|╗ July 22, 1999
|thom arrives & plays
a new song on the acoustic. sounds great but has no name, so
now on referred to as the song with no name. we move on to
"lost at sea/in limbo" after only nine months work its
starting to sound like its getting somewhere. good in fact.
The others sound ok too.( everything, everyone/the national
anthem). highlight of the day is attempting 3 part harmonies
on "neil young *9"- not the harmonies themselves, but phil
cracking up because he feels a bit like that drummer from the
eagles. a fucking brilliant rehearsal. its great to be in our
|╗ July 23, 1999
|start by working on
'optimistic'. i really love the words, especially the line
"this one just crawled out the swamp" reminds me a bit of PJ
Harvey's blues stuff. cool. a couple of interesting jams. one
of them is jonny's who bemoans the fact that his stuff never
turns into proper songs. its good but he doesnt realise it, as
hes already bored of it by the time he plays it to us.
finished by playing 'neil young *9' or as cozzie calls it the
'phil is don henley' song. It sounds even better today. don't
go on too long as its warm and unusually summery today so
drive home and get caught in the inevitable friday traffic
|╗ July 27, 1999
|a pretty frustrating
day, but now we've been doing this for so long, you realise it
can't all be like last week. it starts well with a different
version of 'how to dissapear' and 'everything in its right
place'. we then get sidetracked by a couple of loose ideas for
songs (one is very like the Fall). However we have definitely
lost our way with ' you and whose army'- it was sounding great
last week, so what happened today? time to go home.
|╗ July 28, 1999
|it may well be that
because we are working on completely new material it seems
that we have not moved much today, like yesterday. but we
discussed ' follow me around' and how we would like to
approach it, rather than just start playing and thereby fall
into old habits. plank says he likes the 'remain in light'
style jam we had which is good because we were pretty
nonchalant about it. 'de la soul'esque jam at end.
|╗ July 29, 1999
|warts and all, warts
and all......... the last two days were brewing up to
this.....working on 'up the ladder'. 30 seconds into it & it
sounds utter shite. thom stops it. lack of energy. phil gets
pissed off. we talk a bit. start up again with a dose of the
'fuck you's. sounds better almost immediately. funny that. oh
and the new song from 22nd is called 'move along' for the
moment. also played the cminor. lovely sunny day.
|╗ July 30, 1999
|spend the first 3hrs
on 'up the ladder'. things are happening; jonny brings in the
'missy eliot' chord??!! thom starts singing lyrics from
another song, cozzie comes with a catchy riff for the chorus
and phil is ..funking. with that going on its very easy for
me. working through something is such a cliche but if youre in
the right frame of mind its so true. finish by playing "lost
at sea/in limbo" , "optimistic", "c-minor song". it would be
great to have another look at "you and whose army?" next week,
and rescue it for the 'lets leave it for a while' pile.
plank's not here today as he's in Lobo, Norway with Mike
Scott- they have no nights in summer.
|╗ August 03, 1999
|start by working on
'lost at sea'. thom thinks weve already recorded the
definitive version whilst in paris. not sure about that, mind
you he admits that thats because of the way hes singing it
(which hes only done with a tape alone whilst driving). i
really like this new version, as much as anything for its
relentlessness and energy. anyhow move onto a new song
'cuttooth' - its got a 'neu' thing about it - long and
hypnotic.... finish with attempting to rescue 'you and whose
|╗ August 04, 1999
|first time since
starting this that i have had absolutely no desire to write
anything about today. 24 hours and a good rehearsal (thursday)
later things are a little clearer. yesterday or rather today
(the 4th) there was very little played but a lot of talk. the
problem we have found is that we are essentially in limbo -
for the first time in our time we have nothing to get ready
for, except 'an album', but weve been working on that since
january and nothing substantial has come of it, except maybe a
few harsh lessons in how not to do things*. its like how do we
start this - when we made our last three albums, there were
time restrictions - we no longer have these. are we going down
'stone roses' territory? the result of this somewhat frank
discussion is that we need a plan and something to aim for...
*not quite true in hindsight - we have recorded some good
stuff (not much, though).
|╗ August 05, 1999
|much better today...
the sun shines in and out of our rehearsal room and we get a
lot done... start with 'optimistic' (still sounding great -
jonny tries some cool ondes martenot on it - the high stuff is
good, not however when he follows the main riff). move on to
'up the ladder' - sounds better with more space. segway into
'follow me around' and a reworking of the 'cminor song' (in a
stax stylee). jonny meanwhile is attempting to put the vocal
mic through his analogue filters - which looks like a remake
of an old telephone exchange. "hello vicar, yes ill put you
through to mr kipling"... so the last two songs are punctuated
by sudden bursts of unearthly noises, both extremely good and
|╗ August 06, 1999
|last day of the week
and last rehearsal for a couple of weeks as the eclipse takes
place next wednesday. so we run through most of the songs. i
think that these rehearsals will be viewed in hindsight as
where we turned a corner (or hope so). obviously working on
the songs and playing again has helped, but just as
importantly we have been forced to confront certain things -
like what the fuck are we doing exactly - how do we set up the
next bit of recording so that we dont start 20-odd songs and
not finish one of them. its taken us seven years to get this
sort of freedom, and its what we always wanted, but it could
be so easy to fuck it all up.
|╗ August 31, 1999
|kick off with
'cuttooth', the song with little structure and the only
certainty is a bass riff. it makes you wonder how 'neu' did
their thing - it always sounds spontaneous on those 12 minute
epics, but did they have to rehearse intensely? did it require
a degree of editing? then move on to the 'c minor song' -
jonny thinks that maybe it's getting a little too tasteful and
nice and he's right. it sounds too slick. finish with
|╗ September 01, 1999
|i read a rumour from
the internet [never believe a single nuance - sd] that we are
supposed to be collaborating with 'godspeed you black emperor'
on 'how to disappear' - this person cited a number of chance
occurences, including such impossible coincidences as 'they
came to see us at a gig'. if that were sufficient
corroborating evidence then, judging on the bands i've seen
recently, you can hear us with 'the divine comedy' and the
mighty 'asian dub foundation'.
