Easy Star All-Stars interview: Ten years of Radiodread

Easy All-Stars speak about the 10th anniversary of their dub 'OK Computer' rework, Radiohead's reaction and their upcoming UK tour.

Ben Smith

Date published: 30th Jun 2016

Image: Easy Star All-Stars

Easy Star All-Stars have brought dub reggae to mainstream attention, with a string of acclaimed dubwise cover LPs, including Dub Side of the Moon, Thrillah and Radiodread. Their infamous Radiohead rework is to be re-issued this year and celebrated in a string of tenth anniversary live shows.

Ahead of their show at Band on the Wall on Tuesday 5th July, Joshua French spoke to the band about Radiohead's thoughts on the album, their live plans and the album re-issue.

It’s 10 years of Radiodread - tell us about the anniversary plans and how the album came about in the first place.

Radiodread is one of the finest moments in the history of Easy Star All-Stars, so it is really exciting and fun to be celebrating 10 years of its existence. We had had such a breakthrough with Dub Side of the Moon and were still riding that success, when we started thinking about doing a follow up.

Originally we hadn’t planned anything of the sort – it was meant to stand alone. But then we created the touring version of the band to support the release and that began taking on a life of its own. We had had so much fun with Dub Side that we decided to try our hand on another tribute.

It took us a long time to figure out what to tackle next – the short list was OK Computer, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, and CSNY’s Déjà vu – but we eventually settled on Radiohead, which proved to be a great move.

It took the band and the franchise a bit more indie and into stranger territory, while at the same time, Radiohead made good sense following Pink Floyd, as I think the bands have a lot in common in their prog rock, their fanbase, and so on. The release really allowed us to show that the ESA story would continue and be as compelling as Dub Side was, while also attracting a lot of new fans.

What can audiences expect from the Radiodread live shows in the UK this year?

We are still finalizing that, but we will be playing a large number of selections from the album each night, along with many of the band’s other best known tunes from the other tribute albums: Dub Side of the Moon, Lonely Hearts Dub Band and Thrillah.

They’ll also hit some original tunes as that has also been a part of this band’s history since the first tour. There are a number of songs from Radiodread that we haven’t played in a while that we’ll be dusting off.

Have Radiohead heard the album and what did they make of it?


They did hear the album when it first came out. We had begun recording the record, kind of assuming that we would get the clearance from the band. It was pretty stupid on our part – we had just gotten Pink Floyd – a band notoriously tough to get to agree to anything – to give us permission on Dub Side, so we foolishly assumed that a reggae loving, indie supporting band like Radiohead would be no problem.

But midway through recording we got a note from their publisher that Radiohead didn’t want anyone doing OK Computer because it was their sacred cow. Which we could understand, but we were in a bind. So we mixed two tracks – 'Lucky' and 'Electioneering' – and sent a two page letter explaining what we were doing and hoped for the best.

We got a note back from them saying that if it all sounded this good we’d have a great record and they approved us going ahead. Then when the record came out, a friend of ours who worked with them played them the record backstage at a show in Philly and apparently they were impressed. 

Thom told people about the Toots track 'Let Down' from the stage that night. It’s a thrill whenever the artists we cover pay us respect, because we tackle these projects with nothing but respect for the source material and the artists who created it.


What will the new album re-issue feature?

The new album just has 'High And Dry' added to it and it’s been re-packaged into a digi-pack to match our more recent album releases. It will be coming out August 12 but you will be able to pre-order it starting July 1 and we will be selling it on the road during our tour. The High And Dry single will be coming out June 10, though, to whet appetites.


What can audiences expect from the Radiodread live shows in the UK this year?

We are still finalising that, but we will be playing a large number of selections from the album each night, along with many of the band’s other best known tunes from the other tribute albums: Dub Side of the Moon, Lonely Hearts Dub Band and Thrillah.

We'll also hit some original tunes as that has also been a part of this band’s history since the first tour. There are a number of songs from Radiodread that we haven’t played in a while that we’ll be dusting off.

The Easy Stars are known for their collaboration and the rotating collective of artists they embrace. Who will be peforming on the Radiodread Anniversary tour with you?

Some of the original members of the touring band are still with us and will be out – Ivan Katz (drums), Kirsty Rock (vocals), Jenny Hill (sax/flute), Buford O’Sullivan (trombone), Ruff Scott (vocals).

The first four actually all played on the studio recording of Radiodread, with Kirsty singing the lead on 'Paranoid Android'. The band is led by Shelton Garner Jr. (guitar/vocals), who has been with us for many years, and rounded out by Ras Droppa (bass/vocals) and Matt Goodwin (keys/vocals), who is our most recent addition.

Find Easy Star All Star tickets

Easy Star All Stars play at Band On The Wall on Tuesday 5th July during a tour which includes a date Electric Ballroom, Camden on Friday 15th July - Find Band On The Wall tickets in the box below.

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