Roger Waters Says He’s ‘More Important’ Than The Weeknd or Drake
Roger Waters insisted his work was “far, far, far more important” than pop stars the Weeknd and Drake, reacting to a lack of press coverage of his tour dates in Canada.
In a recent interview with the Globe and Mail, he spoke to reporter Brad Wheeler about the fact that no newspaper in Toronto sent a reviewer to either of his This Is Not a Drill performances there.
“What I’d like to know, what I’d like you to ponder on, and maybe ask your readers, is if they have any theories as to why that may be?” Waters asked. On being told that his show “wasn’t the biggest in town that night,” and that the Weeknd’s was bigger, he replied: “I have no idea what or who the Weeknd is, because I don’t listen to much music. People have told me he’s a big act. Well, good luck to him. I’ve got nothing against him. Would it not have been possible to review his show one night and my show another night?”
He added: “I’m not trying to make a personal attack. I’m just saying it seemed odd. And, by the way, with all due respect to the Weeknd or Drake or any of them, I am far, far, far more important than any of them will ever be, however many billions of streams they’ve got. There is stuff going on here that is fundamentally important to all of our lives.”
The conversation turned to his pro-Palestine activism, leading him to explain: “It’s not anti-Semitic, let’s get that out of the way. It’s the voice of the people saying, ‘We hear a lot of rhetoric about human rights but we don’t see evidence that our leaders [care about] human rights.’ In fact, we hear a lot of evidence that they don’t. Your government, for instance, is more interested in its mining interests and the oil and the tar sands and all that stuff than it is in the basic human rights of your Indigenous people and people all over the globe.”
Explaining why his concerts might not be as “upbeat” as some people might expect, Waters agreed: “[I]t wasn’t just a sing-along party of old hits. I don’t go to those kinds of shows, because I don’t like them. The old bands go out and trundle through their hits year after year after year. …The audiences are all 100 years old. … My audiences aren’t.”
Despite some people’s misgivings, he argued that his concerts expressed an element of hope for the future. “A number of years ago I was working on my opera, Ca Ira, with Etienne Roda-Gil,” he recalled. “I must have asked him a philosophical question, because he looked at me and said, ‘Roger, I was here, I felt something, and I was not alone.’ I feel the same way. It gives me hope. That’s the sense of community that I described to the audiences in Toronto, that perhaps we’re not alone. And that’s perhaps the community that I sensed the existence of in that room in those people that night.”
Waters’ current tour continues through Oct. 15.
Roger Waters in Pittsburgh, July 6, 2022