twice around 'follow me around' - mmm. not great, but salvaged
by 'you and whose army' - jonny thinks that voice and guitar
are all that's needed until the end part; and it sounds right;
or at least it's definitely a place to start. run through
'optimistic', cuttooth', and 'up on the ladder' for nige,
who's down for the day to do some wiring and 'studio
|╗ September 02, 1999
|i have, up until
now, never written a diary about what we've been doing;
largely due to lethargy, but also because there are times when
you have no desire whatsoever to document a particular
occasion. and anyway i've always been suspicious of those who,
like bill wyman, record such daily details. great bass player,
though. but what has been interesting about this is that for
me this is first time i am aware of the cyclical nature of our
behaviour; patterns emerge. today was much like a day four
weeks ago. things came to a head. and although you wish that
there weren't days like this, it actually probably aids the
creative process. so maybe the next few rehearsals will be
great. time to swig back a bottle of wine and contemplate the
frail nature of it all.
|╗ September 03, 1999
|after only 2 months
rehearsal and 3 months recording, it's been concluded that
what we should be doing now is trying to get basic
arrangements. we're like fucking lasers, us. we spend almost
the entire rehearsal working on 'cuttooth' (the song with no
arrangements up until now) and surprise, surprise, it already
sounds a lot better. when you have a song that does not have
the usual distinction between verse/chorus/middle eight, there
need to be other markers that define the way the song
progresses. and we're getting there.
|╗ September 07, 1999
|there seemed to be a
lot of breaks today, which often means that we're worrying
about something. recording worries over whether the 'canned
applause' mobile setup will be ready. management swing by to
answer fraught questions and generally alleviate anxieties. oh
yes, music is what we're about (easily forgotten sometimes)
and 'everything in its right place' sounds good.
|╗ September 08, 1999
|a good and long
rehearsal. pick up where we left off on 'everything' and move
swiftly on to 'optimistic' - it's blinding - definitely the
most formed of the songs to put to tape - it comes from the
swamp. the music is interrupted by the new bulletin board on
our all-new singing and dancing website. v. exciting. and of
course most of the messages posted are concerned with the
atrocities in east timor. what's the betting that
international forces fail to enter east timor before mass
genocide is once again committed. if this sounds flippant -
it's not meant to - sorry. back to the music - return to 'up
on the ladder' -thom has a new arrangement - start stripping
the song apart - already sounding better.
|╗ September 09, 1999
sounding quite 'smiths-esque'. especially phil who has got
that mike joyce thing down to a tee. on to 'optimistic' -must
record that soon before we lose it (remember 'lift'?). 'up on
the ladder' sounds pretty grim. 'say the word' (or c-minor
song); great drum, bass and vocals - personally getting a bit
anxious over it, as i can't find anything that works with it,
or rather i have an idea but can't get the sound right. makes
me a bit neurotic. finish on what i used to call the 'jonny
scott walker song' - very short and sweet.
last diary piece for a couple of weeks. how was it for you?
i'm finding it a little difficult to set the right tone, but
as i'm not a journo i guess that's fair enough. hopefully this
is going to be an ongoing thing throughout recording and maybe
even touring, so it will get better.
|╗ September 27 - October 02, 1999
||Monday - Saturday
|The day to-day
journal / diary seems inappropriate for us last week. After
having reviewed it, it reads as if I've become a kind of
unofficial spokesman for the band ñ which is bollocks quite
frankly, as that is certainly not the purpose. That may be the
knock-on effect of having select magazine print some of it up.
You know you can get a bit self-conscious and in this business
and forget why you initially shared something. And what were
those reasons? A mixed bag really, a bit of an attempt to
de-mythologise this whole process of making a new record. It
might be of interest to some to hear from one of the horses'
mouths (or arses) what is going on. And it's actually pretty
interesting for us if only to reassure me/ourselves that there
are patterns which emerge, only when documented in the way we
work that ensures that you don't get too down when things
aren't going to plan.
A lot of this week was spent setting up. The right environment
to work is crucial if your going to attempt to do anything
vaguely different, then your surroundings have to reflect
that. Equally so, what has become increasingly evident is the
need to change our approach to recording on a lot of the
songs. The approach or setup is crucial. For instance the way
we worked the on the last record was to rehearse everything to
such a standard, where most of the parts have been so finely
tuned, that recording was largely a matter of capturing the
best performance. And that's fine, but recording in this way
tends to mean that the songs have a certain way of sounding.
i.e. ñ Pretty good in a live/band context.
Well that's not enough now, and I think there is a feeling
that unless we change our approach often were just going to
become (?) of ourselves and even dull. There was a wonderful
moment this week when we were all crowded around the TV
watching this programme documenting the story of hip hop and
it was the classic years from '88 until '92 with RUN DMC,
Public Enemy and NWA ñ etc. Some of the greatest records ever
made, and they interviewed Hank Shoucler ñ he was the fella
who produced Public Enemy in the early days ñ and made the
great "it takes a nation of millionsÍ" album. And he was
explaining their methodology ñ the way they recorded.
Basically they all set up with samplers, Devo, drum machines.
In the same room and recorded. Now most of it we said sounded
like a mess, but apparently there were great moments, that
were then cut up and from that the basic track was
constructed. The effect of hearing this was like "well why the
fuck can't we do this" ñ it could be so exciting. We have the
means to make a communal racket so why not harness some of
this technology and use it within our own sphere. I mean we're
not going to make a hip-hop record, much as we'd like to, but
what was exciting was the idea that kind of approach, or
something similar offered us a necessary alternative to the
way that we have largely worked until now.
Once we have done this then we might really get somewhere.
|╗ October 04, 1999
|Start working on
'knives out' and ironically after Fridays night's talk of new
ways and approaches, we set up as a 5 piece and play it live.
Not really happening & it feels as though we're heading down
'say the word' territory like last week. Thom wants more
energy in this version in contrast to the Copenhagen version
which 'floats' along. It's decided that Thom and Phil should
play it together. The energy levels are noticeably higher.
