Pink Floyd guitarist and singer David Gilmour says he thought the band would never release new music again after the death of keyboard player Rick Wright in 2008—but Russia's invasion of Ukraine changed everything. At midnight Friday, the psychedelic rock legends will release new single "Hey, Hey, Rise Up," with proceeds going to support the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, reports Pitchfork. It's the band's first original new music since the Division Bell album, which came out in 1994, when Vladimir Putin was still working in local government in St. Petersburg.
The song, which features vocals from an Instagram post by Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band Boombox, is based on World War I protest song "The Red Viburnum in the Meadow," the New York Times reports. Founding Pink Floyd member Nick Mason is on drums, but Roger Waters, who left the band in 1985, was not involved. Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law, tells the Guardian that he wanted to find a way to help the country. "It’s a really difficult and frustrating thing to see this extraordinarily crazy, unjust attack by a major power on an independent, peaceful, democratic nation," he says.
Gilmour says he contacted Mason and other musicians and convened a recording session last week, using samples of Khlyvnyuk's voice. The Ukrainian singer left the band's US tour in February to fight for his homeland. Gilmour says he last spoke to the singer Tuesday. "He said he had the most hellish day you could imagine, going out and picking up bodies of Ukrainians, Ukrainian children, helping with the clearing up," Gilmour tells the Guardian. "You know, our little problems become so pathetic and tiny in the context of what you see him doing." He says Khlvnyuk was pleased with the song and told him: "One day we’ll play it together and have a good stout afterwards, on me." (Read more Pink Floyd stories.)