Money Makes You Numb

"Radiohead is not the first act to try what one of its managers, Chris Hufford, calls 'virtual busking.' But it’s the first one that can easily fill arenas whenever it tours...After fulfilling its contract in 2003 with its last album for EMI, 'Hail to the Thief,' Radiohead turned down multimillion-dollar offers for a new major-label deal, preferring to stay independent.

"'It was tough to do anything else,' Mr. [Thom Yorke, the band’s leader] said during Radiohead’s first extensive interviews since the release of the album. 'The worst-case scenario would have been: Sign another deal, take a load of money, and then have the machinery waiting semi-patiently for you to deliver your product, which they can add to the list of products that make up the myth, la-la-la-la.'

"Signing a new major-label contract 'would have killed us straight off,' he added. 'Money makes you numb, as M.I.A. wrote. I mean, it’s tempting to have someone say to you, You will never have to worry about money ever again, but no matter how much money someone gives you — what, you’re not going to spend it? You’re not going to find stupid ways to get rid of it? Of course you are. It’s like building roads and expecting there to be less traffic.'”

-- From "Pay What You Want for This Article," by Jon Pareles, New York Times (12/09/07)