Was Roger Waters depressed?


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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

This article will discuss if the bassist of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, was depressed. Aside from that, the article will show what depression is, and how it impacted his life and work.

Pink Floyd and Roger Waters

Pink Floyd was a British band formed in 1964. They became known as the first psychedelic group. They also experimented greatly with their songs. From long songs, with sonic experimentation, and elaborate live shows, they won the crowd over. 

When the band was created, it was formed by Syd Barett, was the guitarist and lead singer, Nick Manson, who played the drums, Roger Waters who was played the bass guitar and had part of the vocals, Richard Wright, that played the keyboard and vocals, and Bob Klose, who was the guitarist.

The band has had a long history of mental health conditions. In 1968 Syd Barret left the band due to his deteriorating mental health, which caused Roger Waters to become the main lyricist of the band. Which gave them successes like The Dark Side of The Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), and The Wall (1979).

Roger Waters left the band in 1985, continued his solo career, and became n activist in many causes, such as the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, and the tsunami that affected the Indian Ocean in 2004.

Was Roger Waters depressed?

Yes, it is possible to say that Roger Waters was depressed. As he gained space in the band, it was possible to see his struggle with mental health in his lyrics, especially in the hit work The Wall (1979). This album that was written along with Syd Barret shows a struggling artist called Pink dealing with many moments in his life.

From his younger age, until his older, and depressing years, and how each event made him build a wall to protect himself. Roger Waters said that this is an autobiographical piece, in which it is possible to see how he struggled with so many things. 

For example, in the album, he talks about how he misses his father, who died fighting in World War II.  In The Wall, he also shows his thoughts about the war in the song “Goodbye Blue Sky”.

In this song, he says “Did you see the frightened ones? Did you hear the falling bombs? The Flames are all gone, but the pain lingers on. Goodbye Blue Sky”. Showing how senseless the war was to him. 

Along with that, there is also a song in the album that talks about his overbearing mother, called “Mother”. 

In it, he says “ Momma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true. Momma’s gonna put all of her fears into you. Momma’s gonna keep you right here under her wing. She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing. Oh babe, of course, Momma’s gonna help build the wall”.

And as he writes each song about a life event, he repeats throughout the album sentence that has made it famous “All and all is just another brick in the wall”. In which he explains how every negative experience came to build this wall around Pink, causing him, with time, to feel numb and indifferent.

As it goes on, the album shows the deterioration of Pink’s mental health, and his isolation is shown in the song “Goodbye Cruel World”, showing that the wall is almost complete. But in the song “Hey You”, it seems like he is looking for help to not fall completely into despair and hopelessness. 

And after that, in the song “Comfortably Numb” Pink seems to be abusing drugs as a way to make himself unconscious of all the pain. But since he can’t escape his pain, he continues to live inside the walls he built.

In 1979, during an interview with BBC, Roger Waters explained how Pink went through, and the building of the wall he was building talked about only Pink’s wall. But also Waters, that he said it started being built at the end of the Second World War, and how it speaks to anyone that has ever felt isolated and alienated. 

So it is possible to say that Roger Waters has experienced depression during his life. But he also managed to find ways to cope with it, and even externalize all his feelings, so they don’t consume him. 

He even found other purposes in his life after leaving Pink Floyd, in his solo career, and even in his activist work. But to understand a little more about what he went through, let’s discuss what depression is. 

What is depression? 

Depression is a mental health condition that affects around 5% of the world’s population. It is a condition that causes the person to feel intense sadness, along with losing interest in things they used to love. Not only that, depression can make a person feel empty, and with no energy.

It also causes the person’s self-esteem to go down, along with their sense of self-worth. It takes away their hope, and purpose, as well as their joy. Life may turn black and white when you are depressed.

And even though not everyone experiences depression in the same manner, there are also some common symptoms of depression. They are:

  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Change in eating pattern
  • Isolation
  • Guilt
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts about death and suicidal thoughts

A person is considered depressed once they frequently experience its symptoms for more than two weeks. This condition can be caused by some factors. The first one is genetic. 

It is believed that when a person has a family history of depression, they can develop it easier. The same is said about people that had a previous depressive episode. Not only that, depression can be a reaction to a traumatic event, such as the loss of a loved one, or it can be related to a chemical imbalance in the person’s brain.

Was Roger Waters depressed?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Was Roger Waters depressed? 

Why are Roger Waters and David Gilmour fighting? 

Once David Gilmour got into the band, in 1968, they had a sort of clash of titans. Roger Waters used to be the creative leader of the band, and when David Gilmour got in, he also had ideas and wanted to put his creative side to work. And although they spent some time battling for this power, Roger Waters left the band in 1985.

But once he left, he started a legal battle with Gilmour that lasted years. That is because Waters said he was leaving the band, as his contract said he could, but he claimed that he was the creative mind of the band, so to dissolve Pink Floyd. 

This went on for quite some time, until 1987 the band reached an agreement with Roger Waters, stating that if he hadn’t the lawsuit would have wiped him out completely. But in 2013 he admitted that trying to dissolve the band wasn’t the right thing to do.

Was everyone in Pink Floyd depressed? 

The band’s drummer, Nick Manson, has said in an interview how he thought everyone in the band was depressed. He has stated that he thinks this shows in how they never found a way of working well together.

It might have been that they were putting so much pressure on themselves, and as Nick Manson has said, the environment was so tense that if they ever decided to talk about what was going on, or who did what, it turned into a discussion pretty quickly. 

It became finger-pointing, that it was better to not say anything. But besides acknowledging that they never found a great way of working together, he said that in The Dark Side of The Moon (1973) was the moment they got closer to having an ideal working environment. 

How can I cope with depression? 

There are many ways to cope with depression, and they are usually related to how intense your depression is. If you have mild depression, maybe just some lifestyle changes will be enough to help you through it. 

By lifestyle changes, we are talking about eating healthier, exercising, so it can give you more energy, and also help your sleeping pattern. Along with that, you can find meditation and breathing exercises to help you out from those moments when the negative thoughts seem to be crippling.

But for people that have moderate depression, or even a major depressive episode, it might be necessary to look for professional help. The combination of therapy and medication can be a way to handle it.

Therapy will offer you the possibility to take a deeper look at your feelings and understand what is going on. You will not only find a place of support, but it can also help you discover the root of your depression. 

As for the medication, which will be provided by the psychiatrist, can help your brain chemistry to reach a balance, and improve The intensity of your symptoms, which can improve, little by little, your sense of well-being.

Is The Dark Side of The Moon depressing? 

The Dark Side of The Moon can be considered a depressive album. It is a collection of melodic folk songs that have a psychedelic line to them. But if you strip down the songs, you can notice a nice melody to them.

And although they can feel like intense pieces of music, they might not be necessarily depressing. It may be just a more contained piece of art, that will speak to some people, but not to everyone. 

Does depression have a cure?

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. Instead, mental health professionals say that depression goes into remission. That is because it is impossible to say that someone that has gone through depression will never experience it again.

This happens because people can develop depression due to a genetic factor, which is impossible to change, and also because people that have experienced depressive episodes before having a higher chance of going through it again.

But although reading this may seem discouraging to people that are going through, or going through depression, it is important to keep in mind that a person with depression can regain control of their own lives and emotions.

With treatment, you will be able to feel joy again, and that lack of energy will most likely leave you. What is important to remember, once you feel better, is to keep taking care of your mental health, since that will be a good way to prevent you from getting depressed again. 


This article discussed if Roger Waters was depressed. Along with that, it explained what depression is, and how it may have affected his life, and his work.

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