The idea for Radiohead’s “Karma Police” music video was originally pitched to Marilyn Manson. Manson sent director Jonathan Glazer to a screening of David Lynch’s film Lost Highway, which ended up inspiring what would become Radiohead’s classic “Karma Police” video. Read an excerpt below from Pitchfork‘s new piece.
JONATHAN GLAZER: I was flown over to New York to see a private screening of David Lynch’s then new film Lost Highway because Mr. Manson wanted the video to relate to it somehow. Anyway, all I remember from that screening were the opening credits of a rushing road beneath the camera. Next thing I knew it was the closing credits—I’d had a big night, no sleep, and nodded off. So yes, that scene must have entered my subconscious, and the idea for “Karma Police” came out of it. It’s the only time I’ve written something for one artist and ended up making it for another.
RANDY SOSIN [former video commissioner at A&M and Interscope]: I remember having dinner with Manson’s manager right as the “Karma Police” video came out, and he told me that Jonathan Glazer had pitched a similar idea for a video with Manson for his song “Long Hard Road Out of Hell,” which would make sense with the car on fire at the end and everything. I had a similar thing happen once, when Michel Gondry pitched an idea for Soundgarden’s “Burden in My Hand” that later became a Cibo Matto video called “Sugar Water.”
As far as why Manson passed, I just feel like he didn’t necessarily want to be a piece of another artist’s work. I don’t remember him ever saying, “Oh, why didn’t I make that video?” It’s just that music video directors in particular tend to have a very specific vision and they see which artists are willing to go there.