LOS ANGELES Radiohead is
ready to kill "Creep." The British modern rock act wants to prove that
its 1993 breakthrough single
was no fluke.
To that end, Capitol is exposing
several tracks to radio in anticipation of the April 4 release of Radiohead's
sophomore album, "The
In November, the label previewed
the cut "My Iron Lung" on a commercial EP. The four-track disc, which was
serviced to college
and commercial, modern rock radio, also contains three new non-LP tracks.
"That was only meant to be
a fan-based item," says Perry Watts-Russell, Capitol VP of A&R. "It
wasn't a proper first single. We
really didn't even pursue radio airplay for it."
In the U.S., the next commercial
single will be "Fake Plastic Trees," which is due March 6. In the U.K.,
Parlophone will release
"High And Dry" as the next single.
A 12-inch vinyl EP with two
additional album tracks, "Planet Telex" and "Just," will be serviced on
March 6 to some 650 college
and commercial modern rock stations. Capitol also is servicing the four-track platter, which contains an extended mix of "Planet
Telex," to dance clubs.
Radiohead plans to tour the U.K. and Canada in March, with a U.S. tour set to follow in April.
In the past few months, modern
rock radio has warmed considerably to newer British acts like Oasis, Portishead,
and the Stone
Roses (Billboard, Jan. 28). "The Bends" could benefit from this movement, says Clark Staub, Capitol's senior director of marketing.
However, KCXX Riverside,
Calif., PD Chuck Summers does not think the current mood will translate
into automatic airplay for
the British quintet.
"I don't necessarily believe
that a trend is even developing," says Summers. "Radiohead won't be able
to ride on the coattails of
radio success by other U.K. bands. If it's a strong record, it will do well. A sophomore album is always a challenge."
The Oxford, England-based
act found U.S. acceptance in 1993 with its first single, "Creep." The song
became the slacker anthem
of the summer, reaching No. 2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
However, its follow-up single, "Stop Whispering," failed to ignite much interest and stalled at No. 23 on the modern rock chart.
Some retailers say that Radiohead needs a strong lead single to avoid the sophomore slump.
"I'm a bit leery about ('The
Bends'), but only because just one single broke from the last album," says
Judy Neubauer, director of
retail advertising and promotions for Simi Valley, Calif.-based Tempo, which has 30 stores in California and Hawaii. "If there isn't
a song that equals the quality of 'Creep' on this album, it might not do that well."
Band manager Bryce Edge says that Radiohead is prepared to do whatever it takes to overcome the one-hit-wonder stigma.
"Unlike Oasis and many other
overseas bands, Radiohead has never been championed in the U.K. press,"
says Edge, who
manages the band with Chris Hufford. "Americans tend to be very critical if a band is shoved at them particularly if they can't play
Last year, the British press
published several reports that the U.K. act was on the verge of splitting
up midway through its
"We probably toured for too
long," says singer/guitarist Thom Yorke. "We weren't talking to each other
anymore. We had been
going for over two years on the strength of one song. I just didn't feel good about the state of the band." Toward the end of that
tour, Radiohead found itself playing some unorthodox places, including seven small venue dates in Mexico.
"The first show we did was
in a really dirty club," says Yorke of the Mexican swing. "There were three
tiny wooden tables that
were used as a barricade. The only way off stage in the back was through a little window. We had just finished this large tour with
James in Europe, and it was about as different an experience from that as humanly possible."
Yorke says mental fatigue and physical illness caused Radiohead to cancel its appearance at England's Reading Festival last year.
Illness is something that
has plagued Yorke since childhood. "I was a sickly child," he says. "The
content of my lyrics shows that I
am almost obsessed with my health. If I get ill on tour, it really does something to me emotionally. I just can't go anywhere in that
Things began to change for the better when Radiohead finally settled down to prepare new material for the second album.
"We wanted to make this new
record a year and a half ago but the U.S. success of 'Creep' kept us from
going into the studio,"
says bassist Colin Greenwood. "The delay added a seasoned street spirit that probably would not have been there if we had
recorded it earlier. It's a lot more relaxed than our first record."
The title for the new album reflects the stress caused by the band's pain-filled, rapid rise to fame.
"I guess we just came up
too fast," says Yorke.