Roger Waters apologizes for accidentally defacing Elliott Smith memorial mural

figure-8Roger Waters‘ new viral marketing campaign is meant to generate buzz for his upcoming The Wall Live” tour. Instead, it’s getting some unwanted attention after one of his posters wound up pasted over part of the late Elliott Smith’s memorial mural on L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard yesterday. L.A. Weekly has pics: As you can see there, Waters’ street team stuck an image featuring an anti-war quotation from President Dwight D. Eisenhower directly on top of the beloved mural, which appeared on the cover of Smith’s Figure 8 and was unofficially dedicated with messages in the singer-songwriter’s memory after his tragic 2003 death. Smith’s fans were understandably less than thrilled.

Waters promptly apologized for what he called an innocent mistake. “It was absolutely an accident,” the Pink Floyd frontman told the L.A. Times today. “I didn’t want to disrespect Elliott Smith’s fans, and I’ve instructed [the team] to remove the wheat paste immediately. It was a random pasting in the normal course of this, and I want to make it public that we had no intent to offend or cover up something precious.” A rep for Waters tells the Music Mix that the poster has already been removed.

Waters also told the Times that “It’s not like this was some pristine monument and Roger Waters is the Big Bad Wolf who covered it up.” As Pitchfork notes, that’s true enough — plenty of anonymous graffiti artists have left their marks on Smith’s unofficial memorial before Waters — but it’s still a somewhat snide and not altogether apologetic remark. What’s more, Waters confessed that he didn’t know Smith’s music before this brouhaha. (Guess he’s not a Good Will Hunting fan.) If nothing else, I hope this mini-scandal will inspire him to check out one of the two great Smith albums that were reissued last month.

What do you think of this story? Sound off in the comments, below.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter:@EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (20 total) Add your comment
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  • Shiny

    This article is very depressing on two levels. First, I didn’t know Elliot Smith had passed away. And secondly I thought all the old dudes from Pink Floyd were already dead.

    • Casey

      Yeah, Elliot killed himself like five years ago. Where ya been Shiny?

      • Jeff W

        He “killed” himself. The official report didn’t call it a suicide and left it open as a possible homicide. Not saying it wasn’t suicide – but man, stabbing yourself in the chest when there is no alcohol or drugs in your system is hardcore crazy.

      • crispy

        I don’t care what anyone thinks Elliot Smith was a 1,000 times more talented than Roger Waters =)

      • Arsinoe

        He stabbed himself twice in the chest. Through the breast plate and piercing the heart. It seems implausible that someone could do that to themselves.. but who knows?

    • Q

      Only Sid died, and he left the band before they made most of the music they are famous for.

      • Zoso

        Nope, unfortunately Rick Wright (keyboardist) died September 2008. The other three are still with us.

  • jaded

    The monument is already completely covered in graffiti–how’s this any different?

    • Mario

      Because this time we have someone to blame

  • &&

    What makes me sad about this is not just that the dude didn’t know Smith’s music, but that the best reference you could find for this article is “Good Will Hunting”. Pretty sure that Smith would be rightly pissed that this was his legacy.

  • LOL

    A non-story. Next?

  • Bob

    Why does the writer of this article, “Simon”, slip from journalism to opinion in the last paragraph?

    Are there ANY editorial standard on this site?

  • Jinx

    Roger Waters trying to cash in on “The Wall” is the real crime here.

    • Ken

      Roger Waters wrote “The Wall” so it’s his right to cash in on it if he wants to. It’s just too bad that Gilmour isn’t joining him on the tour. That would make it the most awesome experience of a lifetime.

    • Accomplice Rex

      Roger Waters cashes in on The Wall because it’s his main source of income. Waters won all rights to The Wall in the lawsuit between he and Gilmour over the use of the Pink Floyd name.

  • jack

    Elliot Smith who? Oh the drug addict suicide singer guy. Why don’t they just use his old crack den in Portland as a memorial?!

  • timbo

    @Shiny. If your musical ignorance extends to such scant knowledge and snide commentary on one of the seminal musical influences of the 70′s and 80′s, you truly know very little about music other than whatever passing fad takes your fancy.

    Secondly to the author. The irony of Pink Floyd’s association with what became known as Acid music is that it’s major artistic influence, Waters, has always been known for his acid tongue and self involvement. That being said, the man has a point. It’s like graffiti artists who slap their works up in public and then have their fans get their noses out of joint when someone else in turn comes along and defaces the ‘art’. Stick something up in public and chances are someone will come along and add their two cents worth. It’s not like Waters specifically instructed his minions to specifically go out and plaster his posters over anything and everything remotely resembling art or a memorial. They were just grunts hired by his publicists to hit the pavement and stick the stuff up wherever possible. We’re not talking rocket scientists here, you know? Yet Waters ends up having to take the heat for something entirely out of his control and as far removed from him as one could imagine.

  • timbo

    @ Rex. A little postscript. Waters did not win as such, in fact he lost the law suit over the Pink Floyd moniker. The rights to ‘The wall’, and a chunk of money, were part of the settlement he came to with Gilmour afterwards so that each party could go their separate ways. Gilmour’s take was ownership of the Floyd name and other associated interests. All of that information is sourced directly from an interview Gilmour gave a few years ago.

  • Joe

    Roger Waters should write something new or get lost.

    He’s too damn lazy,or cowardly, to be creative.

    • Miles

      Roger recently wrote the music for the 3-act opera entitled Ca Ira which is neither lazy or cowardly. The Wall is what everyone wants to listen to and Roger is going to deliver.

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