard Wright was fired and returned as a hired musician


Why Richard Wright was fired and returned as a hired musician

Richard Wright helped to form Pink Floyd in 1965 alongside Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Syd Barrett. As the keyboardist and even singer sometimes, he was a fundamental part of the band’s sound. He remained a member until the late 70s when during the recording of the groundbreaking album “The Wall” (1979). It was during the sessions that he was fired or “forced to resign” by Roger Waters depending on the way you look at it.


But why he was fired from the band and why did he came back as a hired musician and not as a member of the group?

The reason why Richard Wright was fired from Pink Floyd and returned as a hired musician

The tensions between the band members actually started a few years before during the making of “Wish You Were Here” (1975) and it was the last album Wright said the band worked well together. His relationship with Roger Waters already wasn’t good and the bassist believed that Pink Floyd was actually only him and that he didn’t need the other band members.

He wasn’t satisfied with the contributions Wright had made for the album and believed he wasn’t committed to the band anymore. As “The Wall” producer Bob Ezrin told Rolling Stone magazine in 1987, Wright was a victim of Roger’s cruelty. “(He was) a victim of Roger’s almost Teutonic cruelty. No matter what Rick did, it didn’t seem to be good enough for Roger. It was clear to me that Roger wasn’t interested in his succeeding,” Ezrin said.

As Wright said in an interview with Bruna Lombardi in 1996 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Roger said that if the keyboardist didn’t leave the band he would take “The Wall” and record it as a solo album, since he had written almost all the tracks by himself.

“By the time (we started) to make ‘The Wall’, Roger had begun to believe that he was Pink Floyd. He began to believe that he was the leader, but more than that. (He believed) that the others weren’t necessary and that’s why I left. By this time, Roger was on his ego trip and we didn’t get on for some time. For maybe three or fours years before that.”

He continued:

“He simply said ‘I don’t want Rick in the band anymore’. I had no choice because he said basically ‘If you don’t leave I’m gonna take ‘The Wall’, which is recorded as a Pink Floyd record and I’ll do it myself,” Richard Wright said.

As noted by New York Times, Wright had to resign his full membership in the band after Waters’ threat. Although he was fired or obligated to resign, he toured with them in 1980 and 1981 as a hired musician. The drummer Nick Mason joked years later that only Wright made profit from that tour. Because it wasn’t profitable and the losses were shared by Waters, Nick and David who were still members of the band.

Why Wright returned to Pink Floyd as a hired musician after Roger Waters left

In 1983 the band released “The Final Cut”, their only album without any contribution from Richard Wright, which also happened to be the last one with Roger Waters. As Wright told Bruna Lombardi, Roger had enough and decided to leave the group. “Dave, Roger and Nick made another album called ‘The Final Cut’. (And during that album) for the same reasons, Dave, Roger and Nick didn’t get on.”

“They had terrible fights so what happened after that, (was that) Roger basically said ‘I’m leaving the band, I had enough. I don’t want to work with you anymore,’ saying that to Dave and Nick,” Richard Wright said. Waters believed that the band would be over once he left since he was their main lyricist and wrote most of the tracks from their three previous records.

But that didn’t happen since David and Nick decided to go on as Pink Floyd. Then a huge legal battle started with Waters trying to prevent them from using the band’s name. Wright continued recalling how relieved he, Nick and Gilmour were when he re-joined the band, although it was first as a hired musician.

“(He) left and then Dave and Nick later on in 1986 said ‘Well, we gonna carry on working as Pink Floyd. Then he (Roger) actually tried to stop them using the name, stop them and me, because I joined later on. That was great, it was wonderful. It was a great tour, it was a huge relief for me, because I was now back in the band. There was a huge relief for David and Nick because they were fighting Roger and Roger was trying to stop them of being Pink Floyd.”

He continued:

“We would be performing (on that tour) and the audience would be holding banners. (They said): ‘We don’t need Roger, we don’t want Roger. We love you Rick, Dave and Nick'”, Richard Wright said.

The keyboardist played  in many tracks from “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” (1987), the first Floyd album without Waters. But he wasn’t credited as a full member of the band. That album had a lot of contracted musicians and even Nick Mason didn’t play the drum on all the tracks.

Due to contractual reasons, he couldn’t re-join the band as an official member. So he was still a hired musician at the time. He was only able to be called a Pink Floyd member later on and on “Division Bell” (1994). It was their second album without Waters and Wriht was credited as a band member. Wright co-wrote many songs of that album and even sang lead vocals in “Wearing the Inside Out”.

He was happy about contributing to the whole “Division Bell” album as he told Mark Blake in 1996. “Yes (I am a full member now). It was good to be able to contribute to The Division Bell from the beginning. Rather than come in halfway through, as I did on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason,” Richard Wright said.

As a solo artist, Wright released two studio albums: “Wet Dream” (1978) and “Broken China” (1996). He passed away in 2008 at the age of 65, a victim of lung cancer.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

To Top