chansons

A Punch Up At The Wedding

Inspiration pour la chanson : 2001 (groupe The Meters / Review du concert d’Oxford du 7/7/2001)
Ecriture des paroles : vers 2001
Premier live : 22 juillet 2002 (Lisbonne)
Enregistrement studio : fin 2002 ? début 2003 ?
Fuite d’un mixage provisoire : mars 2003
Sortie sur album : mai 2003

Titre alternatif : No No No No No No No No

La chanson est une fois de plus dans l’esprit de l’humour quelque peu cynique qui est la marque de Thom Yorke… Le piano est assez présent sur ce morceau. Au final, on a une pièce assez curieuse, très expérimentale qui mêle plein d’influences : un peu de funk, un peu de lounge, assez différente de ce que Radiohead a fait d’autre…

Comme source d’inspiration, Thom citeCan et Tago Mago, mais aussi le groupe The Meters.

John: « Radiohead and ‘A Punchup at a Wedding’ from the new album Hail to the Thief, before that you heard ‘I will’. And ‘A Punchup at a Wedding’, uhm, it has a kind of Can-soul-groove to it, you mentioned Tago Mago and Can. »

Thom: « Woah, ok… Hah, I wish…. »

John: « But I was kind of listening to it and I was thinking about the idea that Can were… »

Thom: « I’ve heard [it sounds like] « The meters »

John: « Yeah, well… »

Thom: « In our dream, it was « The meters », only in our dreams, really… »

John: « Well, if Can were trying to imitate James Brown and his bands, and the way that they played. »

Thom: « Maybe. But this is about half the speed. »

John: « Right… Yeah? But not always. »

Thom: « Yeah, that’s true, no, you’re right… »

John: « Yeah… It has a nice kind of swing and groove to it, in a way that some other Radiohead stuff hasn’t, to date. »

Thom: « Yeah, it’s funny cause, we’d not really, we hadn’t actually really, you know, when we did… that was the first thing that we got together, when we got back together after six months. I think it’s quite interesting that, that was the first thing, ’cause it’s like, has got this like you know, basically a very loose swing to it, like you know, very, you could only, we, we. We as five people could only have come up with that after having a long break! (laughs) And now, it’s interesting, ’cause Nigel was like, in a way he sort of, it’s interesting that he sort of said ‘You’ve never really done anything like that before where you… where the whole thing was just based around a sort of, you know, baggy swagger thing’. Baggy is not the right word… Swagger, anyway. »

John: « Well it worked! It was a treat, it sounds great. »

Thom: « Thank you! »

— Thom Yorke / XFM 'X-posure', 3 juin 2003

 

Le petit détail certes inutile mais assez drôle : Quand vous lancez le Cd sur votre ordinateur, le système de contrôle de copie fait qu’un lecteur audio interne se lance… Le titre qui s’affiche alors est… « punchbag » ? Pourquoi a « Punchbag » ? Faute de frappe ? Jeu de mot ? Pour note, « Punchbag » peut signifier sac de sable, comme punching-bag, voire souffre-douleur…

 

7 juillet 2001

Thom donne deux sources d’inspirations pour cette chanson : son écoute de la BBC4 pendant 6 mois, et un tas de phrases qu’il a du noter sur son petit carnet, et puis ressortir ensuite… d’où le fait qu’il faut tout prendre au second degré.

