Pink Floyd: Goodbye Blue Sky
GILMOUR [sighs] I did not go along with it. I went out to dinner with Rick after Roger had said this to him and said if he wanted to stay in the band I would support him. I did point out to Rick that he hadn’t contributed anything of any value whatsoever to the album and that I was not overly happy with him myself. An awful lot of the keyboard parts are done by me, Roger, Bob Ezrin, [orchestra arranger] Michael Kamen and [keyboardist] Freddie Mandell, but his position in the band to me was sacrosanct. If people didn’t like the way it was going, it was their option to leave. I didn’t consider that it was their option to throw people out.
MASON I think in real terms it would have been highly likely that I would have been next. And then after that I think it would have been Dave. I think it’s just that Roger was feeling more and more that this was his idea, and he wanted total control. Roger and I have been friends since we were students, before the band even existed, so I suppose in that way my position was stronger.
But what I think had always been the case is there had always been this philosophical division within the band: Roger and I were seen as the ones who liked the special effects, the show, the technology, whereas Dave and Rick took a more musically pure position. There’s a very broad generalization, but since this was conceived from the beginning as a big theatrical production, I think that’s where the conflict started, because Rick is absolutely not someone who you would have a fight with. He’s extremely mild. He was his own worst enemy in that he could have perhaps given a little bit more and perhaps diffused the situation, but I think Roger maneuvered brilliantly. [laughs] Made Stalin look like an old muddle-head. We all felt fairly helpless at the time to change it or do anything. Roger made it fairly clear that if Rick stayed, he and the album would not, and I think the threat of what was hanging over us in terms of actual bankruptcy was pretty alarming. We were under a lot of pressure. I felt guilty. Still do really. In retrospect one likes to think that one would have behaved better and done things differently. But probably we would have done completely the same thing.
WRIGHT It would have been quite easy to say, “Oh, he had a cocaine problem or a drink problem.” I can honestly say that it really was not a drug problem. [Cocaine] was taken without a doubt by him, me, Dave, Nick, Bob Ezrin, but purely socially. It wasn’t lying around in the studio.
WATERS There were people who were doing a lot. Some of us had big, big problems. I certainly wasn’t doing drugs at that point.
WRIGHT When I think about it, Roger and I were never the best of friends, but we weren’t enemies either until we went into his ego trip. Once he decided he wanted to control everything, his first thought was, I’ll get rid of Rick; I never liked him anyway. It was part of his big plan to become the leader, the writer, the producer and have people play for him. I think the next step of his plan, though they were buddies, was to get rid of Nick. That’s what I’ve heard. And then Dave would become the guitarist and Roger would use session musicians.
At the time I was going through a divorce. I wasn’t that keen on The Wall anyway, and I didn’t have any material. He might have seen my situation as not having contributed everything, but he wouldn’t allow me to contribute anything. We had a break after we finished recording in France, and I went to Greece to see my family. I get a call from Steve O’Rourke saying, “Come to L.A. immediately. Roger wants you to start recording keyboard tracks.” I said, “I haven’t seen my young kids for months and months. I’ll come on the agreed date.” He said, “Fair enough, I understand. Come on the agreed day.” Steve met me and said, “Roger wants you out of the band.”
MASON He took it and left. There must have been an element of him that just thought, Well I’ve had enough anyway if it’s going to be like this.
WRIGHT I fought my corner. Dave and Nick would say, “This is not right, we think it’s unfair.” When we had the meeting, Roger said, “Look, either you leave or I’m not going to let you record my material for The Wall.” It was maybe a game of bluff, but that’s what he said to me. Remember, we were in a terrible financial situation, and he said to me, “You can get your full royalties for the album, but you basically have to leave now and we’ll get a keyboard player to finish it.”
So I made the decision, rightly or wrongly, to leave. But I also made the decision I’m going to finish recording this album and I want to be in the live shows, and then we’ll say goodbye.
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