"The better you are at the guitar the worse songs you write": Radiohead's Thom Yorke in 1992

Back in 1992, the year before the release of Radiohead's debut album Pablo Honey, a strident Thom Yorke spoke to The Scene fanzine, and he wasn't yet the enigmatic, venerated rock auteur we know today.

In a time even before Creep had been written off as a one-hit wonder by sniffy observers, having failed to dent the public consciousness on its initial release and long before Radiohead became the acceptable face of prog, Yorke was in iconoclastic mode. He certainly wasn't a fan of painstakingly-honed chops or meticulously built sonic cathedrals. 

Discussing Creep follow-up Anyone Can Play The Guitar (below), Yorke was asked about the way some guitarists talk about their craft. “ 'Yeah, it’s really hard…' bullshit!" said Yorke. "The better you are at the guitar the worse songs you write. 

"I hope that maybe one day that song [Anyone Can Play The Guitar] will appear on MTV inbetween a couple of rock tracks and you’ll get all these guys with stupid wigs on going widdly-widdly and then we come on going ‘Anyone can play the fucking guitar, it doesn’t mean anything!’ 

Inflammatory quotes aside - "Jim Morrison’s a talentless bastard, and he’s dead" - the interview includes discussion about Radiohead's genesis (sorry) as a stage force. 

"We’re really a live band," Yorke said when asked about Sean Slade and Paul Q Kolderie's predilection for dry as-live sessions. "We were sent their tape and it’s got stuff like Lemonheads, 360s, Dinosaur Jr, all these bands; genius stuff, and we freaked. 

"We thought it’s gotta happen. They have interesting, different angles on things and work together really well. It was a very intense three weeks… a fucking manic three weeks.” 

Pablo Honey was eventually released on 22 February 1993, peaking at number 22 on the UK chart.

To read the full interview, head over to Prog now.

Radiohead in 1993

(Image credit: Bob Berg / Getty)
Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.