Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood trashed guitar solos in a new Rolling Stone interview.
“When we were at school, we hated and distrusted anything that was successful on a large scale,” he says. “We just associated it with bands that did guitar solos with big hair. It’s already such a preening, self-regarding profession. I’ve always hated guitar solos. There’s nothing worse than hearing someone cautiously going up and down the scales of their guitar. You can hear them thinking about what the next note should be, and then out it comes. It’s more interesting to write something that doesn’t outstay its welcome.”
“Even when we were starting out, it felt like everyone’s been in a band,” Greenwood later says. “Bands were already old hat. That felt true then, and more so today. But I tend to change my mind and sometimes I think it’s really important and they’re doing things worthwhile, but other times I feel just like it’s people copying their grandfather’s generation. There are grandparents now that were in punk bands and their grandkids are in bands. Maybe that’s a great thing. Anything that involves making music, I’m all for. That’s the bottom line. But I’ve also got old-fashioned ideas that there should be some element to it being done without parental approval. That still feels feel important to me.
“I know that sounds really cheesy, but it should unlistenable to the previous generation,” he continues. “There should be someone saying, ‘That’s not music.’ It’s encouraging many older people feel that way about some rap and extreme electronic stuff. That’s good. At the same time, it says nothing about the quality of the music. I change my mind about this all the time.”