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Joy Division would have been far too raw and

he first became interested in pop music around

despairing to make it onto the turntables of most

the time of Elvis Presley’s death in 1977, Ed’s

New Romantic enthusiasts, but these Oxford

greater passion was for outdoor sports: cricket,

kids, none of whom could be mistaken for strict

football, and field hockey. Of all the future mem-

purists, were already mixing and matching their

bers of Radiohead, he was the most athletically

favourites with little regard for genre lines.

inclined, and because of this he was by far the

The first band these two disaffected Abingdon

most frequently mentioned in Abingdon School’s

students both played in, at approximately age

yearly magazine, The Abingdonian. (In the 1984

14, was the school’s resident punk outfit, TNT.

issue, Jeff Drummond Hay, who coached the

Thom became the singer because, as he put it,

Abingdon cricket team, praises O’Brien for

“no one else would”. In possession of a cheap mi-

“chancing [his] arm to good effect”.)

crophone but no stand, Yorke made do by tying

Another major interest of Ed’s was the the-

the mike to a broomstick: “Everyone just started

atre, and it was his frequent acting in school

falling about laughing, and that was that. That

dramatic productions that led him to meet both

was my introduction to singing.” By all accounts,

Greenwood and Yorke, who were in the year

the band made a horrible racket, which was the

below him. First he met Colin, who co-starred

whole point, of course. But although TNT was

with him in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Trial

an exciting proposition at first, by 1984 it had

By Jury, and then Thom, who helped provide

become a drag for Thom and Colin, who decided

background music for an experimental, in the

to leave the band’s ranks and investigate other

round, modern-dress version of A Midsummer

musical avenues.

Night’s Dream. In an interview many years later,

Soon joining Thom and Colin in this new

Ed recalled the first time Thom came across his

enterprise was another lifelong Oxfordite and

radar. “There was this tense dress rehearsal,

would be musician, Edward John O’Brien (born

and Thom and this other fella were jamming

April 15, 1968). Son of John O’Brien, a local os-

free form cod jazz throughout it. The director

teopath, Ed lived with his mother Eve after his

stopped the play and shouted up to this scaffold

parents split up in the late ‘70s, but he stayed on

tower thing they were playing on, trying to find

good terms with both sides of the family. Though

out what the hell was going on. Thom started 37

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

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