Radiohead Drummer Philip Selway Issues Statement About Stage Collapse Victim

Photo via Instagram user sufiapeace


“We have all been shattered by the loss of Scott Johnson, our friend and colleague.”

Evan Minsker
on June 17, 2012 at 04:58 p.m.

Radiohead drummer Philip Selway has released the following statement regarding Scott Johnson, the drum technician who was killed yesterday by a collapsed stage in Toronto:

We have all been shattered by the loss of Scott Johnson, our friend and colleague. He was a lovely man, always positive, supportive and funny; a highly skilled and valued member of our great road crew. We will miss him very much. Our thoughts and love are with Scott’s family and all those close to him.

Radiohead, Philip Selway
Philip Selway, Radiohead

Stage Collapses Before Radiohead Show in Toronto

Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs during Coachella in Indio, California.

One person dead, three injured

By Rolling Stone
June 16, 2012 4:42 PM ET

The stage at Downsview Park in Toronto collapsed this afternoon just hours before Radiohead were scheduled to play to a sold-out crowd, CBC News reports.

The band was not onstage at the time, but one person was killed and three others were injured in the collapse. The concert, whose gates were scheduled to open at 5 p.m., has been cancelled.

Toronto fire captain Mike Strapko told CNN that a “scaffolding-type structure collapsed” some 40 to 60 feet above the main stage area as the victims were setting up for the concert around 4 p.m. There were no strong winds or other dangerous weather conditions at the time.

A statement on Radiohead’s website says that tickets will be refunded, and advises fans not to make their way to the venue.

The accident comes after a number of recent stage collapses at high profile shows raised concerns about safety at concerts. Seven people were killed at the Indiana State Fair last August when high winds knocked down scaffolding and speakers, and just last Saturday, the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas was shut down by windstorms, forcing the cancellation of some headlining sets.

Radiohead Push Boundaries, Salute Jack White at Bonnaroo Music Festival

Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

By Rolling Stone
June 9, 2012 9:55 AM ET

When Radiohead first played Bonnaroo in 2006, they did it with a set full of back-catalog staples and a handful of new songs. Never ones to repeat themselves, the band flipped that script on Friday night when they returned to headline the Manchester, Tennessee festival, turning in an epic 25-song set that slanted heavily towards new material.

While Thom Yorke and Co. weeded out a few thousand hit chasers in the crowd by eschewing well-known favorites like “Fake Plastic Trees” and “No Surprises,” they held tens of thousands more spellbound with a textured tableau of intertwining rhythmic arrangements — augmented by the addition of auxiliary drummer Clive Deamer – and nuanced sonics, with some latter-day catalog cuts emerging as concert anthems. When Yorke howled out the chorus of In Rainbows standout “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” he cued an en masse singalong that sounded like a tidal wave ripping across a human sea of 80,000.

Complimenting the band’s case for its post-major-label forays into art-rock craftsmanship was a stunning stage production that was a work of art in and of itself. With band members backlit by two towering video walls, a dozen tile-like screens shifted shape overhead and changed color with thrilling results. Wild-card set list selections included “I Might Be Wrong,” “House of Cards,” and “Kid A”; while live staples like “Idioteque,” “Karma Police” and fevered-pitch show-closer “Paranoid Android” were among the oldies represented. Yorke also dedicated “Supercollider,” a new song the band is currently road-testing, to Jack White, hinting at a very recent collaboration. Perhaps a Radiohead release on White’s Third Man Records is on the horizon?

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings took to the What Stage earlier in the afternoon, whipping a still-filling field of festivalgoers into a frenzy with their idiomatic R&B pastiche. Hearkening soul icons from Aretha Franklin to Sam Cooke and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Jones and her dapper 10-piece backing band transformed the sprawling venue into a sweaty sock hop. The moves on display throughout the crowd were no match for the fire-and-brimstone footwork of the 56-year-old Jones, who sported a sparkly blue romper and danced as though she were walking over imaginary hot coals. Whether she was delivering elongated band introductions, setting off audience-wide clap-alongs in double time or simply just belting out woozy, broken-hearted ballads and uplifting party jams from the gut, Jones put on a thorough masterclass in showmanship.

