Hi-Top Exclusive – An Oral History of Radiohead performing “The Bends” on Later…With Jools Holland in 1995

On May 16, 1995 the band Radiohead appeared on the BBC show Later…With Jools Holland to perform their song “The Bends”. This is an oral history of that epic appearance featuring never before released interviews with all the relevant participants.

Thom Yorke’s Wonky Eye – 1995 was an interesting time for the band.

High E Guitar String – Bend don’t break. That’s what the lads used to say.

Johnny Greenwood’s Arm Brace – Listen, Johnny is his own man, ya dig. I was used to the usual gigs. Broken arms, maybe a splint here and there. Six to eight weeks. Cash jobs. Then along comes this crazy guitar player telling me I’m gonna be a big star. What would you do?

Wonky Eye – It was a different time back then. Pre-Internet. You got understand that. TV show performances were a big deal.

High E – The lads weren’t who they are now. Just a bunch of kids really. Nobody knew. Least of all me.

Thom Yorke’s Leather Jacket – Spring time in London is no joke. You never know what you’re going get. Could be rain. Could be sun. Mostly rain though. So leather is an interesting choice. But I go where they tell me and what Thom says goes. So if Thom wants leather, he gets leather.

Arm Brace – You could get away with things back then. Not like now. A yellow button down isn’t necessarily my cup of tea but who’s to say what’s right for another man.

Wonky Eye – Everyone was waiting for the next “Creep”. The label was clamoring for a hit. The album was doing okay but not great.

High E – The lads were feeling the pressure. They knew they had to deliver. I was just trying to do my part.

Leather Jacket – Jools Holland is an interesting gent. He was in Squeeze you know.

Arm Brace – Johnny really went for it. You have to respect the effort. Kids these days with their computers. Back then you had to play. You know what I mean.

High E – I’ve been worked over good throughout my career but never like that night [laughs]. I didn’t know I could bend that way.

Wonky Eye – We’ve had our ups and downs but that night, on that stage we were all in sync, all headed in the same direction.

Arm Brace – These days with the Internet, it’s just not what it used to be. A bunch of guys with guitars just banging away. Man I miss those days.

High E – I can’t even get a gig now. It’s all keyboards and computers. But the lads have been good to me. They throw me a bone every once and while.

Leather Jacket – Good taste never goes out of style. I still do alright. But not like that. Let me tell you, nights like that, you just have to sit back and enjoy it. I was there man and it was good. You know what I mean.

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