'We would talk, play snooker and have lots of arguments'
Bob Geldof on Roger Waters
Scarfe, I think is a closet psychopath' - Alan Parker
The third and final scheme in Roger's concept was the visualisation of the story in a movie. When did he decide to make a movie ? Roger: 'Right from the start. 1978 ... as soon as the thing was down on tape; I knew it should be made into a film because it was something that I had been working towards for years and years. I'd been trying, if you like, to work out a way of doing a show without having to be there. I'd been through all kinds of things - "We ought to work in cinemas and use the screens there," - and what you've seen in the shows, with the circular screens and the projections and the wall and things, is actually the end result of those ideas.'
Waters and Scarfe, who had worked for years as a political cartoonist for the London Times, started plotting a movie scenario. Scarfe: '[In 1979] Roger and I began to meet and discuss the script - what parts would be designed in this or that way, and what we would say. We didn't really know how to write a film script at the time, but we learnt and we did write one. Roger, of course, did the majority of the work because it was undoubtely his piece. At a later date, Alan Parker came in and gave us 'filmic tips' on the way to handle these sequences and make them more interesting.
The great thing about the film world is that it is highly organised and there are people to do all sorts of jobs. When I was with Roger, I made a whole storyboard on a wall: little pictures of what should happen in every scene. We'd discuss these and sometimes swap them: take one from the beginning and put it at the end - we moved them around almost like a pack of cards.
I did a whole set of finished drawings, which were put in book form and passed around the Art Department on the film; and they simply translated them into technical drawings which could be built.'
The 39 page script and storyboard was the basis of a lavish, oversized full-colour book, privately printed in a very limited edition as a prospectus for potential investors.
Scarfe and Waters were soon joined by English director Alan Parker. Parker, the British director of Midnight Express and Fame and a longtime Floyd fan, had called EMI inquiring if anyone was planning to make a movie of The Wall. EMI gave him Roger's number. Initially he was only going to advise Waters and Scarfe, but the more he became involved, the more he wanted to direct. Eventually Waters agreed to this.
At first, Roger had intended (at least) part of the movie to feature live footage recorded during the last set of London concerts. This would be combined with Scarfe's animation sequences which had also been used during the concerts, plus extra narrative scenes. Parker, on the other hand didn't want to have the band or Scarfe's puppets in the movie at all. He didn't want any connection with the stage show and didn't want any dialogue either.
None of the film footage that was shot during the final Wall shows in Earl's Court ended up in the Wall movie because, according to Alan Parker, 'the rushes looked like they had been shot through soup'. However he added: 'The concert fiasco provided us with an unexpected bonus ... it proved the narrator idea to be superfluous and convinced us that any use of a live rock n' roll band would only cheapen our endeavor to make it anything but a concert movie.'
Roger eventually agreed with Parker that it would be too confusing for the movie to remain both a Scarfe cartoon and a Floyd concert film - but not before thousands of pounds had been squandered on a giant electronically controlled schoolmaster robot.
Shooting of the movie started on September 7th, 1981. The first day was spent at the residence of a retired admiral, which served as the home of young Pink. While Parker worked with his actors indoors, an exterior crew rustled up footage for the sequence which would merge into Scarfe's Goodbye Blue Sky animation, where a 'dove of peace' eludes a talking cat and takes flight. Fifty doves and twenty pigeons were lost by the time they got a few useable frames. In the movie, Goodbye Blue Sky was moved to the beginning of the movie, just before Happiest Days of Our Lives, because it made more sense shown together with Pink's childhood scenes.
Much of the subsequent filming was done at Pinewood Studios, outside London. A special set was created for the motel room, complete with penthouse, swimming pool and computerized L.A. skyline; there was also a mammoth made-to-order Wall that would ultimately be blown to bits with an air cannon previously deployed in a James Bond film.
During the production of the movie Parker told an interviewer: 'The narrative film is very different to a normal film. There is no real spoken dialogue as such; although we all have been recording some sound and dialogue which we will sprinkle through the movie. Basically the music will be the narrative of the film, which means that the job I have to do is tell a lot of the story with just pictures. That's the basic problem: from the point of view of emotions and all the other areas in which one would normally use dialogue to push the scene forward, you don't have that handy device.
On the other hand, I do have the power of the music, which is another energy you don't normally have - not as strong as this music anyway. I think that the music and the show were unique in their own ways, so it was right that the film should try a different route. So although it is a tougher route, I think that what will be made makes it different and hopefully special.
