Seven bands that Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters hates

Roger Waters is less shy about sharing a personal opinion than a football pundit after a couple of pints. His ethos is that too many people stay shtum and comfy when the world really should be put to rights. And that even pertains to the trivial pursuit of music. While some might call him cynical, Waters is a man who would wager that not saying anything if it isn’t nice is for meek and mild lambs sure to be slaughtered.

As he recently opined regarding modern music, “I don’t listen to today’s popular music, so I am not an expert. But it seems to me from what I have listened to the main drift for most of the people that call themselves artists is completely narcissistic and completely consumer-orientated. They don’t touch any real part of their capacity to feel love or joy. That’s how it seems.” If he is happy to share that about music that he doesn’t even listen to, then it’s little wonder that his contemporaries have copped a few criticisms.

As he says himself: “As far as my contemporaries, I am monumentally surprised how fucking scared my fellow musicians are to stick their heads out.” Nevertheless, some have still ended up with their necks on Waters’ chopping block. While he might have crowned John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and John Prine as very important songwriters, he is always quick to counter, “there aren’t many rock ‘n’ roll acts I would ever listen to or care about.”

So, who are the ones he has been unfortunate enough to listen to and hated? Well, we’ve curated this below. From the recent work of his own band Pink Floyd who he has berated since the fall-out, to the hair rock that repulsed him, these are the least favourite fellows that the Floyd man has ever come across.

Seven bands that Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters hates:

The Sex Pistols

As the legend goes, John Lydon was recruited by the Sex Pistols when he was spotted sporting a ragged t-shirt with the words, ‘I Hate Pink Floyd’ scribbled across it. Thus, it is perhaps no surprise that Waters wasn’t all that fond of their snarling, sneering ways. “The Sex Pistols were just trying to make noise,” he told Rolling Stone. It was so clearly contrived. You know, they were managed by a bloke who ran a shop selling silly clothes!”

He then rather callously confined their legacy to the immortalising impact of a youthful death. “And then one of them died, so you got that iconic thing that lives on. If somebody dies, that’s always good. Except for him, obviously, and his mom and dad, and [his girlfriend] Nancy; but for everybody else, it’s brilliant,” he stated.

While there are those who say that swipe underplays the impact of punk, his former bandmate David Gilmour more measuredly asserted: “I don’t think we felt alienated by punk, we just didn’t feel it was particularly relevant to us. We weren’t frightened by it.” Adding: “A lot of good things came out of punk, but there were an awful lot of people leaping on it as a bandwagon, who leapt off when they’d got to the top.”


Once more, Waters’ dislike of U2 comes from a public spat with the band. Waters seemed to recall that U2 were dismissive of his pet project, The Wall, and boy, did he not like that. “I remember when we did The Wall, being criticised by Bono,” he told Rolling Stone. “U2 are a very young band, and they’re going [in a mock Irish accent], ‘Oh, we can’t stand all that theatrical nonsense that Pink Floyd do. We just play our music and the songs unto themselves and blah, blah, blah.”

Waters wasn’t having any of it and thought that the youngsters quickly left their original ethos and clung to his coattails once a more commercial side of rock beckoned. “Oh Really?” he questioned, “All they did for the rest of their fucking career was copy what I’d been doing and continue to do. So good luck to them, but what a load of bullshit. If you lead them, people will follow.” In fairness, U2’s recent live shows couldn’t possibly be more bombastically performative if they somehow managed to summon an actual UFO from orbit.

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The Weeknd & Drake

“I have no idea what or who the Weeknd is,” Waters recently told Vanity Fair despite subsequently revealing unprompted that he recently had a gig canceled. “People have told me he’s a big act,” he added. However, Roger Waters asserted that he will never be as big of a cat as Roger Waters. “With all due respect to the Weeknd or Drake or any of them,” he said, “I am far, far, far more important than any of them will ever be, however many billions of streams they’ve got.”

In his opinion, modern music is a muzzled realm of vapidity. But most people in the music industry either couldn’t give a fuck about other people,” he suggests, “or it never crosses their mind. Or it does, but they’re scared to say anything because it speaks against the status quo… It’s a desperately rotten, corrupt system, and you’re causing untold misery.”

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AC/DC & Van Halen

As Waters has established many times over, his interest in modern music and forms beyond the esteemed songwriters is limited. He told Joe Rogan just that recently. “I’m not interested in most popular music,” he said in the three-hour chat. “[I’m] not really interested in loud rock ‘n’ roll — which some people are, and they love it, but I couldn’t care less about AC/DC or Eddie Van Halen or any of that stuff.”

He continued: “It’s just, who? I don’t go, ‘Who?’ because obviously, I know the name. And I’m sure Eddie’s brilliant and a great guitar player and wonderful. It just doesn’t interest me.” Waters’ guitar playing is far more classically orientated in origin, however. His songwriting, likewise, is grounded in a less flamboyant fashion. “There is stuff going on here that is fundamentally important to all of our lives,” he states, and the fun thrills of rocking out for the sake of it seem to miss that point in his eyes.

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Pink Floyd

The only thing more prone to a break-up than a band is a sitcom couple made of Lego, but when it comes to Waters breaking up with his former band, you have one of the bitterest bust-ups of all time. Waters might have loved the band he founded for decades, but now he stretches the strength of the word hate. In December 1985, Waters finally formally quit the band that he had co-founded. When he did so, he assumed that the whole group would disband. They did not.

This rift grew irreparable once Waters took his former bandmates to court. His High Court battle was to prevent them from using the name, claiming that the group was a “spent force of creativity” and they would ruin its legacy after he left. The resultant legal battle lasted for two years. It might have been settled out of court, but that was only the start. Waters later cited his displeasure at seemingly being banned from the Pink Floyd website. “I think he thinks that because I left the band in 1985,” Waters stated, “that [Gilmour] owns Pink Floyd, that he is Pink Floyd and I’m irrelevant, and I should just keep my mouth shut.”

He would ultimately label his former bandmates “toxic” and even say he didn’t enjoy his time with them before the split, surmising: “They were very snotty and snippy because they felt very insignificant, I think.” Needless to say, he wasn’t a man who was ever going to take the disbandment lightly. After all, music might be hostile, but Waters says even if he missed out, he still might be making enemies in a civil occupation: “I could have been an architect, but I don’t think I’d have been very happy. Nearly all modern architecture is a silly game as far as I can see.”

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