This is a transcript from an audio recording of the radio broadcast.
[recording starts here]
Jonathan Ross: "Good morning Mr Yorke.
Thom Yorke: "Alright?
Jonathan: "How are you? Thom is of course in the band Radiohead, which I think we all agree are almost as good as Coldplay, they’re one of the best bands in the country. Everyone agrees erm... [breaks into laughter] ...I’m just kidding.
Thom: "Sorry, I couldn’t hear you, my headphones where...
Jonathan: "His headphones cut out at a crucial moment there. Hey Thom, how are you? You’re looking very well.
Thom: "Thankyou very much, you’re not looking to bad either.
Jonathan: "Thanks very much.
Thom: "Nice black suite, like it.
Jonathan: "Yes, thought I’d smarten myself up ‘caus I knew we had a lady coming in.
Jonathan: "Now, the album is fantastic, I downloaded it the day it came out – as most people, er, I know did, How did that work out for you? How d’you now look back – ‘caus that was a very bold move, and I think that’s the first time it’s been done? The album was offered – virtually – if you wanted to get it for nothing you could get it for nothing – it was like pay what you – you can afford or want to pay for it, it was er, a brave thing. What d’you think about it now, looking back?
Thom: "It... it was... uhm... the idea was to... to... Every record we’ve done had leaked, one way or the other some in a record company or record plant or whatever had leaked. We figured... we’d do it ourselves!
Jonathan: "Yeah, it’s gonna get out there. The day after [an album is released] you can’t find stuff online anyway, if you know where to look and want to do that of course.
Thom: "Yeah, well the point is we wanted to use that to our advantage rather than just having to submit to it. Erm... and it worked really well! It was really exciting and the best about it, y’know, people formed their own opinions...
Jonathan: "Yeah, of course, so it’s out there for them to...
Thom: "We didn’t go through all the normal promotional, political rigmarole it was just – “D’you wanna hear it? Here it is!”
Jonathan: "Is that the way forward for you then? D’you think you’ll do this with all your work in the future?
Thom: "Uhm, no idea what we’ll do next.
[Short pause and laughter]
Jonathan: "Well have a think about it and get back to us!
Thom: "Yeah, well... when I know, I’ll let you know, obviously if you’re interested.
Jonathan: "Well, presumably... You’ve done this once, you can’t go back to not doing it, or can you?
Thom: "Oh, eeeeeeeeeeuuuuuurrrrrr - Well we can’t... pwwwuuuuueeeeerrr... I dunno.
Jonathan: "Well you couldn’t release it conventionally again next time and say “Yeah, we did that and everyone loved it”
Thom: "Well we’ve done that now,
Thom: "I mean, uhm, the point is we’d finished it and we wanted people to hear it as soon as possible, y’know? Rather than having to sit on it for 3 months.
Jonathan: "Now Thom I’m sure you’ve checked online, and saw that I payed the full amount.
Thom: "Did you?
Jonathan: "Yes, yes!
[Laughter and general banter for a couple of seconds that’s weirdly hard to transcribe]
Jonathan: "I’m sure Thom and Jonny where at home every day checking going “whos paid for... hold on ‘Bing!’ another ones paid.”
Jonathan: "How many people did pay? D’you know? Do you have any idea of those kind of figures?
Jonathan: "I mean, how many people downloaded it free...
Thom: "We set a limit of, like, ninety quid I think. Uhm, the average was four? Or something?
Jonathan: "Really? Oh well that’s pretty good then.
Thom: "It was pretty good, yeah. People where [puts on strange accent] “Very kind”.
Jonathan: "...and whats the, er, I got the box set, I can’t remember how much the box set was,
Thom: "I know you did yes.
Jonathan: "What was it - Forty quid? I think it was forty quid,
Jonathan: "...and it turned up, erm, it only just turned up about 2 weeks ago.
Thom: "No way?
Jonathan: "Yeah, yeah it was very late postage.
Thom: "I’m sorry.
Jonathan: "I think maybe I didn’t tick the box for extra postage... What a lovely box set though, and one of the things I like about, even the little CD I’ve got here, the artwork is, exquisite.
Thom: "Aaah, you have to stank... you have to thank Mr Stanley, who threw allot of ink and wax around.
Jonathan: "It looks beautiful.
Jonathan: "...and I love the packaging here, it reminded me of the good old days of factory records, when they always used to come out with loads of extra...
Thom: "Well they’re our heroes, Factory and Warped records.
Jonathan: "Yeah, look at that, and it’s got sortof stickers in to make your own CD box out of it if you want to keep it in a proper box.
Thom: "Yeah, if, if you’ve got nothing to do.
Jonathan: "Erm, oh it’s a lovely thing. Uhm, you said it’s Stanley, who...who’s the actual artist involved in all this?
Thom: "Mr Stanley Donwood.
Thom: "Er, yes... and the mysterious Dr. Tchock who I’ve never met.
Jonathan: "“Dr. Tchock”? I don’t like the sound of that.
Thom: "No, well I don’t either.
Jonathan: "Sounds like something you download accidentally.
Thom: "Well, apparently that’s just part of the deal, he’s just there.
Jonathan: "Erm, so the band are still all going... Er. Have you seen, Jonny... have you seen, er, Jonny’s, er, music or have you heard Jonny’s music in the film “There Will be Blood”? ‘Caus I haven’t seen the film yet, I’m watching it this weekend.
Thom: "Yeah, he showed me the first twenty minutes, er, it’s what you’d call a “heavy mother”.
Jonathan: "Yeah, I’ve heard that it’s, er, exceptional, people are really raving about not just the movie but the music in it as well.
Thom: "Yeah he, he got disqualified, uhm, on a technicality at the oscars; ‘caus he was up for one of the oscars, uhm, and then he was manoeuvred out.
Jonathan: "How was that? What happened there?
Thom: "Well, you don’t wanna... I can’t possibly reveal... [Laughs]
Jonathan: "Well, don’t tease us, don’t start like that then kinda [makes indecisive noise]
Thom: "...Everything else would be slander.
Jonathan: "Okay, but either way he, you think he might well have been cheated of an opportunity there?
Thom: "Uhm... a uhm, well obviously I’m slightly biased. But uhm...
Jonathan: "You guys obviously though, theres, there, there doesn’t seem to be any concern when one of you goes off to do something solo or something with someone else, theres no kind of... y’know, you’re not worried about it, it doesn’t look like it’s all... y’know, you’re close enough friends and your... your...
Thom: "We, we’ve known each other since we where sixteen, it’d be a bit odd to start getting upset about it now y’know?
Jonathan: "But people do, y’know?
Jonathan: "People do in bands, they get very cross with each other.
Thom: "Yeah, well it’s a weird thing to do with your life.
Jonathan: "It is a bit strange isn’t it?
Thom: "It’s... Really strange; it gets stranger.
Jonathan: "But it’s what you always wanted to do isn’t it?
Thom: "Uh, yeah, so...
Jonathan: "I mean, how old where you when you decided you wanted to have a band?
Thom: "Eight... Seven.
Jonathan: "Seven or eight years old. So did you, is it true you used to draw pictures of people you wanted to be in the band with you?
Jonathan: "This is what I heard, this is true isn’t it!
Thom: "What, and I ended up with that lot?
Jonathan: "Yeah, I heard... Nono! Obviously you didn’t get your first choice.
Jonathan: "But... well, you’re no prize yourself. Bu...
Jonathan: "Nono, you’ve all got a great “indie” look, lets put it that way.
Jonathan: "But you did, I heard that you drow... you used to draw... this is the band that you... Is that true? Come on, tell us the truth.
Thom: "I think I used to draw the instruments, I mean, once it got to... I’ve always had trouble with faces, y’know what I mean?
Thom: "Hands and feet are alright, but... they all look like aliens normally.
