KCRW 'Morning Becomes Eclectic', june 9th 1997
[Interview with Thom]
This is a transcript from an audio recording of the radio broadcast.
[recording starts here]
[A Reminder plays]
Chris Douridas: "It's such a beautiful song. It really is, it's something, it's, um, magical stuff. It's called, um,-
Thom: "Ooh, ooh, Ooh-
Chris: "It's called 'A Reminder', is that what it's called?
Chris: "Um, but this is a B-side. This is not even gonna be on the album.
Thom: "Right, yeah, this is right.
Chris: "So this is, uh, you know, if people are diggin' this, wait 'til they hear the album.
Thom: "Yeah, or, or, maybe we just put all the wrong ones on, y'see?
Chris: "Nah, I doubt that's true.
Thom: "No, I don't think so. I mean it was, it was, um, a pretty difficult two or three weeks, where we had, um, had to argue about what went on or not.
Thom: "And it was like because there was five of us in the band, I was k- it ended up like I was having the casting vote on things which was sort of kind of hard, actually.
Chris: "Puts you in a bad position. [laughs]
Thom: "Yeah. [laughs] Can't really win. But it was many many sleepless nights.
Chris: "So what's the story behind this song?
Thom: "That song was, um, it was in, um, it was, it was weird, actually. It was written on, on one of those days off you have on a tour where, um, you, you literally, all you do is sit in your hotel room, 'cause there's nothing- it was a Sunday, it was someplace near Hershey. Got no idea where. It was just, there was just nothing. To do at all, and uh, I had, I just had this idea of, of, 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.' So that was it.
Chris: "Wow. [laughs] Did you, did you- was this song written on keyboards?
Thom: "No, it wasn't, no. I mean that's all Jonny, um, that's all Jonny on, on Fender Rhodes really. Um, it was funny actually, 'cause I was listening to Fara Saunders this morning, and it's like- and, and that's where it's all from- [laughs] -you know, and, and Miles Davis and all that, you know. We just totally fell in love with the Fender Rhodes on this one, we just-
Chris: "We're going to be hearing some, some Bitches Brew a little bit later on-
Thom: "Cool. Yeah, absolutely. That's what I kept thinking of when I was hearing this thing unfold. Thom Yorke is with us, I'm Chris Douridas.
(Station ID and advert)
Chris: "Today we have Thom Yorke of Radiohead, I appreciate you joining us.
Thom: "It's a pleasure.
Chris: "Um, we actually tried to figure out a way to get Radiohead on the [PBS special] TV show, but, scheduling-
Thom: "No, it's, yeah, absolutely, it's been, for me, it's been, this week has been very hectic and, um, mind blowing at the same time, it's just um endless endless work and then um sort of meeting all my idols, and then partying, and then gettin' up and endless endless work and it- really, really mindblowing, I've had a really amazing time. And then the Tibet thing this weekend was just really- really threw me. It was amazing.
Chris: "Let me remind people that this past weekend, uh, the Tibetan Freedom Concert was at Randalls Island here in New York, put together by the Beastie Boys and the [?] Foundation. Radiohead was on the Saturday bill along with Sonic Youth and, uh, U2, and um, Jon Spencer-
Thom: [laughing, inaudible mumbling]
Chris: "And then yesterday was kind of an R.E.M.-
Chris: "faction thing with Stipe, and he had special guests Eddie Vedder, Björk was up, and Blur-
Thom: "And the Beasties, end of the show.
Chris: "Beasties ended the show, exactly. And then what, today you have a show, um, at Irving Plaza, that's tonight-
Chris: "And you'll be coming to Los Angeles for a show this Friday, the 13th! Right, Friday the 13! [inaudible]
Thom: "Yeah, goody goody... Well, actually Friday the 13th is not lucky after midday, and I won't be up before midday, so that's gonna be cool.
Thom: "I mean it's lucky after midday, is that right.
