Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood has penned a commentary for The Guardian arguing that the European tours that helped found Radiohead may not be possible for musicians emerging during the Brexit era. “It is time the UK government admitted that it did not do enough for the creative industry during the Brexit negotiations,” he writes, “and wants to renegotiate the rules for touring Europe.” The piece comes amid renewed outrage from British musicians after the UK reportedly refused a visa-free agreement for musicians because lawmakers made it a priority to “take back control” of Britain’s borders. Elton John also posted a Guardian comment.
Greenwood opens the play by revisiting Radiohead’s early days in Europe “on a shitty old bus that smelled of diesel and had sad gray curtains”. He describes a happy continental community of welcoming fans, media and fellow artists. As recently as 2018, he writes, he was impressed by the solidarity of Europeans in Brussels, where he played with the Belgian artist Tamino at a place near a square called Place Jo Cox – named after the left-wing British politician who was murdered by one Right-wing extremist.
He outlines some of the technical details that will hinder artists hoping to tour the continent in the future. He speaks to two accountants from Radiohead, who explain possible hundreds of dollar hikes with various visas and carnets, as well as cabotage rules that “make multi-city tours with a British fleet of tour buses or trucks impossible”. Orchestral musicians, he adds, will lose to European counterparts, and the latter will also be deterred from studying and performing in the UK. “This is a tragedy of deferred dreams,” writes Greenwood.
He sums up: “The music of my country is great because it despises borders and borders. It is a great patriotic source, a force of trust, joy, and shared passions. I am proud of my country and all the music it has exchanged with the world and I am sure that pride is felt across all ages and cultures in the UK. It is the opposite of cultural nationalism that Brexit is, and its removal would rob us all. “
Read the full piece, entitled “European Touring made Radiohead the band we are. Brexit must not destroy it, ”said The Guardian.