London rock band Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason has been the only member to play on every single one of the band's albums, and is the only one that never thought the band should break up.
Mason would want Pink Floyd to still be touring if he had his way, but since he's not in charge he's taking his new project - titled 'Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets' - on their first US tour in 2019 for an evening of pre-1973 Pink Floyd music.
Mason got the blessing of both David Gilmour and Roger Walters before starting his new band. The pair don't speak to each other much these days, but they both remain close to Mason.
"It’s a really odd thing in my opinion. But I think the problem is Roger doesn’t really respect David. He feels that writing is everything, and that guitar playing and the singing are something that, I won’t say anyone can do, but that everything should be judged on the writing rather than the playing," Mason says.
He also feels as though Gilmour's decision to carry on as Pink Floyd after Waters left in 1985 continues to be a point of conflict: “I think it rankles with Roger that he made a sort of error in a way that he left the band assuming that without him it would fold,” says Mason. “It’s a constant irritation, really, that he’s still going back to it. I’m hesitant to get too stuck into this one, just because it’s between the two of them rather than me. I actually get along with both of them, and I think it’s really disappointing that these rather elderly gentlemen are still at loggerheads.”
After Floyd carried on without Waters, the relationship between the two men was very frosty for about 20 years, but in 2005 they put their differences aside for a triumphant reunion set at Live 8. They also played a cheerful mini-set together in 2010 at a UK benefit for Palestinian children. The following year Gilmour came out to play 'Comfortably Numb' with Waters at the O2 Arena, then appeared with Mason for the final encore. You can watch this below:
Since then they haven't appeared in public together, and when Gilmour cut the 2014 Floyd album 'The Endless River' as a tribute to the late Richard Wright he didn't even consider inviting Waters to participate. “Why on Earth anyone thinks what we do now would have anything to do with him is a mystery to me. Roger was tired of being in a pop group. He is very used to being the sole power behind his career. The thought of him coming into something that has any form of democracy to it, he just wouldn’t be good at that. Besides, I was in my thirties when Roger left the group. I’m 68 now. It’s over half a lifetime away. We really don’t have that much in common anymore," Gilmour said.
Similar to many fans, Mason finds their ongoing battle frustrating: “I think it comes and goes. And I think it can be exacerbated by some specific difference of opinion on a re-release and how it should be approached or what should be done.”
“I live in hope. I mean, I don’t think we’re going to tour as Pink Floyd again. But it would seem silly at this stage of our lives to still be fighting.”
And how does he manage to stay neutral in the middle of it all? “By keeping my head down behind the parapet,” he says.