// Deadeye Video Magazine, October 1994;
// transcribed in RWS zine, 1996
:: watch the
clip on youtube
:: huge thanks to nanakey for releasing that!
:: russian version
In early october 1994, on
the day that Radiohead played at the Oxford Mail Rwanda benefit show
at the Old Gaol in Abingdon, Simon Gill interviewed Thom. Sections
of this were used in the first issue of Deadeye Video Magazine, where
they were intercut with another interview with Jonny and some live
footage. A transcript was published in 1996, in RWS fanzine by
Once upon a time, not so
long ago, Simon Gill at deadeye Video interviewed Thom Yorke. This
is the full version of said chat, excerpts from which can be found
underneath the carpet... No, sorry, in Deadeye Video magazine No.1
— What myth would you most like to shatter about
There's one myth about me being an angry young
man with no cause to be angry. Whatever that means —a sulky
little git. I am a sulky little git whenever the press are around,
because I hate the press, so I think that's fair enough, therefore
the myth is reinforced. But that's their problem. they're just like
school bullies, aren't they, really? They decide on something and
— You described your first album as flawed. To
what extent is The Bends a reaction to these flaws?
Well, we were just really, really young when we
did it. We'd hardly been playing as a band, never really been in a
studio. We'd just signed to a huge label, were a bit freaked out and
hadn't done the gigs, basically. We'd like to be making records five
or ten years from now, whether anyone buys them... Obviously they
have to buy them otherwise we can't make them.
— You've criticised 'compartmentalized pop.'
Do you think the fact that you strive not to be compartmentalized
is the reason people in this country, and the music press, were
slow to pick up on you?
Maybe. Maybe because we were crap to begin with,
as well. I don't think that anymore, because they have to have something
to write about, and if they don't have the language in which to write
it, and somewhere to put something, they can't write about it. I suppose
it's the nature of the business, but I still don't understand why
it has to happen. I don't understand why music can't be music, why
there has to be all this other shit.
— We did someone once who said 'Music is lovely,
it's just The Business is horrible.'
Its not THAT horrible. It is horrible, but it's
exactly the same as every other business, it's just the people that
work within it are the people that desperately want to get away from
the fact that they have to deal with the business. Does that make
sense? Probably not!
— You were saying that you are complete control
freaks. Is there any ideology behind the control, guiding you?
Yeah, there's a lot of stuff wrapped up in it that
I'm realising now, the stuff I have a problem with in terms of the
media, media in the loose sense of the term. I think half the reason
we ended up calling ourselves Radiohead was because we see a lot of
people who just receive information and ther's a huge gap between
this recieving information and suddenly partaking in the creative
process and, being a creative person, I've always thought that there
shoulden't be any link, the two should just flow into each other,
but they don't because of the way the media is set up. They're on
high and they condescend to tell you what's new, and what to listen
to, whereas I think the total opposite should be the case, that people
should be exposed to as much as possible and then make their own choice
and then it would get written about.
I think the thing that kills popular culture is
that certain people with a lot of power, or cash, are able to tell
people what to buy. You can go in HMV or Our Price and you are told
what to buy, you don't have a choice. Like, ten years ago, you could
go into a record shop, probably not HMV or Our Price and go through
the records, then go up to the counter and say "What's this one
like?" and they'd play you a track. You know, you can actually
have an active part in choosing your records. Nowadays you don't get
that and we think that's complete bullshit.
For some reason that's what's been going through
my head in the past two or three weeks and I think, actually, that
has quite a lot to do with what we're on about. Because on the one
hand, we just make music, but we don't just make music because we've
all been involved in other things. Well, Colin worked in Our Price
for a year and Ed, when he was at college, he was doing loads of promotions
for bands and things, and I was DJing at college. I just think it
could be a lot better.
We've a real work ethic, as Ed would put it, about
what we do. We work our nuts off because we see so many bands who
don't and we think 'Why?' You're given this amazing opportunity to
share what you're doing and people just skin up and fall over and
don't do anything, which is fine sometimes, but we're almost the exact
opposite. We're highly stressed executives in a board meeting that
has been up for three weeks drinking too much coffee. that's how we
approach what we do.
— That was a very good answer.
It took a while, didn't it!
