Roger Waters recalls 'toxic' Pink Floyd atmosphere

A picture of Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Rick Wright in 1972
Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Rick Wright in 1972 (Image credit: Getty)

Former Pink Floyd man Roger Waters has recalled the “toxic” environment within the band – saying David Gilmour and Rick Wright tried to drag him down.

Waters left Floyd in 1985, having played a leading role in the band for years following the departure of Syd Barrett.

Now he has accused Gilmour and Wright of making him feel inept in the band.

Waters tells Marc Maron’s WTF podcast: “The musical thing, I always felt insignificant and somewhat inept. More recently, over the years, I’ve come to realise that actually I have quite a sophisticated musical brain and that I get a lot of things that other people don’t notice.”

Asked what helped him reach that realisation, Waters says: “Getting away from Pink Floyd I think, I’m serious, I really think it was important that I got away when I did.

“It was a very toxic environment, when I was around some people – David and Rick mainly – who were always trying to drag me down and trying to knock me off whatever that perch was…by claiming that I was tone deaf and that I didn’t understand music. ‘Oh, he’s just the boring teacher figure who tells us what to do, but he can’t tune his own guitar.’

“They were very snotty and snipey because they felt very insignificant I think. I’m not putting them down. Those years that we were together, whatever it was like socially, there is no question that we did some really good work together.”

Asked whether the band’s concept albums were based around his vision, Waters jokingly says: “I wouldn’t say that…but yeah it was!”

On what he sees as his contribution to the wider rock movement, Waters adds: “My major contribution to rock’n’roll, if you like – I’ve written some decent songs – was really to develop the theatre of arena rock, which I did almost single-handedly back in the middle 70s.”

Waters has enjoyed a successful solo career since leaving Pink Floyd and he reunited with the band briefly for 2005’s Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park. He is currently working on a new solo album.

Pink Floyd are the cover stars of the latest issue of Classic Rock magazine, which is out now in print and via TeamRock+.

Roger Waters 2017 Us + Them tour dates

May 26: Kansas City Sprint Center, MO
May 28: KFC Yum! Center, KY
May 30: St louis Scottrade Center, MO
Jun 01: Tulsa BOK Center, OK
Jun 03: Denver Pepsi Center, CO
Jun 07: San Jose SAP Center, CA
Jun 12: Sacramento Golden 1 Center, CA
Jun 14: Phoenix Gila River Arena, AZ
Jun 16: Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena, NV
Jun 20: Los Angeles Staples Center, CA
Jun 21: Los Angeles Staples Center, CA
Jun 24: Seattle Tacoma Dome, WA
Jul 03: Dallas American Airlines Center, TX
Jul 06: Houston Toyota Center, TX
Jul 11: Tampa Amalie Arena, FL
Jul 13: Miami American Airlines Arena, FL
Jul 16: Atlanta Infinite Energy Arena, GA
Jul 18: Greensboro Coliseum, NC
Jul 20: Columbus Nationwide Arena, OH
Jul 22: Chicago United Center, IL
Jul 23: Chicago United Center, IL
Jul 26: St paul Xcel Energy Center, MN
Aug 02: Detroit The Palace Of Auburn Hills, MI
Aug 04: Washington Verizon Center, DC
Aug 08: Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center, PA
Aug 09: Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center, PA
Sep 07: Newark Prudential Center, NJ
Sep 11: Brooklyn Barclays Center, NY
Sep 12: Brooklyn Barclays Center, NY
Sep 15: Uniondale Nassau Coliseum, NY
Sep 19: Pittsburgh PPG Paints Arena, PA
Sep 27: Boston TD Garden, MA
Sep 28: Boston TD Garden, MA
Oct 02: Toronto Air Canada Centre, ON
Oct 03: Toronto Air Canada Centre, ON
Oct 06: Quebec City Videotron Centre, QC
Oct 10: Ottawa Canadian Tire Centre, ON
Oct 16: Montreal Bell Centre, QC
Oct 24: Edmonton Rogers Place, AB
Oct 28: Vancouver Rogers Arena, BC

Pink Floyd's Descent Into Madness

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.