A PUNCH-UP AT A WEDDING (NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO)
A bit of a departure – ‘Funky Radiohead’.
Thom: « Yeah, that’s kind of it. Bling-blong. It does its thing. It’s got a loose funk at times… »
Jonny: « It comes from the fact that Thom is playing rhythm piano for the first time on one of our records. I hesitate to use the ‘groove’ word… »
Thom: « You definitely should, man. Although there’s got to be a better one. »
Jonny: « Alright, it swings. It swings great. »
Thom: « The words are very much a case of ‘Shake a cup and let them come out’. »
— NME, 10 mai 2003

 

Le titre a été inspiré par une review du festival que le groupe avait organisé dans sa ville, Oxford en 2001. Pour Radiohead c’était une journée exceptionnelle, et Thom n’a pas apprécié les reviews négatives, qui gâchaient un peu sa fête…

That was a song where I was letting it happen. I mean, a lot of the lyrics for that song to me were born out of listening to Radio 4 an aweful lot, like every day, for 6 months – religiously. And just listening to what was happening, and just had this thing in my head about ‘this is just like a punch-up at a wedding, nobody knows what’s going on, it’s just a riot. And someone in the middle is being affected by this, and this is supposed to be the biggest day in their lives, and it’s being ruined’, or whatever. And it also came out of a… I mean, I basically don’t read anything that anybody writes now about us, at all. Cause I just can’t anymore. And the main reason for that was, that I happened upon, sort of by accident basically, a review of our Oxford gig [july 7th 2001], which was just like.. I mean, one of the biggest days in my life. Obviously for all of us. And this… whoever this person was, just tore it to shreds. And they couldn’t really think of how to tear us to shreds, really, so they just tore the audience to shreds. And just said basically ‘who are these people, bunch of students’, you know, ‘white middle class’, which was not the case at all, but what’s the point in arguing. But this person managed to totally and utterly ruin that day for me forever. And it really shouldn’t have done, and I should be bighead enough to just ignore it. And there was a lesson there, which I have I learned now. But I just didn’t understand why… how someone, just because they had access to a keyboard and a typewriter, could just totally write off an event, that meant an aweful lot to an aweful lot of people. And there’d been just no answering back, no nothing, that was it, the end of the story. And obviously that happens all the way through your career… And that was another impetus for the song, really. Because to me it was like… so many people were there and saw something completely different, but yet you’re the twat who gets to sort of write it all off. And it’s sort of… I don’t know, I should be used to it by now.
— Thom Yorke / Official Hail To The Thief Interview CD, avril 2003

 

été 2002

Pendant l’été 2002, le groupe s’est engagé dans une tournée intime, dans de petits auditoriums, qui doit lui permettre de tester dans des conditions live de nouvelles chansons (qu’il pourra ensuite améliorer en studio !). Les concerts sont d’ailleurs organisés en ce sens : durant la première partie, seules de nouvelles chansons sont jouées, après une entracte, le groupe reprend avec des hits.

Premier live d’ A Punch Up At A Wedding, à Lisbonne, le 22 juillet 2002 :

 

La chanson sera jouée au total 10 fois pendant l’été 2002. Voici les commentaires du NME sur ces concerts estivaux et sur la nouvelle chanson :

‘A Punch Up At A Wedding’ is the last song in the first half. It combines a slow handclap drumbeat with Thom playing repeated house chords on the piano. At seven minutes, it’s their longest new tune and ends with Thom screaming his lungs out.(…)

They hope to release the new LP, their sixth studio album, in March next year. There’s a discussion about the new songs. Since Thom didn’t introduce most of them onstage, people are curious about the titles. Have they really called a song ‘A Punch Up At A Wedding’? They have. Thom finds the fuss over the titles funny. “I should have handed out lyric sheets to the audience,” he says, which seems like such a terribly un-Radiohead thing to do (for a band who, as ‘artists’, hate the idea of giving anything away for fear it will spirit the ‘art’ itself into nothingness) that we assume it’s a joke.

— NME, 3 août 2003, à propos d'un concert au Portugal

 

 

Sur une des fiches de paroles que Thom a utilisées lors de la tournée estivale 2002, on trouvait un couplet supplémentaire, qui n’a jamais été chanté en fait :

Go ahead the stage is yours.If you think you can do better you used to be alright, what-happened ?

Keep moving or you’re dead.

Keep moving or you’re dead.

How i wish you’d stay out of my face.