It always had more substance than a normal rock 'n' roll concert, so it deserved more. So we wanted the film to have a life of its own and be able to tell the story in cinematic terms.'
There were times when even a casual observer might have questioned whether Parker had a clue either. The director had laid out the film "on the back of his eyeballs"; there was no formal script.
The cooperation between Waters and Parker was far from friendly. Waters' personal identification with the concept and the fact that Pink Floyd financed the movie for 12 million dollars, combined with Parker's fascination with The Wall and his own very definite ideas about what the movie should be like were bound to clash.
Parker: 'I think that I always wanted it to say a little more than just a personal story. You can't get away from that man in that room; and that man in the room started out by being Roger. But I think if it was just Roger's experience, it could have been a little narrow, and what we've tried to do is broaden it at every level.'
'Roger went on vacation for six weeks. In that period, I was allowed to develop my vision, and I really made the film with a completely free hand. I had to have that. I couldn't be second-guessed by Roger, and he appreciated that. The difficulty came when I'd finished. I'd been shooting for sixty days, fourteen hours a day - that film had become mine.' And then Roger came back to it, and I had to go through the very difficult reality of having it put over to me that it actually was a collaborative effort.'
'It wasn't a totally happy experience. There were lots of egos banging into each other, each of them fighting for his bit of the film. If you put three megalomaniacs [Waters, Parker and Scarfe - Ed.] into a room together there are bound to be sparks, but at the end of it I think we got something good.'
'Just because Roger and I didn't necessarily get on, it doesn't mean to say we didn't do as good piece of work.'
Roger ('82): '[Filming The Wall] was the most unnerving, neurotic period of my life, with the possible exception of my divorce in 1975. Parker is used to sitting at the top of his pyramid, and I'm used to sitting at the top of mine. We're pretty much used to getting our own way. If I'd have directed it - which I'd never done - it would have been much quieter than it is. But that's one of the reasons I liked the idea of Parker doing it. He paints in fairly bold strokes; he is very worried about boring his audience. It suits us very well, because we did want a lot of this to be a punch in the face. I wanted to make comparisons between rock & roll and war. People at those big things seem to like being treated very badly, to have it so loud and distorted that it really hurts. But there is very little of that left in the film. For a long time, the script had this image of a rock & roll audience being blown up - bombed - and, as they were being blown to pieces, applauding, loving every minute. As an idea, it is quite pleasing, but it would look silly to actually do it on film. It would be hard for it not to be comic.'
Initially Roger had planned to play the part of Pink in the movie himself, but his screen tests soon made all too plain that he was no actor. Parker had to ease him into an offscreen role and find a suitable charismatic figure that could act out Roger's story. Parker eventually choose Bob Geldof, the Boomtown Rats vocalist (I Don't Like Mondays) who would later organize Live Aid, as the 'hero' for the movie. Although Geldof at first thought the whole story was 'a load of bullocks' he would finally relent because doing any film presented him with a new challenge; he also like Parker and admired his work - and 'the money was good'.
Geldof: 'Alan [Parker] keeps saying, 'It's an experiment. Trust me, trust me'. It could be a gigantic cock-up for all anybody knows. I haven't a fuckin' clue if I've been any use'.
Eventually, Geldof really got into his part. During the hotel-thrashing scene of One of my Turns he cut his hand on a Venetian blind, but despite his bloody injuries he refused to quit thrashing the place.
Geldof: 'From the word Go you see me going insane. When I first appear, you see me brooding and becoming insular; in my chair just watching/not watching the television - nothing's happening. I just turn myself off.
One of the girls has come back from the gig, a groupie. 'Oh my god what a fabulous room,' - you know, the bit from the album. I'm just watching her ... "You want to take a bath?" and all that crap. Then she comes out and starts to kiss the tips of my fingers because she sees there's something going on. She's very gentle then.
That's one of the strangest things that's ever happened to me. I got very depressed with the physical coldness and everything, so I sort of locked myself into it. She was kissing my fingers and she said 'Are you alright ?' ... and these tears came welling up for no reason. It's the first time I've cried in over twelve years. I don't know where they came from, but deep down I felt this terrible emptiness - I couldn't handle it at all.'
