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Radiohead producer Paul Kolderie compares Thom Yorke and Kurt Cobain

Few names are more revered in alternative scenes than Thom Yorke and Kurt Cobain. The Nirvana frontman changed the course of rock music forever by finding commercial success with anti-establishment grunge, while Yorke infused the genre with experimentation and brought melancholy into the mainstream.

Between them, Yorke and Cobain penned some of the most important and influential songs in modern rock. Despite ever-increasing admiration for their musical outputs, reports have suggested that the two frontmen weren’t quite as enthusiastic about their own songwriting as their audiences and critics – Cobain famously disliked ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, while Radiohead have often refused to play ‘Creep’ live.

However, Radiohead producer Paul Kolderie once suggested that the band’s dislike for ‘Creep’ has been highly exaggerated and compared Yorke and Cobain’s attitudes to their own outputs. Speaking in an interview with Daniel Sarkissian, the OK Computer producer declared, “They don’t hate that song”.

“They don’t like it when people yell it at concerts, maybe, but they don’t hate that song,” he explained, “That song is, 30 years after it was released, is still a big catalogue item for them and it’s one reason why they got a large publishing deal… They don’t hate that song. They don’t disown it. They don’t disown the money from it.”

Kolderie even notes how Yorke wrote ‘My Iron Lung’ about the success of ‘Creep’, explaining, “It keeps you alive but also puts you in shackles.” The band may have grown tired of playing and talking about ‘Creep’, but they still felt pride and gratitude for its success, which allowed them to record The Bends.

“If you ask Thom what his favourite song he ever wrote was, it’s not gonna be that one, you know,” Kolderie concludes, “but it was what they needed. That song was like a bomb, and it just blew open the doors for them.”

Sarkissian and Kolderie compared Cobain and Yorke’s seemingly exaggerated dislike for their own songs, both of which have been disproved by reports from their collaborators. The producer dubs it “the exact same thing” and asserts that Yorke was proud of his songwriting. “You gotta be proud of making that kind of impact out there,” he enthuses, “That’s hard to do. ‘Creep’ has more plays on Spotify than ‘Stairway to Heaven’. 200million more.”

It may seem that Cobain and Yorke shared a distaste for their commercial hits, but that attitude seems to have grown over time from tiredness and overexposure. Perhaps it wasn’t the music they disliked but the overwhelming commercial success. Still, that element allowed them to make more of the music they loved.

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