Radiohead announced (somewhat haphazardly) on DeadAirSpace in the last few days that they will be playing a benefit concert this weekend in LA, with proceeds going to relief efforts in Haiti. No glossy campaign, no heroic press release, no teaming up with huge corporations to sell a Radiohead-flavored consumer product, just a pair of rather informal notifications from drummer Phil Selway. Which got me to thinking... Radiohead is quietly one of the most vocal groups in this modern era of super-charities. Case in point: U2 records a song with Jay-Z to play at an MTV telethon for Haitian relief, Radiohead books a show at a tiny LA theater and auctions the tickets.
When Radiohead picks up a cause, it seems they do it if not the "right" reasons, then at least for earnest ones. Thom snuck in to the Copenhagen climate conferences (alone, and with no fanfare), wherefrom he posted his scathing (and rather disjointed) opinions. No "official celeb activist correspondent" status. Just a long, ranting lament on DAS after a series of little "reports" (scroll down for all of them), and a couple of youtube vids, none of which garnered more than a few thousand views. An attempt to get the point across. No face-time. No personal glory.
We already knew Radiohead are probably allergic to limelight, and this is just another manifestation of that fact. And just like I wonder how this bunch of aloof weirdos manages to infiltrate popular culture so intensely, how they balance fame and commercial success with their borderline sociopathic personalities, I sit here amazed that they are consistently among the most vociferous proponents for a variety of causes (most notably climate change), and yet you'd only know it if you cared to find out. Maybe that's the point.