'That afternoon I got to smash up the room. I just went for it - you start to go: mirror-stereo-radio-table-foot through the table-pick up the stereo-through the mirror. Then you have to stop which is terrible ! They have to do her point of view looking at me, so I had to stand there screaming at her - and that's well embarrassing if you've never done it before; I'm not a professional and it's very difficult to just stand there. I had to think of the most horrible things to say that would make her feel nauseated - so I was thinking of things that make me feel nauseated - and it was awful. I was screaming at her and it was so over the top that I was laughing.
I've destroyed the bathroom and she's in the room outside cowering in terror. Alan said, 'You just run at the camera as if you're coming at her,' so I just thought I'd go for everything to the best of my ability. I ran at the camera, knocked the camera man flying on his arse and just kept running and stood on his stomach; if you see all of the outtakes it looks great ! But that was wonderful smashing that thing up.
We don't quite know what's happened to Jenny, the groupie. She could be dead, she may not be: it's left ambiguous. My anger has gone from external rage to this very cold, neurotic obsession. They break down my door and see me - they're freaked because I got to go onstage. [Bob] Hoskins [who plays Pink's manager - Ed] slaps me and says, 'Get him ready - do anything, just get him out there,' and the doctor shoots me up with this stuff and they drag me out of the door.'
Geldof's newfound identification with the subject matter enabled him to portray Pink all the more convincingly - not least in the Syd-inspired episodes of The Wall's third quarter.
Waters: 'There was never any pussyfooting about what he thought about Pink Floyd or the music ... cos he was extremely scathing about the whole thing and I never tried to persuade him differently. You know, those bog-Irish - you can't tell them anything; they wouldn't understand. I'm not going to my waste time on Geldof, trying to explain The Wall to him. He understands; he just doesn't realise he understands ... If there're one man in the world who understands, it's got to be Geldof ... bless him.'
A total of 60 hours of film were shot in 60 days, which included several pieces that did not survive 'the final cut'. Parker: 'A prelude, a quite remarkable piece of music which, unfortunately didn't quite work with the rather unusual, quiet beginning of the film sadly had to be left out.'
Scenes of football crowd violence turned out to be very difficult to recreate in a realistic manner. Only a snippet of all the footage that was shot at Watford Football Ground made it into the film (during Waiting for the Worms).
A scene in which Pink's head, made of minced pork, was devoured by real-life fly maggots also didn't make the final movie. Peter Parks (Oxford Scientific Films Ltd): 'We looked after a rather unpleasant fly maggot culture which smelt like nothing on earth as we primed it to produce emergent flies (to lay eggs on the head) by rearing them on fresh liver and rabbit carcass. The smell was so bad we had to completely seal the room in question. Even so the girls working at OSF kept giving us very odd looks. The smell hung in our clothes and at night even traveled home with us.
The test result was horrible ! It did however appeal to Alan and was cut into the rough edit. Over the succeeding months we then repeated the shot twice more using different angles and faster frame rates. In the final sequence the maggots caused the eyeballs (sheep's eyes) to explode out of the sockets and hang on sinews half down the cheek !
One point of interest was that the drying process, which we kept minimal by high humidities within the time lapse studio, caused the lower jaw in the test to slowly close. When the film was still alive and about to complain about his treatment !'
Another part that didn't make it was the 'institution scene' which featured Geldof being wheeled into an empty asylum. The only thing that survived was the bit in which young Pink wanders into a bunker that leads to the asylum to meet his adult self.
The film starts with the first half of a song that could not be found on the album, but which was released on single nevertheless; When the Tigers Broke Free. This song about the British invasion of Anzio, Italy during World War II basically described how Roger's father, Eric Fletcher Waters, died. The single of this song, which was released to coincide with the movie's release, had the movie version of Bring the Boys Back Home as a B side. The single also featured a triple gatefold sleeve with stills from the movie.
Tigers was not put on the album because it was too personal to Roger. Roger: 'The rest of the guys in the band criticised its inclusion on the grounds that it was too personal to me. It's very specific about the time and place and so on and so forth and therefore it would have made it clear that 'The Wall' was about me.'
After scenes showing the death of Pink's father in the war, In The Flesh ? makes a visual comparison between war and the rock concert led by fascist Pink. After shots of the dead and wounded being carried away from the battlefield and Pink floating in his penthouse pool in The Thin Ice we see young Pink looking for someone to replace his father in the local playground in Another Brick in the Wall (part 1).