Chris: "That's a sold out show, that's gonna be at the Troubadour Friday night. Um, should be a great one too, because the new album from Radiohead, which is due July 1st, is called OK Computer. It'll be out from, uh, Capitol Records at that time, and this is, um, an album that I guess got propelled by the contributions that turned up on Romeo and Juliet... Talk Show Host, um, Exit Music...
Thom: "Well the- there was- the Romeo and Juliet is sort of a good way to, uh, kick our arses into gear, 'cause we were kind of, uh, we had this thing about, um, when we finished The Bends and it was like, um, it- When we came down off that, it was, we said, well basically we're gonna have as much time as we want, and everybody gave us as much time. We said we wanted to produce ourselves, and they said ok, you know, and basically let us do whatever we wanted, and um, the Romeo and Juliet thing was actually- We went out on tour for a bit with Alanis Morrissette to rehearse our stuff in front of people, which is a bit weird, but that, it worked out all right. And while we were there we got a tape from Baz Luhrman, the, the, the director of Romeo and Juliet. And it was great, because he said, you know, 'Do you want to do the exit music for it?' And it was a real, it was a real kick, because it real kick- you know- it sort of made us get up, made us get our shit together.
Chris: "Yeah, yeah, well... is that normally how you, you try out the songs? Do you put 'em before an audience before you record them, or was that new for you, this time?
Thom: "Um, it was, it was- we'd gotten to the point and, and we were kind of couldn't make certain decisions. So it was like, well, the only way to make this decision is to go and stand in front of 10,000 people, and a few people, you know, all these kids down in front eating popcorn, not looking interested at all, and- it seemed like the right thing to do.
Chris: "[laughs] Well I would imagine that you'd take back to the studio, then, a sort of level of energy that you've gotta match, that you've tried in live performance. If it works that way.
Thom: "Yeah, absolutely, yeah. In some ways recording's always better than live... so...
Chris: "Thom Yorke is with us, Thom Yorke of the band Radiohead, the new album OK Computer is in stores July 1st, this is the first single, Paranoid Android, on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.
[Paranoid Android plays]
Chris: "That is called Paranoid Android, that is from Radiohead, from the new album OK Computer. Due July 1 from Capitol Records. Paranoid Android is the first single. I'm Chris Douridas, Morning Becomes Eclectic on 89.9 KCRW. We are direct from New York broadcasting from the West 54th Street studios of Sony in New York, and Thom Yorke of Radiohead is in New York.
Chris: "So, uh, this is what, a 6 1/2 minute piece. When you guys delivered this and said hey, this is our first single-
Thom: "Not a problem.
Chris: "Everybody said not a problem? And it's been getting-
Thom: "Yeah, well, sort of. It's been doing all right, actually, I think
Chris: "Proof that if you've got the right stuff, it doesn't matter how long it is.
Thom: "Yeah, it really, uh, doesn't feel like 6 minutes. I mean, obviously I would say that, but it doesn't, so...
Chris: "Well, congratulations on it. Right now it's only available as an import single in the states, but it'll be coming out as the record release gets closer. Uh, Thom brought with him to the studio a handful of discs, um, we've gathered some things for him, and I was really pleased and surprised to see you pull out some Ennio Morricone, always been a favorite of mine-
Thom: "Yeah, um, it was, just, um, the album itself was very, well, it's not, I mean we wish it was, but it isn't. We kind aspired to, to that, to the atmospheres and this Morricone track is really indicative of, um, you'll get it immediately, honestly.
[Morricone track plays]
[Talking Heads track plays]
Chris: "1980 work from Talking Heads, Listening Wind from Remain in Light. And it's part of the guest DJ set here of Thom Yorke of Radiohead. I'm Chris Douridas, manning the controls, I have to say, because-
Thom: "[laughs] It's not me, man.
