Frank Turner Defends His Claim That Radiohead Is "Petty"
Posted by Joseph Lee on 05.14.2014
For not playing "Creep" in concert...
Frank Turner recently called Radiohead "petty" for not playing the song "Creep" at their live concerts. It was part of an interview with Gigwise in which he said: ""I'm a giant Iron Maiden fan, but they're very fucking adamant that they aren't a cabaret act, they've got new albums so go fuck yourself. I really respect that and think it's a bold move, but at the same time, I do want to hear The Trooper and don't really care about what's on their last album. What we do, is we're entertainers, at the end of the day. It's like the whole Radiohead not playing 'Creep' thing. You are entertainers because you've charged people £40 to be here, and it's not going to kill you to take three minutes out of your setlist to play the one song that everyone wants to hear. Just fucking play it. You'll make everybody's night. There's something kind of petty about not playing it to me. The world is full of bands that wish they had one song that everyone wanted to hear, you've got one, enjoy it."
Now he has defended those comments in a post on his official blog. Here are highlights:
On being a Radiohead fan: "First up, I'm a huge Radiohead fan. "Creep" is far from my favorite song of theirs, and for my money "In Rainbows" was one of their best records yet (though "King Of Limbs" didn't do so much for me). Taken as a pair, "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" are probably my favorite albums. I've seen them a handful of times, and in fact have seen them play "Creep" (at Reading), and very good it was too."
On bands being entertainers: "The point I was trying to make, however, is that bands are not just artists. When you're playing a live show and charging money for people to come, you're also an entertainer, whether you like it or not. You can handle that role any number of different ways – you can just play "the hits", or you can play none of them; you can talk to the audience, or not; you can play for four hours (Springsteen) or roll around in glass and shit (GG Allin). It's your stage. My frustration is with bands who see that description, "entertainer", as some kind of slight. In some cases it's almost like the audience is an imposition on their sacred creative act. If that's how you feel, don't play shows and charge people to come to them, stick to the studio. Perhaps a better example than Radiohead and "Creep" (if I'd taken the time to think before I speak, imagine that!) is Bob Dylan. When I saw him play it was just shit, and he was pretty openly trying to piss the audience off – shit setlist, played piano throughout, sang terribly and changed all the melody. Well, fine, but I won't be coming back again, not at £60 a ticket."
On reaching a compromise: "I guess what I'm saying is, there's a middle way between being slavishly populist in your set list choices, and only playing weird obscure B-sides. Dropping a song that everyone in the room wants to hear every now and again isn't "selling out" or whatever, it's entertaining, and that's at least part of the job description."