Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Sunday Chronicle, San Francisco


Interview by Tom Lanham
first published in The Sunday Chronicle, San Francisco

"Love songs have been killed by mainstream music, and to actually write a love song is kind of a peculiar thing to do these days."

--Thom York[sic]

Right from their inception in a snobby Oxford private school in the late 1980s, through to their haranguing of unappreciative fellow pop stars and music critics, Radiohead has always had a big hang-up about being undervalued. This sense of grievance, shared by Jonny Greenwood (guitar), Colin Greenwood (bass), Ed O'Brien (guitar/backing vocals), Phil Selway (drums) and the particularly bolshie Thom Yorke (vocals/guitar), manifests itself in aggressively self-pitying lyrics about such problems as the élitist attitudes of Oxford students ("Prove Yourself") and the bitterness of unrequited love ("Creep"), and a fierce "if you can't join them, beat them" outlook - a take on the world that led this nominally indie band to sign with EMI to amplify the commercial clout of their melodic sound.

Their first EP, Drill (1992) - a tinny collection of demos recorded when the band was still known as "On a Friday" mixed antisocial moaning with R.E.M.-ish strumming and vocals, interspersed with Nirvana-ish wails of guitar, and was not greatly welcomed. "Creep" (1992), however, was different. Not realizing the tape was running, the band recorded the song in one spontaneous take, and so captured something of the abrasive excitement of their three-guitar sound when played live. The band's stock rose with critics and punters alike after the release of the next two EPs, Anyone Can Play Guitar and Pop Is Dead, and their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993), surged into the UK Top 30.

Despite this taste of success, however, the lads weren't happy. Thom told his public, "if you're not interested, fuck you," and the band insisted they were perfectly happy to develop their skills without the help of the national papers (who still weren't interested in them). And they had mixed feelings over the release of the uneven, poorly sequenced and overly familiarPablo Honey, which featured six previously heard tracks. So it was under a cloud that they departed on a headlining tour of Europe in May 1993, only to hear some weeks later that, as if by magic, "Creep" had become the most requested alternative track on US radio, with heavy MTV rotation to match. Quickly changing their plans to building up a "word of mouth" reputation, Radiohead shot off to America for the first of several sell-out tours which would eventually have them CO-headlining with Belly, and supporting such luminaries as Tears for Fears.

--Rock: The Rough Guide

Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood have just finished their morning bowl of granola, and they have something on their minds.

Do you know where we can get some used Levi's 501's?" they inquire. "We can't go back to England without some." Given that the vocalist and bassist, respectively, for Oxford's curious new combo Radiohead are on their final promo junket stop in San Francisco and only have a couple of hours before the flight leaves, they probably won't be diving into any Jean pools. "But these pants are impossible to get back home," they whine - as are the stylish Ray-Ban sunglasses they're proudly sporting.

Stateside status symbols are important to these Brits, eager to prove themselves against the U2s, Cures and Depeche Modes back home. They've released an engaging Anglopop debut that contains one of the memorable numbers of '93, a self-deprecating little ditty dubbed "Creep." Yorke positively oozes uneasiness in the slithery chorus of "I wish I were special/ But I'm a creep/ I'm a weirdo" and that feeling is magnified by the song's unassuming arrangement, which sort of, oh, creeps along. And who hasn't felt like a creep at some point in any given relationship?

Q: I read where you failed at being an art student. Is such a thing possible?

THOM: The way I failed was, I went to college one morning, presented them with my paintings, and they told me I couldn't paint. That was about halfway through. I then disappeared for a month and came back with all these other works, so I didn't actually fail at all. I got a degree in Art and English.

Q: Your sound's a very artistic one, not to mention American.

THOM: Without being too obvious, I hope. We have a great many favorite American bands, just like the Beatles did. Any British band that refuses to admit the fact they're influenced by American culture is lying through their teeth, because Britain doesn't have a culture. All Britain ever does is take American culture and sell it back to America again. "Prove Yourself" was kind of written about that. Oxford's a very intimidating place, but not in normal sorts of violent way - -it's like Los Angeles was for the brief time we were there. After the first few hours of novelty value, the California sunshine gets quite intimidating in the same kind of way.

COLIN: Yeah, there's always a pressure on people to be known, to be doing something.

Q: Who is this "Creep," exactly?

