Thom E Yorke sounds breathless, amazed and exhilarated. Radiohead's singer has had plenty of surprises in the past couple of years -- but this is the most astonishing yet.
"Getting to Number Seven - whoa! That's as silly as America!"
And this with a re-release that the band vehemently opposed for ages.
"We did a lot to interviews where people asked us, 'Are you going to re-release 'Creep'?' And we said 'Oh no! Not in a million bloody years! Over our dead bodies!' But then we got back from America and just thought, 'Why not?' I suppose the song won in the end."
"My first memory of getting to America was that we drove overnight from Paris, caught the ferry, drove to Heathrow, then flew to New York. So in 20 hours we covered Paris, New York and London, and then we drove straight out to Boston. I woke up on a coach, walked into this hotel in Boston at seven o'clock in the morning, switched on MTV, and there was 'Creep'! It was like, 'Oh my God...'."
'Creep' May have been a Stateside success, but it wasn't necessarily understood.
"A lot of journalists said 'This is a joke song, right?'", says Thom, still sounding astonished at the memory. "Well, yeah but no...I was quite shocked by that! It is an outsider's song, and I suppose it touches not a nerve with a lot of people - but it's not a nerve I'd want to tap again. I couldn't, anyway. It was an accident first time. I suppose it is ironic now, because I have to ask myself all the time whether or not I'm still an outsider. I think I am. I've just been pushed into a different corner."
"'Creep' was one of the songs on the first album where we did start to realize what a studio could do - that there's a lot more to it than just going in, setting up and trying to make it sound like it's live."
How does it feel to be in the Top 10 with that song- probably one of the most emotional extreme hits ever?
"Well... now we know what we can do when we try! Because it took off in other places, we realised its potential; but we were shocked that so many people picked up on it so heavily. We thought it was a good song - but you don't sit around at the end of a recording session saying, 'Hey, this is going to be a hit in America, guys!' When it first came out in Britain, we were still at the stage when we were thinking, 'We've only just started'. We kept saying to the record company, 'Leave us alone! We don't really know what we're doing yet!' We were just learning the ropes, which is a really naff thing to do in the public eye but we didn't really have any choice. Touring changed our attitude. We started getting more confident about what we were doing, and became a professional band rather than just this amateur outfit who'd been given a load of money and didn't know what to do with it. That attitude reached the record company. Everyone was really excited about 'Creep', and when we came back from America, it seemed really odd that the country we were coming back to didn't know about it. We thought every one would slag us off for it. But then we thought, 'Hang on - we'll be in America! So if this doesn't come off, we'll already have done a runner!"
These days, Thom's almost redundant when Radiohed play 'Creep' live. A roomful of voices variably sings every word of the song for him.
"Yeah - but that's great, isn't it? I had thought, 'Oh God, this is silly. This one song that we write, and everyone goes mad over it'. But the main thing is not to let it affect how you work and how you write, and to keep pushing yourself harder all the time."