They bang out seven takes & Nigel does his thing editing
together the best bits from different versions. Bangin!
|╗ October 05, 1999
|Pick up from where
we left off on 'knives out'. It is felt that we should try and
finish it or at least something. C's overdub bass, the Johnny
follows on guitar. It doesn't seem to be happening. Then
someone puts the Copenhagen on. It sounds better in terms of
actually puts the song across ñ Nigel loves the feel of this
version, but doesn't think it's quite good enough. The
prospect of restarting and & attempting the song is quite
daunting and also adds the anxieties of not completing stuff ñ
Nigel says we should be. It feels like we need a break. (not
the holiday type ñ we've had enough of those) no, the
|╗ October 06, 1999
|Start working on a
band loop called 'fast track' - Thom had a rough arrangement
on cubase last night. Nige and I then do some guitar sounds
using my new toy. The first Roland guitar synth, which sounds
pretty different. Jonny does a couple of background radio
tracks. We then do a bit of editing and pruning. Nige is
really into this thing of throwing down random shit and then
simply keeping the really good stuff. It's a cool way of
writing if only because you end up with that you couldn't
possibly contrive to do. Set up sounds/studio for optimistic ñ
to be played tomorrow. Phil is playing this old jazz kit which
used to belong to plank's great uncle, but it's ended up here
via coz'a double bass teacher.
|╗ October 07, 1999
possibly my favourite 'band' song that is played together live
in a room. Sounds fucking great. We do about 9 versions. In
most there are some amazing moments. The penultimate take
would seem to be the one. As its Thom's birthday today at
recording, takes a backseat in the evening ñ but we do manage
to have a small reunion of the conga's on percussion. It isn't
for midnight - they do add their customary sound to
'Optimistic'. Their last gig was on 'paranoid android' at St.
Catherine's. Brilliant day.
|╗ October 08, 1999
|A slack day. Nursing
hangovers & generally tired from the previous nights
celebrations. Nigel wants to do a bit of editing on
'Optimistic' ñ thinks we have a better ending on one of the
other versions. Do a 'head count' on songs in their current
status. It's pretty encouraging as there are about 5 or 6
which could be finished fairly quickly. But of course we don't
want to do that yet ñ that would be far too pragmatic. Thom
and Nigel download a loop of Thom's onto tape to be added to
it. As I write he is attempting some vocals. A weekend is
nearly here ñ good timing. Completely knackered.
|╗ October 12 - October 15, 1999
||Tuesday - Friday
|"we're smashing our
heads against the wall"
"this week we have been mostly working on optimistic"
"it would be ideal to finish optimistic"
"lets just do the end and edit onto the original take"
"the drums for Rachael's songs sound like nothing else"
"Jonny, how the fuck did you manage to get them sounding like
"I've been doing this all afternoon and need to get out"
"I can't play that on this guitar"
"gorgeous smell in here, Nigel"
"Eddy and I like the mach 3"
"I really like the late roll, the long one"
"It's not as sleazy as the one before"
It's Friday yet Tuesday feels like yesterday ñ have we
finished optimistic? No. And it could be tempting to abandon
it in favour of starting something new. But then we know we
aren't to far away. We must see this thing through if for no
other reason that it's needed confidence.
|╗ November 23, 1999
|not such a great
start to the week. of those six songs that nigel mixed only
one is right - kid a. but nigel is pretty optimistic about the
others, he knows what he wants to do with them. so we draw up
another list of songs to be worked on in the next three
weeks.next a meeting with chris, bryce and brian (the
management). they've left us alone up until now, realising
that we needed time - time basically to sort our shit out. i
think their aim was to refamiliarise us with the workings of
the this industry that we operate in. for instance nowadays if
we want to tour, about five months notice is required, for
booking the venues, notifying our crew, etc. it seems like a
long time for just some gigs. part of the problem is we've
really given it no thought at all - and suddenly you're
presented with these facts of life. we want to do gigs,but we
have to make this record - and then we don't even know whether
they'll work as a live entity. sometimes it seems like it's so
|╗ December 01, 1999
|phil is presently
putting down drums on 'how to disappear' - we're doing a demo
of the song to present the song to an 'orchestral fella'.
we've kind of shirked away from strings in the past as they
seem to have been recorded in the same manner for the last 30
years (ever since the beatles). jonny is particularly keen to
use an orchestra but not in the standard cliched
way........more like the end of 'climbing up the walls'.
thom's vocal on it was jaw-dropping. it's very strange to be
playing that song again as we played it frequently on the ok
computer tour.......................... suddenly you're back
i've also included a couple of bits from the last six weeks.
if you haven't heard 'hunky dory' in a while i suggest you
give it a spin - sounds pure genius to me in the bath.
-i've tried to write something about what we've been doing in
the last five weeks - there have been the day-by-day accounts
which have been of the 'we did this and then we did that'
variety..........all incredibly boring to read. then there
have been a couple of 'essays' written whilst stoned late at
night, only to be re-read the next morning. pretensious old
tosh. all have been discarded. it's easy to get extremely
self-conscious doing this. we're in london at present and
nigel is mixing; he has been for three days. which means that
we have actually finished six or so tracks. this has been our
life for the last five weeks - we had a list of about ten
songs which was then further narrowed down to six. they are
definitely different....................there's an eight piece
brass ensemble in a charles mingus style on one - eight
'jazzers' came down for the day and blew their stuff all over
'everyone - the national anthem'. they were
fantastic............thom and jonny conducted. what a day.
there's 'optimistic', there's another which started off as a
thom doodle on the 505........there's also the paris version
of 'lost at sea'.........the batsford 'morning bell'.it is
different. but that's what we do. what has also become evident
is that the summer panic that led to two months rehearsal may
have been a little premature.....or at the very least a little
on the hysterical side.there was some good stuff recorded in
paris, copenhagen and batsford. i've been listening to alot of
the copenhagen tracks and out-takes and the overall sound is
great. pretty dark but then that session was hardly a
|╗ December 02, 1999
|more work on 'how to
disappear'... after phil did his drums last night, jonny came
up with an outrageous martenot part - multitracked it sounds
like the string section from mars. jonny has this uncanny
ability to bring in weird chords, that at first distract you
but after a couple of listens completely make sense...it's
just a matter of getting on his planet. brilliant. coz and i
tied up our respective bits and it's sounding fairly complete.
