I remember where I was in 2000. I was pumping gas at main street sunoco in Leominster, MA. Mike G. had recently turned me on to the greatness that is Radiohead. He would burn me copies of CDs and talk passionately of how great a band they really were. Discussing song lyrics, certain musical changes, and just why they were such an important band for our time! He was a somewhat practicing vegetarian and most nights ordered spaghetti with sauce, “make sure its not the meat sauce!” he’d bark into the phone. He also had this kind of lingering, foul odor to him, but that’s not why I’m writing this dispatch.
It’s just that so much has happened in the last 12 years, from the age of 17 to 29, as this is such a pivotal period for anyone. Kid A was something so huge, so dense, so intense, that I was really only trying to grasp alternating programmed beats and general absurdity of the lyrics.
2001 was my first time seeing them live at Suffolk Downs and I really have to give Mike G. the credit for opening my mind up to them 2 years prior. A part-time job pumping gas, for the most part screwing around when our bosses left at 5. So from 5-10 we played CDs in the little store, while switching off who would get the next customer. Sunoco in Leominster being really only 1 of 2 Full serve stations, so later on at night you’d get stragglers, nothing too steady.
Even listening to “National Anthem” now I’m reminded of Athens Pizza, the distinct smell of their sauce, and the blue, greasy counter top I ate on. Leaning over, watching the gas meter which signaled when the car outside was done. Soon enough I plastered a Radiohead bumper sticker on my ’89 Honda Civic and to my friend Maki I was only ever known as “Raaaadioheadd!”
So 12 years removed from the release of “Kid A” and having seen them at least 4 times live, I understand the power of speaking passionately about a band you love to someone else. Especially to an already impressionable 17 year old.