The Avett Brothers followed with a set of crowd-pleasers that included “I and Love and You,” “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” “Murder in the City” and “Kick Drum Heart.” But it wasn’t all about them – they also covered a pair of Doc Watson tunes (“Blue Ridge Mountain Blues” and “Down in the Valley to Pray”) in a fitting tribute to the late guitar pioneer. “Before we go onstage, we remind each other to let the game come to us, let the show be what it’s going to be,” Scott Avett told Rolling Stone after the set. “And I felt like it was solid to the bone, man.”

“This is the earliest we’ve ever played,” Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus told a zealous early-afternoon crowd at This Tent. “Pretend this is Hawaii.” It wasn’t hard to do, given the whimsical freak-folk chanteuse’s tropical sonics, junk-yard percussion, chiming guitars and looping vocals. With an adept three-piece band in tow, Garbus’s compositions had a more organic feel live than they do on her 2011 LP, Whokill. It may have been early in the day, relatively speaking, but the Tune-Yards’ disjointed-by-design amalgam of world, soul and electro-pop was a perfect fit for Bonnaroo, often competing in volume with the crowd. When Garbus yelped and screamed, the crowd yelped and screamed back louder.

“We came up from Atlanta this morning on two buses! We’re going to put on a crazy show for you Bonnaroo, something you’ve never seen before!” announced Ludacris, who rocked Bonnaroo’s This tent so hard that festivalgoers were climbing the surrounding chainlink fence to just to catch a glimpse of the Atlanta rapper’s set. “Talk about being on everyone’s Number Ones! I’ve got my own fuckin’ Number One!” he taunted, launching into ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ while his dancers greased up a 15-foot pole with some Cirque du Soleil-worthy grinding. The hour-and-a-half-long set neatly recapped the last 12 years in radio rap, complete with mash-ups of Luda’s best features, from Usher and Lil Jon’s ‘Yeah!’ to Fergie’s ‘Glamourous.’

Late-night at That tent, Mos Def (now Yasiin Bey) and Talib Kweli resurrected Blackstar and brought along Hi-Tek for a Reflection Eternal reunion. Clad in white pants and a white oxford button-up, Bey displayed some nimble moves onstage and kept the crowd at ease with his buttery flow well past 1 a.m. The highlight came when both rappers led the crowd in a singalong to Biggie’s “Juicy,” then paid tribute to J. Dilla and Whitney Houston as Gil Scott-Heron’s “We Almost Lost Detroit” played in the background.

Umphrey’s McGee brought Bonnaroo back to its roots with a four-hour affair that blew through their scheduled 4 a.m. stop time by a full two hours. In addition to ripping through their originals, which stacked interlocking jams on top of heavy rock, the band offered a dub version of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” and a rocked-out rendition of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” and brought out Big Gigantic for a surprise, 25-minute “friendly takeover” in between sets. “We figured that, playing from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., if we didn’t stop, there would’ve been a weird moment where we’d have to do a drum solo piss break,” Umphrey’s Brendan Bayliss told Rolling Stone.

Armed with a set-list that stretched from their disco-leaning 2007 LP to last year’s heavier Ritual Union, Swedish electro-funkers Little Dragon breezed through their premiere Bonnaroo gig, keeping fans on their toes while furiously improvising on drum kits and synths. After dashing over to This Tent just in time to catch the end of the group’s set, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea and Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse boogied in the backstage VIP area.

As moody as it was electrifying, one of Friday’s most impressive sets came courtesy of New York indie auteur St. Vincent at That Tent. Singer-guitarist Annie Clark’s finely crafted tunes sound like Roxy Music molesting ABBA, as officiated by Kate Bush and David Byrne. Clark’s inventive command of wide-screen soundscapes, and her killer lighting show to match, made for perfect the lead-in to Radiohead as the sun set over Manchester.

Bonnaroo continues Saturday with sets from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice Cooper, Skrillex and more.

The King of Limbs – Radiohead

The King of Limbs

Radiohead tried a new approach for The King of Limbs: Each member worked, piecemeal, on his own contributions before sharing them with the group. Yorke says working that way was a big gamble.

National Public Radio Stations
October 6, 2011

Radiohead’s first hit, “Creep,” was everywhere in 1993. The band could have reacted as many other modern-rock acts did in the ’90s: by repeating the same old sound, album after album, before fading into the background. Instead, the group made each record a reinvention, from the spare and haunting Kid A to In Rainbows, which sounded, well, sexy. It has all helped make Radiohead one of the most inventive and important bands in the world.

