back in 1993, thom yorke, radiohead's 25-year-old lead singer proved you don't need a positive attitude to get a hit: "creep" (i'm a creep/ i'm a weirdo) launched the english band's career. we joined thom and 22-year-old guitarist jonny greenwood over lunch and talked about thom's platinum hair and "my iron lung", their new single.
so, what is an iron lung? thom: it's an artificial respirator. they were used on polio patients in the '50s. you'd be stuck in this huge steel box, and your head was the only thing that could move. you'd just live like that for the rest of your life,
your new album is called the bends. i'm afraid to ask... thom: the bends are what you get when you're scuba diving and you come up too fast- you get too much nitrogen in your blood. you can die from it. i wonder if you implode or explode or what.
what happened to your long white hair? thom: it broke off. honestly, i went to the hairdresser's to get it dyed, and when they toweled it, my hair just fell out.
you met at an all-boys school in oxford. what was that like? jonny: it was a bit like alcatraz. my housemaster would measure the bottom width of our trousers- we wore drainpipes back then. then he'd send us home to put on wider ones. it was that kind of place.
did you get into a lot of trouble? thom: i was fond of missing lessons. i'd go into town, which just meant i'd wind up in fights. well, they really weren't fights, because the other guys'd hit me and i'd fall over.