Fiery Furnaces Clarify Radiohead Dis

Videos by American Songwriter


The other day, Spinner printed an interview with Fiery Furnaces frontman Matthew Friedberger, who mistakenly blasted Radiohead for releasing a song about Harry Partch, the avant garde composer, when in fact the song is about World War 1 Veteran Harry Patch.

Now the Furnaces have issued a statement clarifying Friedberger’s comments:

“Like most creative musicians, Matt Friedberger is not a fan of Radiohead and most of their chart busters. Of course, Matt and all the Fiery Furnaces family are great fans of all Tommys living or dead, so much so that lots of the Fiery Furnaces’ work is, because of the pun, dedicated to imitating the Who’s Tommy.

Back in the fall of 1996 or whenever that interview was conducted, the interviewer asked what Matt thought of the Radiohead song celebrating a WWI veteran. Matt naturally thought it would be interesting to pretend that they wrote a song about the celebrated American composer of a similar sounding name, hence his joking in the interview about Radiohead composing a song with something like 48 notes to an octave. It was easy and amusing to imagine Radiohead’s attempt to colonize that relatively arcane bit of our musical lifeworld. This is what they used to call, in some bohemian and advertising circles, ‘riffing’ or fooling around.

“Matt has not heard the Radiohead song about Harry Patch, but if he did, he is sure he wouldn’t like it. No doubt Radiohead and their fans can ignore his opinion of this matter and continue with their triumphant artistic interventions. Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists.”

We guess Miley Cyrus wasn’t alone in her distaste for this amazing, if controversial, British rock band.


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  1. fiery furnaces make attempt at awful excuse and fall flat on their fiery faces. has anyone even heard of these idiots before or since? i love the way they tried to make out they were joking, thats the sort of backtracking that they should have learned didn’t work in primary school. to be honest i’ve gone off radiohead but the fact remains they’re a million times more creative than fiery furnaces, who in interests of fairness I have just watched several videos of and appear to be bringing nothing to the table that wasn’t around in 1961. go and do a ‘kid a’ and then come back with ridiculous generalisations like “Like most creative musicians, Matt Friedberger is not a fan of Radiohead and most of their chart busters.” going on to mention the escaped paedophile haven that is the Who in the next sentence too… ahahahahahaha

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