Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has long been a common ally between feuding bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour, but he seemed to break his longstanding policy of neutrality in a new interview.
Speaking with journalist Jim DeRogatis in a recent interview for Coda Collection, Mason was prodded about Waters' claim that Gilmour and late-Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright created a "toxic" environment in the band which prompted his eventual departure in 1985.
Waters told WTF with Marc Maron in 2016 that Gilmour and Wright were "always trying to drag me down." The pair would malign him as being "tone-deaf," he said, before surmising that they mistreated him because they felt "insignificant" creatively.
"I'm slightly flabbergasted by it," Mason said of Waters' description of Pink Floyd's dynamic. "I think that's a slightly over-emotional way of putting that there was some sort of division within the band ... Because Roger was always looking beyond the music, in a way."
Mason believes the rift largely stemmed from Waters' fascination with live concert theatrics and multi-media, whereas the rest of the band "just wanted to do music."
"But I don't think [David and Richard] were mean to him, particularly," the drummer added. "It's hard to imagine being mean to Roger."
Mason has been asked often in recent years for his perspective of Waters and Gilmour's fraught relationship. The drummer has been hopeful for a reunion, but not optimistic that Waters and Gilmour could ever work together again. He's emphasized that the two are simply "happier" apart.
In a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, Mason explained that there are foundational problems with Waters and Gilmour's relationship.
"...I think the problem is Roger doesn't really respect David," Mason said at the time. "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."
Furthermore, Mason says it "rankles" Waters that Pink Floyd continued after he left in '85; Waters assumed the band would break up without him.
"I'm hesitant to get too stuck into this one, just because it's between the two of them rather than me," he said. "I actually get along with both of them, and I think it's really disappointing that these rather elderly gentlemen are still at loggerheads."