Chris: "It's our maiden voyage here, from our studio in New York, and I'm just trying to figure this board out, I keep hitting the wrong buttons and pushing the wrong faders and-
Thom: "But it's not- it's raw, yeah-
Chris: "But we're having fun. Despite my, you know, pulling my hair out and [laughs] like, can't we go back? No we can't go back, it's live radio. Thom Yorke of Radiohead is with us, and we are here in hour 3 of Morning Becomes Eclectic, from the studios of, uh, of Sony at West 54th Street in Manhattan. We're up here shooting a TV series for PBS stations nationwide called Sessions At West 54th and later today we're going to be shooting performances from Taj Mahal and Ben Folds Five, and Radiohead's in New York. They, uh, appeared at the Tibetan Freedom Concert this past weekend, at the behest of the Beastie Boys, and the [unintelligible] fund-
Thom: "Yeah, the [unintelligible] fund
Chris: "And tonight there's a show for, uh, the New York audience at Irving Plaza from Radiohead before they head out to the west coast. They'll be in Los Angeles Friday the 13th at the Troubadour, that's a sold out show if you don't have tickets for that one, well you should call some friends-
Thom: "You're stuck.
Chris: "You're stuck. Their album, OK Computer, is gonna be in stores July 1. New Radiohead in stores July 1.
Thom: "New Radiohead, new danger. As they said about Labour in Britain. That was the phrase that that conservatives have for Labour. New Labour, new danger.
Chris: "New danger?
Thom: "Yes, so that's us.
Chris: "Aah, so they were using that in the weeks leading up to the election?
Thom: "Yes, that was all they could come up with, they'd run out of every other reason to slag off the Labour Party.
Chris: "New danger.
Thom: "Yeah, right.
Chris: "That sounds like a good title for something.
Thom: "Yeah, yeah, sadly overused if you're British. 'Cause everybody says it about everything- it became a catchphrase within the culture very quickly, because it was so ridiculously-
Chris: "Mm, yeah, I see, so it's kind of spent, over there.
Thom: "Yeah, absolutely.
Chris: "Well, speaking of catchphrases, not that it is one, but OK Computer. I mean, uh, is there, is there something about that you can tell us, or-
Thom: "It's sort of, you know, it's quite goofy, and quite... The idea behind it was basically that it's two-fold, it's like it's quite positive and it's quite childlike. You know, it's the sort of thing that you could get on a, on a, on a, i don't know, on a cereal packet, or you know, it's that sort of thing. It's, it's not your normal, uh, it's not your normal, it's not your normal album title in that sense. It was, it was just a phrase that we kept saying all the way through making the album and in some ways it was the first thing we had for the album, was the actual phrase.
Thom: "Go on, sorry-
Chris: "It's got a modesty to it, somehow, too.
Thom: "Really? It's got, it's got a screaming paranoia to me! [laughing] But that's probably just me, and the fact that I haven't gotten any sleep.
Chris: "[laughing] It could be. Um, we, we're going to head into one from, from DJ Shadow, this is another one that you've picked out for us.
Thom: "Oh, yesh. Um, uh, well, DJ Shadow is, is very cool. That's about it, really, I mean, he's a big, a big influence and I got to meet him yesterday. And we're going to be working together, which is really exciting.
Thom: "Yeah, really exciting.
Chris: "Like, uh, will they be, will he be touring with you guys? Or is he gonna just-
Thom: "I don't, I don't- I'm still working on that, but-
Chris: "You're still sorting out the, the collaboration, what it might be?
Thom: "Yeah, we're definitely gonna do something. Might be for the, um, UNKLE project, which is, um, James Lavelle, his, uh, thing.
Chris: "Well, definitely looking forward to that. Thom Yorke is with us, of the band Radiohead. DJ Shadow, from his guest DJ set on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.
