Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

All discussion related specifically to Roger Waters.
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Peter Harold
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Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by Peter Harold »

Dear colleagues!

I am sitting here and listening to "Radio Kaos, the extended version". That means it is a remix of the original album with content taken from "When the wind blows"-soundtrack and the demo songs for "Radio Kaos". I am very surprised that this version haven't been released on a commercial base.

Anyhow. Through the years I have been wondering about the flute one can hear that Mr Waters was fond of having on "When the wind blows", the demo songs and the album "Radio Kaos". Several other artists have used this sound in that era. The group "Enigma" comes to my mind here.

I have always been wondering how it come to be included in the Waters sound-pallete. Through the years I have always thought it wasn't a flute, and it was made with a synthesizer. A third of my life later, when listening to the extended version of "Radio Kaos", I used the tool that wasn't really full public in the late 1980-ies: Internet. And here is the big surprise I never explored back in the days I created my Pink Floyd record collection: It is Mr Roger Waters playing a Japanese instrument, a so-called "shakuhachi".

My knowledge about this, and surely my opinion about Mr Waters ability as a musician, would surely been different if I had read about on the album convolute that he played "the flute". Oh, actually, the album information wasn't easy to read in those days, and with the advanced age my eyes have now, I wouldn't even try...

For the "Radio Kaos"-album, Mr Waters is playing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, keyboards and the above mentioned shakuhachi. When I re-listen to the album after all those years, and with the better knowledge about the sound of Mr Waters, I notice that there is plenty of his playing on this album, and particulary on the "When the wind blows". It is not as I have always believed him writing demos, calling the producer (Mr. Nick Griffiths in this case) to pick up session musicians, and wait for the final result and cash the checks.

When I exposed Mr Water being the maker of the flute sound on his albums, it also struck me that he is also blowing in the horn (hehe!) for the track "Outside the wall" during the live performances with Pink Floyd.

What is your thoughts about this? To me, the use of the shakuhachi instrument helps to move the music away from the Pink Floyd repertoire when it comes to the sound, and give it an excotic touch, but at the same time I can also see (hear) this instrument gluing together the song in the same way as Mr Richard Wright did with his keyboards in Pink Floyd.

Does anyone know if Mr Roger Waters have talked about this instrument in any interview?

Shine on,
Peter
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by jtull »

Apparently Roger masters the wind instruments. Clarinet, trumpet, shakuhachi..



I have no idea if he ever spoke about shakuhachi in a interview, but here is an cool video. Shine on You Crazy Diamond performed on shakuhachi flute. :)

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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by Hudini »

Peter Harold wrote:It is Mr Roger Waters playing a Japanese instrument, a so-called "shakuhachi".
It says so in the album liner notes, I've been aware of it ever since I first got the album (somewhere in the 1990s) but I never gave it too much attention. :?

It's interesting how a lot of people seem to think of Roger Waters as a somewhat inferior musician just because David Gilmour used to record bass for Pink Floyd records, while in fact Waters was/is a rather competent bass guitarist, plus at least decent on several other instruments, including guitar, piano and in recent years trumpet.

In fact, all Pink Floyd members used to play more than one instrument (with Gilmour playing lead and bass guitar, drums, piano, several string instruments and most recently saxophone, Wright playing piano, guitars, several brass instruments, vibraphone and accordion and Mason playing "just" drums, guitar and an occasional keyboard), and Waters was no exception. However, their levels of proficiency in each instrument are still open for debate.
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by jtull »

Hudini wrote:It's interesting how a lot of people seem to think of Roger Waters as a somewhat inferior musician just because David Gilmour used to record bass for Pink Floyd records, while in fact Waters was/is a rather competent bass guitarist,..
I think it's largely because of David Gilmours statements like this:

"Roger had developed his own limited, or very simple style. He was never very keen on improving himself as a bass player and half the time I would play bass on the records because I would tend to do it quicker."
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by mastaflatch »

