Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Treasures His Arkansas Razorback Baseball Cap


Who would have thought that after the thousands of hours spent listening to classic rock from radio station Magic 105 FM out of Little Rock, Arkansas through my formative years I would have another connection beyond music to one of their seemingly most played groups, Pink Floyd?

Thumbing through the June 7 issue of Rolling Stone magazine I stopped to read an interview conducted by Austin Scaggs with Pink Floyd bassists Roger Waters.

Most of the questions were fairly standard with hinting questions like are you and David Gilmour talking (looking for a full scale reunion tour). “Where do you end up when the bricks fall down from the wall during each performance? And a question right out of a sport’s edition, “how’s the golf game?”

The leading question to my delight, actual giddiness if you do not judge me for using the word giddiness, was “What’s your favorite record of the past 10 years?” Waters’ reply was the classic Levon Helm’s album Dirt Farmer (2007). Which Waters added, “Oh, how I miss him. What a man.”

Quick pop culture lesson for those that may need it; Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm was the drummer and one of the vocalists for The Band.

Helm was born in the small town of Elaine, Arkansas, also known as Turkey Scratch (not a joke), in 1940 along the banks of the Mississippi River. For those of you living in Arkansas and are unaware of Elaine, most people are more familiar with the nearby towns of Helena-West Helena.

After growing up around the sounds of country, blues, and gospel played throughout the region especially in the now famous “juke” joints in Helena, Helm found his way to Canada with fellow Arkansas musician Ronnie Hawkins.

Helm eventually united with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel to form what would become known as The Band in the early 1960’s.

The Band was initially known as the backup band for Bob Dylan in the mid-sixties but recorded independently of Dylan starting with their debut album Music from the Pink in 1968. Classic hits from that album include The Weight and I Shall Be Released.

The second EP released by The Band was The Band in 1969. Rock station classic Up on Cripple Creek and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down are still played daily from this iconic album. Fans of the group may remember Rag Mama Rag as well.

The Band’s last performance with the original lineup (Helm, Robertson, Danko, Hudson, and Manuel) was captured brilliantly by director Martin Scorsese in the documentary concert film The Last Waltz ( released 1978), arguably one of if not the best concert movies of all-time; this The Band enthusiast has worn out two copies through the years.

During their farewell concert Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Ronnie Wood, and Muddy Waters, among others, all paid homage to one of the most influential groups of their time by performing songs with The Band.

The influence of Helm went beyond the folk-rock sounds they produced during their decade run. Elton John and Bernie Taupin, John’s longtime lyricists, wrote the song Levon in tribute to Helm. John also named his child after the Arkansas native- Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.

Helm recently passed away on the 19th of April after succumbing to throat cancer after over a decade of battling the illness.

In Austin Scaggs interview, his follow up question to Waters regarding Helm was about Helm, Danko, and Hudson’s collaboration of The Wall in Berlin in 1990 (performed before a crowd estimated between 300,000 to 500,000 fans). “How’d that happen?”

Waters replied, “I invited them! I loved their music, and they were all absolutely amazing. Levon came up to me after the show. He scratched his beard and went, “Roger, I like your style, man. I want you to have my hat.” He took off his Arkansas Razorbacks baseball cap and handed it to me. It’s been my fishing hat ever since, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions.”

Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Arkansas Razorbacks baseball cap, fishing hat, treasured possessions… I cannot lie, immediately I started calling The Hogs!

I knew I always loved Pink Floyd for a reason. Thank you Magic 105. WPS!