"We never assumed that it was defunct," says Gilmour. "But the growing tide or rumors and Roger's vocal output combined made it almost like an avalanche. We couldn't keep issuing press statements saying, 'No, we haven't split up'. It wasn't worth the bother. Our assumption - my assumption, anyway - was that we would do another record."
According to Gilmour and Mason, Waters officially announced his leaving in a letter to the Floyd's record companies, Columbia in America, EMI in the UK, in December 1985.
"We had had discussions," Mason says. "We sort of knew something was up."
Gilmour and Mason say that Waters thought his exit would mean the de facto end of the group.
"We'd been having these meetings in which Roger said, 'I'm not working with you guys again,'"Gilmour says. "He'd say to me, 'Are you going to carry on?' And I'd say, quite honestly, 'I don't know. But when we're good and ready, I'll tell everyone what the plan is. And we'll get on with it.' I think partly his letter was to gear us up into doing something."
"Because he believed very strongly that we wouldn't do it," says Mason.
"Or couldn't do it," Gilmour says. "I remember meetings in which he said, 'You'll never fucking do it.' That's precisely what was said. Exactly that term." He laughs wryly. "Except slightly harder."