One of the saddest things about Roger is that he seems to agree that his bass playing is/was inadequate. To me, it wasn't at all! It's brimming with bite, and it's the perfect bedrock for anything vintage Pink Floyd. Since Waters' voice was rarely featured on pre-Animals albums, I think that the attitude and gusto he put in his bass playing was one of the key elements of the band's sound. A lot of people think that his dark lyrical work missed the Floyd the most post-Final Cut but to me it belongs more to the Roger Waters' solo career while his idiosyncratic bass playing is completely overlooked. Replacing him with Tony Levin (as great as he is) or Guy Pratt/David Gilmour (as good as they are) made the bass take a mellower backseat thus only relying on Gilmour's guitar to provide heaviness to the band. Watching Pompeii really shows how Mason and Waters mastered a mightily efficient, yet deceptively simple technique. Without Waters' style and sound, Mason almost comes off as if he's pounding away in zero gravity.

Also, Waters' onstage attitude with percussions (crash cymbals and gong) is something to behold. He might not be a percussionist in the noble sense of the term but his menacing showmanship made up for any lack of technical ability.

Other things for which he should be given credit: tape loops, VCS3 and mouth noises :D Oh yeah, and as I wrote in another thread, his fingerstyle guitar playing.
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by jtull »

Here is the list of 100 "Greatest Rock Basslines".

http://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_basslines.html

"Money" is a number 3. :) Behind "Another One Bites The Dust" (Queen) and "Roundabout" (Yes)
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by Bigmanpigman »

mastaflatch wrote:One of the saddest things about Roger is that he seems to agree that his bass playing is/was inadequate. To me, it wasn't at all! It's brimming with bite, and it's the perfect bedrock for anything vintage Pink Floyd. Since Waters' voice was rarely featured on pre-Animals albums, I think that the attitude and gusto he put in his bass playing was one of the key elements of the band's sound. A lot of people think that his dark lyrical work missed the Floyd the most post-Final Cut but to me it belongs more to the Roger Waters' solo career while his idiosyncratic bass playing is completely overlooked. Replacing him with Tony Levin (as great as he is) or Guy Pratt/David Gilmour (as good as they are) made the bass take a mellower backseat thus only relying on Gilmour's guitar to provide heaviness to the band. Watching Pompeii really shows how Mason and Waters mastered a mightily efficient, yet deceptively simple technique. Without Waters' style and sound, Mason almost comes off as if he's pounding away in zero gravity.

Also, Waters' onstage attitude with percussions (crash cymbals and gong) is something to behold. He might not be a percussionist in the noble sense of the term but his menacing showmanship made up for any lack of technical ability.

Other things for which he should be given credit: tape loops, VCS3 and mouth noises :D Oh yeah, and as I wrote in another thread, his fingerstyle guitar playing.
'Waters' voice rarely featured on pre-Animals albums' ..........have we been listening to the same albums?
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by jtull »

Waters voice is rarely featured on the meny albums before "Wish You Were Here" album.

Atom Heart Mother - "If"
Meddle - "San Tropez"
Obscured By Clouds - "Free Four" and "Stay" (with Wright)
The Dark Side Of the Moon - "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse"

He sung just a few songs in the four years (70-74)
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

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jtull wrote:Waters voice is rarely featured on the meny albums before "Wish You Were Here" album.

Atom Heart Mother - "If"
Meddle - "San Tropez"
Obscured By Clouds - "Free Four" and "Stay" (with Wright)
The Dark Side Of the Moon - "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse"

He sung just a few songs in the four years (70-74)
Are you sure about Stay? sounds like Wright all the way to me (with backing vocal by Gilmour in the "Midnight blue..." parts).