[DJ Shadow track plays]
[Björk track plays]
[REM, Begin the Begin plays]
Chris: "Begin the Begin, that's REM, from Life's Rich Pageant, 1986 work from REM and it's, uh-
Thom: "It was way ahead of its time-
Chris: "Part of the guest DJ set of Thom Yorke, of Radiohead. That was Thom. I'm Chris Douridas, and this is Morning Becomes Eclectic, on 89.9 KCRW. We're broadcasting from New York, and uh, Radiohead is, um, well, in the middle of a couple of shows. They did one this past weekend at the Tibetan Freedom Concert, and tonight they'll be at, uh, Irving Plaza here in New York before appearing in Los Angeles this Friday. Friday the 13th, at the Troubadour, for a sold out show. Now, Michael Stipe was at the Tibetan Freedom Concert, yesterday, sort of uh, um, half of REM, it was Michael Stipe and-
Thom: "And Mike Mills, yeah-
Chris: "And Mike Mills, and they brought on at one point Eddie Vedder, members of Pearl Jam, and Michael's been an outward fan of Radiohead. I think he, what was he quoted, he said, um-
Thom: "Yeah, well, whatever. Yeah, yeah. Don't don't quote it, you don't have to tell me it-
Chris: "You don't want me to quote it?
Thom: "No, it winds me up. It doesn't matter.
Chris: "I'll just whisper it-
Thom: "NO! Don't-
Thom: "It's, um-
Chris: "It's complimentary.
Thom: "It's good, it feels good to, um, to know him, you know?
Thom: "It helps.
Chris: "So that was the first time you met?
Thom: "Oh, no, no, no, no- I mean we toured with them and stuff.
Chris: "Yeah, all right. This, uh, Bjork was also on hand yesterday for part of the show, and we heard from Bjork's post album, Isabel, and started the set with DJ Shadow.
Thom: "Yeah, so, all of which, all these people, I met yesterday, you see, 'cause [whispers] I'm famous! [normal voice] [unintelligible] so I get to meet famous people! [laughs]
Chris: "But the truth of it really is you really only meet other bands when it's on tour, or festivals, things like that, isn't it, for the most part?
Thom: "Yeah, it is, but I, I don't know, I've not- hardly really met anybody who, who has really, really wound me up, you know? Especially the, the, the people whose music I really love. Usually when I meet them, I'm, I'm amazed about how, you know, down to earth they are, or how genuine they are, you know?
Chris: "I find that the best, the best people are always, are, are- The people that are the most impressive to me are always the most- warmest people.
Thom: "Except Miles Davis!
Thom: "Which is a neat link, isn't it?
Chris: "You make a great segue, as you say. Yeah, um, I want to mention that, um, the other members of Radiohead aren't here this morning-
Thom: "They're in bed! They're lucky!
Chris: "So we want to say hello to, um, Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway, um, making up the rest of the band, who will be in Los Angeles late this week and I want to thank you, Thom, for getting up early-
Thom: "It's all right, I'm going straight back to bed after this. You've got a full day ahead of you.
Chris: "Yeah, yeah, that's true enough. Yeah, well, um, best of luck tonight at Irving Plaza, and, uh, playing in Los Angeles Friday. We're going to go out with Miles Davis, um-
Thom: "Yeah, this is- Miles Davis was- when we were doing our album, which you haven't heard yet, or especially the people out there haven't heard yet-
Chris: "Actually, I've heard it.
Thom: "You've heard it- yeah, no, I know you've heard it, sorry, I was talking, yeah-
Chris: "It's GREAT.
Thom: "Thank you. But, um, the thing, um the thing the overall sound and stuff could only be expressed, um, by illustrating this album again and again. Um, not for any sort of particularly musical things, just the general sound. Two drum kits, two basses, blah blah blah. Absolutely from another world.
Chris: "Well we're going to get into it, and I want to thank you and I also want to say that tomorrow on the show we'll be joined by Arto Lindsay [?] who will guest DJ. Arto Lindsay, a mainstay in the West Village here in New York, and we'll be hearing from recent work and some favorites of his as well. Now we'll send it back to Los Angeles and Eliza Richardson, it's Morning Becomes Eclectic on 89.9, KCRW. Thanks, Thom.
[Miles Davis track plays]