After the second half of When The Tigers Broke Free in which Pink finds his father's death certificate, the viewer is treated to Scarfe's Goodbye Blue Sky animation.
Happiest Days of Our Lives features a little break in which the teacher catches Pink writing poems in class. The lyrics turn out to be the words to Money ! Another Brick in the Wall (part 2) follows.
Gerald Scarfe: 'I designed the sets on the movie; and for the 'We don't need no education' sequence I designed a sort of maze, because I found - especially in England, and I'm sure it's true the world over - that the educational system is almost like a maze. You're channeled into it and fed around in a long line.
The masks are to give them all a similar identity. There is one key scene where normal children go to a conveyor belt, which is the school, and they pass through a small tunnel, which is the school system. When they come out the other end, they're all regimented children sitting at regimented desks wearing regimented masks: all looking identical. In other words, all systems that one goes through are in some ways imperfect; they tend to turn out the same type of person over and over again.
I was trying to make the point that, certainly here in England, many of these children, having been put through the system, leave school, then face unemployment. They join another line: the dole queue. I've also got children going along another kind of conveyor belt and dropping into a huge hopper, then into a mincer. They're minced up and come out as worms - it's another way of showing the system.'
In Mother we see young Pink going through puberty and getting married. It doesn't take long though before he shuts himself off from his wife. As a result she gets into a relationship with a union leader (?) while he is on tour. When Pink calls home the guy picks up and Pink finally realises what's going on. Enter What Shall We Do Now ? accompanied by the animation of Scarfe. The first half features the mating flowers, about the second half Scarfe said: 'What I tried to show in the animation is that one of the walls which we all suffer is the wall of materialism; the fact that we hide our pain behind a wall of goods. If you are really harassed, you can buy a new washing machine, a new TV, a new camera or watch or something; a new Ferrari ... a new Lear jet in some cases ... It's not a wall about the real values in life. One builds up this huge wall of consumer goods and that changes everybody: turns them into monsters. At the end of my animation, the character is turned into a hammer.'
In Young Lust we see a couple of groupies getting into the backstage area and joining the party which Pink's managers has organized. Pink himself has withdrawn in a trailer and eventually takes her with him to his hotel room. The aforementioned scenes of One of My Turns are followed by a combination of Scarfe animation of Pink's wife and film footage of a scared Pink in Don't Leave Me Now.
After a couple of flashbacks in Another Brick in the Wall (part 3) we see Pink going catatonic in his hotel room in Goodbye Cruel World.
Strange enough, Hey You was not included in the movie version of The Wall.
Roger Waters (1990): 'But then we put all the 13 reels together and sat and watched it (...) I found it almost completely unwatchable. Which is why I think it's so successful on video; 'cause you don't have to watch the whole thing. You can watch your favorite bits or you can fast forward and you don't have to sit there and be bombarded with this unremitting assault on the senses, like you had in the cinema.
In fact when we finished works on these 13 reels I potted off to the bar and Alan [Parker] came through and we stood in the garden and both felt very depressed.'
One of the bits that were removed was reel #7 which featured the Hey You footage with lots of rioting and British Bobbies. According to Roger is was too long, although it would work on its own.
After Pink's been seen clawing at his finished wall in and arranging the rubbish in his room in an insanely intricate pattern in Is There Anybody Out There ? he goes into the bathroom and shaves off his eyebrows. Parker: 'Shaving the eyebrows at the end of Is There Anybody Out There was very unpleasant. As often happens with these kinds of special effects, although everyone on the crew knows that we're watching an illusion - it's not real blood and it isn't real flesh being nicked - it's still impossible to watch.
At it transpired, it was also impossible to watch the rushes, and eventually we played the scene by allusion as we concentrated on the drips of blood into the murky suds [in the sink]. A lot of people watching this scene often think the blood portends injuries of more serious nature ... '
During Nobody Home we see Pink watching TV and young Pink looking for his father in a desolate landscape. Soldiers are coming home by train during Vera but Pink's father is not among them. All people on the platform then sing Bring the Boys Back Home.
Kevin McKeon, who played young Pink, said: 'There was one scene where I got right embarrassed. It was in the railway station and lots of people had to sing at me. That was bad enough, but there were lots of kids in the distance laughing at us. I blushed quite a few times.
Pink's manager (Bob Hoskins) breaks into Pink's hotel room and finds the star unconscious. He gets a doctor in to give Pink a shot, after which he is dragged of to a limo. In the limo he transforms into the fascist leader.
During In the Flesh ? Geldof is shown performing to a crowd of skinheads at London's New Horticultural Hall, accompanied by a choir and brass band plus an elite, twenty-four-strong 'Hammer Guard'. Geldof: 'The sort of Praetorian guards who surround me were the Tilbury Skinners from the Dockland area of East London, and they were very proud of their status as the personal guard. Everybody knows it's pretend; but once you're given the role and singled out as something, you behave like that - which is very strange. I think that although they're loath to admit it, everybody is fascinated by the trappings of fascism.
I come in to address the assembled followers. There is an ambiguity to the whole scene for a start, because it is very powerful visually. You've got this huge marching Wagnerian band, you've got a choir, and you've got this geezer - surrounded by heavies - who comes out immaculate but very stark - I look like a sort of gay Christopher Lee, I think (laughs). I've hardly any hair, my eyebrows have gone, I'm very gaunt, I've got beautifully-tailored clothes - a uniform - and I stride out and start screaming, very cynically: 'So ya thought you'd like to see the show ?'. 'I talked to some of those skinheads who appear in the mock Nuremberg rally and they were really grand kids. You get to like them having worked with them for a while. Then one day they told me they'd shoved a Pakistani off the tube the night before and I couldn't believe it. I asked them why and they simply said they hated Pakis. I couldn't reason with them.'
Parker: 'There were a lot of loonies in the audience who didn't realise that we were actually showing it because we felt it to be evil. They really got off on it - but that's alright. We took advantage of that, but when it's put together - from a cinematic point of view - it will have a very different viewpoint. But I don't think they realised that when they were doing it.
If you get kids from almost neo-Fascist organisations and you dress them up in blackshirts and jackboots, they do start to saunter around and believe they're the part. That's kind of scary. They ask if they can take their uniforms home with them and at lunch-time you see them in the pub with all their gear on, being eyed-up by the local residents. You hide your face because you are not quite sure what you might have created.
It was to show the extremes to which rock n' roll can go if you have a mindless audience. I think a lot of it originally was Roger's attitude to his audience and the way in which a barrier was built; the alienation of being a performer in that way. What we've done, again, is - just as a metaphor - push it to extremes in all terms, in a political sense.
But it's about madness: that's the important thing. It's about madness and impending evil and the fear of what that might do. If we make that clear then the point of the whole rally is there. Our point was always that if Hitler was around today, the first thing he'd ask Albert Speer to do would be to get a really good rock n' roll group at Nuremberg - it would be part of the trimmings. We're just pointing out that danger might be there; that's all - just to think.'
Scarfe: 'I invented a skinhead militia called The Hammer Guard. Their insignia was two crossed hammers and my worst moment during production was when one of the skinheads turned up with his hair shaved into the hammer design. I have nightmares about meeting people in the street who've taken up the hammer look. Of course, we were not advocating violence, but what the film says is that by creating a wall between people it is entirely possible that violence will occur.'
The Tilbury Skins were also deployed to smash up a 'paki' cafe for a riot sequence in Run Like Hell - a task that they executed with disconcerting relish. Also, during the shooting of riot scenes at a disused gaswork in Becton - later recast as a school and destroyed for the Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) climax - the skins seemed unable to grasp that their adversaries were merely actors dressed as policemen; the fighting, said Parker: 'always seemed to continue long after I had yelled out 'Cut!'.' One band of punks enacted the lynching of a black Romeo and gang rape of his white girlfriend so convincingly that in the end the director felt obliged to leave most of the footage out of his Run Like Hell sequence.
The skins were also used for the marching scenes in Waiting for the Worms, which also featured Scarfe's famous marching hammers animation.
Interestingly, when Pink sits in the bathroom stall just before he recites Stop two snippets of songs that would later end up on The Final Cut (Your Possible Pasts) and The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (The Moment of Clarity) are recited as well.
The noise that can be heard when the guard washes his hands is an extract from a live show of The Wall, with the announcer winding up the crowd.
As in the live show, Gerald Scarfe's animation was used for The Trial. Scarfe: 'Oh yeah, the arse. Actually, I think it was Charles Dickens who said through one of his characters that the law is an ass. So this giant bottum up in the sky seemed to me kind of symbolic of anybody who judges anybody - who has the right to do that ?'
