The Wall. Bloated and self-indulgent, yet near perfect in its execution. Though I was only 4 years old when Pink Floyd first executed its extensive stage show in 1980, the concept album’s legacy began to pervade my consciousness as soon as the beginning of middle school.

It was then that I first began noticing the Wall‘s bricks carefully stenciled on the notebooks of the upper classmen; the album’s nightmarish iconography emblazoned on t-shirts, stickers and half-sewn jacket patches—and of course the cardboard CD jewel cases (remember those?) that clung to the inside of rusting metal locker doors. These middle school upperclassmen, which to clarify meant 8th and 9th graders, seemed to be tapped into something…some otherness, something called Pink Floyd.

With the Wall, came the first sense of rebellion…escapism. A break from the suburban norm of Atlanta. Sure it was a band from another generation but what it signified was a good deal more interesting than the top 40 of Madonna and Wang Chung. And really, thinking back it wasn’t even so much about the music (as I’m sure I barely grasped the majority of the content of Roger Waters lyrics), but the promise of an, err, less conservative worldview.

A gateway, this was a world of beers salvaged from basement refrigerators and cigarettes pilfered from your friends mother’s pocketbook, both consumed behind the school parking lot and/or in the woods behind a church or shopping center. This was a world where marijuana was smoked out of bent coca-cola cans and makeshift tin-foil bowls. This was the beginning of sneaking out of the house at midnight and returning home before dawn. Heady stuff for a thirteen year old. Whatever this middle school subculture was, I wanted in. Far removed from Pop Warner football, this, the Wall, as I understood it at the time, was a glimpse of something else. Something far removed from the suburban drudgery of being thirteen in 1989.

And then I discovered Black Flag and Minor Threat. But that’s a story for another time.

That was 20 years ago. I have since gone through many phases of Pink Floyd fandom, from utterly denouncing them and their ilk (see Black Flag reference above), to championing founder Syd Barrett and everything in between. If you haven’t seen it yet, Mojo has taken another look at the Wall’s uncompromising 1980-81 live show revealing everything that went into making it a reality. In addition to interviews with its creator, Roger Waters, the magazine goes behind the scenes talking to the production crew, stage band, hangers on, etc. To commemorate the issue the magazine has curated a two-disc compilation, The Wall Re-Built, inviting contemporary musicians to each cover a track from the Walll. Sample a couple of tracks below. Sweden’s the Amazing slow the raucous “Young Lust” down to a piano-driven dirge, while Gnomonsong’s Papercuts employs fuzz and dreamy dissonance on “The Thin Ice.”

In 2010, I wonder if this album still grabs the imagination of thirteen year old boys the way it did in the days before the Internet. The days before endless “free” music, movies, etc.

MP3: Papercuts :: The Thin Ice
MP3: The Amazing :: Young Lust
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7 Responses to “The Wall Re-Built :: Papercuts/The Amazing Cover Pink Floyd”

  1. Bizzare. The Wall came on my shuffle this morning. I twittered “Look Mommy, There’s an airplane up in the sky.”

    I was born in ’82 into a massive Floyd family. While I can’t speak on 13 yr olds of 2010, this album captivated me throughout my pre-teen and teen years, well into the 90s. I still put it on now and again, mostly to revel in Gilmore’s massive guitar tone and get all lamely nostalgic. I think it still holds sway as one of the greatest, yet most divisive records of their career.