not bad for a demo. thom was immersed in protools/cubase land
in the other studio. the song now has a really strong
arrangement and the rhythm track is pumping...........onwards
this diary is long overdue - sorry - i'm not sure why it's
been so hard to post something. alot of it probably has
something to do with the way that we have been working over
the last six or so weeks.tracks have had to be completed and
approached in new ways so that up until last week we hadn't
actually played together in a room since thom's b/day in early
october. so at times the process has felt quite disparate but
then that's part of being in the studio.
so hopefully this is now going to be a daily update.
|╗ December 03, 1999
|spend a good hour
remodelling the live room for that authentic olympic studios
circa '66 vibe(....!??). not really..... simply tidied it up.
played 'i will' live but decided at the end that the
copenhagen version had something to it. it's incredibly
evocative of that whole time out there minus all the
baggage.so that's good. redid the loop on it, thom even played
some great drums and proceeded to do the vocals. he hasn't
sung like this for a while.............not bad for a friday
night when things tend to slow down in anticipation of the
w/end. time to go home.
|╗ December 06, 1999
|it was my dear
uncles's funeral today, so i didn't make it to the studio
until late.........too tired and depressed so went home. there
was some good stuff done - cozzie put down his funky bass part
on a track. and apparently there was a bit of a playing
session in the evening.
|╗ December 07, 1999
|spent an hour
playing around with cuttooth. came in and heard phil on drums
and thom on rhodes going through it. it's one of those moments
when you hear something being played and all you want to do is
pick up a guitar and join in. so i did......it's only three
chords so not too taxing even on my very limited music theory.
looked at 'you and whose army' again from two weeks ago. tried
this 'different' vocal idea that thom and jonny had been going
on about.....three part but with a very low bass harmony, kind
of inkspots-esque. this is always dangerous territory ie there
would be nothing more fucking sad than this slick
sophisticated 40's vocal group sound... mind you there's not
much chance it could be slick....but you know what i mean.
anyway sounds alright and the rest sounds better. thom is now
doing a vocal comp of 'i will'........it's 2am and this is his
idea of fun and relaxation..........strange
|╗ December 08, 1999
|started by playing
'cuttooth' again - the song needs stamina - sounding better
than yesterday....just have to keep playing it. one of those
days when it doesn't feel as though we've done much. maybe
it's because everyone's tired. there was some protool
arranging on 'follow me around' and an attempt to do vocal,
piano and drums on 'egyptian song'. was sounding ok. tried
playing 'keep the wolf from the door but it's too late and
needs thom's rant on it. a bitty day. time to go home. saw
only four hours of daylight - how do they cope in scandinavia
during these months?
|╗ December 09, 1999
performance in front of an audience for exactly (and
strangely) a year........it was early morning so it was the
10th. it started with jonny (aka DJ REQUIRED) and thom's dj
set and then a last minute executive decision was made to play
'knives out' around the xmas tree. 'amateur hour' will
hopefully become a regular night for us - but will be
different each time - there will however be ongoing items like
phil's puppet show. for those who don't know what i'm going on
about - we did a live web broadcast to about 250 people -
courtesy of tim bran and those lovely people at the ninja
phil and thom also nailed a wonderful version of 'egyptian
song' during the day. thom thinks it's the best thing we've
committed to tape, ever.
|╗ December 10, 1999
|still high from the
night before. you have no idea how excited we are about this.
it's a bit like having our own tv station for three or so
hours. there was little/virtually no planning for it, so
everything was done on the hoof. so refreshing to do as it
seems to take an eternity to get anything done quickly in this
business.....and yes it was completely shambolic at times but
surely there's nothing wrong with that. i'd love to see more
people doing this - can you imagine tony blair and his boys
and girls doing a similar thing..........prescott on the
wheels of steel: "this one goes out to ken, this is 'going
underground'........". 'egyptian song' sounds even better
|╗ December 13, 1999
|last day and like
school we didn't do any work.....had a chat about what we
wanted to do next year, vis-a-vis gigs and recording. finished
off the day with xmas dinner, completely ruined by the fact
that there were only four crackers to go around the eight of
hope you have a relaxing xmas and new year.........and if it
is bollocks, be assured that you are not the only one having a
shitty time. it's the time when most families break
up...........xmas after all is for the high
street................if it was to celebrate the birth of
christ they got it wrong. xmas was an old pagan festival and
christ was supposed to have been born around september time.
here endeth the lesson. bah humbug.
i have just had a thought........still excited by last
thursdays live webcast .and thinking about ways it could be
developed......i think it could be very cool to play new stuff
by unsigned bands, musicians, collectives (ie bands not on
major labels - small indie is fine).if any of you are making
music, have mates that are or you just think that this music
that you are in to deserves to be heard then send it into me
at our po box address, which is po box 322, oxford, ox4 1ey. i
like all kinds of shit so please don't just send in guitar
band stuff. anything. spread the word. alright that's enough
for now. happy xmas... and a very merry millenium.....
|╗ January 10 - January 19, 2000
||Monday - Wednesday
|happy new year and
many many thanks to all you lovely cardsenders.
i think we all arrived at the studio with that same dread of
starting where we left off.to plough back into the old tracks
seemed like a daunting task. nigel suggested a different plan
of action to ease us back into it over the next couple of
weeks. the idea was to spend this time working in a completely
different way; no acoustic instruments ie any guitars,drums or
vocals......everything has to be electronically generated. it
means that we can't fall back on what we've done before and
forces us to work this equipment. it's actually an incredible
amount of fun - which is not something we've had in abundance
over the last year or in studios in general. we've been
working on four 'bits' and because they are fairly abstract it
will be interesting to review it in a few weeks. the important
thing is that you are constantly learning even if something
doesn't necessarily work out. and actually it's something
we've been meaning to do for a while. again it's the need to
change the methodology in how you actually make the music -
only by doing this will we actually produce stuff that sounds
any different. and conversely by finding another approach to
recording, it enthuses us in the way that we've worked
together as a 'live' band. the rehearsals last week were
fantastic precisely because we had not picked up those
instruments and recorded them.
