Jonny Greenwood faked playing keyboard when he first joined Radiohead

Publish Date
Thursday, 17 February 2022, 8:00AM

Jonny Greenwood may be a prolific guitar player and Oscar-nominated film composer, but during a recent interview with NPR he admitted that he faked playing keyboard when he first joined Radiohead in the '80s.

“Thom [Yorke]’s band had a keyboard player — [whom] I think they didn’t get on with because he played his keyboard so loud,” Greenwood recalled. “And so when I got the chance to play with them, the first thing I did was make sure my keyboard was turned off … I must have done months of rehearsals with them with this keyboard, and they didn’t know that I’d already turned it off.”

The best part? Yorke didn't know Greenwood was faking it, and he actually complimented his playing. “They made quite a racket, quite a noise,” the guitarist continued. “It was all guitars and distortion — and so I would pretend to play for weeks on end and Thom would say, ‘I can’t quite hear what you’re doing, but I think you’re adding a really interesting texture, because I can tell when you’re not playing.'”

“And I’m thinking, ‘No, you can’t, because I’m really not playing,'” Greenwood added. “And I’d go home in the evening and work out how to actually play chords and cautiously over the next few months, I would start turning this keyboard up. And that’s how I started in with Radiohead.”

Clearly things turned out okay considering Greenwood has become quite an important member the band. He and Yorke also started a side project called The Smile.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission