Roger Waters isn’t interested in whether or not Pink Floyd are the best band of all time.
Nor does he care much for most rock and roll music ever created.
Those are just a few of many revelations to come out of Waters’ new interview with Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper. The Pink Floyd cofounder recently spoke at length with the paper, where he gave an insightful look into his ideas about popular music and his relationships with the surviving members of Pink Floyd, guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason.
Waters is an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians, and the bulk of the interview explores his views on the subject before interviewer Gideon Levy asks Waters about Pink Floyd.
You can read the entire interview for yourself here, but below we’ve listed the five musically relevant things we learned from it about Waters.
1. Waters isn’t interested in Pink Floyd’s ranking among rock groups and says there are few rock and roll acts he would listen to or care about.
“There are certain groups whose names you can just pluck out of the air, and songwriters. Like you can say John Lennon is an important songwriter, as is Paul McCartney. So is Neil Young, Bob Dylan, so is John Prine. [But] There aren’t many rock ‘n roll acts I would ever listen to or care about.”
2. Drummer Nick Mason is his only friend in Pink Floyd.
“I was never really that close to [keyboardist] Rick Wright and David Gilmour, and we grew apart philosophically and politically—and even musically.”
3. Waters was surprised by Pink Floyd’s continued success after he left.
Waters left the band after the release of 1983’s The Final Cut. Gilmour and Mason subsequently released A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987. The album and its tour were massively successful. “That was a difficult period,” says Waters, “because they obviously were hugely successful and I confess that I never thought they’d get away with it – but they did.”
4. He doesn’t listen to music.
“I don’t listen to music. When I’m playing gin rummy with [his wife] Laurie, we listen to Chet Baker. That’s all we listen to—the same five CDs. Except the CD player’s broken now. I couldn’t get it working yesterday.”
5. He has no idea why there are no iconic groups like Pink Floyd, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones any more.
“Maybe when I was a young teenager I was interested in pop music a little bit. Like when I was 12, and ‘Hound Dog’ came out. There was something about the romance of the instant world of fame and being a celebrity that’s appealing to small children. It very soon loses its glitter and becomes about something else.”