After this track we see Pink's wall getting blown to pieces and the final scene is of children playing in the rubble of the scattered bricks in Outside The Wall.
There are several striking differences between the final version of movie and the Waters/Scrafe storyboard book. Waters originally wanted to have a wide view of the stage of the live show in The Thin Ice, the inflatable Teacher puppet in The Happiest Days of Our Lives/Another Brick in The Wall (part 2) and more stage footage with the inflatable Mother during Mother. The Scarfe animation for Goodbye Blue Sky and the list half of What Shall We Do Now? were different, Young Lust would feature a combination of (different) narrative film and live footage, Is There Anybody Out There ? featured a dummy of Pink with decaying face and swelling hands, the same effect would be used in Comfortably Numb which would also feature the Mother. According to the storyboard there were indeed plans to include both Hey You and The Show Must Go On. However the intended film content of both songs have been shifted to Young Lust and In The Flesh ? in the final version. Finally, The Trial would feature some more live footage of the part where the wall comes down.
In the storyboard book it is very clear that Roger initially had the intention to play the role of Pink himself.
Some of the songs were re-recorded for the movie version of The Wall. In The Flesh ? and In The Flesh were both re-recorded with Bob Geldof on vocals, and the latter with brass and chorus orchestration. Geldof: When it came to singing the lines I had been allocated, I sang them in a highly accented Irish folk-singing manner. It was a delight to see the look of horror creep over the faces of Gilmour and James, the engineer in the control room ... I tormented them for as long as I could and then sang it properly. At the end a voice came from the control room over the studio monitors: 'You bastard !'.'
Gilmour: I had a lot to do with getting the music right for the film and trying to keep the peace between warring factions at Pinewood Studios, with directors walking out ... That was my role: begging the directors to come back.'
A new, minimalistic version of Mother was made, as well as a version of Bring The Boys Back Home with the Ponterdulais Male Voice . That choir also appears on a re-recorded orchestral version of Outside the Wall (much better than the cheesy album version if you ask me) which also features part of the melody of Southampton Dock, which would later appear on The Final Cut.
Work on the movie lasted from September 1981 to May 1982. It finally went into premiere on July 14th, at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London. Several celebrities attended the gala premiere, among which Waters, Mason, Gilmour, Parker, Geldof and Scarfe. Proceeds from the sales tickets (priced at thirty and fifty pounds !) were donated to a handicapped children charity fund.
As was to be expected, the movie received very mixed reactions in the press. Many film critics found The Wall self-indulgent at best, though it broke box-office records during its initial run, and would resurface as a longtime number-one video-cassette release that would earn back for the Floyd all the money they had lost on the concerts (and then some). As a feature-length MTV-style music video, the film was surely several years ahead of its time.
Currently, Roger Waters is working on a DVD version of the movie that includes the recovered reel that holds the footage shot for Hey You !
Roger Waters himself wasn't too crazy about the end result. Waters ('84): 'No [I was not happy with the movie]. It was too busy for me. There was not enough attention paid to the feelings on it. How did that happen ? Well, as you know I got on terribly badly with Parker; the filthy little swine.'
'It was just not a happy time, unfortunately ... When you're doing something like that, there are all kinds of personal and political battles going on in a team of people who are trying to make the thing. It's inevitable that you're going to come out with a bit of a sour taste.'
Waters ('87): 'When it was finally put together, I watched the film, and I'd been dubbing it for the previous three weeks, reel by reel. Each reel on its own I thought was quite interesting, but when I saw all 13 reels together, I felt that it lacked any real dynamic. It seemed to start bashing you over the head in the first ten minutes, and it didn't stop until it was over; there was no quiet time.
But my most serious criticism was - although I thought Bob Geldof acted very well and that Alan Parker directed the film with great technical competence - at the end of the day, I felt, who gives a shit. I wasn't interested in this Pink character; I didn't feel any empathy for him at all. And if you can't care about Pink, then you can't care about his concerns about the totalitarian nature of the iconography of rock 'n' roll or even about the dead father in the war and all. And if I go to the cinema and I don't care for any of the characters, it's a bad film.'
With the release of the book with lyrics pictures from the movie in July '82, this chapter in Pink Floyd's history ended. Just imagine, 1978-1982: five years of work on one concept !
