With news coming at us in abundance via Radiohead TV, it seems appropriate to accede to a once off, random Radiohead takeover of DervSwerve.
First up, the absolutely disgusting news that the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari, the defendants in the case taken by the Canadian Authorities following the death of the late Scott Johnson, have been stayed.
In June 2012, ahead of a Radiohead gig at Toronto’s Downsview Park, the scaffolding underpinning the band’s equipment-laden stage collapsed, crushing crew member Johnson to death and injuring three others. Charges were brought by the local authorities against the three defendants but due to a series of endless petitions and delays, five years later the case was still ongoing, until now.
In response to the court’s decision, Radiohead released this official response, shared via their socials on 8th September.
“We are appalled by the decision to stay the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari. This is an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew.
It offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again.”
Radiohead’s 20th anniversary reissue of OK Computer entitled OKNOTOK came packaged with three previously unreleased recordings, of which one is the track Lift. Back in the day (’96), the song was deemed by the band to be so anthemic that rather than include it on their pioneering third album, they chose to ‘subconsciously kill it‘. Radiohead made the informed decision to pull the plug on Lift after having played it live to rapturous response during their time supporting Canadian Alanis Morissette on tour.
“The only regrets about this album are the songs we left off because we didn’t record them well enough or soon enough,” Jonny Greenwood on OK Computer
So, it remained in the Radiohead vaults for two decades until OKNOTOK‘s release earlier this Summer.
During an interview with Matt Everitt on 6 Music (May 2017), guitarist Ed O’Brien spoke of the track, the impact the crowd’s reaction had on the band and their fear that something as compelling as Lift could catapult OK Computer into Jagged Little Pill territory. Listen to a snippet of their conversation here (you can find more cuts from the interview on the BBC Player).
“If that song had been on that album, it would’ve taken us to a different place”
Thom Yorke standing in a lift holding two cheapy plastic bags filled with shopping is, I must admit, a sight I never thought I’d see, but such is the case with the recently released Oscar Hudson directed video accompaniment to Lift. Hudson, some of you may recall, directed the 30-second vignette based on The Numbers from a A Moon Shaped Pool.
“I was aware of what Radiohead fans are like. I wanted there to be some things to dig up in there, but I also wanted it to be a film in its own right and I want people to do their own thinking, too. We wanted to try to walk a line with this video, somewhere between not looking back too much but also—you can’t ignore the history of the song.” – Oscar Hudson in conversation with Pitchfork
Like a visual treasure hunt, the film is packed with retro-references along with cameos by people personally known to the Radiohead frontman including Italian actress Dajana Roncione and Yorke’s daughter Agnes. The endless stream of ’97-era Radiohead touchstones include the purple-hat wearing chappy from the Paranoid Android video and the central character from the Karma Police visual. Doubtless Radiohead obsessives are currently in lock-down as they try to decipher the film’s cryptic clues!
“This is the place
Sit down, you’re safe now
You’ve been stuck in a lift
We’ve been trying to reach you, Thom
This is the place
It won’t hurt ever again”
For all its anthemic bravura, Lift is replete with touchingly quirky qualities such as Yorke name-checking himself in the opening verse and self-deprecatingly telling himself to cop on and “lighten up, squirt” in the last.
As they’ve done at other times in the past, Radiohead took the body and re-dressed it, having finally found the right ensemble for a song now twenty years old.
“We never found the right arrangement for that, until then (Nude/In Rainbows). ‘Lift’ is just like that. When the idea is right, it stays right. It doesn’t really matter in which form.” – Thom Yorke
And in bite size news …
For those who may have missed Vol 4 of our newsletter, RH drummer Phil Selway will shortly release his third album entitled Let Me Go. Score to the film of the same name, the album will be available digitally from 15th September with a vinyl edition available from 27th October via Bella Union. You can however, pre-order it here.
And if you’ve been really off the boil, elsewhere, in the world of Ed O’Brien (Irish heritage going strong as always), a new bespoke Fender with the moniker ‘EOB Sustainer Stratocaster‘ tailored to the guitarist’s specifications has hit the music market. Doubtless, he used the proto-type to create his debut solo album, allegedly due for release before the end of the year – tbc.
Finally to news just out today …
It has been announced that Radiohead are collaborating with German film score composer and record producer (Gladiator, Inception) Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack for Blue Planet II.
The exclusive piece of music which will feature an orchestral reimagining of the Radiohead track Bloom (from the album King of Limbs), will be soundtrack a prequel to the universally acclaimed BBC nature documentary fronted by renowned broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough.
Frontman Thom Yorke has rerecord the vocals for the reworked version. Speaking of the choice of song Yorke explained, “Bloom was inspired by the original Blue Planet series, so it’s great to be able to come full circle with the song and reimagine it for this incredible landmark’s sequel.” To which Zimmer added, “Bloom beautifully reflects the jaw-dropping lifeforms and seascapes” (in the show).
Blue Planet II, which further explores the world’s oceans following the original 2001 series, will air on the BBC later in 2017. The new version of Bloom will accompany a five-minute prequel for the series, to be aired on 27 September. Be sure to tune in!
To round things off here’s a wee Radiohead playlist inspo’d by the news-bites in the post. Enjoy ..