Take Aim: Radiohead Book Author Mac Randall Vs. Amy Sciarretto
Wed, 07 Mar 2012 15:54:16
Author Mac Randall worked diligently to effectively tell the Radiohead story in his book Exit Music: The Radiohead Story, which uncovers the details behind the elusive band's songs. That's no easy task and certainly a labor of love, since Radiohead are one of the most beloved, yet difficult to track bands in contemporary music.
Given the scope of his book and our love for Radiohead, we decided to engage Randall in a Take Aim Q+A. He's done harder things in his life, like profile Radiohead in a book, so we figured he'd be up for our silly set of questions. He was game and he gave us some insight into his book, which is out now and we highly encourage you to pick up. You won't regret it, especially if you love Thom Yorke and co.
Radiohead are notoriously difficult to capture. What was your favorite part of writing and updating the book? The most difficult?
For the early research phase of the book, I went to England, made a lot of phone calls, knocked on doors, and searched through public records. It was the most logistically involved part of the writing, but it was also the most rewarding. There were a lot of difficult parts, but I suppose the most recent tough one was figuring out a way to express the fact that I didn't completely love the band's last album, The King of Limbs, while still getting across that it was well worth hearing.
If you were not writing, you would be...
Playing guitar and recording my own music.
Any weird talents or hobbies?
Weirdness is really in the eye of the beholder. I play sitar, which is certainly unusual. It's kind of a meditative thing for me.
The one thing you learned about the band through this process that you did not know or expect when you started?
I knew that they were all seriously committed to making music—you have to be if you want a career—but I didn't realize just how serious they were, at a pretty early age. And they still are strongly committed to the band, more than 20 years after they started it. I had a feeling that they might not tour again after In Rainbows, just because they all have big families and other musical projects now. Obviously, I was wrong. Their longevity is surprising, and inspiring.
What is your favorite Radiohead song + why?
Tough question. Today I'll say "Idioteque" from Kid A. It's got a beautiful melody that shows off Thom Yorke's falsetto and it has that intense, otherworldly quality that marks a lot of the best Radiohead songs—almost as if it came from some parallel universe.
Was there any cooperation from the band?
My book is not authorized. I did interview all the band members several times in the 1990s, but I haven't spoken to them since. Maybe one of these days…
Are you going to check out Exit Music? Read a preview of Exit Music: The Radiohead Story.