this week we have cast the experimental net further afield to
include material like 'true love waits' and 'feeling pulled
apart by horses'. the former has been kicking around for about
four years now and each time we approached it we seemed to be
going down the same old paths.........it actually sounds like
the start of something exciting now.
did an interesting band version of 'bombers' which thom has
attached to what i used to call 'the neil young' song...we may
play it some time later this evening.
thankyou to everyone who sent in their demos......maybe i was
a little naive to assume that a handful of people would send
in theirs' or others' offerings......what i realise has
happened is that various publications and radio stations have
visited this diary and announced that radiohead are embarking
on a fucking talent search or something. bastards. it's
probably pay-back time for being miserable and contrary on our
last round of interviews.....anyway i've started going through
it and will listen to it all, eventually. it's actually very
interesting as it strikes me from what i've listened to so far
that there are alot of really good musicians out there, but
what distinguishes the good from the not so good is having
taste. ie for instance you could be simply red (apologies for
the easy target) and send in a demo and i'm always going to
think it's totally shit in spite of its technical
'proficiency'. having said that there's little that sounds
like that. but what i'm saying in an around-about way is that
it doesn't matter if i don't think something's that good; if
you really love what you're doing then that is all that
matters........there is absolutely no point in making music
that you think will help you to get
signed..........second-guessing what people want to hear is a
completely fruitless exercise as it is almost completely
impossible to predict what people want to hear; by the time
people actually get to hear that music it's more than likely
that it's old-hat and most importantly you will never stumble
upon something that is truly fresh and exciting.
|╗ January 24 - January 25, 2000
||Monday - Tuesday
|want to try and
finish the bulk of what we've started, which may sound obvious
but there you go.......so had what seemed like a pretty
unfruitful day on 'how to disappear'.......try and get it away
from that band thing with an acoustic guitar, which may have
been alright when we were making the bends, but let's face it
has been done to death by both us and every tom, dick and
harry guitar band. went down a few cul-de-sacs.........all
part of the process.
today however has been a quite different affair. still on the
same song. jonny found the one chord thing; it's to be played
by the strings(to be recorded soon).....in fact jonny has
spent much of the last two weeks scoring and arranging strings
in his room; which is a huge undertaking as 24 string players
are going to be playing precisely what he has scored and these
people are professionals....thom has this evening just done a
wonderful vocal and the song is beginning to go another way.
bad day, good day, good cop, bad cop.
|╗ January 27 - January 28, 2000
||Thursday - Friday
|'dollars and cents'
is a track that originated out of a 'jam' from copenhagen -
it's good but because there was no arrangement, no musical
decisions could be made on it.........well now it has an
arrangement.....thom did some backing vocals and a bit of
guitar, jonny put his string arrangement on, i did a little
moog and the song is really going somewhere. will write
something more substantial over the w/end.
|╗ January 31, 2000
|slow day as it often
is on mondays. tape machine broke-down in the main room. thom
and jonny did some drum programming.....more work in the other
studio on 'dollars and cents' -- percussion and a guitar. not
that interesting but the following might be....michael eavis
knows how to throw the grandest and greatest party in the
world.....glastonbury is the don of all festivals..........but
alas we are not playing this year. there have been a few
rumours flying around that we are, so we thought we'd better
say something sooner rather than later. it would however be
great to play it another year.................
|╗ February 01, 2000
|"shit happens" as
keef once famously said. and so it does. well it did
today...........it's difficult to say whether we've been here
before, possibly not. and of course i m being deliberately
vague about the whole thing ......but sometimes you have to
be. anyway before one kneejerks and starts saying all manner
of things you have to let the proverbial dust settle. sorry
but you can only be so open.
|╗ February 02, 2000
|sore heads all
round, but things are being sorted out, i think. while we
'negotiate' nigel has taken the opportunity to set the studio
upstairs for mixing. 'you and whose army' is put up and he
starts to mix. sounds good. have to redo my guitar which is
fun as it feels a little like playing live. thom continues
work on going through and sampling sections from this dat of
sounds that we made last night......nothing too strenuous as i
think we are tiring a little. it always happens like this.
some weeks seem way more productive than others and probably
are but the secret is not to get freaked out.....just keep
going and it will return. meanwhile jonny 'haydn' greenwood
continues to arrange his strings.........
|╗ February 03, 2000
|bits and pieces are
added to 'kinetic' - phil sets up his electric kit triggering
samples, it works well and could be the basis of an
interesting backing track. most of the day is spent preparing
for tomorrow's string day.
|╗ February 04, 2000
|what an amazing day.
fantastic string arrangements by jonny and what players. many
many thanks are due to john lubbock(who conducted and
organised) and the string players from the orchestra of st.
john's, smith square. the whole session was the complete
antithesis to the ok computer experience; firstly rather than
de-camping to some london studio we used an old abbey near us
with the most fantastic acoustics to record in. i think nigel
was totally blown away by the whole sound of it. but most
importantly john and the players were so enthusiastic about it
all.....jonny has certain things that he wants/wanted to try
out that aren't your usual string arrangaments. and rather
than dismiss his ideas ( which is what happened on the ok
computer session) they were open-minded enough to try them.
john lubbock even handed over the conducting reins right at
the end for jonny to try out an idea of his. there is no way
that he would have been allowed to have done that at the abbey
road session. brilliant players and people.
we needed this session after what has seemed an incredibly
|╗ February 07, 2000
|monday morning and
everyone arrives looking completely fucked. got one more week
before we take a week off to recharge. nigel wants to mix
'dollars and cents' now that there are strings on it. he goes
upstairs to work on it. downstairs work continues on thom and
jonny's drum thing from last week. late night worries and
weird symbiosis going on. go on message board and someone asks
us about 'innocents civilian'. so once we get off the web we
decide to put up the master tape of it. can't find it anywhere
which is incredibly strange. it's got to turn up.