The group released its latest record, The King of Limbs, this February with little fanfare: no interviews, no publicity, no concert tour. Still, the album shot to No. 3 here in the U.S. Now, the radio silence may be over: Radiohead played two sold-out shows last week at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, and performed on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.

Instead, the group made each record a reinvention, from the spare and haunting Kid A to In Rainbows, which sounded, well, sexy. It has all helped make Radiohead one of the most inventive and important bands in the world., this February with little fanfare: no interviews, no publicity, no concert tour. Still, the album shot to No. 3 here in the U.S. Now, the radio silence may be over: Radiohead played two sold-out shows last week at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, and performed on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.

Speaking recently with NPR’s Guy Raz about recording The King of Limbs, singer Thom Yorke and guitarist Ed O’Brien agree that, after coming off the long tour cycle for In Rainbows, the band was feeling exhausted and uninspired. To make the new album work, everyone had to slow down and step back.

“We had an initial session of about five weeks, and it was really like kids in kindergarten,” O’Brien says. “You had to simplify what you were doing — you couldn’t do loads of ideas. You had to listen to one another. Believe it or not, in a band you can lose that.

“Part of what you do is rejection,” O’Brien adds. “I think everybody finds it hard, but I think part of creativity is bouncing back from that. What’s great about the environment that we have is that no one ever says, ‘You can’t do that.’ You try it, and then it’s judged on whether it’s right for the track.”

Radiohead tried a new approach for The King of Limbs: Each member worked, piecemeal, on his own contributions before sharing them with the group. Yorke says working that way was a big gamble.

“Almost every tune is like a collage: things we’d pre-recorded, each of us, and then were flying at each other,” Yorke says. “You get to a point where you think, ‘OK, this bit needs a big black line through it.’ It’s like editing a film or something.

“I don’t think we really genuinely thought anything would come out of it,” he adds, “certainly not an entire record.”

Playing live presents its own set of challenges. O’Brien says that, as happy as he was with The King of Limbs upon its completion, the prospect of turning an intricate studio creation into a concert experience was panic-inducing.

“That’s the scary part — you realize that you have created in this vacuum, in this bubble,” O’Brien says. “It plays tricks on the brain.”

But Yorke says adapting the new material was liberating, as well.

“That’s one of the ways we move on musically, is having to force ourselves to learn this thing,” he says. “It’s a backward process, but it really exists in another way once you can actually play it.”

Radiohead performs live at the Roseland Ballroom in New York on Sept. 28. Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Have you ever seen The Beatles’ first show in America, where George Harrison physically turns Ringo’s rickety bandstand around to face the crowd? High expectations can paint a more regal portrait than reality — that is, until the music kicks in.

And so it was for Radiohead Wednesday night — the first of two nights at Roseland Ballroom in New York City, the band’s only concerts in a very short trip. At various points in the show, stagehands carried synthesizers on stage, sometimes tripping over cables, sending the vocal mic crashing to the stage floor. But once the band started playing, everything truly was in its right place.

The new guy was drummer No. 2, Clive Deamer (Portishead, Hawkwind). The addition was subtle at times, but made some of the jerky rhythms of loops and Phil Selway on King of Limbs come to life on stage.

With a minimal light- and stage show for this two-night stint, all the focus was on the music — no distractions and all the surprises in the songs. We heard the magic of a band so inside its own tunes that it can rebuild them on the fly, making them fresh and playful. That’s a wonderful thing for the audience at the Roseland: a group of hardcore fans who know every song by the first note, some even by the tuning of the guitars, and it made the journey through those songs even more of an adventure.

Radiohead couldn’t have taken that journey with a better crowd — a crowd which, despite the house lights coming on, despite the roadies packing up the stage, despite the house music playing, pulled the band back on stage for a second encore with a passionate roar. It was an unplanned encore — a true encore. As Thom Yorke walked around the group, from Ed O’Brien to Colin Greenwood and everyone else, figuring out the next tune (it was “Nude”), there was a joy we all felt. We witnessed something genuine, stripped to its essence: a stunning band and its music. As a crowd, we had big ideas; last night, they happened.