There’s always someone spoils the party just

you wait till your chained down worried and unhinged

you have really gone and done it now just a trick to make

you stupid all these sad heroics let me tell you

How it really is we are here

To spoil your party empty vessels

Make the most noise survival of the Fittest wading through

The marshes hypocrits, opportunists, userers flatterers and thiefs.

I’m sick of all your bullshit.

I’m sick of all these fucking mindgames.

Who invited you anyway ?

 

18 décembre 2002

Thom interprète une version de « a punch up at the wedding » lors de la 4e webcast de noël 2002. Cette version est beaucoup plu proche des premières versions entendues en démo et/ou en live que de la version qui sortira sur l’album quelques mois plus tard.

 

Du point de vue des paroles déjà :

I don’t know why you bother

nothing’s ever good enough for you

I was there, it wasn’t like that

black thunder clouds hanging over your head

don’t piss on our parade

don’t shred our big day

don’t ruin it for all concerned

in a drunken punch-up at a wedding, yeah

hypocrite opportunist

don’t infect me with your poison

a bully in a china shop

when I turn ’round you stay frozen to the spot

don’t piss on our parade

don’t shred our big day

don’t ruin it for all concerned

in a drunken punch-up at a wedding, yeah


 

mars 2003

Quelques semaines avant la sortie officielle d’Hail To The Thief, une version « trouvée on ne sait où » de tout l’album circule sur internet.

Avec le recul, on se rendra compte que cette version de l’album n’est pas la définitive, puisqu’il s’agit des pistes dans l’état de leur mix de février 2003 qui ont été volées.

La chanson fait donc partie de la tracklist de l’album « Hail To The Thief »

Cd d’interview, Hail to the thief, 2003 :

Thom : « That was a song where I was letting it happen. I mean, a lot of the lyrics for that song to me were born out of listening to Radio 4 an aweful lot, like every day, for 6 months – religiously. And just listening to what was happening, and just had this thing in my head about ’this is just like a punch-up at a wedding, nobody knows what’s going on, it’s just a riot. And someone in the middle is being affected by this, and this is supposed to be the biggest day in their lives, and it’s being ruined’, or whatever. And it also came out of a… I mean, I basically don’t read anything that anybody writes now about us, at all. Cause I just can’t anymore. And the main reason for that was, that I happened upon, sort of by accident basically, a review of our Oxford gig [july 7th 2001], which was just like.. I mean, one of the biggest days in my life. Obviously for all of us. And this… whoever this person was, just tore it to shreds. And they couldn’t really think of how to tear us to shreds, really, so they just tore the audience to shreds. And just said basically ’who are these people, bunch of students’, you know, ’white middle class’, which was not the case at all, but what’s the point in arguing. But this person managed to totally and utterly ruin that day for me forever. And it really shouldn’t have done, and I should be bighead enough to just ignore it. And there was a lesson there, which I have I learned now. But I just didn’t understand why… how someone, just because they had access to a keyboard and a typewriter, could just totally write off an event, that meant an aweful lot to an aweful lot of people. And there’d been just no answering back, no nothing, that was it, the end of the story. And obviously that happens all the way through your career… And that was another impetus for the song, really. Because to me it was like… so many people were there and saw something completely different, but yet you’re the twat who gets to sort of write it all off. And it’s sort of… I don’t know, I should be used to it by now. »

Ed : « If you think of the links between songs, it’s kind of a cousin of… a dear old friend of ’Karma Police’. »

Jonny : « Yeah, I can see that. It’s sort of all in the rhythm of the piano, and it’s us doing our kind of slow grind kind of funk thing, I suppose. Some of the harmonies in it are quite unsettling as well. So again it’s a mixture of quite straight pop thing and all the wailing that Thom’s doing at the beginning and the end, it’s… you have to hear it, really. »


Une version radio acoustique interprétée par Thom et Jonny à la radio en 2003 :

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