Unsolicited Career Advice for… Radiohead

Written by Music, Unsolicited Career Advice

You wouldn’t know it by reading the following, but Uncle Donnie is afraid of British people.  Thought the Beatles were going to bring about a counter-Revolutionary War, in which England would attempt to take back the original 13 colonies, by force, if necessary, using the Fab Four as a distraction.  He distrusts anything with a Union Jack on it, including the Def Leppard drummer’s shorts back in the early 80s.  That said, for some reason, he digs Radiohead.  Calls Tom Yorke’s voice “soothing.”  In typical Skwatzenschitzian fashion, he’s got some advice for the band. —RS

TO: Radiohead
FROM: Don Skwatzenschitz
RE: Career advice

You guys went right to my (radio)head (ha-ha) years ago. I saw you open for REM back in ’95 or so, and you were fantastic. I didn’t know a single damn song (you wouldn’t play “Creep,” regardless of how many times my row shouted for it), and I was blown away. You’ve had your ups and downs—to be honest, I’ve lost track of you these last couple years, since Amnesiac. What has happened to you? What have you done? You were on the cusp of something big—BIG, I tell you—and now … I think Blur might be bigger than you guys, and they’re not even a band anymore.

I can help you out, if you let me. Believe in Skwatzenschitz. I’ll make you stars once again. Here’s what you have to do:

  • Get into food. Pablo Honey barbecue wings. Knives Out frozen meals.  Unborn Chicken Voice chicken tenders. This country loves nothing more than a heaping helping of junk food. Put your name on something breaded and microwaveable, and by God, you will be a household name. Kids will order you at Applebees. What more could a band ask for?
  • Smile in your publicity photos. Tom, nobody likes a sourpuss. You look like a … well, a creep in your publicity glossies. You never crack a smile; none of you do. And what the hell are you doing with that eye? Lighten up, boys. Need an example? Just a little sample? Look at the Osmonds, back in the 70s. Smiled in every fucking picture. Biggest band in Utah. I kid you not—cheerful works!
  • Go country. Duetting with someone hot in country can get you all kinds of sales at Wal-Mart, you know? Heartland honeys like Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift, or even that chick from Sugarland, the one who did that song with Bon Jovi. While we’re at it, guys, do you think you have a Lost Highway-type album in you? Because if you do, my God, CMT will be all over you.
  • Charge double for your music. This is a crazy idea I had recently, but hear me out. Why do people spend 50 grand for a Cadillac, when a Civic will do? Because of the prestige of owning something special, something precious. Too many bands just give away their music these days. You should charge double—$39.96 list price for the next Radiohead album. And don’t sell it on the Web, or in Wal-Mart. Make it available only at specialty stores—really out-of-the-way places, so people have to find it. It’ll seem more exclusive. You won’t sell as many copies, but the ones you do sell will put a nice extra chunk o’ green (or whatever color you Brits’ currency is) in your pockets.
  • Fake your death. “Radiohead Dies in Bizarre Plane Crash—Wreck Never Found.” Great headline, huh? People will buy your entire catalog again, just to have something more to remember you by. Meanwhile, you guys are up in jolly olde Britain, noshing on Cornish pasties, listening to your Can albums, raking in the quid hand over pale, skeletal fist. How alternative would that be?

All the best,
Don

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