- Piper Schulhoff: Someone gets hit by a car in Radiohead’s “Karma Police” video, as well as in U.N.K.L.E.’s “Rabbit In Your Headlights”, which you sing on. And then there’s the track “Airbag”. Is death by auto a recurring nightmare of yours or something?
- Thom Yorke: Isn’t it for everybody? The idea of dying unprepared like that is very frightening. Not having time to say goodbye. It seems just insane. Cars have lost the romance we grew up swallowing. Now they are just personal protection spaces, somewhere to sit in traffic and wait or play with death against complete strangers. I used to be really, really bad about saying goodbye to people when they got in their cars. I still insist that my friends ring me when they get home to tell me they’re safe. But I used to be much worse. I would be frantic if someone was unusually late. The absolute worst thing about touring is insane taxi drivers with no seat belts in busy cities. I also find it very difficult to accept lifts from somebody. Just like Mummy told me.
That song was written in one of those days off you have on a tour where you literally, all you can do is sit in your hotel room cause there’s nothing. It was a Sunday, and it’s somewhere near Hershey, I got no idea where we were and there was just nothing to do at all. And I had this idea of someone writing a song, sending it to someone and saying, ‘If I ever lose it, you just pick up the phone and play me this song back to remind me.’
Thom Yorke on the song ‘A Reminder’
- Q: What is more important: a heart or a brain?
- Thom: A heart is obviously completely useless unless you are in a country and western song. A brain can stay alive even when you're clinically dead and can be used to useful ends such as operating train signals and reading books. If the power fails, it can be hooked up to a car battery or a transformer. A brain pulsates in dramatic fashion when preserved in a bubbling glass container, and there have been cases of a brain holding complete power over an entire nation.
- Q: Would you like to come and play a small set at my wedding?
- Thom: Sorry, no - I don't like weddings. Although the last one I went to, I ended up DJ'ing while the groom cursed and swore blind down the mic at his family because they weren't dancing.
- Q: Would you trade in your musical genius to be happy?
- Thom: Both are myths, a load of old shite. A tortured soul is a tortured soul and will eventually cease to function in any useful way unless they get help. Unless they sail to the land of happy every now and again, where everything is the right way up, then they will simply fall off the edge of the world. A good way I've found to navigate is with songs and music. But there is a trade-off somewhere; at least there seems to be for the people I know.
The more you absorb yourself in the present tense, the more likely that what you write will be good. Especially in this fucking town, where everybody’s sitting in front of their desks for far too long, endlessly sweating over words that don’t ever get heard. People are obsessive in this city and work becomes an end in itself. The polar opposite of that is Michael Stipe, who absorbs himself in other people and the life around him, and that’s where he gets his ideas. I’m not like that, but I absolutely understand why he does it. Neil Young claims he writes lyrics and doesn’t go back to them. If he does, he says, the worse they become. But that’s scary. I mean, ‘Faust Arp’ is the exact opposite of that, pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages until eventually, the good ones stick.
Thom Yorke, 2008.
Computers are quite boring and they’re very slow and they’re very stupid but they kind of do cool things as well.
Thom Yorke, 1997
We had a crazy six months within which the number of children we had seemed to double. Last year was a real breeding year for Radiohead.
Jonny Greenwood, 2006
It has to be a set in itself, last time we went out it was ‘In Rainbows’ and a greatest hits. It’s not going to be like that this time. It’s going to be predominately from this record and the last one and then we’ll see which songs fit around that.
Ed O’Brien on what the setlist for the upcoming tour will look like
- Interviewer: What’s motivating the band to distribute the album [In Rainbows] this way?
- Jonny: Just getting it out quickly. It was kind of an experiment as well; we were just doing it for ourselves and that was all. People are making a big thing about it being against the industry or trying to change things for people but it’s really not what motivated us to do it. It’s more about feeling like it was right for us and feeling bored of what we were doing before.
- Interviewer: Why give people the option to pay whatever they want?
- Jonny: It’s just interesting to make people pause for even a few seconds and think about what music is worth now. I thought it was an interesting thing to ask people to do and compare it to whatever else in their lives they value or don’t value.