Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall by Dave Thompson / Backbeat Books / 978-1-61713-564-4 271 pages
Music journalist Dave Thompson’s new book Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall is an entertaining intro to the music of the former Pink Floyd front man. Thompson takes an interesting circular route starting out with “The Wall,” ostensibly another Floyd album but a vision so personal to Waters that it was essentially a solo work, and then going back to Waters’ early life to show us the latter works’ early influences. The book is effective at laying out a timeline for Floyd’s dissolution and the birth of Waters’ solo career.
Casual fans who are hoping for an in-depth look at the personality, desires and drives of their hero will have to settle for co-worker anecdotes. Apparently Thompson didn’t have Waters’ cooperation so we get a great deal of detail concerning who feuded with whom and who was or wasn’t allowed musical input into Waters’ various projects. We also get some rather insightful commentary by Thompson into Waters’ underrated solo material. Unfortunately, the artist himself seems as distant and iconic as ever.
One day perhaps Roger Waters will pen his memoirs and we can get some glimpse behind the controlling, progressive and occasionally self-pitying image so prevalent in rock histories. Until then Thompson’s work has historical depth for the hardcore and illuminating insights into the music to guide the neophyte.