Last night, the main guest on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was Rachel Maddow, a person who certainly has a lot to talk about these days. But Colbert’s other guest on last night’s show was someone who’s been chronicling the tangle of current dystopia for much longer. Thom Yorke, currently on tour behind his solo album ANIMA, was on Colbert last night — not to perform, but to shoot the shit with fellow smart person Stephen Colbert.
Colbert and Yorke spoke for almost 12 minutes on last night’s show, and the best parts of the conversation revolved around current political lunacy. After a few pleasantries, Colbert asked Yorke this question: “For decades, you’ve been writing music that is uneasy and anxious with regards to society, our government, technology, the general direction of the world. How does it feel to be right?”
Yorke’s response was that he thought things were bad — that he was responding to current situations — way the hell back in 2003, when Radiohead made Hail To The Thief. So Yorke thinks the current insanity is simply part of a continuum: “It seems to have spread to our country as well now.” He also discussed, with some enthusiasm, the prospect of Queen Elizabeth removing the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and I didn’t even know that was a thing. Another Yorke quote: “We live in strange times.” That could serve as the thesis statement for everything he’s done since The Bends, honestly.
At one point, Colbert asked Yorke if he wanted to be knighted, which seems like it could be a real possibility someday. Yorke’s response: “I think I’ve blown that chance. I think when your current glorious leader got in, I put in an offensive enough message to… yeah, I’ve got no chance now.” Yorke and Colbert also talked about recurring dreams, misread cue cards, and the time that Colbert dedicated an hour-long Colbert Report to Radiohead. Watch the interview below.
ANIMA is out now on XL.