About the Author

Column Archive

From radiohead.com.

Radiohead's requiem
8.24.2001 by Sean

I didn't fall off the face of the Earth. I wasn't abducted by aliens. I didn't die, or get paralyzingly depressed. I didn't fall into a coma or fall hopelessly in love. I didn't explode, implode, or encounter ball lightning. I didn't zoom, zip or zow, nor did I baf! Sorry.

I did see Radiohead, but the experience was not so powerful that I couldn't write this column. No, its languishing had to do with nothing except apathy, laziness and boredom. Worry not however - I have returned, and I am rejuvenated.

To begin (anew), I will impart some words of wisdom.

Radiohead won't be coming back on tour for a long while. That's my prediction. While my friends were awed into drunkenness by the boys from Oxford when we beheld them at their Barrie show, I was not. Instead, I was distracted by the shit-faced-"Play Creep!"-yelling doofuses next to me, by the "Pyramid Song"-body-surfers above me. Naw, to be honest, the dumb-ass rockshow crowd was not my main worry. What bit at me, throughout the set, was a growing feeling of dread, the belief that what Thom was projecting was a front, the belief that Radiohead's main lad is depressed but resigned, that he's saddened, and has so consented to this sadness that he's playing along and making himself sick.

Listening to Kid A and Amnesiac era songs, new interpretations slowly drifted into my consciousness. As Thom yelled "Mobiles squirking," the wide-eyed teens in the audience squirked. As Thom yelled "Mobiles chirping," they chirped. With "Take the money and run," he laughed a hollow laugh and turned away.

As the crowd moshed and Thom struck rock-star poses, I became convinced that this was Radiohead's goodbye tour, whether or not the whole band knew it. The New Radiohead, you see, Can-influenced and Sigur Ros name-dropping, is a band to listen to. They're actually "alternative", more Godspeed You Black Emperor! than U2. When people head down to see Arab Strap or Weights & Measures, they listen. There may be some dancing, may be some singing along, but it's about the music, not the light-show, the posturing and the anger. With OK Computer, Radiohead graduated, and the sameness of the crowd, the shit-faced doofuses who didn't see any difference or pause to think about the music, slowly drove Thom insane.

We've all read interviews about the horrors that followed the OKC tour. Hell, a documentary was made about it. But although evidence seems to show that Thom pulled out of it, I think that the reality is that he simply became resigned to it. Everything in its right place. Take the money and run. Dollars and cents. But when Thom was singing "You And Whose Army" that night at Molson Park, he was not expressing the same "we kids are gonna kick your ass" motif that lay at the heart of "Karma Police." No, he wasn't pointing his thumb at us saying "This is my army," he was saying precisely the reverse: "You crowd-surfing, Limp Bizkit-shirt wearing dudes are not gonna bring me down."

This is speculation, not fact. It is the prediction of a columnist, not a prophet. But the revelation - the sudden epiphany - struck me like a sack full of bricks as I watched the show, and my unease grew with every song. "Look at that!" Thom yelled, pointing at the moon. Look at that beauty! he seemed to be insisting. That is what matters. Not me and my band playing "Creep."

They won't be back. They're gonna pull a Beatles and give up the tour-bus for the recording studio.

I hope I'm wrong.

Disclaimer | Email Us | Dance!
Text, images, design, and our groovy mojo are ©
return to the top of the page