Nick Mason Calls Roger Waters “The Bad Guy”
Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets live in 2020 - Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets / Youtube
Pink Floyd is unquestionably one of the most legendary rock bands in history. As pioneers of psychedelic and progressive rock, this British band crafted a distinctive sound that remains instantly identifiable.
But, according to drummer Nick Mason, they almost did not become celebrated rock deities had they chosen to continue their education. It all changed thanks to a certain “bad guy”
In a 2006 interview with German newspaper Tagesspiegel, the drummer shared how Pink Floyd’s conceptual leader Roger Waters influenced his views, diverting his fate from being an architect to being a drummer of one of the most popular rock bands in history.
“I wanted to become an architect. Music seemed to be interesting, but I was convinced that it would not be a proper way to earn a living. But Roger was the bad guy who managed to change my view,” Mason remembered.
Nick became a rock star because of Roger
When asked by interviewer Kai Müller if he became a rockstar because of his friends, Mason responded that education was a top priority before they formed the iconic prog rock band.
“If you wish to put it that way. I really don’t think that there would be somebody else who could try to talk my education out of my head,” the drummer shared.
Fortunately for all of us rock fans (and unfortunately for his parents), Mason realized his destiny with the help of Waters, a man who, he thought “didn’t have a good attitude towards studying”.
“He wasn’t lazy though – don’t get me wrong,” the drummer clarified.
Roger ‘took advantage’ of his bandmate’s weakness
Mason also shed some light on how Pink Floyd transitioned into a one-man show with Waters as the central figure.
“We were simply weak. David (Gilmour) felt that Roger was taking advantage of that weakness. David needed a fair amount of time to write a song, Roger didn’t,” Nick said.
He added that Waters demonstrated greater proactivity than the rest of the band, and urged them to boost their productivity. On the other hand, Gilmour saw no reason to hurry the creative process, while Roger remained convinced that it would take years for David to complete his contributions.
Mason elaborated, ”Don’t you see, we didn’t manage to get to the next step. It is impossible to judge who was right and who was wrong. Roger was seriously heading towards a solo career but he didn’t dare to make the final cut.”
Nick became the peacemaker
Despite his peacemaking efforts, Nick admitted that he never managed to bridge the gap between his feuding bandmates. Still, he made efforts to approach the differences with a positive outlook, which is the reason why he remained friends with both sides.
“Despite the fact that we always were clear about who did what on each song, we all were aware the annoyance on the outcome was larger than the sum of all parts,” he added.
One of the reasons why he gets along with Roger, who’s known to be abrasive and outspoken, is that both of them came from ‘left-wing’ families. He also remembered that even during the bassist’s student life, he was already actively voicing opinions against war weapons.
“I agreed on many of his thoughts about the matter. His way of dealing with [former British prime minister Margaret] Thatcher and her government in The Final Cut, were in the same line of how I was thinking of Thatcher,” Mason stated.
Nick Mason’s role in Pink Floyd
Mason has served as the drummer on every Pink Floyd album, although there are instances where session drummers, drum machines, or no drumming are featured in some songs.
The only Pink Floyd tracks attributed solely to Mason’s composition are “The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party Parts 1–3” from Ummagumma and “Speak to Me” from Dark Side of the Moon. Additionally, the one-off song by the band titled “Nick’s Boogie” bears his name.
Mason occasionally contributes vocals. However, he once provided lead vocals on two unreleased but widely bootlegged tracks, “Scream Thy Last Scream” (1967), penned by the original leader Syd Barrett, and “The Merry Xmas Song” (1975–76).
During live performances of the song “Sheep” (from 1977’s Animals), Mason handles the spoken section.
Nick is the sturdy bridge between Pink Floyd members
Despite legal disputes over the ownership of the name ‘Pink Floyd’, which began when Waters left the group in 1986 and continued for approximately seven years, Waters and Nick Mason remain good friends.
In 2002, Mason joined Waters during the last two nights of his world tour to play drums on the Pink Floyd song “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”. He also played drums at some concerts during Waters’ European tour in 2006, as well as in Los Angeles and New York City in the United States.
On May 12, 2007, Mason once again joined Waters on stage at Earls Court to perform The Dark Side of the Moon. Furthermore, on May 12, 2011, Mason, along with Gilmour, made an appearance on the encore “Outside the Wall” at a Waters concert featuring a full performance of The Wall. Gilmour even participated in the iconic “Comfortably Numb” that night.
In July 2005, Mason, Gilmour, Wright, and Waters finally reunited on stage for the first time in 24 years to play a four-song set at the Live 8 concert in London. Mason then joined Gilmour and Wright for the encore at the former’s show at the Royal Albert Hall, reuniting the post-Waters Pink Floyd on May 31, 2006.
Mason, being the bridge that he is between Gilmour and Waters, has expressed the possibility of the band performing live again, either for a charitable cause or even embarking on a tour, in several interviews in recent years.