Radiohead’s Thom Yorke speaks about influence R.E.M. had on him

photo by: Caitlin Mogridge/Redferns

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke discusses the influence that R.E.M. had on him.  Back on September 21st R.E.M. announced their breakup after 31 years together.

On Michael Stipes stage presence:

“It was Michael absolutely, the way he dealt with the stage,” Yorke says the day before his Roseland tribute in a Manhattan hotel, drinking tea made white with milk and recalling what he learned from Stipe about fighting the spotlight and taking charge of your stardom. “He would mumble this crap between songs, like he was talking backwards. He wasn’t even attempting to be like, ‘Hey, everybody, how ya doing?’ It was this completely evasive thing. But at no point did you ever get the sense he was running away. Everything was just going into that, onto the stage.”

He also talks about touring with R.E.M. back in 1995, and how Michale Stipe sent him a text message letting him know that R.E.M. were breaking up.

He also added:


“That was the first time I’d seen that in a big environment,” Yorke says. “You see it with little bands in small places. But to do that in a large space and get away with it, without using any tricks, was cool. I’ve seen the same thing in Neil Young – standing there, stamping his foot, looking down as he plays, just letting that do it. It’s very purist. It ain’t Lady Gaga.” Yorke claims he was not surprised by Stipe’s text: “I think it was kind of going one way for awhile. I just wanted to check that Michael was alright.” In fact, the two singers spent much of Radiohead’s week in New York together.

“It was cool, man – it was good,” Yorke confirms. “We hung out. He came to Saturday Night Live.  And it was really nice to see him – very clear, very present and okay with it.”

From:  Rolling Stone