This interview with Thom and Ed for Radio 1 was recorded on the morning of july 30th 1995, the day they would play in support of R.E.M. at The National Bowl in Milton Keynes. This is a transcript from the radio broadcast.
Steve Lamacq: "It was Sleeper opening in the bill, which also features The Cranberries and Radiohead. And we spoke to Thom and Ed from Radiohead in the Radio 1 truck this afternoon with Ed telling us about that R.E.M. gig which happened ten years ago when they supported U2."
Ed: "I remember it was a really wet day and R.E.M. were like... I think they were touring when Fables of the Reconstruction came out and it was a very kind of like somber atmosphere, I remember on stage. But um, it was great. They were supporting U2 and there were The Ramones, Beredestiny, Billy Brag, and uh, The Faith Brothers. Where are they now? (laughs)"
Steve: "So did you at that point think: 'One day I’ll be on that stage myself'?"
Ed: "No, I think I was a bit drunk."
Thom: "Yeah, you did, you came back and said 'yeah, I'm gonna do that with... yeah we’re gonna do that'."
Ed: "I remember going to Glastonbury thinking 'the next time I go'... 'cause I had a really bad time with Glastonbury, 'cause when we started the band, I thought 'right, next time we go, hopefully we’ll be playing Glastonbury, won’t be there as a punter.'"
Steve: "Do you remember anything in particular from R.E.M.’s set that day?"
Ed: "Yeah, I remember the song off Fables, called 'Can’t Get There From Here', which was amazing, and it was like everyone was completely wet, but everyone’s like dancing, it’s like, you know, I don’t know if you know this song but it's like pretty up, and then... It was great, really great moment."
Steve: "So we know it's quite hectic for Radiohead at the moment, because we spoke to you on the phone on the Evening Session earlier in the week. But uh, just tell us exactly like where you’ve been in the last four days."
Ed: "We did a gig in, where was it, Ottawa?"
Thom: "We did Canada. We’ve been to Canada and New York."
Steve: "And home."
Ed and Thom: "Yeah."
Thom: "We’re shooting a video tomorrow for 'Just'."
Thom: "And then we fly to Berlin the next morning, very early."
Steve: "So what was your last gig in uh, in America?"
Thom: "Oh, it was awful. (laughing)"
Ed: "There’s a place called Saratoga Winners in this kind of like shack, up in ah, upstate New York in Albany. It’s a real, real dive and it’s like really humid there. So they’ve got this heat wave as well at the moment, you know - five English blokes, you know. We were wasting away."
Thom: "And then a bit before that we had done two like amazing shows in Canada that were some of the most exciting shows we’ve ever done, really."
Steve: "What size of audiences are you playing out there on this tour?"
Thom: "It goes between like five hundred to a thousand."
Steve: "Just the sixty-four thousand less than you’re playing to today."
(Thom and Ed laugh)
Steve: "When you get to a gig this size, when you’re playing on stage, what do you focus on?"
Thom: "I seem to remember when we did Reading, focusing on the stupid camera that was flying around in front of my face and wanting to throw my guitar at it. Other times I focused at screaming at the engineer, the sound engineer on stage. (chuckles) And other times I try to focus on, ah um, just on the front few rows really."
Steve: "Because, um, obviously with the popularity in America and the rest of the world as well you must have played quite big gigs out in other places outside the UK."
Thom: "Yeah, yeah, one gig we did about two months ago, it was in Italy, it was in Rome. It was like a free festival in the centre of Rome and everybody in Rome went and its like half a million people in this enormous square in the centre of Rome, and it was to seven million people live all around Italy as well. And we had... we only had to do two songs. (laughs) And so, we went on and did 'The Bends' and 'High & Dry' and there wasn’t time to sort of really get into it, so you know, there we were just sort of shaking and then we had to walk off stage and we went off stage and went straight to the bar and drank an entire bottle of wine, and just at the end of that bottle of wine I could just about speak, it was so scary."
Thom: "And Elvis Costello was doing it as well, and he was more scared than me."
Steve: "Brilliant. I noticed earlier on, just as you were soundchecking, you did 'Rock This Town', the old Stray Cats number. So this is what you get up to before the doors are opened."
Steve: "Have you got any particular favorite soundcheck covers?"
Ed: "What’s my favorite... eh, 'Abeline, Abeline Women There Don’t Treat You Mean'. I think that’s by George Hamilton the fourth."
Steve: "It’s the height of lyricism, I think. So it’s ah, after this, staying around for R.E.M.’s performance, I imagine, then off back to London and to make this video, or do you go somewhere more exotic?"
Thom: "There’s a set being built and we’re shooting it in the GLC building as well, or something, the old GLC building. It's all... I’m not quite sure where we’re going, really. And then we fly to Berlin really early the next morning. (laughs) Urgh..."
Steve: "That’s Thom and Ed from Radiohead off to Europe with R.E.M. and, uh, Radiohead’s tour manager was telling me earlier on that the band are big in Tel Aviv, which is one of the places that they’re going on this tour before finally ending up back in the States. They’ve also apparently, Radiohead, have got the same tour bus now which they started with five years ago. Anyway, here comes the highlights from their set."