— To what extent is your song-writing therapy
Certain things I put in songs, because that's the
only place I can put them, and other things I put in songs and actually
regret that I've done it, because it's so personal that I can't look
at it straight in the eye again. So I think sometimes it's too
much like therapy, but everyone else tells me 'No, no, it's great.
Wow! It's really upsetting," and I'm going "yeah, but it's
— Do you think that's one of the jobs of being
a rock star, so that other people can live out their lives through
I hope not! Maybe — I think everyone who's
creative is doing that anyway. I think I've always done it. I've
always but certain things on the edge of my sleeve for people to pick
at, because that's what I'm like. It woulden't matter if I wasn't
a creative person, I would still be doing that. Ever since I was a
kid, five or six, I was making models from lego, and exhibiting
them on the television for people to say what they thought, say how
wonderful they were, and I've been doing it ever since and I suppose
I kind of need it now.
I think of songs as therapy in the sense that I've
always had it to prop me up. So I suppose they are therapy because
I've lived with them, and lived with the idea of being creative and
expressing myself. Without it I'd be in the loony bin, definitely.
— Do you have strange dreams?
I never remember my dreams, hardly at all, unfortunately
— It's a shame.
Yeah, I know!I think that if I was that intune
with my dreams, then I wouldn't write the way I write. I tend to use
everyday objects and everyday things that happen, rather than anything
desperately cosmic. Because it's the way I am, it doesn't mean that
the emotions behind choosing these things are any less relevant, it's
just I can't write about green people and fluffy clouds because, not
only would it sound ridiculous if I said it, although certain people
could get away with it, but also, it woulden't make any sense to me.
— That's what people like about your music, it
actually appeals to them
I think it's to do with the fact that the songs
I write and the words I use are quite commonplace, but the fact that
I put them in a song is something people relate to. i think that's
part of it, I've always used common things, just picking up rubbish,
people's phrases and stuff on TV.
— It's like those pop artists using photographs
Yeah, it's like photo-montage. How pretentious!
— Are you interested in visual arts?
Well, I did a degree in it! Polytechnic Southwest.
It was a combined course — English at Exeter University and
Fine Art at Polytecnic Southwest. I like the phrase 'fine art', because
it's so ridiculous.
— What is it that pushes you to adopt the position
of an outsider? Is it because you've never fitted in?
No, it's because the people inside are jerks.
— All these revivals are coming. Is it to do
with media under-exposure in the 60's?
Yes, I think its really weird that people our
age who are in bands... You're constantly up against the 60's, 70's
and 80's, you're bombarded by these things. You're not allowed to
just say, "Well, we're a band playing THIS music, and OK, it might
have this reference and that reference — everything has references.
Why do we have to be mods? Why do we have to be any of those things?
Woodstock was a classic example of a generation being told
"The 60's were great. You'd've loved the 60's.
You weren't actually there, but now you're walking around in the exact
same clothes your parents wore, listening to exactly the same albums"
Don't you think that's just a little bit sad? Just a little bit? I
think it is, but I still do it, but I think it's sad. It's because
people don't have much money now, no spending power. The spending
power is with the over-thirty's, tha's the bottom line, so our cultures
— Any interesting tour anecdotes? Like the bloke
from Pavemnet who took loads of acid and used to run over band members
and jump from planes?
Well not many people we know take acid. There are
a few, but I think our anecdotes tend to be really boring. I mean,
every day in America is an anecdote.
— So, do you think you lead a rock'n'roll lifestle,
I think it exists for certain people still. They
tend to be the ones still dressing up in their parents clothes and
taking acid and thinking it's really cool, I don't know, it probably
is really cool to take acid, but I don't see why I have to be a part
— What you were saying about clothes and music,
do you think they're redundant as forms of expression?
Oh, no, not at all. How could they possibly be?
It's alwyas been like that, hasn't it? It's funny now, because you
walk down your high street, and everything is recycled so fast now,
nowadays you can wear whatever — I think it's really cool. the
clothes that people wear now are fucking great. they've never looked
as good as they do now. We don't have that many people wearing flares!
I quite like flares actually. Why am I saying that! Every fashion
has the ridiculous element, but it doesn't make any sense, because
everything is in your hands now. everything is recycled so fast, it's
just going into a hole, which I think is great.
— How in touch with your feminine side? When
I ask the question, do you see feminine as being the nice side of
Yeah pretty much. My Mum always wanted me to be
a girl, although she won't admit it.
— Is there anything you want to say before the
battery runs out?