Thom Yorke – Interview

Thomas Edward Yorke (born October 7, 1968 in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England) is a musician and the lead singer of the English rock band Radiohead.

Q: Does commercial success matter to you?

A:It matters. It’s as much as you can ask for. The rest is bullshit.

Q: Success is part of what you want when you start writing?

A: Jonny goes on and on about this. Anybody who claims they write for *themselves is a liar. Everyone has an audience in mind. The only reason any artist would carry on is in the faith that one day somebody would see or hear their work.

The video of ‘Paranoid Android’ has been censored by MTV. They took all nipples out of the cartoon, but they had no problem with the scene in which a man cuts off his own arms and legs.

What worries me more than anything else is the whole notion that I’m who people focus on, like it’s of significance, you know?

People look at me and think that it’s a complete existence. What really fucks me up in the head is that basically I’m supposed to be endorsing this sort of pop star, ‘Wow, lucky bastard, he’s got it all’ existence. What frightens me is the idea that what Radiohead does is basically packaged back to people in the form of entertainment, to play in their car stereos on their way to work.

And that’s not why I started this but then I should shut the fuck up because it’s pop music and it’s not anything more than that.

But I got into music, because I naively thought that pop music was basically the only viable art form left, because the art world is run by a few very extremely, um, privileged people and is ultimately corrupt and barren of any context. And I thought that the pop music industry was different and I was fucking wrong, because I went to the Brits and I saw it everywhere and it’s the same thing. It’s a lot of women who couldn’t fit in their cocktail dresses and lots of men in black ties who essentially didn’t want to be there, but were. And I was there and we were all committing the same offence. All my favorite artists are people who never seem to be involved in the industry and I found myself getting involved in it, and I felt really ashamed to be there.

I don’t think young people are as demoralized as the media and government would like us to think. The obvious sign of that is how strong and how close personal connections are and how much people are able to build a life for themselves, despite all this stuff that’s been thrown at them.

Q: Radiohead fans tend to be extremely devoted to the band – they seem to connect with your music and ideals. What do you see as the major aspects of your music which people connect with so well?

A: To be really truthful I don’t see it myself. When we play something new, we don’t know how people will react. If I show an idea to the rest of the band I’m terrified if they will respond or not. They are the same. It always amazes me how complex this remains. There was a time when we could make the correct moves and the required response. And that was the time when the shine started to fade. Do people connect with our ideals? I dont know, surely encouraging people to make informed decisions is more useful? ignorance is the biggest problem isnt it? we are no purer than anyone else, no smarter. Equally we are not little rag dolls you play with but say nothing and go back in the box when you’re finished with us.

The sad thing is, if an issue is laughed at and patronised by mainstream media, then it’s up against it big-time. I read some journalist recently lecturing the anti-globalisation lobby, saying, ‘This is the way capitalism works, all capitalism is exploitation and to make it try and do something else, it’s never gonna happen.’ And it’s like, yeah, but where does that leave us? This is somehow God’s will? All this? It’s God’s will that we sit in traffic? It’s God’s will that millions of people are gonna die this year because of some outmoded economic policies? No, it’s not! It’s like some deranged sacrificial altar, the high priests of the global economy holding up these millions of children each year, like (Arms aloft) ‘We wish to please you! Oh Gods of free trade!’ It’s like… give us all a fucking break! If there is a Devil at work, then he rests in institutions and not in individuals. Because the beauty of institutions is that any individual can abdicate responsibility. The assumption that we’re all utterly powerless, that’s the Devil at work.

I wouldn’t be involved with it [pop music] if I wasn’t aware that it was going to be a product. I always wanted whatever I did to end up in the high street, no matter what it was, because to me, there isn’t anywhere else to go. It’s pointless.

We’re at a time when we are being presented with undeniable changes in the global climate and fundamental issues that affect every single one of us, and it’s the time we’re listening to the most hokey shite on the radio and watching vacuous bullshit celebrities being vacuous bullshit celebrities and desperately trying to forget about everything. Which is fine, you know, but personally speaking, I can’t do that.

It annoys me how pretty my voice is…that sounds incredibly immodest, but it annoys me how polite it can sound when perhaps what I’m singing is deeply acidic.