  2. The Wall was my gateway into the world of Floyd. Once the doors opened there was no stopping my descent into “Meddle,” “Saucerful of Secrets,” and the grandaddy of all psychedelia…”Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

  3. I was born in ’84, eight years later than the author of this text, and I can assure you The Wall still had the same magnetism for me at the age of 13 as it did you. I can still vividly remember first getting into Pink Floyd, and The Darkside of the Moon and syncing it up with my sister’s copy of the Wizard of Oz on the floor of my bedroom. The Wall would come later because it was difficult for a fourteen year old kid to drop the dough for the 2 CD masterpiece. I actually watched a borrowed copy of The Wall with a likeminded friend before I paid for the music, and was blown away because I had never seen anything so crazy. The cigarette burning through Syd Barrett’s fingers was the stuff of legend. I quickly moved on to other music, and while I moved to AC/DC and The Clash, and subsequently blues music instead of Black Flag and Minor Threat I can assure you that thirteen year old me was affected very deeply by Pink Floyd. A band that in my opinion doesnt get as much critical cred as they should. Great piece. Perfectly captured the teenage feelings of discovering Pink Floyd.

  4. this is pretty much in step with the way i discovered floyd. while the frequency in which i occasionally dust the album off the shelf these days has diminished, i am still taken back to that first time i saw the movie, dropped that single hit of flying pyramid and allowed my mind to be blown like never before. i may have outgrown my jr. high school acid days but those sounds still give me chills.

    p.s. to buzzkillington: i believe it was bob geldof with the burning cigarette, but i could be wrong. great scene… sets the tone quite well.

  5. “Something far removed from the suburban drudgery of being thirteen in 1989.” Damn. You nailed it. Right down to the bent coke cans, this was my exact initial experience with pink floyd and middle school rebellion.

  6. remember this one?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebuild_the_Wall

  7. In 2011 at the Staples Center, I had the pleasure to see this concert. Roger Waters is my idol as a angsty 17 year old teen, the Wall is defiantly an eye opener, and honestly understanding the meaning of the wall is a game changer. The award winning, half animated half filmed rock movie that Roger Waters himself produced back in 1983 is even more deep, dark, and will take you on a even greater psychological revolution in this new concert. It’ll take your breath away. The 50 foot puppets of the Teacher which signifies how society diminishes our creativity, the mother which symbolizes how being over protected can screw a kid up, and various other characters that will make your jaw drop. At the end of the first track on the wall, a nazi plane flies into the stage, starting the wall with the death of Pink’s (the main character of the story) father. Throughout the concert Waters is acting as Pink, brilliantly displaying emotions that make you feel like you’re living in the story. Like its all happening in front of you. As the show goes on the wall builds up. Subliminal messages consume the wall. For example when the song mother plays the whole wall says “Mother should I trust the government…Fuck No!” The Wall keeps building up brick by brick. Problem by problem. Further and further distance from society. The overprotected mother, the constant void that will never be filled because he has no father figure, school teachers changing him to be as interesting as shredded meat in the song, “Another Brick In the Wall P.2”, the inability to sustain a relationship with his bride Vera whom falls in love with another man, and the everyday pressures Pink cannot deal with. By Disc 2 the whole wall is completed. Which makes you wonder, what the hell is going to happen next. Well it only gets more entertaining. Waters acts in the front of the stage while the Wall itself is used as a projecting board for his messages and clips from the actual movie. Some clips will bring a tear to your eye, like “Bring the Boys Back Home” which shows troops returning home and how there loved ones react. The fan beloved song “Comfortably Numb” is played in such a entertaing and influental way. Waters is at the bottem of the wall sedated in his drugs that will eventually turn into the worms that start his whole Hitler persona, and at the top of the wall orginally David Gilmour sang the chorus and rocked on with his killer guitar solo, but at the concert Waters just replaced him with a decent filler, but nothing compared to the talent of singer and guitarist David Gilmour. The music, the concept, the rock opera itself will move you and get you thinking. Am I a robot? Do I make these walls that constrict me? By the end Waters cleverly used footage from the 1983 movie. “The Trial” which was all animated was shown on the actual wall like a movie screen and when Pink finally tears down the wall Roger water screams and the whole wall falls down almost on the audience. The impact of this album, movie, and concert is unimaginable. It has sold millions of copies worldwide. Safe to say that this album and this concert are amoung the greatest of all time.

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