In addition to being a concert film of his most famous work, Roger Waters The Wall, which will be shown in movie theaters for only one night on Sept. 29, finds its creator reflecting on the horrors of war by visiting sites honoring members of his family who were killed in action. The former Pink Floyd bassist spoke with Ultimate Classic Rock about why he decided to combine the two.
“After I had finished touring in 2013,” he says, “it came to me that it would be a good idea to include some more personal narrative and intercut it with the live footage of the rock show. Which is why I decided to make a little road movie, which was to do with visiting both my grandfather’s grave in Northern France — he was killed in the first World War in 1916 — and also a memorial garden in Southern Italy in Casino where some of the deceased from the Battle of Anzio are honored on tablets, where my father’s name appears. So I would visit that site as well. Also that I would invite old friends, a few, and people that I could either have conversations with or whom might shed some light on the general anti-war aspects of the movie we were trying to make.”
That point is first made pretty early in the production. During “The Thin Ice,” the second song, faces of those who have died, either through civil unrest or military action, are shown. Waters chose that song specifically because of the meaning of its opening lyrics.
“‘Mama loves her baby, and Daddy loves you, too‘ is very much about connections with loved ones who have been lost,” he continues. “So, having done that, I reached out on the internet, via Rogerwaters.com and Facebook, asking people to send me stories. Send me a photo and a very short story of someone of you or someone in your family has lost. We got hundreds of replies to those things. So all the people that you see the movie, particularly in the credits at the end, and that we showed on the wall in the interval when we were doing the thing live, are all actual real people sent in by people to my Facebook. It was a way of them contributing, if you like, to the theater that became the live show.”
For now, Waters is done touring behind The Wall. But Waters is saving everything involved with the production in the hopes of staging one last performance for a cause very close to his heart.
“I’m sure you know I’m very involved in the Israel / Palestine issue and I’ve been something of an advocate for the Palestinian people and their predicament. One thing I did say a few years ago was that if and when the United States, who could do it in a heartbeat, or the Israeli government or whoever, who might make this decision could figure out what to do about the land and who gets what, who lives where and make that thing palatable and that wall came down like the wall in Berlin did in 1989. When that wall comes down I promise I will go there and perform The Wall there when that happens. Okay — that is the only reason that it’s all in storage. Just in case it happens.”
Tickets for “Roger Waters The Wall” are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com.