Jonathan: "But you know who else did this kind of thing? I think that Iggy Pop used to do this...
Thom: "Did he?
Jonathan: "Yeah, he had allot of imaginary friends in his youth and, err...
Thom: "Did he?
Jonathan: "Yeah, he had an imaginary Mexican he used to talk to. [Sniggers]
Jonathan: "He did! He told me, he used to have an imaginary Mexican.
Thom: "Ooh. I...
Jonathan: "I think it shows him in a good light.
Thom: "Yeah... I don’t have imaginary friends, uhm.. I don’t need them.
Jonathan: "But when you where young you did.
Thom: "Oh yeah. [Chuckles]
Jonathan: "I think we should bring that back, as adults, we should start having imaginary friends again.
Thom: "It would be... It would weird people out on the bus wouldn’t it?
Jonathan: "It’s a great way of getting rid of pressure as well. Shout at someone “What are you doing? Leave me alone!”
Thom: "You’d get, sectioned mate.
Jonathan: "You probably would wouldn’t you.
Thom: "Mmm, yeah.
Jonathan: "Erm, we gonna put on some more music to give you a chance to practice the strumming there or get the sound level right I think - do we need to do that, or we done it already?
Technitian: We do yeah.
Jonathan: "You’re gonna perform two tracks for us this morning, is this correct?
Thom: "[In mock English accent] “I’m going to perform for you Jonathan”
Jonathan: "Which ones are you going to perform for us Thom Yorke?
Thom: "I’m gunna... [Sniggers]
Thom: "Err... I’m gonna do Reckoner,
Jonathan: "Reckoner, okay.
Thom: "...off, uhm, In Rainbows.
Jonathan: "That’s the new album, which, by the way, congratulations. And it’s kindof a return to the older style albums, it’s more of a kindof erm... pop isn’t the word but it’s more immediate.
Thom: "Is it? I, yeah, I, uhm, I don’t know if that was intention that’s just the way, just the way it “turned out”.
Jonathan: "Well though, you know what, I’m falling into the trap here because I didn’t find Kid A hard to grapple with either I enjoyed that, you know...
Thom: "I, uhm, It’s caus it wasn’t so... It didn’t sound like OK Computer,
Jonathan: "That’s all it was, yeah.
Thom: "So... so... that upset people. But, uhm, the interesting thing, theres-theres allot of ravers really liked it.
Jonathan: "Yeah, well it’s got a beautiful sound. I know you’re gonna do a track from Kid A as well today aren’t y...
Thom: "That’s right, yeah.
Jonathan: "Okay well, first of all we’ll put something else on, erm, we’ve just had Yazoo, I assume you’re now going to play something by Erasure?
Technician: Ooh, erm we’re going to play “Jigsaw Falling Into Place”...
Jonathan: "No, hold it, but... Thoms going to perform in a minute.
Technician: That’s alright, we can play it.
Thom: "Yeah, you’ll be sick of me by the end of it, in 20 minutes time...
[A couple of second of discussion]
Jonathan: "Hold on, hold on. I’m a fan and I don’t want back to back Thom Yorke; he doesn’t want back to back Thom Yorke.
Jonathan: "Lets face it, no-one can get through a whole Radiohead album in one sitting.
Thom: "No, not me.
Jonathan: "Hey, er, what’re we going to play now?
Technician: "This is the new single from badly drawn boy.
[Music plays and speech cuts back in]
Jonathan: "...you go. Hes been, er, sortof tinkling with his instruments, I’ve showed him a few new chords on the piano.
Jonathan: "Hes gonna... hes gonna play for us 2 tracks this morning, I’m very excited. Is it weird for you, being you – and I’m asking this because... we were excited that you where coming in and we meet just about everyone but theres something about Radiohead and you guys, y’know you’re... you’re a tremendous band and... for you I’m sure it’s, y’know, a regular days work, for us it’s an exciting day and we have everyone coming here, but it’s exciting that you’re in here.
Thom: "I’m excited.
Jonathan: "Well that’s not-that’s-no! Not what I was asking you though,
Jonathan: "Is it... you know... You’re walking in as Thom Yorke, is it weird the reaction you caus some times? Are you aware of it?
Thom: "I’m not aware of it.
Jonathan: "That’s just as well.
Technician: "You got Anna Friel flustered.
Jonathan: "Hold on! I like to think that was partly me.
Thom: "I think that was mostly me actually.
Jonathan: "Yeah, she was, she was very flustered by you actually.
Thom: "Yeah right.
Jonathan: "No it’s true! It’s true!
Technician: "He just wants to play!
Thom: "I, uhm, In built cynicism [laughs]
Jonathan: "It’s true, he gets people flustered.
Jonathan: "That’s why, on your new album, I want you to call yourself “the flusteror”.
Jonathan: "[Bursts into improvised song] “They call me the flusteror!” ...a little song there. [Continues] “I wonder around, flustering the ladies, in every town. I...” ...Maybe I shouldn’t write the songs, on the new Radiohead album... despite what, Thom asked earlier. Alright, no, Hey! I’ve got a bone to pick with you!
Thom: "Oh, god...
Jonathan: "You know what I’m gonna say.
Thom: "No I don’t.
Jonathan: "Yes you do!
Thom: "Ouuhh... nuh...
Jonathan: "You made me a promise, you didn’t keep a promise. What was the promise you made me Thom Yorke?
Thom: "Pssshh... I promised to get you pregnant by the eh...
Jonathan: "No! No no no no no, not that one.
Thom: "[Quietly] Mmmhhuhmmm...
Jonathan: "Eurovision song contest?
Thom: "Uh... Oh!
Jonathan: "Yes! Thom Yorke and Jonny, from Radiohead promised they would write an entry for the eurovision song contest, and then they welched on the deal.
Thom: "Well, actually, technically speaking, we didn’t welch on the deal. We... we put out the feelers, right?
Thom: "I’m not joking. We put out the feelers, and, er, we where told that certain elements of the eurovision establishment might take offence.
Jonathan: "They wouldn’t go with it! They wouldn’t go with it. I’m so horrified I’m gonna have a word with them! ‘Caus I had you lined up with Colonel Abrams, remember him? He was gonna sing vocals.
Jonathan: "...never mind this nonsense.
Jonathan: "Lets get ourselves in a more... serious frame of mind.
Thom: "Yes please.
Jonathan: "Thom is going to perform for us, two tracks now. Er, the first one is from the exemplary new album, which has already been number one all over, many of you will have downloaded it, some of you will have paid, others of you didn’t – shame on you. It’s called “In Rainbows”, er... It’s already had the single “Jigsaw Falling Into Place”, but the track that Thoms going to do for us now live is “Reckoner”.
[Thom plays an acoustic version of 'Reckoner']
Jonathan: "That’s a beautiful sound isn’t it? That’s a lovely sound.
Thom: "Thanks man.
Jonathan: "Thank you. Er... when you work on a song, when d’you know it’s finished? When d’you think “Okay, this is it, I’m not gonna try and add anything more now, I’m not gonna go back an re-write this, I’m not gonna polish this anymore”?
Thom: "[Takes deep breath] Pwwwooooooffff... that’s...
Jonathan: "Whats the feeling?
Thom: "That’s... usually down to the others.
Jonathan: "So they say “yeah it’s...
Thom: "They’ll, like, take it off me just before the time I’m about to pull it to bits.
Jonathan: "Will you over-do it? Can you go... will you ruin something...
Thom: "Yeah, always... yeah, absolutely.
Jonathan: "And that’s what, the desire to go back and make it perfect? Or just, you wanna keep fiddling?
Thom: "Erm... I’m the last one to know. Y’know what I mean? Between the-thup-the... Between Nigel, our producer and the rest of the band...
Jonathan: "This is that euro-trash guy who produces your albums. [Sniggers]
Thom: "Yeah! That dancehall guy. Everythings just “Bum-tick- bum-tick...”
Jonathan: "I’ve seen him a few times, I... I don’t like the look of him. He looks like a playboy.
Thom: "Yeah? I’ll let him know that.
Jonathan: "He looks like he should be driving round the south of France with a couple of hookers of a...
Thom: "Listen, someone’s gotta look like that. The rest of us are far too old...
Jonathan: "Haha, that’s whats nice, you guys come in and you’re dressed in all your hemp...
Thom: "Yeah man.
Jonathan: "...y’know? and hes driving around wearing silk.
Thom: "Yeah. Yeah. Porsche.
Jonathan: "Erm... Thom has to get... you’re gonna move over behind the keyboard for us now caus we’re err... gonna move on to the next one. But er, I ask this of a lot of people whos music I admire: What do you listen to? ...and do you like... what do you like in the way of kindof like the more disposable end of the pop market? D’you listen to that kind of stuff as well? D’you like that sort of stuff?
Thom: "Errr... I’ve liked some... y’know... sort of... some of the garage stuff in the past ‘caus I like the “beatz innit”.
Jonathan: "Yeah, and the production, and the kindof...
Thom: "Yeah the rawness of it and... lots of hiphop I really like, theres a Q-tip I really... I heard the other day, I really liked but... uhm, I kindof don’t know allot of that stuff, it seems to me allot the hiphop that doesn’t get played on the radio is obviously better than the stuff that does.
Jonathan: "D’you ever listen to stuff from way back when... d’you ever listen to stuff like... I was listening to (repeatedly) yesterday, I was listening to “Don’t Rock the Boat” by the Hues Corporation, d’you know that one?
Thom: "Yeah I do know it...
Jonathan: "Yeah, d’you listen to that kinda stuff?
Thom: "...but I wouldn’t... y’know... downl... I wouldn’t go and get it.
Jonathan: "What about “Sideshow” by Barry Bigs, you remember that one?
Jonathan: "[Bursts into song] “Oh let the side-show begin, Hurry hurry, Step right on in” - You’d go high at that point. D’you know that one?
Thom: "[Mumbles] Naah... *inaudible* mate.
[Collective inaudible mutterings for a couple of seconds]
Jonathan: "Yeah - what about Three Degrees? Remember Three Degrees? “When Will I See You Again?” Remember that one?
Thom: "Yeah, I do, yeah...
Jonathan: "Like that one?
Thom: "Yeah... I’ve heard that. [Chuckles]
Thom: "Isn’t that one of the normal ones that Steve Wright plays?
Jonathan: "Yes, alright! okay! I like Steve Wright’s taste in music.
Thom: "[Animated] I listen to Steve Wright!
Jonathan: "D’you listen to the Sunday Love Songs?
Thom: "Err... No. Whats that?
Jonathan: "Alright, he does a show on the Sunday morning for young lovers... Well... not so young. Erm, what do you play for the kids? What do your children like to listen to? D’you play... d’you ever sing nursery rhymes to them or...
Thom: "No, they... they like the Chili Peppers...
Jonathan: "Nooo! You’re depriving them of their childhood Thom Yorke!
Thom: "Listen pal, it’s an education, you’ve got to start early.
Jonathan: "You can’t let a four year old listen to Blood Sex Sugar Magic or whatever it’s called.
Thom: "Oh man, it gets worse...
Thom: "Their favourite record is M.I.A and theres some... “What can I get for ten dollar? Anything you want”
Thom: "That’s right, that’s one of their favourites!
Jonathan: "I like that, yeah, I like M.I.A.
Thom: "You may as well start ‘em early.
Jonathan: "You might as well I suppose. Okay, Thom – aren’t you gonna move on to keyboard, we want another song from you, put the guitar down.
Thom: "Yeah... okay... alright... alright! Don’t make me panic.
Jonathan: "Well I’m not! I gave you plenty of time, we were having a chat...
Thom: "Oh right! I was supposed to do it while we were having a chat?
Jonathan: "Well I thought you could manoeuvre while you were chatting.
Thom: "Have we got time then, or what?
Jonathan: "Well yeah we’ve got time for another song, Charlie doesn’t mind waiting – do you? Charlies gonna come straight in afterwards, he’s enjoying it. He’s wearing a hat especially for the occasion as well.
Thom: "[Apparently unplugging his guitar] ...I unplug this – it’s gonna go bang...
Jonathan: "Oh for goodness’ sake, what a palaver! [Chuckles] What a palaver!
Thom: "I mean... you know... fffffftttt! Normally I get people... I have staff.
Jonathan: "I know, you have people doing this for you. You’d have 30 guitar techs running round with their bum cleavage showing and their inappropriate pony-tails.
Thom: "Actually no, theres a rule about bum cleavage.
Jonathan: "No bum cleavage on tour?
Thom: "No bum cleavage.
Jonathan: "None at all?
Jonathan: "I don’t blame you.
Jonathan: "What about for ladies?
[Short pause and some laughter]
Jonathan: "Ookay, don’t answer that! Here we go: This is now, we’re gonna have another... you’ll recognise this instantly... can I (I’m really sorry) I forget the title of this track.
Thom: "Everything! ...sorry, ahem... “Everything In It’s Right Place”.
Jonathan: "“Everything In It’s Right Place” – just a beautiful song. But it’s one of those songs where, y’know, it feels like it’s been around forever, you know what I mean? I’ve heard it a lot but it’s got a... it has a timeless quality about it.
Thom: "Well that’s good... that’s what we’re aiming at, boss.
Jonathan: "It’s just a beautiful song and I am very enamored of it and I’m thrilled that you’re doing it live for us this morning. Erm... here we go, set your tape recorders for this one.
Thom: "[Chuckles] ...or not.
Jonathan: "Lets have this on youtube later on. Alright, this is Thom Yorke performing live for you.
[Thom plays 'Everything In Its Right Place' but skips the lengthly outtro]
Thom: "...I thought I’d stop early.
Jonathan: "Well you can stop when you like but it’s a great track – isn’t that a great track? Oh well done! You must’ve known when you finished that – you must’ve thought “Yep; rest of the weekend off”.
Thom: "Yep, that was pretty much it, yeah. ...and that was after, what? A year of smashing my head against the wall.
Jonathan: "Yeah, ‘cause that was quite a tricky one for you to finish wasn’t it? Kid A...
Thom: "[Dramatically] They Always Are.
Jonathan: "That was after that long tour... you did that tour for about 8 years.
Thom: "That was after the OK Computer thing where it all went a bit peculiar.
Jonathan: "Yeah, ‘cause that was the one where everyone went “Yeah look, this is a great band! This is a great band!”
Thom: "“Where are they!?”
Jonathan: "I remember Bob Mortimer giving me one [Radiohead CD] quite sheepishly, and going “Give this a listen... see what you think.”
Thom: "Bob Mortimer?
Jonathan: "Yeah, from Vic and Bob.
Thom: "Wow, really?
Jonathan: "Yeah, that was the first time I’d heard of you.
Thom: "Cool beans.
Jonathan: "I was very slow on the uptake back then. [Chuckles]
Jonathan: "Er... How great to have you here, Thom, thank you so much for coming in.
Thom: "Absolute honour mister.
Jonathan: "Congratulations to you and the rest of the band for “In Rainbows” – Not only for the boldness of your exercise there, but also for just a brilliant piece of work and I’m looking forward to the next one... and er, lets see you in a couple of weeks time for “Making Your Mind Up”, the Eurovision selection process.
Thom: "No worries.
Jonathan: "I hope you’ve got your tune ready there.
Thom: "I’ve got my outfit ready.
Jonathan: "Haha, lets hope hes got sequins involved and the song features the words “Bing bang, Nick Nock” and “Ting Tong”
Jonathan: "...then you’re guaranteed a hit. Er, great to have you here Thom, have a lovely weekend.