rock hall 2019

Radiohead’s Rock Hall Speech: It’s Rather ‘Awkward and Challenging’ Being Us

Phil Selway and Ed O’Brien, the lone Radiohead representives at their induction. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Finally the mystery of how many Radiohead members would show up to their own Rock and Roll Hall of Induction has been solved. Ultimately, we got two of five, which really, is not bad odds, considering. The band’s guitarist, Ed O’Brien, and drummer, Phil Selway, were the lone representatives for the band’s induction on Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but the two took it like champs. O’Brien had previously recoiled at the thought of attending, telling Rolling Stone last year, “I’d rather be sitting at home in front of the fire or going to a gig … it just feels non-authentic to us.” But either he bailed on plans with himself or he’s just simply since come around to the whole thing. “It’s a big fucking deal,” he admitted in his Rock Hall speech. “I wish the others could be here, they would be feeling it.” Selway’s remarks, meanwhile, summed up why it doesn’t get much more Radiohead than their induction hullabaloo: “We’re certainly not the most media-friendly of bands.”

Read their full speeches below.

Phil Selway:

Thank you! So, first off, I think I’d just like to set the record straight. In the film, Thom said: Phil was the only drummer. I think what he meant was: Phil was the only drummer. So thank you. This is a real honor. And it’s particularly special that David Byrne has inducted us. As David said, we borrowed a band name from him 30 years ago and luckily for us he hasn’t asked for it back yet.

I’d just like to say a little bit about what being in Radiohead means to me: It can be awkward and challenging sometimes, but I guess that’s what kept us all interested for the past three decades. I’m beyond proud of what the five of us have achieved together, and I know that Radiohead wouldn’t have become what it is without the five of us.

I can easily place myself back in my first rehearsal with the band at the school we all went to, and that band is still very recognizable to me, whenever we play. We’ve learned all our musical chops together. Each new song has been like a lesson and our albums act as a chart of that learning process.

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. I’d never take any of this for granted, so thank you, thank you, so much.

Ed O’Brien:

I just want to say this is such a beautifully surreal evening for us and it’s very far from where we come from. But thank you for inviting us and inducting us into this Hall of Fame. It is a big fucking deal. I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it. So thank you.

Obviously a band like ourselves have a lot of thank-yous to make and I don’t want to spend the next ten minutes name-checking everybody — although I’d love to — but you’d be bored. I want to thank our families, who encourage us to go on these musical adventures. Our kids, our wives, our partners. They let us go swan around the world doing our thing. I want to thank everybody who’s ever been touched by our music. For everyone who comes to the shows and participated — it’s not just us on stage, it’s everybody. We’ve had some amazing, glorious nights with you. I’d also like to thank everybody who’s worked with us. We’re a very blessed band. We’ve worked with some incredibly talented, inspiring people who not only do the best for music but the best for us as human beings, and that’s a really important part of Radiohead.

But my biggest thank you is for my brothers, Thom, Colin and Johnny. All musicians know and fans know: It’s an incredible journey. It’s truly extraordinary. We’re not doing run-of-the-mill stuff. It’s amazing. We’ve been doing it for 34 years and are still doing it. I want to thank them for their integrity, their authenticity, their commitment. None of these things you should take for granted. I also want to thank them for the musicians they are. That thing when we play together; that collective sound that we make. Some of the nights we have in the rehearsal studio where they’re like transcendental moments. I thank them for that. But most of all I want to thank them for this deep, deep friendship. We could’ve done this without this love for one another but there’s such a deep, deep bond and it’s a beautiful thing. So thank you. I love you.

Read Radiohead’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Speech