THOM: "Creep" is more the way people look at you. The guy in the song doesn't necessarily believe that he's a creep, but he's being told he is. But these things change. "Creep" is the term for someone who follows people around and drinks on his own in bars and stuff, but the idea came from a rocky relationship I was having. I find it very disturbing that there are thousands and thousands of these wonderful love songs which aren't really wonderful at all, and it's evident that the people who were writing them have never even been close to anything resembling the emotions they represent. Love songs have been killed by mainstream music, and to actually write a love song is kind of a peculiar thing to do these days.

Q: Your album title, Pablo Honey, is rather unique, too.

THOM: That comes from the "Jerky Boys" crank-call tapes, the one where he rings up this guy and pretends to be the bloke's long-lost mother - he just chooses names at random from a phone book. We picked the tape up from Chapterhouse, who picked it up when they were on tour over here.

Q: I read where there was a recent poll in England that asked kids to name their personal heroes, and they chose the video game character the Sonic Hedgehog.

COLIN: Yes. We played that in the studio while we were making the record. We love Sega.

THOM: We figure that we shouldn't be doing music anymore, but music for video games. We ran into these 12-year-olds one day playing video games, and they asked us what we did. We said we were in a band, and they just weren't very impressed. They said, "Get out of it! Get into writing tunes for Sega!" All the record companies in England are really paranoid about it, because the retail shops in Britain sell more games than they do records. But that's OK, we're going into virtual reality rock. We'll never leave our homes. We'll have rehearsals in cyberspace.

COLIN: You have these new pop stars like the Sonic Hedgehog that're creations of the company, not human beings, so they're controlled completely. But we're not Sonic, we can't be programmed to do things that the record companies want us to do. Sonic's not going to walk out on Sega and threaten to sign to Nintendo, now is he?

Q: Which pops up in your song "Vegetable": "I am not a vegetable/ I will not control myself."

THOM: A lot of things I write come from really simple ideas. That was a funny song because I had a lot of phrases floating around [in my head]. But the principal image I had in my head was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and all the people who sit around the main area in the film but don't actually do anything except drool or go to the toilet without knowing it. But when you read the book, you find out that The Chief is the main character, and that's the brilliant thing about it - nobody speaks to him because he's the idiot.

The song "Anyone Can Play Guitar" is slagging off that whole "I want to be Jim Morrison" thing. When they released Morrison's lyrics as poetry, I thought, "Oh, God." It just showed what he was - a real piss-head. There were flashes, though, and he was very good-looking. And in that sense, I'd like to be Jim Morrison.

Q: So instead of the "Lizard King", you'd like to be known as....

THOM: Any reptile would be fine.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

2006 August | Mojo

Computer love

As Radiohead head off into pastures unknown, their stubborn mainman fights a rearguard action for their electronic incarnation. No bad thing, reckons Danny Eccleston.

Thom Yorke
The Eraser
(XL Recordings)

Rating: 4/5

It'a easy to be exasperated by Thom Yorke. He is, well, exasperating. Here he comes, the perennial student, convinced of his outsider status even as milk-men whistle his tunes. There he is again, the sniping misanthrope, pouring scorn on constructive efforts to change the world while he hunkers down with his laptop in deepest Devon, formulating conspiracy theories and fuming at Newsnight. The world is dumb and ghastly but only Thom has noticed - clever old Thom...

Then there is the work. Musical gold alchemised from the base elements of bad attitude and persecution mania, restless genius encapsulated in the transformation of his band at the turn of the last century from exquisite stadium guitar rockers into exquisite stadium electro rockers (with guitars). In 2006, the controversy surrounding Radiohead's exploration of the rhythmic and textural possibilities of keys and samples, and new preference for subtle, inching harmonic progressions over lurching rock rollercoasters seems absurd, but at the time it appeared baffling and brave. Would they be twice as big a band now if they'd continued on the path of OK Computer, or would that have led to insanity and destruction (and insane, destructive music)? That, too, would have been fun to watch, but not for Thom Yorke and Radiohead.

It's academic now The Synth Wars were fought, Radiohead survived and apparently thrived, and a detente between new and old methodologies emerged on their last album, 2003's excellent Hail To The Thief. After all that, The Eraser (not the first Radiohead solo record - that's Jonny Greenwood's Bodysong from 2003) sounds like a throwback, a mopping-up exercise. Despite the odd acoustic element, it's a hushed, defiantly computerised work, of a piece with "Like Spinning Plates" or "Backdrifts", and you can imagine how squeamish his band (not all of whom embraced the Yorke-driven Kid A agenda with identical fervour) might have been about turning these into Radiohead songs. So it's been left to Yorke, and Yorke alone, to finish them.

You'd call it an indulgence if it weren't so sublime. At least five tracks would jockey for position on a 2-CD Radiohead best-of, and the rest of it sustains the mood, which is haunting rather than desperate or depressing, like a photo of a child's lost shoe in the street. Moreover, what could have been ultra-autistic has been coaxed out of its shell (producer Nigel Godrich must take credit for that) and the strengths of the Yorke version of electronica become clear. Melody, personality; context: he can't help but bring all three to the party, and it's enough to make you forget those dated, boring Autechre dirges he reputedly admires or the fact that, in 2006, electronica is a busted flush and hasn't produced a truly great album since Four Tet's Pause.

Because like all great music, The Eraser renders its instrumentation beside the point. It begins on a note of possible self-mockery, delivered in syncopated, Prince-like falsetto ("Please excuse me but I've got to ask/Are you only being nice/Because you want something?") and quickly blossoms into a quiet riot of minimalist, jazz-flavoured chordology, bravura singing and varied, but invariably troubled narrators. It’s the most emotionally upfront music he's made since - oh, let's say it - "Creep".

A third of The Eraser looks out into the world and - predictably - hates what it sees. "The Clock" is its baldest message song, a twitching countdown to Armageddon ("Time is running out for us"). "And It Rained All Night" heralds a second Flood, where "the worms come out to see what's up" and drumstick clicks chatter like skeletons. It's modern protest song at its best, a Bosch-like bestiary of samples conjuring a world gone wrong while Yorke's observer fidgets, eschewing smug "I told you so"s for expressions of vain hope and admissions of complicity.

Always in Yorke's songs the horror within is greater than the horror without. In "Black Swan", a brilliant electro-blues with the deceptively soft, bimbling beats characteristic of the album as a whole, its narrator is a tortured humanist who notes how "people get crushed like biscuit crumbs and laid down in the bitumen", but it's his terror, not the 4th Form political theory, that's interesting. Climbing into character with suspiciously little effort, Yorke shifts into his Billie Holiday gear, where gravity makes the effort of singing unbearable, almost impossible.

Minus Radiohead's adornments, The Eraser showcases Yorke's ability to shape-change in all its peerlessness. "Skip Divided" introduces his most alienated anti-hero yet, a withered obsessive who longs bitterly to connect meaningfully with another but is doomed to disappointment. Around him, sampled mouth music groans and shivers, a murderous miasma of desire and despair, while Yorke makes himself harsh, drugged and dangerous, like Howard Devoto on Magazine's "Permafrost". Not for the first time you wonder where he gets all this from, this constant, vivid empathy with the tortured and powerless. Strip away the talent, ambition, education, young family and brilliant band and maybe this is how he feels too. Tragic if it's true, uncannily effective as art if it isn't.

It's what makes the stand-out track, "Atoms For Peace", such an agonising marvel: a psychic showdown between "wriggling, twiggling" worms (again with the worms already!) and loved-up self-help mottos over near-jaunty, static-crackling beats. "No more talk about the old days/It's time for something great!" cheerleads Yorke. "No more leaky holes in your brain/And no false starts... " Then the ecstatic pay-oft; rendered in spiralling Sandy Denny whalesong: "I'll be OK!" A single synth chord rises and modulates infinitesimally, a faux-Hooky high-bass solo creaks disarmingly and all the antidepressants kick in at once. It's ridiculously moving.

What all this means for the future sound of Radiohead is moot. The Eraser is, one suspects, the last gasp or Indian Summer of Tron Yorke: Man-Machine, and wherever the Oxonian five-piece go now - however slowly and crab-like - it'll be somewhere different, somewhere less electronic. What it says about Thom: A Suitable Case For Treatment is nearly as obscure. The Eraser is less crabbed, cryptic or violently bitter than Hail To The Thief - think "Myxomatosis", or "A Punchup At A Wedding" - and is often more satisfying for that. But a healthier, wiser or more enlightened Yorke has yet to reveal himself, neither in life nor in art. Perhaps we'd better not hold our breath.

Meanwhile, The Eraser plots a new course for becalmed electronica (songs, now there's an idea... ) and offers the existential consolation that however unhappy you might feel about your job, clothes or the world in general, there’s always someone worse off than yourself. And his name is probably Thom Yorke.

2006 June 17 | Washington Post

Feel-Bad Album of the Summer

On The Eraser, Radiohead's Thom Yorke Is Alone, Naturally

Thom Yorke
The Eraser
(XL Recordings)

If misery really does love company, then Thom Yorke never got the memo. Either that or he simply couldn't read it through the cloud of anxiety that seems to have enveloped him during the making of his melancholy new album, The Eraser.

Recorded mostly on Yorke's laptop sans his Radiohead band mates but with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, The Eraser is a brooding, bereft solo affair on which Yorke really does sound so lonesome he could cry.

As he probably should. Sounding like a less dynamic Radiohead demo from the group's Kid A era of arty electronica, Yorke's bleak, blippy-beepy album cries out for contributions from the other boys in the atmospheric band.

Without that wall-of-sound instrumentation and the band's Technicolor grandeur, The Eraser is interesting yet incomplete - Kid B-minus, if you will.

Yorke's vocals are also presented in a much more natural and naked state than on the typical Radiohead album, with Godrich skipping the processing tricks employed throughout the band's catalogue. Combined with the stark ambient soundscapes, which tend to sound like so much minimalist background music, Yorke's falsetto - normally bent and distorted, a voice with its own effects pedal - is by far the most prominent instrument here. And it sounds more fragile and tenuous than ever. (Think Coldplay's Chris Martin, only not nearly as overwrought.)

Lyrically, Yorke is about the same as he ever was on The Eraser - which is to say frustrated, lonely, anxious and claustrophobic.

A tortured poet with a dystopian, world-weary view, he sings of global problems (war, the environment and such). Sometimes he's obtuse. Sometimes, as in the case of "Harrowdown Hill," he's more direct: The haunting song is about U.N. weapons inspector David Kelly, who committed suicide after having blown the Iraqi-war whistle on Tony Blair. Needless to say, the whole affair did not exactly make Yorke giddy.

Yorke also sings of personal matters, sounding as skeptical as ever in the gorgeous title track, in which he asks: "Are you only being nice because you want something?" On "And It Rained All Night," he bleats obliquely: "It's relentless, invisible, indefatigable, indisputable, undeniable."

In "Black Swan," he's dismissive: "You have tried your best to please everyone / But it just isn't happening." He then goes on to sing about how "messed up" it is, though in more forceful and direct language.

On "Atoms for Peace," he sings: "No more talk about the old days, it's time for something great." Alas, the album isn't. While The Eraser is okay, it's no OK Computer.

"Atoms for Peace" is not a breakup song, though. Indeed, The Eraser does not signal the end of Radiohead, one of contemporary rock's most beloved bands. It's just a temporary diversion, recorded and released while the group goes through the painstaking process of writing and recording its seventh album.

Now that Yorke has stretched his legs, he should run, not walk, back to the warm embrace of his band mates. Strength in numbers and all.

J. Freedom du Lac

Friday, November 17, 2006

1994 June 11 - Melody Maker

"All You Need is Loathe"
Radiohead sold one million copies of their debut album, 'Pablo Honey'. They're about to be watched by 53 million viewers on MTV Asia. And their recent British dates saw manic scenes of almost Beatlesque proportions. So why is mainman THOM E YORKE so pissed off? HOLLY BARRINGER tries to cheer him up. The dark stuff: STEPHEN SWEET

THIS IS ABOUT as hysterical as British audiences get. Forget America, where adulation dribbles out of the minds and the mouths of nubile girls and boys. Forget all that shit, because this is England and English audiences want to be goddamned impressed. If they go home with anything less than the semen of God trickling out their ears, they want their money back.
There's a good few sticky ears tonight as Radiohead hit Manchester Academy. they are awesome. Not that they feel like they're home free yet.
"I was scared shitless about tonight," Thom E Yorke, Radiohead's diminutive deity and frontman, confides to 500-odd of us. "There are a lot of people out there who'd like to tear us to shreds. I hope you're not some of them."
This is Radiohead's first British gig since November and they are, by all accounts, a little apprehensive.
"Britain's important to me," Thom tells me later, "because we've been ripped to shit here, especially after Reading last year."
Thom is still smarting from having to pull out of last year's Reading after his voice failed him. People were less than charitable about the authenticity of his complaint.
"I woke up and I just couldn't speak, let alone sing," Thom says, eager to prove that he wasn't skiving. "I had people answering the phone for me."
This is what we've come to expect from Radiohead. Ever since "Creep", 1993's Top 10, near Brit Award-winning anthem for alienated tensomethings, Radiohead haven't been complacent Big Rock Stars. They are fuelled by the self-same lack of confidence that has most of us hiding in our wardrobes, afraid to come out lest someone should ask us to validate our existence.
Not that they run away from insecurity. Not that they run away from insecurity. No sirree, bub. Radiohead shake insecurity by the hand and take it on the road with them like a mascot. I go along for the ride.

DISASTER has struck. Thom has sprained his ankle, apparently at the end of "Anyone Can Play Guitar", when his onstage freneticism became a little too, um, frenetic. This cost him the use of his leg for the next two days.
Mild panic then ensues: will Thom be able to do tomorrow's gig in Wolverhampton? Worse still, will he be OK for Friday's climactic show at London's Astoria? Most important of all, will I get my interview?
Praise God and hallelujah--yes! thom will be taken to hospital tomorrow, after being driven in a hire car to Wolverhampton. A small hitch in my plan, then, as he was supposed to come on the train with me. Still, this is the crazy world of pop and who the hell am I argue with a green-stick fracture?

Cold. Grey. People with foonay acsints. It's mid-afternoon and Thom is still at Wolverhampton General having his ankle X-rayed. Thins are not looking good: the schedule is blown, all remnants of order shattered by the hapless twisting of his (much lusted-after) extremity.
Jonny Greenwood is wandering round the venue, waiting to soundcheck, when his brother and Radiohead bassist, Colin (collectively, they're known as the "Greenwood Sisters" on account of them being so in touch with their feminine side and all), orders him to sit down and talk to me.
Jonny is a curious creature. Sitting on his hands as I talk to him, he shifts uncomfortably and smiles a giant, toothy grin (afterwards, he bounces up to Colin and announces that I scared him. Me.
Ever tactful, I ask Jonny how he likes being in the new U2.
"U2 were a band that I had friends at school who liked," he says, diplomatically. "Thom likes them. I don't have any of their records, although I heard 'Achtung Baby' a few weeks ago and it's dated really quickly."
Jonny is the baby of the band, although, in his case, this means that he's less enfant terrible and more awestruck aficionado.
"You know what it's like when you were at school and there were people who were, like, four years older than you who were really tall and in charge of stuff? Well, now I'm spending my life with these same people."

Autographs. Two things likely to cause either extreme embarrassment, or, for the more super-confident, unabashed pride and preening. In Radiohead's case, you get a kind of dignified resignation.
MM's photographer has found a suitable-location for the pictures in front of a church. A gaggle of Radiohead T-shirted teenagers assemble to watch the band pose for photos, and afterwards approach our limping hero for an autograph.
I ask Thom if this happens a lot now. Unsure whether I have just posed a trick question, he coyly looks up from signing his name and whispers "Yeah!" as if he doesn't know what answer I want.
Ah, would that all of Radiohead were so well known round these parts. Walking back to the venue with the Hugh Grant lookalike and self-styled "polite" guitarist, Ed O'Brien, and the drummer, "Thoughtful" Phil Selway, a tout outside the hall asks us if we need any tickets for tonight's show.
"No, thanks, we're on the guest list," laugh Ed and Phil.
What price fame, eh?

