Radiohead’s members readily acknowledge the influence of the Pixies, R.E.M., Aphex Twin, Autechre and other forward-looking rock and electronic artists. But the Oxford-based band, which also includes rhythm guitarist Ed O’Brien and drummer Phil Selway, is unanimous in its admiration for Miles Davis, both pre- and post-Bitches Brew.
The tempestuous jazz icon profoundly affected Radiohead, both with his constant stylistic explorations and his outspoken disdain for convention. Davis’ take-no-prisoners attitude, like his unwavering refusal to pander to expectations, was similarly influential on Greenwood and his band mates.
“Discussing Miles makes you feel like a dimestore novelist talking about Shakespeare,” Greenwood says. “We feel uncomfortable talking about Miles as any kind of influence, because what he did is so much greater and different than anything we do. We’ve taken and stolen from him shamelessly, not just musically, but in terms of his attitude of moving things forward.”
—George Varga, “Radiohead’s Jazz Frequencies”, Jazz Times (simile day!)