There’s nothing more boring than a rock’n’roll star, someone who has been on the road for 10 years, expecting attention wherever he goes, drinking himself stupid, who is obnoxious, incoherent, uncreative and has a massive ego. There’s nothing more pointless.

On Thom’s inability to read music

If someone lays the notes on a page in front of me, it’s meaningless…because to me you can’t express the rhythms properly like that. It’s a very ineffective way of doing it, so I’ve never really bothered picking it up.

About people’s image of him.

I think that has a lot to do with the expression that’s on my face. People are born with certain faces, like my father was born with a face that people want to hit. (laughs)

Wish us all a safe journey if you still like us and you’re not one of those people i have managed to offend by doing nothing

I haven’t done enough. I don’t have solar panels on my house yet. I haven’t sorted out the heating, my car’s not a Prius, I f—ing fly all the time for my job and I hate it but at the moment I haven’t really got a choice, you know, and all these things. The job I’m in is a job that wastes energy left, right and centre. It’s madness.

It’s like a supply and demand thing. It’s like ‘Well, this is what they want me to do, this is what they want to hear. So I’ll do more of this, cuz this is great… and they love me.’ Suddenly people start giving you money as well. So then you’ve got money and you get used to this lifestyle. And you don’t wanna take any risks cuz they’ve got you by the balls, and you’ve got all these little things that you’ve bought, or you’re attached to. And you start spending all this money… And that’s how they get ya!

I didn’t really come into it expecting to make songs. It started just with random bits and pieces. I guess I thought there would be vocals, but I was thinking in terms of using little vocal shreds, and of making them part of the tapestry, not the main thing. But as soon as we had gone through the initial sketches, it became obvious that they could be quite direct. Nigel basically dragged me kicking and screaming toward the concept of them being actual songs.

On making The Eraser.

You think I have the responsibilty… I have the responsibility to give the fans a good time! (nods at camera, then pauses)… that just sounds… kinky.

My big problem with corporate structure is this bizarre sense of loyalty you’re supposed to feel — towards what is basically a virus. It grows or dies, like any virus. And you use it for your own selfish ends.

On the record industry.

The difference between me and Bono is that he’s quite happy to go and flatter people to get what he wants and he’s very good at it, but I just can’t do it. I’d probably end up punching them in the face rather than shaking their hand, so it’s best that I stay out of their way. I can’t engage with that level of bullshit. Which is a shame, really, and in a way it would help if I could, but I just can’t. I admire the fact that Bono can, and can walk away from it smelling of roses.

The thing that worries me about the computer age is the fact that people know so much about you. It’s an incredible invasion of privacy. And no matter where you are in the world people can monitor you if you’re using your credit card. I heard this weird rumor on the Internet about how the military is funding this great big research project and basically, they believe that in the future, the balance of power won’t be determined by who has the most nuclear weapons, but by who has all the information. I’m not afraid of being taken over by computers though, because the thing is, computers cannot resist. You can always smash ’em up, and they’re totally defenseless. All we need are more people with hammers.

It’s basically [about] having to make a decision whether to do nothing or try to engage with it in some way, knowing that it’s flawed. It’s convenient to project that back on to someone personally and say they’re a hypocrite. It’s a lot easier to do that than actually do anything else. And yeah, that stresses me out, because I am a hypocrite. As we all are.

On celebrities supporting efforts to curtail climate change.

Initially when it came up I tried to be pragmatic. But Blair has no environmental credentials as far as I’m concerned. I came out of that whole period just thinking, I don’t want to get involved directly, it’s poison. I’ll just shout my mouth off from the sidelines.

On rejecting the opportunity to meet Tony Blair for a campaign to lobby government to help stop climate change.

I think the most important thing about music is the sense of escape.

I grew up under Thatcher. I grew up believing that I was fundamentally powerless. Then gradually over the years it occurred to me that this was actually a very convenient myth for the state.

Sometimes the nicest thing to do with a guitar is just look at it.

People sometimes say we take things too seriously, but it’s the only way you’ll get anywhere. We’re not going to sit around and wait and just be happy if something turns up. We are ambitious. You have to be.

They’re dangerous people, and what’s really frightening is that they don’t know it, they don’t see themselves as dangerous… they see the danger elsewhere. The danger is always elsewhere. How convenient.