A couple of weeks ago we asked you to send your questions for Radiohead to Observer journalist Craig McLean. In this weekend’s Observer Music Monthly some of those questions have been answered.
However, we didn’t get a clear answer on the question how many ‘In Rainbows’ Discboxes were sold: Ed: ‘I think there’s about 80,000 discboxes.’ Jonny: ‘60,000.’ Ed: ‘It was 65,000 a week ago.’ Colin: ‘It’s 72,000.’
On Lily Allen’s recent blast towards Radiohead, saying the band are arrogant giving their music away, Thom reacted [clapping hands and emitting high-pitched laughter]: ‘Oh, I’m upset about that.’ So that’s no comment? Thom: ‘Well, that was my comment. It makes me laugh.’
Ed said the big change on ‘In Rainbows’ are Thom’s lyrics, not being scared to be personal: “I think it was really liberating for him to do [his solo album] The Eraser. His voice is really upfront. That’s the most noticeable thing. He’s not hiding. And after OK Computer he sort of withdrew a bit. I think it’s also being bold enough and brave enough to be personal. And you know what… there’s stuff to write about in your late thirties. You’ve lived. You’ve started families up.’Jonny: ‘You’re a different person.’
Ed: ‘Yeah, you’ve stopped dealing with, “Me, I’m the centre of everything.” Because you’ve got kids you can’t do that. So, it changes. It was like, “Wow, there’s a warmth to these songs, it’s very human.”‘
Thom: ‘Ed always banged on about how this record was very sensual. The mind boggles slightly, but I think there was a lot of that. It was as much about the way it flowed and whatever, not specific things. But it is kind of… it’s not supposed to be in any way cerebral.’
The band also responded on the impact of the release of ‘In Rainbows’.
Thom: ‘It was really fun. All this shit kicked off and we were all just sitting at home going [high- pitched], “What?”. It was brilliant. Hard hats on!’
Phil: ‘But also we felt quite detached from it… We’d be spotting the most bizarre place [in the media that the download ‘business’ idea] came up. One of the dads at school came up to me – he’s a car sales manager – and said, “You’re on the front page of Automotive Industry today!”‘
Thom Yorke revealed why he turned down Paul McCartney to do a duet: ‘Uhh, ’cause I can’t play piano. Not like that. I had to explain to him that, I listened to the tune – “Mr Bellamy” – and I really liked the song, but the piano playing involved two hands doing things separately. I don’t have that skill available. I said to him, “I strum piano, that’s it.”‘
And a webcast might be happening again soon. On the recent ‘Thumb’s Down’ webcast, when the band were playing live and DJ’ing, Thom said: ‘We never play each other what we’re into normally. And the fact that people are watching is a bonus. But, also, it was a really nice thing to do because we set up this infrastructure and this way of thinking, and it’s a nice way to get into this idea of doing TV stuff.
‘Got to do it again in a couple of weeks,’ he sniffs. ‘But we have discovered a way where we can actually do it, not at the sort of bandwidth and quality that that one was, but we can do it off-the-cuff, stream it live from our studio whenever, which is fucking mental. It would be pretty lo-fi. So we might do a bit of that as well…’
Read the full interview at the Observer website.