Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A Radiohead-related guided tour of my local region....


Living in the countryside of Wiltshire, you'd think not much rock n roll activity happens here. Wrong. The area I live in actually has LOADS of musical history, although a lot of it goes unnoticed by many people. Here's a map featuring my town of Melksham (circled in green) and the surrounding areas. Soon I will be documenting and visiting the local places of musically historic importance in more depth but today I'm going to tell you about the links the area of Wiltshire and Bath has with the legendary Radiohead....






1. The Psychic Pig, Trowbridge


Radiohead's debut gig (at least under that name) took place at a venue in Trowbridge called the Psychic Pig in 1991. Says co-manager Mark Johnston:


“I was offered this band called ‘Only on a Friday’ for £50. When they turned up they insisted that we billed them as Radiohead, because they had decided to change their name. So I guess, by coincidence we got their first ever gig... They were the politest bunch of young men I have ever met. They washed up their own cups and dishes and helped tidy up the club.”


This photo is of the place where the Psychic Pig used to stand. Trowbridge is shit without it.



2. St Catherines Court, near Bath




In 1996, Radiohead recorded most of 'OK Computer' at a Tudor manor house in nearby Bath. St Catherine's Court belonged to actress Jane Austen, and other bands to use its recording facilities include The Cure and New Order...


3. Tottenham House, Marlborough



They returned to the county in 2007 to record part of 'In Rainbows' at Tottenham House, an old mansion house in Wiltshire that used to be a boarding school, then a rehabilitation house for troubled youths, and apparently haunted. "It was literally an old country pile," Ed O’Brien told Mojo in 2008, "huge and crumbling at the seams... Stanley [Donwood], who does all our artworks, said the ley lines were not very forgiving." 


More information here....
http://www.citizeninsane.eu/inrainbowssessions09.htm


They spent three weeks there, recording live their most energetic songs from the album, 'Bodysnatchers' and 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place'. Between recording, they had the extensive forest to explore, with Thom reportedly being struck by the sound of a barking stag guarding it's territory. But Thom became sick, and with only a damp caravan to recover in, they soon returned to an Oxford studio. Before leaving, producer Nigel Godrich sampled the reverb from the mansion's grand chamber, which was applied to much of the album, notably Thom's vocal on 'House Of Cards'.


The house is now being redeveloped into a multi million pound hotel and golf resort....




4. The King Of Limbs, Savernake Forest


And now of course there's 'the King Of Limbs', named after one of the oldest trees in Europe. The thousand year old tree resides in Wiltshire's Savernake Forest, near Marlborough....




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