Philip Selway – Does Rock’n’Roll Kill Braincells?

Radiohead’s drummer takes the infamous memory test…

Why did Thom Yorke suffer a particularly traumatic Christmas in 1996?
“1996? That would have been at the end of ‘The Bends’. Er… I didn’t send him a Christmas card?”
Wrong. His garden pond froze, killing all his fish
“Yes. Which became the lyrics to a song called ‘Lift’, which we played live when we were arranging the material that became ‘OK Computer’, but has never seen the recorded light of day.”



Radiohead met at school in Oxford. What was the name of your old music teacher, and which now-famous comedian was a few years below you?
“Terry James, who is a wonderful music teacher and gave us a lot of space and encouragement to get it all started. Then a number of years after us came David Mitchell.”

You’ve rebranded as ‘Philip’ for your solo career. According to Wikipedia, your birth name is Philip James Selway. According to Wikipedia, what are you also known as?
“‘None too hirsute’?”
Half a point. “The bald one”

Why did Ed O’Brien once ask Madonna to switch seats at a Radiohead gig?
“I remember that. His mum was there. When your mum’s come all the way to New York, you want her to have a good view, don’t you? Madonna was very good about it.”

Which character sings ‘The Boney King Of Nowhere’ – the alternative title of ‘There There’ from ‘Hail To The Thief’ – in ’70s kids’ show Bagpuss (pictured left)?
“Oh, that’s cruel!”
Wrong. Gabriel the banjo-playing toad sings it
“I knew that. Alright, I didn’t.”
Why the Bagpuss reference?
“Bagpuss was just a major part of our lives. It was in keeping with the video.”


What is unusual about Jonny Greenwood’s guitar during The Weird Sisters’ gig in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire?
“Did he have a double-necked guitar?”
Half a point. Triple-necked!
“Jarvis Cocker was putting the songs together, approached Jonny, and I asked if they wanted a drummer. We went and spent a couple of days at Hogwarts.”

What used to happen if you dialled the number 1426148550 from the front of the ‘Airbag/How Am I Driving?’ EP?
“It went through to a message. I can’t remember what it said but I’m sure it was informative and not all at useless.”
Correct. You went through to a recorded message from Thom

Why is the binary number 1010101010 interesting to Radiohead conspiracy theorists?
“That sounds like a line from Futurama.”
Wrong. Wasn’t the working title to ‘OK Computer’ ‘Zeroes And Ones’?
“Oh, yes.”
The conspiracy theory [known as the Binary Theory – Conspiracy Ed] is that ‘OK Computer’ and ‘In Rainbows’ link up and fit together if you alternate their tracks, as part of an overarching masterplan. Er, any truth?
“I’m sure that there must be. No smoke without fire.”
So you’re neither denying nor confirming this then, Phil? Intriguing
“I feel like the custodian of Radiohead secrets here.”

Why is that man lying on the pavement in the video to ‘Just’? (The subtitles disappear right at the moment when he explains his reasons.)
“It was in the script…”
Bah! Correct, we guess…
“It’s another closely guarded Radiohead secret. I couldn’t possibly divulge that one.”

What was the average amount people paid for the ‘pay what you want’ download of ‘In Rainbows’?
“Erm… was it a goodly sum?”
Wrong. £2.90
“That’s very generous.”

Total Score: 5/10

“We’ve been going for 25 years so I can only claim that the memory banks must have filled up a decade and a half ago. Sorry about that…”

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