But some Roger Waters fans want to strip politics from the art
Roger Waters has a message for fans who object to his takedown of Donald Trump on his current Us + Them tour:
“Go see Katy Perry.”
Waters offered up the suggestion in a recent interview with CNN when the network asked him about audience members who have left mid-show in protest. You see, if you’re a Trump diehard, there’s lots to protest on the Pink Floyd founder’s 2017
trek, which stops at the TD Garden on Wednesday and Thursday.
song “Pigs,” the massive video screens flash images of Trump’s head on a pig and a baby cradled by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For “Another Brick in the Wall,” children strip out of orange inmate jumpsuits to reveal T-shirts emblazoned with “RESIST.”
Throughout the set, Waters inserts his strong political opinions.
None of this comes a surprise — Waters has been raging against war, fascism and consumerism since the 1970s.
What is shocking is how some fans of the 73-year-old icon are just realizing their hero’s art is deeply political.
Of course, many will tell you, “I don’t want to hear a rant. I just want to hear the songs.”
Here’s the thing, the songs are rants.
The relentless call of “shut up and sing” has been shouted at everyone from Waters to U2, Pearl Jam to Lady Gaga. Confused Bruce Springsteen fans and Reaganites have been hurling it at the Boss since the ’80s. Less than a year ago, Pretenders’ frontwoman Chrissie Hynde received a scattering of boos when she dedicated a song to Hillary Clinton at the Garden. The angry fans can’t seem to get it that there is no division between art and politics. There is no “Born in the U.S.A.” or “Born This Way” without politics.
Even Waters’ suggestion of checking out Perry — who coincidentally headlines the Garden on Friday and Saturday — comes with a dose of politics. Perry’s first hit, “I Kissed a Girl,” played a role in mainstreaming the marriage equality debate (a small, clumsy one, but a role nevertheless). Perry loaned Clinton her empowerment anthem “Roar” during the 2016 campaign.
Every piece of art, no matter how silly, stupid or frivolous, is a political act. Every pop song and popcorn blockbuster, Broadway show and network sitcom reinforces the status quo or aims to subvert it. This includes Perry’s hits and Waters’ latest album, “Is This the Life We Really Want?,” which echoes the defiant nature and sonic experimentalism of Pink Floyd’s classic catalog.
Anyone is welcome to blast “The Wall” in their car with a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker. But they need to recognize the songs they love are a direct attack on the politics they support.
Roger Waters, at TD Garden, Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets: $50.50-$370; ticketmaster.com.