|╗ February 08, 2000
|nigel got what seems
like a good mix of 'dollars and cents'. more work on t+j's
drum thing. did some playing this afternoon. upstairs at the
moment nigel and thom are doing 'something' to kinetic. still
can't find the master tapes to 'innocents civilian' and
beginning to worry. worst case scenarios even being aired ie
the u2 case when some of their rehearsal tapes went missing
and ended up being sold as bootlegs.cozzie continues editing
|╗ February 09, 2000
|put 'true love
waits' up again....this is a song which has been kicking
around for four years or so, in fact we recorded a version of
it when we were making the last album and this is something
like approach number 561. but it is a great song.....it's
simply trying to find a way of doing it which excites us. and
we may have found a way, at the very least we've found a new
approach ........ basically the track has the same vocal
melody but the chords have changed underneath it. so we'll
come back to it and see how it sounds. it may of course be
utter crap and we have so lost the plot on this
song...............please don't let that be the case........
|╗ February 10, 2000
DAY......................these days are a bit like being a
child again...just throw it all in and see what comes out.
'amateur hour' got extended to four hours ....and dare i say
it but i think we're getting ever so sophisticated........the
campfire, the 'nice' logfire, the upside down table football,
the zx spectrum programmers. yes tonight all our two hours of
preparation came to fruition in this glorious mess of a web
broadcast. we had a few more cameras at our disposal and our
technical team has expanded from one to two, so things were
naturally going to be a step up from the last time. we only
wish that a few more of you had been able to witness us
getting wasted and making complete and utter fools of
ourselves........maybe next time.....the great thing about
these evenings for us is that they are the antithesis of how i
think we're perceived ie angry, angsty young men....that's
fine, but you can't possibly be like that all the time (as
we've found out) because you'll be dead by the time you reach
your mid-30s which used to be a long way away and is now still
quite a way but certainly not unreachable. about the demo
thing as well .....i still haven't been able to listen to
everything sent............but there is another idea, which is
way more exciting, but i'm not going to say what it is as i
don't want the idea nicked.
we've got a week off next week and who knows maybe in the next
few weeks we may even finish off the recording of the songs
we've been working on?.............
|╗ February 21, 2000
|all back together
again, a week off and our studio tans have faded nicely.
everybody seems rested and refreshed for the next five
weeks..........nigel wants to get his teeth stuck into mixing,
so we decided to set up and record 'cuttooth'. this at eight
and a half minutes (by the end) is the long one - did five or
six takes of which a couple are pretty good. will review
further tomorrow. nigel and jonny are at present getting stuck
into going through the various string parts on 'egyptian
song'. good to be back.
|╗ February 23, 2000
|listen to 'cuttooth'
and it sounds fucking great. graham, our new engineer, earns
his spurs by doing some great tape editing......which involves
cutting the master tape at a particular place in the song and
attaching another piece of tape from another version of the
song. a bit more complicated from the days when your tape
recorder chewed up your favourite 'madness' tape and you had
to get out the old tape splicing kit and when finally fixed
there was a section missing in the second chorus of
'embarassment' ......no very different from those days.
anyway coz fixed up his fantastic driving bass thing....thom
did a cool synth pass...and it's quite fast for us.
|╗ February 24, 2000
|more work on
'cuttooth'...........jonny did his guitar
thing...feedback,backwards guitar.......it was good to hear.
it sometimes seems as though not much guitar has been played
so far, which is probably bollocks. there has been a fair
amount, but in the quest for different sounds we haven't first
turned to the trusted and tried six-string. thom did some work
on a track upstairs, which sounded great. lots of editing on
the computer to make the track in question more coherent. am i
sounding boring?....apologies, just tired that's all....on to
|╗ February 25, 2000
|more good things
added to 'cuttooth'........sounds. its one of those classic
situations where the temptation is to continually embellish
whats on there and it's one of those songs that you could get
away with it. but in doing that, you often lose the essence of
what was great about it in the first place. i guess the trick
is to be absolutely ruthless on what is
added................so at five in the morning having not
savagely edited some of these overdubs the track sounded too
please read "NO LOGO" by Naomi Klein
|╗ February 28, 2000
|had a funny old
meeting last friday..............definitely nursing a hangover
from it today.................
nigel was sidetracked last week by 'cuttooth' so he really
really wants to do some mixing this week. 'egyptian song'
then..........thom plays bass and it sounds pretty much
finished. i haven't really been involved in this song so when
i hear it i think i'm able to be fairly objective about
it.........it has the feel of one of the tracks on the last
mark hollis album and it is definitely one of the highlights
so far. meanwhile downstairs...................jonny and i are
let loose on fucking up phil's drum sound. hours of fun as coz
might say. starts off by phil doing some drums on
'kinetic'...................keep getting that ground hogday
sensation writing this diary. can't help feeling that this
must be an exceptionally boring read except to maybe the
|╗ February 29, 2000
|I froze up upstairs
after Nigel has done a good mix of 'Egyptian song'. pick up on
'i will' downstairs.......jonny plays some cool organ on it.
trying to do some rhythm stuff on it.
|╗ March 01, 2000
|thom and nige
arrange some drums on 'morning bell' ...........downstairs we
continue trying to get rhythm stuff on 'i will'. arranging it
on the computer....taking a while to do, but these things
|╗ March 06, 2000
|we spent alot of
time last week 'throwing shit' (jonny specifically said he was
sick of hearing these very words today) at 'i will'. minor
panics all round about completing things.....our perennial
fear/problem....'morning bell-copenhagen', nigel did some very
nice pro-tooling on some complete gibberish that i played.
phil did some drums downstairs on the track that has no name.
|╗ March 07, 2000
|heard a great story
on the six o'clock news on R4. great in the sense that it
reveals the true madness of one of our former prime
ministers......the pm in question is of course maggie
thatcher. ok.............so the spanish foreign minister was
reported as saying today that 'lady' thatcher should undergo
the same senility tests that senator 'butcher' pinochet
underwent a couple of weeks ago. this was triggered by a
particular event from last week; the aforementioned butcher of
chile was being wisked away by a chilean airforce
707........the plane was apparently taxiing down the runway
preparing to take-off when with great ceremony it was stopped
in its tracks by a bearer of gifts from thatch herself. she
wanted to give a 'leaving' present to the
ex-dictator.......the gift in question was a plate
commemorating sir francis drake and the english fleets' defeat
of the spanish armada.........unbelievable.............or
maybe not so, as it's entirely consistent with the train of
thought that she's a pathetic anglophile, who never gave a
fuck about the rights of individual human beings. and don't
believe that bullshit that during the falklands war she went
to the aid of the islanders..........nothing like a war to get
a country behind you should you be faltering in opinion polls
and likely to lose the next election.
apologies for the invective...it slips out occasionally, but
when you read books like naomi klein's 'no logo' you can't
help but feel that much of the mess we're in now is part of
the leagacy of the thatcher-reagan years.
good work on 'up on the ladder' today...good drums and a much
better arrangement. will return tomorrow to things i am
'qualified' to write about.
|╗ March 08, 2000
early......mixture of the lurgee doing the rounds at the
moment....but also one of those days when the winter seems to
have been too long and you just feel like a bag of shit.
probably something to do with smoking more fags...gave up for
almost a year and am gradually being wheened back on them.
bollocks. this summer i'll cut down. the thing is it's true
what they say about giving up ....you do feel so much better
it's just that i have no will power......better to mope around
at home than around here where good things are going on.
|╗ March 09, 2000
|arrived at the
studio and some brilliant stuff had been done last night.
cozzie finished off his amazing bass thing on the song with no
name......bass musos won't believe it. jonny did some cool
guitar on 'up on the ladder'. after yesterday it was nice to
do some playing ...the sun shone and it feels like spring is
on its way. more things on 'up...'
|╗ March 12 - March 16, 2000
||Sunday - Thursday
|what a fucking
week........sometimes i feel like the nature of this band is
that we have to do things the hard way......to use a terrible
football cliche......snatching victory out of the jaws of
defeat................fucking hell ron, thank god all weeks
aren't like this, otherwise it would be early baths.......not
that i'm going to elaborate any further...........the only
thing that need concern anyone is that the songs sound fucking
ace on the whole......nicely diverse.
i'll write much more next week and apologies for the excessive
use of the word fuck.
|╗ March 20, 2000
|there's a line
drawn.....above which are the names of tracks finished bar
mixing.....and below, those nearly completed. for the first
time the tracks below and above the line are equal in number.
that was the state of play at 5am friday morning. 'knives up'
was complete. i was telling a mate over the w/end about
'knives out' and how it was started in copenhagen on
10/3/99.......some 373 days later we finally finished
it.............a ridiculously long gestation period for any
song..........naturally my mate thought that having taken so
long on a piece of music it would be some sort of magnum opus,
a kind of paranoid android to the power of
ten..................... the song is probably the most
straight ahead thing that we've done in years......and that
might explain why we took so long on it. i'm a real believer
that bands as they become more successful often lose the
ability to do straight ahead stuff well...... the need to
embellish tracks with melodies and sounds becomes imperative.
and often in doing so the song loses its essence especially if
it was written on acoustic guitar. but i think we've done
alright on 'knives out'.........
thom's got a busy old week this week........most of the
finishing touches are vocal things. i'm trying to get my head
around some new software called logic which seems to be what
all the right programmers are using...........the manual is
about the thickness of a hardback edition of 'war and
peace'.........he's singing along to 'fastrack'. he's
hyperactive as well....it's 1.30am..fantastic..
|╗ April 16, 2000
again............that's it, no more..............not another
drop of alcohol, in this case vintage cava, is going to pass
my lips until next time............... i'm in the epicentre of
one mutha of a hangover................ in fact the last time
i felt like this i never drank gin again and that was 14 years
ago.............it's evil stuff. my father rang to tell me i
reminded him of himself when he used to drink a
bit.........maybe hangovers are hereditary..........alcoholism
probably is...........it was my birthday, we took the evening
off and drank....and drank. i did a run down to majestic got
the booze and issued strict instructions that no one was to
leave until everything was finished.................and so it
was......anyway enough of the fug.
we've been back a week after a two week layoff. finishing the
large number of songs off is the priority.......and would you
adam 'n eve it but we're so nearly there. nigel is booked into
the studio on wednesday to mix and we start playing together/
rehearsing on wednesday week for the live shows, not knowing
how the fuck we're going to put most of these songs over live.
so what i'm actually saying is that the recording part of this
record will be finished in a couple of days......but you know
if we're consistent in our behavioural patterns, then you
might finally hear something in the autumn of
'01............after arguments over track-listing, running
orders, etc.........who'll be the first to suggest the
quadruple album mixed in surroud sound?
....................might throw it in there myself to stir
things up a bit.....the running order for an album is so
important...... i don't think you have any idea how vital it
is until you actually fuck it up which we did big time on the
first record.....for 'ok computer' it was a nightmare, agendas
had been set and at one time it was like bloody
horse-trading............. "if you want 'let down' on the
record then it only makes sense if 'electioneering' is on
there too"......maybe it won't be such a torrid experience
this time........somehow i don't think so and that's probably
there's been a couple of articles recently in the press
speculating what's up with us....the one in melody maker sent
a journo down to oxford to snoop around......he or she was
apparently outside each of our houses on a kind of indie
'stakeout'.... and the piece ultimately was very flattering,
but you know this is a non-story............yes we go food
shopping and fucking hell would you believe it we actually
walk down the street in broad daylight........and what's more
we've been known to sometimes break into a smile......the
other was in the grauniad on friday, entitled 'why are we
waiting?' again very nice and for the record, you won't have
to wait too long now. but please don't waste column inches on
mere speculation about when and what the album will be
like.........all we've ever claimed is that the records will
be different...... anyway if the truth be told we don't
actually know. i've gone on way too long in this stream of
alcohol induced consciousness and i must end before i write
something even more stupid like offering that melody maker
journo a handbags at dawn duel - see you at shotover a week on
monday with your best louis vuitton..6am be there.
viva la lucha and good luck and respect to all the anti-imf
and world bank protesters in washington this w/end, in fact go
to thom's page and there are a couple of links to some
relevant sites about what's going down.
|╗ June 08, 2000
|up to june 8.......a
well, well, well....it's been a while .......so here's a short
one to ease us all back into it....i've written quite a bit
but never sent anything...........................it feels a
bit like that letter you never dared send ....the one you've
just written but you don't entirely trust it's very
words......so no point inflicting those words on anyone
else.......i'm sure we've all been there......of course i
realise that that conflicts with the very nature of this
'diary', but it's all about confidence...some days are better
than others. actually the truth is that at such a crucial time
of the album........tracklisting, rehearsals, titles,
arguments and full on fist fights......i probably haven't been
at my most objective........there is however one cert in my
mind....i fucking love this record now........and that's not
me attempting to whip others into a kind of mass marketing
aren't we great type frenzy...........it's the god's honest
truth, governor..........but before i can write anymore i'm
going to conflab with the others so that we can get our story
straight.........here's an idea............... it looks as
though alastair campbell has made a few errors in judgement
over the handling of his pm's media engagements recently and
might want to seek further employment elsewhere in an effort
to save some of his rapidly dwindling credibilty......and
maybe, just maybe he could add some 'spin' to us radiohead
fellas...........that would be ace to see 'al' doing
interviews for us............tight-lipped, stern and fending
off the press .............."listen sonny if you ask this lot
another question about why they always seem such a miserable
bunch of bastards i will personally make sure you never hear
another record of theirs again...........and for the record
meeting people IS easy.................." ....................
ah yes that would be just fine..........no more questions as
to how you got the name of the band, or what you thought of
creep now some 7 years after its release....actually to be
honest the interviews done so far seem to be of a different
calibre compared to last time round........so consequently
they're not or at least have not been so far too much of an
effort ...........but that might also have something to do
with us and our new-found spirit of glasnost.prost.
will write something more at the w/end. we're off on tour on
|╗ June 11, 2000
|apologies for the
last entry and the half-arsed attempt at some
humour.......very embarassed re-reading it. that's what comes
from having listened to the album twice in succession at half
three in the morning....... and deciding to post something
up...............so we leave tomorrow for france and the first
show in arles on tuesday........very nice....will write some
|╗ June 14, 2000
|we had to cancel the
vaison show............so firstly apologies to everyone who
had tickets and were looking forward to the gig......we'd even
got the set list done with different new songs from last night
and soundchecked them..........and what an amazing place.....a
roman theatre like last night in arles. the freak rain was of
course to blame.......the stage had a good three inches of the
stuff from a twenty minute downpour and with another storm
forecast for 9.30pm and alot of the equipment still damaged
from last night's storm in arles the decision was made to pull
the show.........somehow we got away with it last night but
today just seemed as if it wasn't meant to be.......sorry
again to those in vaison .....
so we're now en route to barcelona for the first show with a
roof which may prove to be a fortunate thing judging by the
lightning storms we're presently driving through....in spite
of all this strange weather i have to say that it is so good
to be on tour in southern europe.....quote of the tour so far
from coz who said yesterday whilst dining amongst the roman
ruins........"this is the best holiday i've ever been
on!".......which may not sound very unusual... but within the
context of radiohead touring again is something close to
extraordinary.....see you in barcelona.
|╗ June 18, 2000
|it's sunday so it
must be milan and the royal palace - the king of italy once
lived here in this monza palace........... in fact we've just
been shown the theatre where he reputedly threw huge orgies.
it's quite a place. barcelona and last night's show in frejus
were immense......barca started a little weirdly with us and
the audience getting used to the teatro tivoli, the most
un-rock'n roll of venues(extremely ornate
however).......eveyone stayed pinned to their seats until we
returned for an encore. our day off in barca consisted of
eating and drinking vast amounts, broken up by a two hour
siesta...ideal.....the only downer to the frejus gig was when
i announced on stage that england had beaten germany in the
football through a shearer goal.....bad move this was zidane
country and very partisan to boot.....nevertheless a great
audience. i picked italy in our euro 2000 sweepstake so as far
as i'm concerned we're playing on home turf tonight....it's
|╗ June 26, 2000
arrived this morning to play the first of two gigs in the
lycabetus theatre, which is apparently near the parthenon. no
site of any greek antiquities as of yet, even from the top
floor of the hotel.........this city seems huge and apparently
we're situated in what a local described as a kind of no-man's
land......lots of traffic outside the window......and parked
cars everywhere which is explained by the fact that they
operate a system here whereby car licences are issued for
different days of the week in order to alleviate the serious
traffic congestion ie you have a car and you're only allowed
to drive that car on mondays, wednesdays, fridays and
sundays...........what happens of course is that if you've got
the dosh you then buy another car that you can drive on
tuesdays, thursdays and
saturdays...................mmmm.............we had an amazing
time in florence..........played open-air, right in the heart
of the old town at the piazza san croce..........it doesn't
get better than this....went on and played in thessaloniki
last night at the earth theatre..... a beautiful modern
amphitheatre which had actually been dug out of the hill that
overlooks that city.....a brilliant audience who exhibited
great patience at hearing a set with nine new songs and a band
which ignored repeated requets for creep(....understandable on
their part, the requests that is, as this was our first visit)
and pop is dead (..... cheeky bastards....)
getting a little worried about how easy it is to drink vast
amounts of alcohol on tour...kick-started by the lovely laika
people who apart from playing some great shows with us also
happen to make the greatest margaritas outside of mexico
itself......they are dangerous touring partners..
the new songs are working pretty well now in the set....'in
limbo's still a little tricky but it's more than made up by
the way 'the national anthem' and 'everything in its right
place' is going ..........our crew by the way are doing an
immense job working outside in incredible heats while we swan
around like popstars..........