So here's a tentative list of Roger Waters lead vocals before Animals:

Walk With Me Sydney (with backing vocals throughout)
Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk (with backing vocals throughout)
Set The Controls For the Heart of the Sun
# Corporal Clegg (he's supposed to be singing there but if Nick sings as well - as the story goes - I'm not sure who sings which part)
# Point Me At the Sky (just a part)
* Careful With That Axe, Eugene (not a proper singing part)
* Several Species (not a proper singing part either)
Grantchester Meadows
If
+++ Music From the Body +++
San Tropez
Free Four
Brain Damage
Eclipse
Shine On You Crazy Diamond

TEN ALBUMS + the odd singles and the early PF acetate = 14 songs + the ones from the soundtrack
---------------------------------

Do I really have to list the songs that Roger sings on the next three albums to make it clearer?
Sure!

Pigs On the Wings part one
# Dogs (last third of the song)
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Sheep
Pigs On the Wings part two
In the Flesh?
# The Thin Ice (half the song)
ABITW pt1
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
ABITW pt2
# Mother (verses only)
Empty Spaces
One of My Turns
Don't Leave Me Now
ABITW pt3
Goodbye Cruel World
# Hey You (second half)
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Vera
Bring the Boys Back Home
# Comfortably Numb (verses only)
In the Flesh
Run Like Hell
# Waiting For the Worms
Stop
# The Trial
Outside the Wall
When the Tigers Broke Free
The Post War Dream
Your Possible Pasts
One of the Few
The Hero's Return
The Gunner's Dream
Paranoid Eyes
Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
The Fletcher Memorial Home
Southampton Dock
The Final Cut
# Not Now John
Two Suns in the Sunset

THREE albums + 1 single = 41 songs

Now please feel free to discuss the stuff that's up for discussion. Thank you.
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by jtull »

mastaflatch wrote:Shine On You Crazy Diamond
*Welcome to the machine*

Some years ago we had a thread here on the NPF titled "who sings welcome to the machine?"(viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4608). The main question was whether it is Roger voice which is featured on that song or not too?
mastaflatch wrote:Are you sure about Stay? sounds like Wright all the way to me (with backing vocal by Gilmour in the "Midnight blue..." parts).
Some sites (for instance:Pink Floyd Hyperbase) cites Waters as backing vocal. But frankly speaking, I'm not sure now.
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by jtull »

P.S: I remember a interview with Waters in which he was asked why his voice is rarely featured on pre-Animals albums? Hi answered, Gilmour and Wright constantly reminded(nagged) him how he can't sing. :smt102

He said this: "A lot of people especially Rick and Dave think I can't sing, includig me a bit. I'm very unclear about what singing is. I know I find it hard to pitch, and I know the sound of my voice isn't very good in purely easthetic terms."
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

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jtull wrote:
He said this: "A lot of people especially Rick and Dave think I can't sing, includig me a bit. I'm very unclear about what singing is. I know I find it hard to pitch, and I know the sound of my voice isn't very good in purely easthetic terms."
That's from the Wish You Were Here songbook. I've had it for years but I didn't remember the "especially Rick and Dave". edit: I was right, he doesn't mention Rick and Dave.

In the same songbook, there's a rather technical interview with Gilmour in which he admits having done pitch correcting on Welcome to the Machine "because I couldn't reach these low notes" or something of that nature. Both of those interviews are very insightful - the one with Waters is titled "A Rambling Conversation With Roger Waters Concerning All This and That".
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by jtull »

I clearly remember watching a interview where he spoke how he wanted to sing much more on pre-Animals albums. But he said he was frequently put down by Gilmour and Wright. He wanted to sing more on the Dark Side Of The Moon he said, particulary to sing a song Time.
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by mastaflatch »

Yeah, me too - it was probably post-breakup though. He also sad he regreted not having held his own about singing Have a Cigar. As we all know, he came back with a vengeance afterwards :smt003
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Re: Roger Waters - the multi-instrumentalist

Post by Follix »

My favorite Floyd bass lines are ''Pigs'', ''Sheep'' and ''Hey You''... Oh wait :lol: