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Radiohead discuss Rock & Roll Hall of Fame uneasiness, almost working with Dr. Dre, and touring into their 70s

on June 08, 2017, 11:15am

Rolling Stone recently spoke to Radiohead for an expansive cover story on the 20th anniversary of OK Computer. Several notable tidbits came out of the piece, including Thom Yorke’s willingness to record Radiohead’s next album live as a band; Jonny Greenwood’s disdain for the Britpop movement; and the emotional anguish experienced by Yorke while recording OK Computer. Now, Rolling Stone has published a compendium piece titled, “19 Things We Learned Hanging With Radiohead.”

Perhaps most notably is Radiohead’s unease with their impending induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year:

Phil Selway: “It’s a bit like having the free bus pass in the UK when you reach a certain again. Blimey. Have we got to that point? God knows [if we’ll go]. We’d have to sit down and talk about it, but it’s probably not at the top of my list of things to do. But who knows? I don’t know.”

Jonny Greenwood: “I don’t care. Maybe it’s a cultural thing that I really don’t understand. I mean, from the outside it looks like … it’s quite a self-regarding profession anyway. And anything that heightens that just makes me feel even more uncomfortable.”

Ed O’Brien: “I don’t want to be rude about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because for a lot of people it means something, but culturally I don’t understand it. I think it might be a quintessential American thing. Brits are not very good at slapping ourselves on the back. It seems very show-biz and I’m not very show-biz. We haven’t even been asked. I don’t want to be rude. But if you ask me what I’d rather be doing that night, I’d rather be sitting at home in front of the fire or going to a gig. I realized years ago that I didn’t like award ceremonies. You walk in there and you feel self-conscious. It’s just really uncomfortable. Wherever there is media there seem to be a real level of bullshit. It just feels non-authentic to us.”

Thom Yorke: “It wouldn’t be the first place … don’t ask me things like that. I always put my foot in my mouth.”

Colin Greenwood: “I’d be grateful if we got in. Look at the other people that have been inducted. I don’t know if everyone else will go though. It might be me just doing bass versions of everything like, ‘Come on, you know this one!’ I’d have to play the bass part to ‘Creep’ five times.”

Jonny Greenwood is similarly disinterested in guitar solos. “It’s already such a preening, self-regarding profession,” he argued. “I’ve always hated guitar solos. There’s nothing worse than hearing someone cautiously going up and down the scales of their guitar. You can hear them thinking about what the next note should be, and then out it comes. It’s more interesting to write something that doesn’t outstay its welcome.”

Another particularly fascinating anecdote came from O’Brien, who revealed an idea he had to work with Dr. Dre on Kid A:

“It was sort of like a dream. I kept on saying, ‘Oh I’d love to work with Dr. Dre.’ I knew it would likely be shouted down or laughed at. Also, it might have been be a little bit forced. But at the time, in my head, it made perfect sense. The problem would have been finding modus operandi because Dre obviously works in a certain way. Could he have handled a rock band? Who knows? But it came from being a fan of N.W.A and his productions around that time.”

O’Brien also revealed his hope for the band to tour into their 70s:

“You see that joy Leonard Cohen got. You see it with the Dead or Neil Young when he goes off with Crazy Horse. Everybody would like to see Pink Floyd do it. If we were to do it, it would have to be authentic. It might be like the Rolling Stones. It might be like Leonard Cohen or the Grateful Dead.”

Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich discussed how “Spectre”, the song recorded for the latest James Bond film, affected A Moon Shaped Pool:

“That fucking James Bond movie threw us a massive curveball. It was a real waste of energy. We stopped doing what we were doing and had to concentrate on that for awhile since we were told it was something that was going to come to fruition. I haven’t seen the movie and I think they ended up with something more suitable for it, but in terms of making A Moon Shaped Pool it caused a stop right when we were in the middle of it.”

The band was also asked about their decision to perform “Creep” on their latest tour. O’Brien said it was “nice to play for the right seasons. People like it and want to hear it.” However, Yorke added, “The first time I’m feeling the fakes we’ll stop. It can be cool sometimes, but other times I want to stop halfway through and be like, ‘Nah, this isn’t happening.'”

One thing the band likely won’t do on their ongoing tour is perform OK Computer in its entirety. “‘Fitter Happier’ might have a few issues,” Selway noted. “We’d also have to play ‘Electioneering’ then, wouldn’t we? So no, I don’t think we’ll do that. There’s no plans, although I am going to see John Cale do the Velvet Underground and Nico. My eldest son turns 18 around the time of the Liverpool show and really wants to go. I said, ‘Okay, we’ll do that.'”

Also of note: Thom Yorke’s teenage children are huge Radiohead fans. “That makes me feel proud,” Yorke said. “They travel with us quite a bit. It makes me think, ‘Cool, this is good. When they tell me we suck, I’ll stop.'”

You can read the full Rolling Stone article here.

 

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