TIME is running out--I have about an hour to talk to the band before they go onstage. Getting them all into one place is like gathering mercury with a needle, but finally they all assemble in the dressing room. However, Thom has told me he can't talk (he's got to rest his voice for the gig). Instead, he paces round the dressing room, smiling sarcastically at his bandmates' comments.
So what does Radiohead banter consist of?
Ed: "Blimey, I'm so completely der-runk."
Colin: "Did you see the football yesterday?"
Jonny: "I'm having trouble with seven down."
When I ask about what strange and wonderful things have happened on this tour, Jonny's face falls.
"Oh no," he groans, "I knew it was coming. There's always a pained silence when we get asked that."
Phil, looking concerned, covers all their tracks.
"The thing about touring is that, because you spend so much time together, you get all these stupid in-jokes. That's the funny part of touring. Sad, really."
At this point, Jonny interjects with a forceful "Ausland!"
An in-joke, presumably.
So how do they stave off boredom?
Jonny giggles.
"Brian Jones impersonations," he says, in a knowing way.
"Ed's perfecting his Euro MTV jock accent," Colin offers, as Ed goes into German "partyline" mode, recalling a band they played with in Switzerland, called Soddom and Warpath. A torrent of negative remarks erupts at the mention of "girl friends on tour."
"Ooh, no, crikey, no, never," they cry as one. Adds Colin: "They'd probably get bored. Yeah, even more bored than we get."
"Definitely," Ed confirms, who caught up with the rest of the band recently when he got himself attached.
"I think," says Phil, "that because it's strictly men only on tour, you do need some female company from time to time."
"God, you sound like a soldier," laughs Colin, "looking for female company!"
"It's like 'Nam, isn't it?" observes Ed.
"Yeah," Colin agrees, "this is the point where the tour manager puts bromide in the tea."
"I wouldn't say we were especially, you know, boys together," Phil adds, "but elements of that do creep into it when you're all together. It's that gang mentality."
"Tour buses are weird," Colin neatly turns the conversation away from women. "There's something really weird about having 13 people, all sweaty from the gig and no showers, all sleeping in a space that can't be any more than three and a half metres long, all these bodies stacked up on top of each other in a really closed, confined space in a bus hurtling along the motorway at 60 mph or whatever, in floods of rain. Going past a river and there's a mountain, and you're like f***, if it falls off, no one's got a chance, and you stay up all night sweating with fear... sorry, am I going on?"
Only slightly.

THOM E Yorke is shattered.
It's 1:30pm and the gig (undoubtedly one of the best gigs I and, by the looks of it, Wolverhampton, have ever seen) finished hours ago.
Thom says he should talk to me now before he loses his voice, or consciousness, or both. Not only is Thom exhausted, he is also, as it turns out, deflated. I ask him whether their new song, "Paranoid", is driven by the same self-loathing that inspired "Creep".
Sitting in the foyer of our hotel, nursing a glass of iced water, a sore throat and a f***ed-up ankle,, he answers slowly, carefully choosing his words.
"Self-loathing?"he says, almost too weary to talk.
"Well, that's just what one song was about."
What are you about now?
"Well, there's this thing about us being a student band but, when I think of a student band, I think of Ned's Atomic Dustbin. If we aimed at people, then that would be niche marketing, wouldn't it? We aim at ourselves. Although that's a bit of a lie nowadays because we get a lot of recognition for what we do."
Does the generally quite pensive Mr Yorke find it easier to write sad songs or happy songs?
"I don't write happy songs," he says. "Besides, emotions aren't defined as happy and sad, are they? Unless you're in advertising. There's a whole range of emotions and the ones I don't tend to write about are the ones that go: 'I love my job/I love my life/I love my wife'. It's like, you're f***ing sad, then, aren't you?"
Thom is not a happy man right now, it must be said.
"I'm a fucking wreck at the moment." He proves the point by putting his head in his hands. "I've got no idea if I'm gonna be able to sing. I've no idea whether my foot will be all right, or anything. I'm constantly going "Aaaaagh!"
Thom and I sit in silence for a while. He hides his face in his palms. I hide my tape recorder in mine. Finally, he breaks the silence.
"My voice is absolutely f***ing shredded, thanks to having to do these festivals last weekend--get up at 10 in the morning and sing a whole set. It's f***ing ridiculous and we shouldn't have to do it. I'm at my wit's end completely."
Another uncomfortable long silence, then: "Thing is, you reach a certain point and that's it. I'm being pushed beyond that point. Way beyond it. Physically and mentally."
Thom has already earned a reputation for lugubrious navel-gazing bordering on--let's be straight--whinging.
But no one can work out why this man, faced with commercial success, critial acclaim and the sort of rapturous devotion normally reserved for yer Bonos and yer Vedders, is so bloody miserable.
"I don't understand what I'm moaning about," he says. "I'm constantly saying, 'Why is this a problem? You're doing this, this is great. You're playing in front of 2,000 people at the Astoria tomorrow.'"
"Why is it a problem?" he repeats my question.
"It's a problem because I'm f***ing ill and physically I'm completely f***ed, and mentally I've had enough. It may be great because of that but it may be awful, and it all just rests on me, and I've never been in that position before, not in Britain. I don't care about anywhere else."
Methinks it's time to cheer things up with a couple of quickfire opinions on contemporary pop issues.
The New Wave Of New Wave, Thom?
Kurt Cobain?
I thank you.

Radiohead will release a brand new single in September