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-- by Jon Wiederhorn, with reporting by MTV Europe

Sometimes it's hard to tell when Radiohead's opinionated frontman Thom Yorke is being serious and when he's — as the English say — taking the piss.

Although he's usually polite and affable in conversation, occasionally Yorke will roll his eyes if he doesn't agree with you, then mock you by saying what he thinks you want to hear. Other times he makes absurd comments to see what kind of reaction he can get. Case in point: During a recent interview in London, the shy, politically minded vegan made some pretty uncharacteristic statements when talking about the time the band spent in Los Angeles working on its new album, Hail to the Thief.

  Radiohead
"There There (live)"
From MTV2: $2 Dollar Bill Presents...
(Capitol)
  Radiohead
"2 + 2 = 5" (live)"
From MTV2: $2 Dollar Bill Presents...
(Capitol)
"We felt really glamorous being in Hollywood," he began with a smirk. "We went to glamorous parties, and we had matching Minis with Union Jacks. I chose the Range Rover because it was the most polluting car I could find — 4.6 liters of pure gluttony. Disgusting."

For Yorke, who has been known to change topics mid-conversation or even walk out of interviews when things aren't going well, being weird, contrary or aloof is a way to avoid having to be too analytical about his personal life and work. He'll happily discuss the state of the world, history and literature, but get too close to the emotional core and he'll retreat into a shell of sarcasm.

"I'm just enjoying the fact that I haven't been hit by a car yet and I'm still doing this," he said when asked about the benefits of stardom. "It's not easy. If you crack up, then that's it. And it's pretty easy to crack up because suddenly people start talking to you like you're from another planet and you just think that's normal. I really worry about other people like Coldplay and the Strokes, 'cause the sort of success they've had really screws with your head. It's like, what do you do next?"

  "I'm just enjoying the fact that I haven't been hit by a car yet..."
For 14 years, Radiohead — Yorke, guitarist Ed O'Brien, guitarist Jonny Greenwood, his brother and bassist Colin and drummer Phil Selway — have been consumed with the question of what to do next. The need to push boundaries has tested their friendship, their musicianship and their very sanity as they've evolved from a green Britpop band into one of the most creative, provocative and perverse musical outfits.

Radiohead formed in 1988 when the bandmembers were all students at Oxford University. By 1992 when they released their debut EP, Drill, they were a young, promising act with a few decent songs. Then came the bonfire hit "Creep," a tune that blended the loud/soft dynamics of bands like Nirvana with the sentimentality of the Smiths. The song surfaced in 1993 on the group's hit-and-miss debut album, Pablo Honey, and in no time it was everywhere, catapulting Radiohead to stardom and leaving them struggling to avoid one-hit-wonder syndrome.


NEXT: 'We did everything we weren't supposed to do, and we felt kind of sick afterwards.' ...
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Photo: Capitol

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  "There There"
Hail To The Thief
(Capitol)



 "2 + 2 = 5" (live)
Hail To The Thief
(Capitol)



 "There There" (live)
Hail To The Thief
(Capitol)



 "Knives Out"
Amnesiac
(Capitol)



 "Pyramid Song"
Amnesiac
(Capitol)




 "I Might Be Wrong" (live)
Amnesiac
(Capitol)



 "Everything In Its Right Place " (live)
Kid A
(Capitol)



 "Idioteque"
Kid A
(Capitol)



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