There is an discussion posted on Greater Kashmir between Thom Yorke and Howard Zinn, author of People’s History of the United States. Both talk about the artist’s role in making the world a better place. Here’s an excerpt:
Zinn: Back to the idea that Radiohead is not a directly political band – I know you’ve been asked this one too many times, but considering the assumptions that people made about Hail to the Thief’s title as a political reference to George Bush, and you avoiding being considered a political band – if you could go back and rename it, would you?
Yorke: Oh, god, no. We were really terrified by it. I was extremely concerned about doing it because I was just concerned with the reaction, and concerned about pinning all our hard work on to such a phrase like that. It looked from the outside like such a political phrase. But the reason I felt confident about it was because everybody else was really into it. They felt very strongly that, regardless of the consequences, this is where the record comes from, so let’s just do it. It was so obvious that that is what it should be called. Hail to the Thief is about extraordinarily damned-up jubilation, wrong and misplaced, so I think they were right.