Thom Yorke’s freely ranging discussion with Alec Baldwin on the 30 Rock actor’s WNYC radio show Here’s the Thing was more about the human interplay between the two famous men than uncovering new revelations. It’s a trip just to hear Baldwin’s deep, resonant voice — sounds like money, no wonder he’s sponsored by a credit-card company — and Yorke’s diffident, British-accented one in conversation. You can do that below, or read the full transcript of their nearly hour-long talk here. The two bonded over their shared fluctuations between crowd-pleasing performances and deep-seated insecurity, and discussed Yorke’s career from childhood on through his political activism and even his fatherhood.
Still, one particularly noteworthy segment concerns Yorke’s development as a singer, which, given multiple choices, he picked as his greatest talent. From watching R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe during an early tour together with Radiohead, and watching Björk over the years, Yorke told Baldwin he has learned that great singing involves, well, almost a Zen quality. After noting that “singing is nothing but being in the moment,” Yorke added: “You’re not trying to prove anything. You’re not trying to get anywhere. You’re not trying to achieve anything. You’re not trying to get this emotion across. You’re not in this space trying to get this space across. You’re not trying to get this mindset across or anything. You’re just letting it happen.”
ABBA, Morrissey and the Smiths, and Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground all also made cameo appearances in Yorke’s anecdotes. Just be: