|St. Petersburg Times, september 8th 1995|
Radiohead ready to rock
by Logan Neill
The members of Radiohead were ecstatic when their record label told them last spring it was time to get out and start supporting their new album.
The frustration of inactivity (having not performed steadily since the previous fall) coupled with the pent-up anxiety of having fresh songs from The Bends to offer fans reached a critical state.
"We were quite ready to climb the walls," said Radiohead's soft-spoken drummer, Phil Selway, in a recent interview from his home near Oxford, England. "We were sort of trapped in the studio, recording and rerecording. It didn't seem like the songs could really grow on us until we started playing them live for people."
For the past few weeks, Selway and bandmates Thom Yorke (vocals), Jonny Greenwood (guitar, keyboards), Ed O'Brien (guitar) and Colin Greenwood (bass) have been happily traversing the states as openers for R.E.M. And fans have found Radiohead to be an enticing appetizer, with its heady, sonic sound somewhat reminiscent of early U2, yet more dissolute.
Admittedly, Radiohead is a little shy on recognizable hits, except for its 1993 smash single Creep, which launched the band into the pop world with an unsettling slacker catchphrase ("I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo").
Fronted by Yorke, described as the hyperkinetic mouthpiece for the band's enigmatic moodiness, Radiohead explores the delicate folds of its pop fortunes with wariness, proclaiming to be the "antithesis of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle."
"We're not purposefully contradictory," Yorke said recently. "It just happens that we like to use our brains. If you consider what you're doing at all important, you'll pay more attention to it and not just get drunk 'round the pub until it's time to get onstage."
Clearly, Radiohead takes the recording part of its music just as seriously. Work on The Bends, the follow-up to its hugely successful Capitol debut (Pablo Honey), had been going on for more than two months when the band decided to scrap everything. Members later returned in a better frame of mind, taking less than three weeks to lay down all the tracks.
The album has yielded two successful singles, the plaintive High And Dry and the MTV video hit Fake Plastic Trees. The next song, Just (Do It Yourself), is due out this month. Selway thinks the band could be ready for its next recording.
"Hopefully, we can get into the studio to record before we shut down from this tour," Selway said. "Playing out every night has helped straighten the sound. We're in a strong period, I think. I'd like to see us do something with it before it gets cold."