From L-R: Radiohead’s Philip Selway, David Byrne, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien; Theo Wargo/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of FameAfter years of indicating that they were being completely disinterested in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Radiohead was inducted into the prestigious institution Friday night during a ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Unfortunately, only two of the band’s members bothered to make it to the event.
The evening, highlights of which will air on HBO April 27, also saw The Cure, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, British art-rock band Roxy Music, Janet Jackson and British Invasion group The Zombies enter the Hall.
Only guitarist Ed O’Brien and drummer Phil Selway showed up to represent for Radiohead, so as you might imagine, they didn’t perform. Thom Yorke had previously stated that he would not be able to attend due to a previous engagement in Paris.
They were inducted by David Byrne, whose Talking Heads song “Radio Head” gave the band its name. Byrne said they deserved the induction for two reasons: “Their music, the quality and constant innovation, but equally for their innovations in how they release their work — that has affected the entire music business,” he said, “They’re creative and smart in both areas, a rare and inspiring combination.”
Selway and O’Brien didn’t address why Thom Yorke and the rest of the band didn’t show, but O’Brien was grateful for the honor, admitting, “It is a big f***ing deal and it feels like it. I wish the others could be here ’cause they would be feeling it.” He also thanked his bandmates for their “deep, deep friendship” and the transcendental moments they’ve shared making music.
Selway noted, “We may not be the greatest musicians around and we’re certainly not the most media-friendly of bands, but we have become very adept at being Radiohead. And when that connects with people, it feels amazing.”
By contrast, a huge list of members of The Cure, past and present, turned up to be inducted by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. They also performed a set of songs both obscure and well known: “Shake Dog Shake,” “A Forest,” “Love Song,” “Just Like Heaven” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Reznor described discovering The Cure’s music via college radio. “A lot of darkness I felt in my head was coming back at me through the speakers,” he said, adding, “I’ve struggled my whole life feeling like I don’t fit in anywhere, and hearing this, suddenly I felt connected and not quite so alone in the world.”
Reznor also admitted that he’d been down on the Rock Hall for years because they wouldn’t induct the Cure, but when he got the call, he said, “I’d never been so happy to eat my words.”
Singer Robert Smith was the only member of the band who spoke, though many members joined him onstage. Saying he’d simply prefer to play for the crowd, the singer, still sporting his signature fright-wig hairdo and goth makeup, admitted, “I’m no good with stories. I’m a very bad communicator.”
Backstage, Smith said he and the band have 19 songs completed for their first new album in 10 years. He also said he felt strange about being inducted, but then figured it would be “rather churlish” not to show up.
The other past and present members of the band inducted were Perry Bamonte, Jason Cooper, Michael Dempsey, Reeves Gabrels, Simon Gallup, Roger O’Donnell, Robert Smith, Porl Thompson, Lol Tolhurst and Boris Williams.
The late Andy Anderson, who played drums on the band’s 1984 album The Top, was not inducted, but Smith explained that he chose to perform “Shake Dog Shake” from that album as a tribute to him.
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