In July 1982 work started on an album which had the working title Spare Bricks. Although it was supposed to consist of unused material and the re-recorded alternative versions of the Wall material, and therefore acting as sort of a soundtrack to the movie, it eventually became The Final Cut, released in March 1983. The album was even more 'Roger Waters' than The Wall, giving his personal view on the loss of his father and the recent Falklands Conflict. Richard Wright was not present on the album and Gilmour and Mason could be considered nothing more than session musicians for something that basically was a Waters solo album, released under the name Pink Floyd.
You all probably know the story that Roger considered Pink Floyd to be disbanded after that album and was horrified when Gilmour and Mason (plus Wright as a session musician) released a new Pink Floyd album in 1987. Back in 1982, when work on The Final Cut was about to begin a reporter had asked Roger if that title would mean that it would be the last Floyd album, Roger had said: 'I would doubt that very much.'
So in a way, he was very much right ....
Pink Floyd's 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason was co-produced by Bob Ezrin. Roger was so embittered by this that he included the lines 'each man has his price Bob, but yours was pretty low' on his Amused to Death solo album.
After the Wall shows in 1980 and 1981, both Pink Floyd and Roger Waters have kept on playing material from the album live. During his 1984 solo tour David Gilmour played Run Like Hell and Comfortably Numb (sometimes appearing on the set-list as 'Come On Big Bum') from the Wall album. Both songs became set closers during Floyd's Momentary Lapse and Division Bell tours. Other songs the band played during these tours were Another Brick in the Wall (part 2) and Hey You (94).
David: 'My view of [The Wall] is more jaundiced today than it was then. It appears now to be a catalogue of people Roger blames for his own failings in life; a list of 'you fucked me up this way, you fucked me up that way.'
Roger Waters played In the Flesh, Nobody Home, Hey You, Another Brick in the Wall (part 1), Happiest Days of Our Lives and Another Brick in the Wall (part 2) during his 1984/85 Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking tour. During the Radio Kaos tour Roger played In the Flesh, Mother, Another Brick in the Wall (part 1), Happiest Days of Our Lives, Another Brick in the Wall (part 2) and Outside the Wall (!).
During his current US tour, Roger has played the full first side of the album (In the Flesh ? - Mother) and Comfortably Numb.
The Wall has often been performed by cover bands or temporary collaborations like the Dutch Pink Project. One Eugene den Ouden even performed The Wall with a miniature copy of the stage and its many effects.
On Saturday July 21st 1990 Roger Waters and the Bleeding Heart Band performed The Wall once more in Berlin, with a whole bunch of celebrities as session musicians. The performance went far from perfect and contained some good performances (Bryan Adams, Paul Carrack, Snowy White on guitar) and some absolute horrors (Cindy Lauper raping Another Brick in the Wall (part 2), Van Morrision stumbling through Comfortably Numb, Jerry Hall making an ass of herself as the groupie, Roger not being able to reach the high notes anymore, etc). And where was the rest of Pink Floyd ? Wouldn't this have been a perfect moment to 'kiss and make up' ?
As with Floyd's live shows this live version of The Wall also featured the extended versions of Another Brick ... (part 2), Another Brick ... (part 3), Young Lust and What Shall We Do Now (although it appears under the title Empty Spaces). Instead of Outside The Wall, The Tide is Turning from Roger's Radio KAOS album closed the show.
The performance was broadcasted live and a patched-up version was broadcasted several weeks later. The show was also released on CD and video and he live version of Another Brick in the Wall was released as a single with a horrible house remix of Run Like Hell as a bonus track.
We would like to close this special edition of Counting Out Time with a few final words by Roger Waters: 'You make your own decisions, your own life. What 'they' do clearly impinges on your life, but in the end, the responsibility for what you do and how you feel about yourself is yours. You are an individual. You're alone, but that's all right.'
Written by Ed Sander
• The Amazing Pudding # 34 - 60
• Best of The Amazing Pudding 1-5 & 6-10
• Behind The Wall (picture book from the bootleg boxset)
• Shine On (book from the boxset with the same name)
• A Viusual Documentary by Miles
• Echoes Mailing List FAQ
• Brain Damage #25
• Pink Floyd - Set The Controls - The Slug Concept
• Timeline for the Wall
• Pink Floyd - Pictures
• And last but not least, the best Pink Floyd book ever written, which should be part of every Floyd fan's collection: Saucerful of Secrets by the late Nicholas Schaffner (ISBN 0-385-30684-9).
• Special thanks to Frans Schmidt for proofreading and advise.
Isn't this where ...