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‘On A Friday’ demo tracks surface online

Two demos from Radiohead have surfaced online, when the band was still called ‘On A Friday’. The first demo is from 1988 with three tracks: Happy Song, To Be A Brilliant Light and Sinking Ship.

The second demo is from two years later. Recorded in the summer of 1990, when the band changed their name from ‘On A Friday’ to ‘Shindig’… and shortly after back to ‘On A Friday’. The demo contains 15 tracks. The titles are very familiar, as they were registered at Warner/Chappell two years ago.

Climbing Up A Bloody Great Hill, Somebody, Mr B, What’s That You See?, Everyone Needs Someone To Hate, Upside Down, The Greatest Shindig Of The World, Give It Up, How Can You Be Sure?, Life With The Big F, Keep Strong, Rattlesnake, Burning Bush, Tell Me Bitch, New Generation.

For directions to these tracks, you might want to check the message board. [thanks Mieke!]

This tape is a collection of demos made over the summer of 1990. All the members were by this point at different Universities around the country, but reconvened over the summer, with the exception of Phil who was in Ireland, although at this time the band did not have a settled name, having dropped On A Friday, but not come up with anything better. The band’s working title was ‘Shindig’, which survived long enough for Thom to spray paint it on his acoustic guitar case, but by the time of their next ‘proper’ demo, they had reverted to On A Friday. In order to keep recording and rehearsing a school friend who had recorded some previous demos for the band was drafted in to keep the drum stool warm. The Clifton Hampden tracks were recorded over a number of weeks with this line up, while Jonny took the four track home with him in between where him, Thom and Colin worked on tracks. When Phil returned the band recorded another demo track in rehearsal, ‘What’s That You See?’, significant because it was the first time Jonny moved from keyboards to guitar. The song was the only one from this period that remained in the set up until just prior to the deal with Parlophone.
04 – This track was demoed again later this year at Dungeon Studios in Oxfordshire, this version is the original rehearsal take.
05, 08, 12 – Significant tracks as the first time under the band banner they had worked with technology, in this case drum loops from Public Enemy and Soul To Soul. Since the band did not own a sampler, the loops were generated by Thom repeatedly recording from his walkman onto a track of the Portastudio, hence the loop stuttering ocassionally in Everyone Needs Someone To Hate. In Rattlesnake he adjusted the eq on his walkman as the loops were recorded, which gives the drum track it’s texture.
07 – Recorded by Thom solo, this song had it’s chorus replaced and was revived as Maquiladora for The Bends sessions.
08 – This track was demoed again later this year at Dungeon Studios in Oxfordshire, this version is the original version with the Soul To Soul drums. Still a potential hit too IMHO.
09 – Re-recorded during The Bends sessions pretty much verbatim, with drums added. This version is scrappy, but has the added attraction of cars passing the village hall in the rain.
11 – Also survived in the live set for some time.
13 – A full band version of this was demoed later, but this is the acoustic take. The Bush of the title refers to George Snr.
14 – Apparently Thom arrived at Jonny’s house excited one day that he’d written his most viscous set of lyrics. Jonny and Colin suggested doing it as a ska number. Which they did. They also sped it up.
15 – Since he didn’t own a sequencer at that time, Jonny triggered his Roland U20 to play the bass line of this song from a painstakingly programmed drum machine. This song is significant one of only two vocal contributions ever made by Colin. He ranted like Captain Beefheart for the verses while Thom sang the choruses.

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