Roger Waters has forever followed the moral compass that he was gifted with from a young age and shaped his life. The former Pink Floyd man has always gone with his gut and trusted himself to do the right thing. Waters’ perspective on life is unique to him and formed by words of wisdom he received as a youngster, advice that has remained fixed in his outlook today.
Waters’ was born towards the tail-end of World War II in Surrey, and when he was only five months old, his father lost his life in the Battle of Anzio. His mother, Mary Waters, then decamped the family to Cambridge, where he was eventually raised. The singer had a special relationship with his mother, who took on the role of being both parents to Roger and his brother throughout their childhood.
Despite the mammoth successes that Pink Floyd had throughout their career, it was never straightforward, and eventually, enough was enough for Waters. Throughout Pink Floyd’s days of dominance, he never quite saw eye to eye with David Gilmour, and their relationship was always slightly dysfunctional. As the years progressed, the two men were locked in a power struggle as their creative visions collided and, ultimately, Roger Waters left the band in 1985.
Waters’ departure was the biggest professional decision that he made throughout his career, and even though from the outside looking in, it looked like a rash decision. Everything that Waters has ever done stems from advice his mother gave him as a teenager.
“When I was 13, I guess, my mom one day said to me, we were talking about something I was having a problem figuring out,” Waters recalled to Rolling Stone. “She said, ‘As you grow up in life you often gonna come across things where you have to make decisions about things which may be complicated, complex, all kinds of different things.
“When you do, and you find yourself wrestling with something, if you take my advice, you would look at it from all sides, listen to all possible opinions on it, do as many researches as you can until you really feel you grasp it. After that, your work is done, all hard work is done. You’ll just do the right thing.'”
Waters continued: “Thanks, mom. I mean, I’m joking; she’s been dead for ten years. What an amazing gift. Because you can’t get rid of it. There’s always the right thing. If we can get more of us to do the right thing, then we’ll start looking after one another.”
He then passionately added: “We’ll begin to have something that might be called community. Because that’s what community is, looking after the most vulnerable of us, really, properly looking after them. For that, you need to stop spending all the money on weapons.”
Even though Waters was only 13 when his mother provided him with those perennial words of advice, they have stuck with him through every difficult decision that he’s had to make throughout his life and every moment of anguish. There are unequivocal positives which we can all draw from the advice that Waters passing on and something to be said for approaching life democratically.