Upon the album’s release in late 1979, one of the more ironic trivia “bricks” in the original limited staging of The Wall by Pink Floyd is that, unbeknownst to hardly anyone then outside the band’s tight inner circle, the internal power struggle, dissatisfaction with the contributions of two members, and the thinly veiled attitude of a third had finally resulted in original Pink Floyd keyboard player Richard Wright being forced out. Ultimately Wright was hired to play on The Wall tour as a sideman, but Waters insisted that Rick’s severance include a clause forbidding Wright from ever officially rejoining Pink Floyd, a barely submerged shoal of contention that would emerge far into the “endless river” of the future.The original performances of The Wall were so elaborate, so expensive, tickets so limited (Roger Waters refused to do it in stadiums originally), and the dates so few ( about thirty ) that Roger, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason all lost money touring it, whereas as a salaried employee with expenses paid by Pink Floyd, Rick Wright, was the only one who actually made money!
“Time has a way of making you behave”, David Gilmour reminded me when recounting performing as a guest with Roger Waters in 2011 at London’s O2 Arena, but it could just as easily have been said by the surviving Pink Floyd alumni Nick Mason or even Waters himself, all of whom rejoin me for the first of our two-part peek behind The Wall. For instance, Roger Waters admitted to me that in 1980 Pink Floyd had been guaranteed one million dollars per night to perform The Wall on a stadium tour. “And I refused to do it outdoors,” Waters tells me in this classic rock interview. “But how can you do a show that’s about the alienation you feel about doing stadium shows, in a stadium?”
Apparently Waters reconciled that personal dilemma, as evidenced by his multi-year globetrotting tour. This is part one.- Redbeard