On June 2, 1993, I get another letter from Thom.
I’d replied after the first one, and then again in a volley of excitement after the second gig. This one is addressed from the “Radiohead Helpline”.
He apologises for taking so long to reply, but they are starting to get a lot of letters now. He asks if I liked the Pop Is Dead EP – they were happy with it because they did it themselves with their live sound engineer –“being as we are complete control freaks!”
He mentions that they had spoken to Chris Thomas about producing the second album, something that had come up in his first letter. In my reply I’d pointed out that as well as working with the Sex Pistols, Chris Thomas had also worked with some pretty mainstream acts like INXS. Thom follows up with the fact that the producer had also worked with Elton John… “You don’t get much more corporate-pig-dog than that.”
He explains that they were impressed but uncertain. A big name producer would be expensive and wouldn’t necessarily understand them in the studio. It was hard to know what to do. Did I have any ideas?!
He tells me they’re off on a European tour in the next week and then onto the USA where Creep is “doing very well.” It looks like they’re going to be over there a lot for the rest of the year.
He wishes me luck with my A Levels and signs off to do some packing.
Later in the week, I celebrate school finally being out by buying a blue Pop Is Dead T-shirt in HMV. On the back are the May tour dates and the legend, “I saw pop die here.”
At the end of the week, having corralled my thoughts, I write a reply. I ask about the lyric of Pop Is Dead that I can’t seem to figure out, wish him luck with the tours and suggest that they need to find a producer who can help them get their own sound right.
Through the summer, I send for more fanzines and keep an eye out for the band in the music press. The next W.A.S.T.E. newsletter arrives, with more details of the band’s American tour and an address to write to for a new fanzine.
In August, volume one of the Pop Is Dead fanzine, the first publication devoted to Radiohead, arrives. It is made up of press clippings, a gigography, their first ever interview (as given to Oxford’s Curfew magazine), a detailed biography of the band, exclusive song lyrics and a questionnaire featuring all five members talking about their musical taste, their relationships to each other and bits of as yet unrevealed information about themselves.
Some friends of mine return from a trip to the USA with a load of music magazines for me. There are plenty of mentions of Radiohead and Creep, a couple of interviews and even some over the top adverts issued by Capitol Records. I photocopy the best bits and send them to Val in Manchester who puts together the Pop Is Dead Fanzine. I write her a letter telling her how much I love her zine.
By the end of the month Creep is at last getting some UK radio play. The rerelease is imminent. It starts to feel like something is going to happen and then another gig is announced. This time in Glasgow.
*a quote from W.A.S.T.E. newsletter #4.